I told you that I would keep you posted on my book read experience with The Life of Faustina Kowalska. Sadly, I have only been able to make two of the five meetings. Getting back out in the evenings with dinner, dishes, baths and homework is not an easy task, as any mother or father knows. I did finish the book, however.
I would recommend this biography to you, especially if you have read The Diary of St. Faustina. The biography gives insight into the poor, simple nun to whom the incredible message of Divine Mercy was given by Christ Himself.
Among the things that stood out in my reading was the undeniable value and importance of fathers as being the spiritual heads of their households. Faustina’s father had daily rituals of song and prayer. He modeled for his wife and children the importance of discipline and most importantly – of putting God first, before all people and all things in life. This clearly had an effect on young Faustina.
I was also struck by a conversation that Faustina had with St. Therese’ of Liseux. She asked St. Therese if she (Faustina) would become a saint, too. She asked if her parents would go to heaven. To these two questions, Therese’ answered, “Yes.” When Faustina asked if her brothers and sisters would go to heaven, Therese said that they would need many prayers. These were poor kids, from a holy family back in the 1920’s. If they needed prayers, can you imagine the prayers our children need today, living in the sinful times we’re living in? How about us adults?
I was deeply moved by her understanding of some of the mysteries of God. After receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, she said, ” My heart is a living tabernacle in which the living Host is revered. I have never sought God in some far off place, but within myself.”
I once had a woman follow me out of the adoration chapel with a message she claimed to hear from God. She told me that God wanted her to tell me , “He is closer to you than you think. Just listen to the beat of your heart.” Interesting. Faustina seemed to truly understand this beautiful mystery – God dwelling within each of us.
Like many saints to-be, Faustina suffered much – physically, mentally and spiritually. God used her suffering to mold her and to fulfill His plan to spread the message of Divine Mercy. I found her to be very likeable and very real, because her trust in God wavered at times. She wrestled with her deep desire to please God and with self-will.
After much prayer, discernment and suffering, she gave herself over to “holy indifference” and embraced God’s Will. That’s a challenge for all of us – not simply doing God’s Will – but actually coming to love His Will far above our own.
I want to leave you with a prayer from the book, as dictated to Faustina by Jesus: “Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You. “(The Diary, 186-187) Jesus added, “Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion.” * Let’s pray this prayer for everyone we know – and even those we don’t know!
*quote from The Life of Faustina Kowalska by Sister Sophia Michalenko, C.M.G.T