Penni was taken aback the other day as she read a verse from the first chapter of John -a verse she had seen and heard probably hundreds of times – but which she realized she was actually only “hearing” for the very first time.
I had this experience myself just within the past few days. As I listened to Fr. Scheier’s testimony in my previous post, I began to think about the mercy Mary had shown, which led me to think about Divine Mercy, which in turn led me to thinking about Saint Faustina, whose feast day is today. It occurred to me that if the Blessed Virgin was our Advocate and Intercessor with the Son in terms of mercy, that she must have played a major role in the revelation of the Divine Mercy message to St. Faustina.
I have the Diary of St. Faustina and several other books about her. I’ve read them all. I opened one of them, and saw that Sister Faustina had belonged to the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. I knew that. I had been extremely open to Faustina, and to mercy; but somehow I had missed the “Our Lady” in front of “Mercy”. The Diary is dog-earred, with pink sticky-notes attached to scores of pages, but not one sticky-note on a passage concerning Mary (and there are many passages about Mary). I had gobbled up that diary twice, and gone back many, many times to read certain selections, but never once to re-read anything which occurred between Faustina and the Blessed Virgin.
I also have the book, The Spirituality of Saint Sister Faustina, by Sr. Siepak and Sr. Dlubak. The book is falling apart; I remember much of every chapter, particularly the one called “Love for the Eucharist”, but the chapter on “Devotion to Our Lady”? I don’t even remember if I read it. But I should have; let me give you a few examples of what I missed:
“…she [Sr. Faustina] had become the daughter of Her who was united to Her Son’s salvific work throughout Her entire life. And as a good daughter Sister Faustina learned from her Mother how to fulfill her vocation, how to cooperate with the Merciful Jesus in the work of rescuing lost souls, and how to love God and people.”
“Sister Faustina often wrote in her Diary about the role of Mary as the Mother of Mercy, recognizing not only the mercy which She had obtained in the highest degree, but also the mercy which God grants to people through Her:
Through Her, as through a pure crystal,
Your mercy was passed on to us.
Through Her, man became pleasing to God;
Through Her, streams of grace flowed down upon us.
For Sister Faustina, Mary was not only the Mother of God’s Son but also her personal, spiritual Mother.”
“The imitation of Mary and the fulfillment of Her commands quickly bore the expected fruits in Sister Faustina’s life. The more I imitate the Mother of God – she wrote – the more deeply I get to know God.”
Why did I not “see” this before, even though I had read it? Why did I not “hear” this before, even though I have listened to the Divine Mercy message in many venues? I would never have said that my heart was closed to Mary, not at all; but perhaps it just wasn’t awake. I am experiencing an awakening now. My eyes, ears, mind, heart, soul and spirit are awake to Mary. To Mary through Jesus. Thank you, Lord.
Mother Of Mercy
This painting of the Mother of Mercy is five hundred years old and has hung on the walls of the City of Vilnius all that time, even during many occupations by foreign armies. This included the Germans in World War II, and the Russians up until 1994. All other religious statues and images were destroyed during these occupations, but the Mother of Divine Mercy survived miraculously untouched. Thousands of people received many graces from this image during those terrible years, and still do today. (See more at Divine Mercy Apostolate Worldwide).