Introduction

The world we find ourselves living in today is a world of increasing violence, chaos, despair and interior isolation.  It’s a world in which so many are connected through the means of modern communication, such as through the daily headlines and social media.  As a result, we are increasingly aware of the countless problems and tragedies that so many people face each and every day.  These tragedies are becoming a means of constant curiosity, satisfaction, and even obsession for so many.

As a result of being constantly bombarded with the sensational problems in our world, we are drawn in, daily, to the painful drama of a fallen world.  We see sin and its consequences everywhere we look and it takes a toll on our souls.

So how do we deal with this constant awareness of the evils, sins and pain of so many people on such a regular basis?  The only answer to that is what this book is all about: The Divine Mercy.

The Divine Mercy must become the lens through which we see all things.  It must become the filter for everything we take in and everything we give out.  The Divine Mercy is so deeply needed today and we can rest assured that He who is divine, desires to bestow this precious gift in abundance.

What is Mercy?  More specifically, what is The Divine Mercy?  The Divine Mercy is the grace and love of God alive in our lives.  It’s God acting in us, upon us, and through us.  It’s God taking control of our lives and teaching us how to think and how to act.  It’s God possessing us so that we do not become possessed by the craziness of the world we live in.

The Divine Mercy of God is like a fountain of endless water in the midst of a parched and arid desert.  It’s the source of refreshment and newness of life that we all seek, whether we realize it or not.  It’s the deepest longing of our hearts and the only thing that will ever satiate the longing we have.

The world we live in tries to satisfy and satiate us through constant stimulation, excitement, drama and intrigue.  The world is constantly offering us a false sense of happiness and fulfillment.  The first step to discovering The Divine Mercy of God is to see the world for what it is.  To see the lies and deceptions all around us and to turn our eyes to this font of truth and grace that we were made for.  We need to turn to The Divine Mercy.

As a fountain of grace, gushing forth in an arid place, The Divine Mercy of God comes from a hidden source, keeps going and never runs out, and produces all that we need to find satisfaction in life.  It’s like a vast ocean that we are called to plunge into and enter its depths.  It’s endless and all-consuming.

Jesus has always given us images to try to describe the love He has for us. He is the loving Father, waiting for His wayward son to return.  He is the Good Shepherd who seeks out the one stray sheep.  He is the Good Samaritan who cared for the foreigner in dire need.

Of course, these can never fully explain the depths of His Mercy and love. Each image brings its own meaning to each person based on one’s own personal experience and history.  One recent gift that God gave to us is Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska.  She was born on August 25, 1905 in Kraków, Poland and died October 5, 1938 in the same city at the age of thirty-three.  At the young age of twenty she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Warsaw and was later transferred to Płock and then to Vilnius.  It was in Vilnius where she met her confessor, Father Michał Sopoćko who helped her immensely with many mystical graces she received from God.  Sister Faustina was graced to receive daily private revelations from Jesus by which He revealed to her the abundance of His Divine Mercy.

At the direction of her superior and Fr. Sopoćko and Jesus Himself, she kept a diary of these mystical experiences which is known, today, as Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.

The goal of this present book is to walk through the pages of her Diary, reflecting upon its messages over the period of a year.  The Diary is reflected upon in a way that the reader will be able to easily ponder the message of Divine Mercy as it was revealed to Sister Faustina by Jesus Himself.

On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized Sister Faustina on Divine Mercy Sunday.  With her canonization, the messages of Saint Faustina continue to spread to a world so desperately in need of God’s abundant grace.

On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis began an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy for the Church and world.  This book is a fruit of that Year of Mercy and was written during that Jubilee Year so as to help each person who reads its pages to enter more deeply into the Divine Mercy of God for years to come.

 

Structure of this Book

Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska is soon to become a classic spiritual book that everyone is encouraged to read in their lifetime.  However, many find this invitation intimidating, not just because of the width of her book, but because of the depth of its message on The Divine Mercy in each of Saint Faustina’s notebook entries.  This book, Daily Reflections on Divine Mercy, was written with the hope of guiding you through Saint Faustina’s Diary and her six notebooks of reflections.  It can be used on its own to help you pause and reflect on the beauty of Jesus’ messages to her, or as a companion book, as you simultaneously read Saint Faustina’s Diary.

Daily Reflections on Divine Mercy offers 365 daily teachings, reflections and prayers based upon the pages of Saint Faustina’s Diary.  The structured way to use this daily reflection book is to do just that…reflect upon one page each day. However, some may feel called to skip around a bit, read a few reflections at a time, or return to a particular reflection through which God spoke to you.  Therefore, though this book was written with the intent of providing one reflection for each day of the year, the best way to use it is any way you feel called and the way that benefits your relationship with God the most.

