“Immersed in prayer and close to God, I experienced profound peace in my soul concerning this whole work. The difficulties and troubles associated with this work are only a trial, and we must accept them as a trial, but never as if these difficulties were a proof that this work is not pleasing to God. It is precisely because it is so pleasing to God that it is persecuted and must undergo a test of fire.”
From a Letter of Sr. Faustina to Fr Michal Sopocko,
Cracow, 21st February 1938
This letter from Saint Faustina to Blessed Father Michal was a reply to his own letter in which he had remembered the Sister’s feastday the previous week. In this reply, written only seven months before her death, Faustina spoke of the whole Message of Mercy which had been given to her by the Lord, and her confidence that His will would prevail in spreading that message – “through us, God initiated His work, and it not for us to know who will complete it, but we should do what is in our power and nothing more.”
Faustina recognised very clearly that she was nothing more than an instrument in the hand of the Lord – indeed, in her Diary, she praises the fountain pen with which she wrote the Diary, seeing herself as something similar; a tool to be used as God pleases. Saint Bernadette, in the convent at Nevers, long after the heavenly light of the Lady had left the niche at Lourdes, described herself similarly – as a sweeping brush once used by the Mother of God which, having now done what is asked of it, is placed back behind the door where it belongs.
This is true humility, the humility of the Saints. It is not about describing ourselves as less than we really are – which would do a dis-service to the Lord; rather, it is about recognising that before Him, we are nothing at all – and realising that despite this, He loves us infinitely.
Faustina recognises clearly, too, the limitations placed upon her; she will do all the Lord asks of her as far as she is able, but she must then hand over everything else to those who will come after her, each of whom will have their own particular mission. Reading that line from her letter, I cannot help but think of one particular person who would come later, and who would do much to place that Message of Mercy before the eyes of the Church – Saint John Paul the Great. It may well be the case that you, who are reading this page at this moment, you also have a part to play in all of this, that the Lord may be seeking your particular talents in a particular moment of time, to further spread His Message of Mercy. Have you considered that?
With regard to the trials she would undergo, Faustina was very clear throughout her Diary that the Lord would put all of these to good use, in order that her sufferings would purchase fruit from this heavenly tree. She also prophesied very explicitly with regard to the special trial the Message of Mercy would suffer within the Church, noting that it would be hidden for years before coming into the light, shinning more brightly than ever; and so it came to be. As she notes in this letter to Father Sopocko, everything that is truly of God must be tested in fire – and in this way, not only will it be purified, but it will be clear that it is of God rather than of man. And seeing all this clearly, her soul was filled with divine peace.
This gives us something to think about.
How do we respond to trial and tribulation? Do we see them as something to be borne amidst much complaining and disdain? Or do we see them as an opportunity for sanctification and for God’s glory?
Perhaps we could ask the prayerful intercession of Saint Faustina to help us in our needs, so that we – like her – may enjoy the peace of God in our soul, knowing that we have done our very best to fulfil His holy will.