“Know that if you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of mercy, you will have to answer for a multitude of souls on the day of judgment.” (Diary of Saint Faustina, para.154)
It’s quite a responsibility, to be accountable for the eternal salvation of souls – not only your own soul, but the souls of others. And yet, that is precisely what the Lord said to St Faustina, as she records in her Diary.
Consider all those souls who, since the 1930s, have become devoted to the Lord as Divine Mercy, under the forms revealed to St Faustina. Consider the numerous miracles of grace; of conversions; of returns to the Church and to the Sacraments; of healings of whatever kind; of death-bed repentences; of final perseverance until death. Think of all those souls who, because of this devotion and the tireless work of St Faustina to promote it, now enjoy eternal salvation rather than damnation.
Now, consider if she had never consented to take on this work entrusted to her; that she did not talk about the Merciful Lord, did not promote the devotion, did not tell us about the Chaplet nor the Lord’s desire for the establishment of the Feast of Mercy; that all those graces destined for souls never reached them and because of this, their fate was damnation instead of salvation. Never knowing of His mercy, these souls never asked for it or never trusted in it. And so, these souls were lost.
Quite a responsibility.
Saint Faustina was very well aware that her job was not to reach Heaven alone, but to take many souls there with her. This is a lesson well known to the Saints.
Another example is the message given to the three children by the Blessed Virgin at Fatima –
“You have seen Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go; to save them, God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved.. Many souls go to Hell because there are none to pray and make sacrifices for them..Pray the Rosary every day..” (Our Lady of Fatima, 1917)
And so, on two different occasions, Heaven makes it perfectly clear that the fate of souls lies in the hands of others – and more, Heaven provides the means by which souls can be saved. Prayer and sacrifice – spiritual forms of mercy.
These spiritual means are open to all of us, as much as the two messages above are, by extension, for each and every one of us – not only for a young, uneducated nun or for three simple children. By virtue of our baptism, where we receive the charisms of ‘priest, prophet, king’, every single one of us shares a responsibility to participate in the saving work of Christ on behalf of souls, as the Gospels tells us often.
And so, the question is – what are we doing right now to respond to that call? What are we doing today to save souls?
We need to be very sure of our answer to that question – for on the Day of Judgement, that question will be posed to us and a response will be awaited.