The first paragraph for each day offers this author’s insights to the words and teachings of Saint Faustina.  The section of her Diary used for the day’s teaching is marked so that the reader can also read her Diary first hand so as to see the primary source that the author of this book took inspiration from for that day’s reflection.  Though the primary text of the Diary is never quoted, nor are the reflections of this book exact representations of the Diary, they do provide the foundational basis for the spiritual message shared in each reflection.

The second paragraph for each day offers a short reflection put more as a question to the reader.  It offers the same insight in a different format so as to enter more deeply into the message of the day.

Finally, each daily reflection ends with a prayer focused upon the message and reflection for that day.  The reader is encouraged to pray this prayer several times.  Ideally, it is prayed first thing in the morning, again during the day, and again at night as an examination on how well the daily message was received.

As you seek to survive the world we live in, allow these pages to be a font of Mercy for you from God.  Allow God’s Divine Mercy to penetrate your heart so that you will know the abundance of His love and be more prepared to share that love with others.

Lord, as I begin my journey into Your Divine Mercy, help my heart to be open to all that You wish to bestow.  Help me to hear You speak to me, to meet You personally, and to allow You to enter fully into my life.  May I learn to trust You in all things as I encounter Your Divine Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

 

Introduction for Priests

Priest of God, you are called to be a continual Incarnation of the Mercy of God.  How do you do this?  Is it sufficient to simply preach about Mercy and strive to be merciful in your actions?  No, the Mercy that a priest is to offer the Church and world is much greater.   

The foundational act of Mercy that you can offer is to freely choose to be Christ’s pierced and wounded Heart.  It is only from His Heart that the blood and water of the sacramental life of the Church is poured forth.  It is this wounded Heart that shines forth the rays of God’s purification and sanctification on the Church and world.

You are called, in a unique way, to be a source of this outpouring by being pierced yourself.  Here are five suggestions on how God wants to use your priesthood as an instrument of His Divine Mercy.  These five actions bring about the purification and sanctification of the Church and world.  They enable you to more fully share in the priestly ministry flowing from the wounded Heart of Christ.

  1. Choose to embrace suffering freely
  2. Rejoice in the suffering you embrace
  3. Offer your suffering in union with Jesus to the Father
  4. Purify the world through your offering
  5. Sanctify the Church through your ministry

 

Choose to Embrace Suffering Freely

Freely choose to share in the suffering of the Heart of Christ.  You uniquely do this as a priest by allowing yourself to receive, and then embrace, suffering.  First, choose to accept, freely, every form of injustice that comes your way.  Accept every ridicule issued forth by the world and by your own people.  When criticized or condemned by another, don’t fight back or defend yourself.  Don’t try to justify your actions or give into anger.  Do not do this.  Instead, accept every humiliation and suffering as from the Lord, for they are fully deserved as a result of your sins.  This is the first step.

Secondly, allow yourself to feel a pain that is much deeper than mere criticism or persecution.  The unique priestly pain that more perfectly shares in Christ’s suffering is to feel the pain in the Heart of Christ that results from the rejection of the Gospel.  Let your love for God’s people be so strong and all-consuming that you also experience what Jesus experienced.  Let yourself experience the rejection of the Gospel.  Sure, there are many who will run to you and will be open to the love in your heart, receiving the Gospel with joy.  This will be a great consolation to you.  But there are many who will not.  There are many who will not open themselves to the Mercy of God shining forth from your own heart and priestly ministry.  You will find, if you share in the love of the Heart of Christ, that you long for these souls with such a holy longing.  This longing will produce the sweetest and deepest pain.  Choose that unique priestly suffering and embrace it wholeheartedly. 

 

Rejoice in the Suffering You Embrace

Once you choose to freely embrace the sufferings in the Heart of Christ, as experienced in your priestly ministry, you must then go one step further.  Make sure that the free embrace is also done with great joy.  Do not only accept these sufferings, rejoice in them.  Rejoice in every piercing of the Heart of Christ in your priestly ministry, be they great or small.  Rejoice and be grateful to our Lord that you feel the pain that His Heart felt.  Your joyful embrace of these sufferings will be a powerful witness that will also produce strength for you, personally, to move forward with the sacrifice of your life as a priest.

