“With souls that have recourse to My mercy and with those that glorify and proclaim My great mercy to others, I will deal according to My infinite mercy at the hour of their death.”
– Diary of Saint Faustina, para.379
Reading the Diary of Saint Faustina, it is perhaps understandable that we might think that giving the world this work of mercy belongs to her alone – she has, after all, been appointed by the Merciful Lord as the ‘Secretary of My mercy’ (Diary, para.965). But this is not the case at all. Certainly, it is through Saint Faustina that the Divine Mercy devotion has been given to us and to all the world – this is why the Lord calls her the ‘Apostle of My mercy’ (Diary, para.1142); however, once we have received this message of mercy, their falls upon us a responsibility to follow in her footsteps so that we, too, become apostles of mercy.
We are called, like Saint Faustina, to become witnesses of Divine Mercy – we are asked to do whatever is in our power to spread this work of mercy throughout the entire world, begining with wherever we happen to be. Saint Faustina writes this about such souls –
“That beautiful soul who is spreading this work of Divine Mercy throughout the world is, by his deep humility, very pleasing to God”
Each of us has differing talents and different opportunitues in which to put those talents to use. And we should remember always that the Lord expects of us only what we are able to do, as He tells Saint Faustina –
“Do as much as is in your power, and don’t worry about the rest.. be at peace so long as you do all that is in your power” (Diary, para.1295).
How, then, do we take forward this work of mercy?
First of all, we need to learn about the message of Divine Mercy; we need to become familiar with it’s authentic and essential elements – the Image, the Feast, the Chaplet. We cannot spread a message that we do not properly understand. The Diary is our source material here, but this should be complemented by reading the writings of others on the message of Divine Mercy, so that our understanding is more rounded and more robust.
To this end, it is good to learn from others who are well versed in the message of Divine Mercy. Here in Scotland, we are fortunate to have a group who organise an annual conference on the message of Divine Mercy – indeed, the sixth conference will take place next weekend. Events such as these allow us to spend time with others and to learn from their knowledge and experience. Such events can also help us to see a little more clearly what our role in the work of Mercy might be, and to give us both ideas and opportunities to take the work forward in some way.
Above all else, we must learn to actually live the message of Divine Mercy – that is, to acknowledge our need of that mercy, and then to be vessels of Divine Mercy in the world. Living the message of Divine Mercy is a very powerful witness and what we do is often far more powerful than what we say.
In the Diary, the Merciful Lord reminds us that He is giving us three ways to exercise mercy –
“My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first – by deed; the second – by word; the third – by prayer.
In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy…
By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.” (Diary, para.742)
Sometimes we will have the opportunity to be merciful by deed, while at other times we might be able to show mercy by our words. But all of the time, we are able to be merciful by our prayers; everywhere we look, there is need – every single soul has need of one kind or another. In living the message of Divine Mercy, we need to learn to become in tune with those needs we perceive around us, so that every single moment offers us an opportunity to be merciful by one of these three means – deed, word and prayer.
The Lord rewards us not for our success, but for the love and effort we put into doing His will. In all things, then, let us act humbly, always with charity, and with perfect trust in Him. And may He grant us every grace we need, through the intercession of Saint Faustina, to become His devoted apostles in this work of mercy.