“Hidden Jesus, in You lies all my strength”
(Diary, entry #1404)
There is no real doubt that the Diary of Saint Faustina is a spiritual classic and a work of great importance – and hopefully, it will one day lead to St Faustina being declared a Doctor of the Church. It is truly edifying to read of the works of the Lord in her life, including the very specific task she was given by the Merciful Jesus, and the desires He made known to her for all the Church.
But in reading such a work, we might be inclined to believe that a life such as this is not for ones such as us; after all, it is not likely that many of us will experience what was granted to St Faustina, and so this can seem to place something of a gulf between a great Saint and the common man or woman.
And yet, the Merciful Lord calls every single one of us, and charges each of us with a task of our own – one that He wills specifically for us, and which is given to us and to no other; and if not done by us during our life, it will remain forever undone. That task is our sanctification.
For St Faustina, the task was the same, and the Lord reminded her of this on many occasions, especially as her life drew nearer to it’s close. Similarly, He reminds us often that we, too, are called to be saints – albeit not the canonised variety, perhaps. So what is the secret to attaining this sanctity to which we are all called? St Faustina gives us the answer –
“From my most tender years, the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament has attracted me to Himself.. my love for the Hidden Jesus has been growing constantly to the point of closest intimacy. All the strength of my soul flows from the Blessed Sacrament. I spend all my free moments in conversation with Him. He is my Master.” (Diary, entry #1404)
The Concordance to the Diary of St Faustina lists almost eight pages of references to the Blessed Sacrament throughout her Diary – that alone gives some idea of the importance placed upon the Eucharistic Lord by His chosen daughter.
I find it interesting, too, that she refers to the Lord in the Eucharist as ‘the Hidden Jesus’ – this is yet another connection to the appearances of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima in 1917; there, the little children referred to the Lord in the Eucharist as ‘the Hidden Jesus’. And yet, there was no direct connection between those children and Faustina, and she knew nothing of their existence, as far as I am aware.
Regardless of this, both devotions, Fatima and Divine Mercy are intrinsically linked by the message of Mercy and by their focus on the Eucharist. At Fatima, Eucharistic Adoration and Reparation are central, while in the Divine Mercy devotion, the very Feast of Mercy is focussed on the Lord in the Eucharist. The Blessed Sacrament, therefore, is at the heart of both. And so, when St Faustina talks about her intense devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, she is giving us the very key which unlocks the way to true sanctity.
Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is increasing in our time, there is little doubt about that. It may not be increasing everywhere in terms of the numbers of people adoring the Lord in the Monstrance and in the Tabernacle – although this is the case in many places – but it is certainly increasing in terms of the ‘quality’ of the adoration, because the reasons for doing so are different.
People spend time with the Lord because they want to spend time in His company. Why? Because He is calling them – us – to do so; and in doing so, we are responding to His grace in this time of mercy. Yesterday, in St.Andrews Cathedral in Glasgow, and later in St.Aloysius’ Church, I saw this in action; souls there in the company of the Lord, hearing His call in their hearts and responding to His desire that they come to Him and adore Him. I see it every Monday in St.Bride’s Church in Cambuslang, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for Adoration all day long. The souls in these places – though not always great in number – are there to do precisely as St Faustina did; to respond to His call.
Even if our moments spent before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament are short and few, we can be certain of one thing; they are greatly profitable to our souls, for in them, the Lord is gracious and kind and dispenses His graces freely and generously. In those moments, we drink copiously from the ‘Living Water’ of which the Gospels speak –
“Jesus stood there and cried out, ‘If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me. Let the man come and drink who believes in Me. As Scripture says – ‘From His breast shall flow fountains of Living Water’.” (John 7:37-38)
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fount of Mercy for us, we TRUST in You.