 

Offer Your Suffering in Union With Jesus to the Father

Freely choosing the sufferings in the Heart of Christ and rejoicing in those sufferings are not enough.  The next step is to offer this freely chosen sacrifice to the Father in union with the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.  Jesus is most perfectly a Priest when He offers His sufferings to the Father.  The offering of His humiliations and the sufferings that came as a result of His rejected love are what enable Him to fulfill His mission as the perfect Priest.  Join Him in that offering, especially as you offer the Holy Mass.  Make this constant and intentional offering and you will find that you are living your priesthood on a whole new level.

 

Purify the World Through Your Offering

The Church, the world and our own soul are in desperate need of purification.  Purification leads to sanctification and your free, joyful, priestly offering will purify.  In this threefold act, you will be made holy, the Church will be made holy, and the world will be invited to receive the purification it needs.

Priest of God, do not underestimate the role you play in the purification and sanctification of the world.  This role, of being an instrument of The Divine Mercy, is more than the charism to preach and to celebrate the Sacraments, you must become the sacrifice with Christ, offering your life for the salvation of the world.  Embrace your sacrificial role as a way of perpetuating the outpouring of The Divine Mercy of God, shining forth from the wounded Heart of our Lord.

 

Sanctify the Church Through Your Ministry

Once you have built a habit of daily embracing, rejoicing and offering all suffering to the Father, in union with the Sacrifice of Christ made present on the altar, you must seek to sanctify God’s people through every other aspect of your ministry.  Your ministry is powerful and deeply needed in our world.  Countless souls look to you to find our Lord.  Do not be negligent in your ministry.  Be zealous and conscientious in every way.  Pray daily and allow the fruit of your prayer to direct the ministry of Christ made present through your priesthood.  Teach, sanctify and shepherd the people of God, and do not grow weary of this privilege.  The Lord chose you, He wants to use you in unimaginable ways.

Below is a priestly prayer you are invited to pray so as to more fully share in the Divine Mercy of the Heart of Christ:

Dear suffering and persecuted Lord, my flesh is constantly tempted to reject the suffering I am offered.  Dear Lord, instead of running from this pain, I desire to choose it freely.  You Yourself said, “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down freely.”  Lord, in imitation of You I choose, this day, every pain and every suffering I am given.  I resolve that these swords which pierce my heart, over and over, shall not be imposed upon me.  Rather, I thank You for the spear and for the soldier who thrusts that spear into my heart.  I thank You for the pain that this produces.  And I thank You for the honor and privilege it is to receive these constant piercings, especially those caused by the rejection of Your Gospel.  Lord, I not only accept them, I choose them and I choose them freely.

Dear Lord of Mercy, the pain I feel and now freely choose must produce joy.  Therefore, Lord, I also choose to rejoice in this suffering.  I rejoice in each and every thrust of the spear.  I rejoice in each and every sharp and piercing pain.  I am eternally grateful to You, dear Lord, for the honor of feeling such pain.   I thank You for allowing me to share in Your humiliation and suffering.   I thank You that I may be mocked and looked down upon, that I may be scorned and laughed at.  And, dear Lord, on an even deeper level, I thank You that I can share in the suffering You felt as a result of Your burning love for Your people.  It is this pain which is far greater than mere humiliation.  The pain that comes from loving Your people and not being able to sanctify them as a priest, as a result of their rejection of Your Mercy, is the deepest pain of all.  Thank You, Lord, that this rejection hurts so deeply as a result of my love for Your people.

Dear Lord, our High Priest, You are the Priest and You are the Sacrifice.  As Priest, You offer the Sacrifice of Your physical life, but You offer something even greater.  You also offer the Sacrifice of all Your interior sufferings and longings.  Lord, I offer this priestly sacrifice to Your Father with You.  I offer it in union with Your own Sacrificial offering on the Cross. You experienced this pain, rejoiced in it as the fruit of Your love, and You then offered it to the Father.  May I make this priestly offering with You.

Dear Lord of Holiness, the fruit of Your Sacrifice is the purification and sanctification of Your Church.   Purification comes first, then sanctification.  It is for the fruit of purification that I pray the most.  Please purify Your Church and the entire world through the offering of my priestly sacrifice.  Purify, first, my own wretched soul.  But, from there, I beg You to pour forth the rays of Your Mercy, flowing from Your wounded Heart, to touch and sanctify the world.  Let the wound of Your Heart be opened wide so that the blood and water may, indeed, gush forth.  May my heart be a continual incarnation of Your wounded Heart, dear Lord.  May my heart, which is pierced and offered, become a font of Mercy for the Church and world in our day and age.  Please purify priests, bishops, laity and the entire secular world through the new spring of blood and water which must gush forth.   I thank You, dear Lord, for the honor and privilege of being an instrument of Your Divine Mercy in this world.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Introduction to Chapter One

Reflection 1 – “The” Divine Mercy

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