“I have recently made an interior act of mercy which means that I am going to act in the same way as the Merciful Heart of Jesus would in a given situation. If I cannot do it by deed, then I shall do so by word, and if I cannot do it by word, then I shall do so by ardent prayer, so that whoever comes in contact with me can experience God’s mercy.. I try to let a new flame of love burst forth from my heart towards God, the way it blazed forth from the Merciful Heart of Jesus for the Heavenly Father and for souls.”

(Letter of St Faustina to Blessed Fr Sopocko, 2nd June 1936)

Often, our good intentions seem thwarted by an inability to act in a meaningful and concrete manner. These obstacles are often outwith our control. Because of them, we might feel powerless to help another in a real way.

These words of Saint Faustina are a powerful reminder that we are not always able to act as we might choose; we are not always in control and circumstances can pose a challenge to us. But her words remind us, too, that we are not always restricted to direct actions.

When we are not able to act directly by deed, we may be able to act by means of a kind or supportive word; the effects of such words last, even once the echoes of those words have faded away to nothing. Kind words may be precisely what a soul needs at a particular moment.

And even when we cannot directly offer a kind word, we can always act by means of prayer; prayer is not constrained by time or by place or by distance, and we can offer prayer from the depths of our hearts even when we can do nothing else.