Lenten Reflections
From Louise Martin

One of my strong memories growing up was reading the Picture Book of the Saints. I loved their stories and it was through that book I picked my patron Saint, St. Teresa. During the extra time I’ve had at home this past year, I’ve spent more time reading and in prayer. I would like to share about a beautiful devotion I’ve been reading about.

I started reading the Divine Mercy in My Soul, A Diary of Maria Faustina Kowalska, a simple uneducated nun. I loved reading her accounts of the conversations she had with Jesus. She tried in every way to have a closer union with him but like all of us, she struggled. You would think she would be thrilled to hear God talking to you, but she didn’t have a lot of support for many years and resisted constantly. Jesus’ relationship with Sr. Faustina came from His desire to spread His Divine Mercy. He told her “I want people of the whole world to know about my great mercy. I don’t want to punish people but rather heal them.” He told her, “Let people know about My love and mercy and to trust in My bottomless forgiveness.” Just what we all wish for! One time when she was talking to Him about something she recently addressed in confession, He stopped her and said, “It makes me sad that you don’t accept my forgiveness when you go to confession.” Sr. Faustina often felt inadequate with Jesus’ mission of her to spread the devotion of Mercy. After asking her to tell her superior about something she stalled and He said to her, “How long will you put it off?”As I read her account I often put myself in her shoes because often I put things off, I don’t think I could be forgiven for that ONE sin, and I fear the rejection of others. It’s a book that moves you to see just how human she was and the torment she felt for being chosen to make the Divine Mercy of Jesus known. Above all, it lets us know how much He loves us, wants to have a relationship with us, and has so many graces in store for us by practicing this short devotion. This is longer than most Wine, Women and Word shares so below I’ll share a few things from the book of importance. I mostly want you to know, by adding this to your life, you will be given the grace of complete forgiveness from your sins.

The following:
1. What Jesus asked about Divine Mercy. His words are in bold
2. Quotes taken from the book that opened my eyes about Faustina and Our Lord Jesus said to me, “Paint an image according to the pattern you see with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. “I want this image…to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy”. The greatness of this feast is measured by the measure of extraordinary promises that the Lord attached to this feast: Jesus said, ”Whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment” and also on this day, “On this day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy….Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” To profit from this we must have gone to Holy Confession, and worthily receive Holy Communion. The Two Rays that are featured in the image of Christ He explained: “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls…I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over its enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend you as My own glory.” !The Veneration Of The Image: Our Lord attached special promises, namely of eternal salvation, of great progress in the way of Christian perfection, of the grace of a happy death, and of all other possible graces which people will ask of Him with trust: “By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so let every soul have access to it”. The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy: Those who recite this Chaplet offer to God the Father “the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity,” By saying this prayer we ask for mercy on us and the whole world. The Lord said: When this chaplet is said by the bedside of a dying person, God’s anger is placated, unfathomable mercy envelops the soul. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. By saying it you will be embraced by My mercy during your lifetime and especially at the hour of their death.
THE HOUR OF MERCY: “ as often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and others for the asking; it is the hour of grace for the whole world.”

Once I was summoned to the judgment [seat] of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus appeared such as we know Him during His Passion. After a moment, His wounds disappeared except for five, those in His hands, His feet and His side. Suddenly I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God! Jesus asked me, Who are you? I answered, “I am Your servant, Lord.” You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory.

Jesus said,
You will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will and My desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you.” I didn’t understand why Jesus ordered me to tell everything to my Superiors, because my Superiors did not believe what I said and treated me with pity as though I were being deluded or were imagining things. Because of this, believing myself to be deluded, I resolved to avoid God interiorly for fear of these illusions. But the grace of God pursued me at every step, and God spoke to me when I least expected it. On several occasions I have to run away from God because I did not want to be a victim of the evil spirit; since others have told me, more than once, that such is the case. And this incertitude lasted for quite some time.(18) + February 22, 1931 47 In the evening, when I was in my cell, I saw the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand [was] raised in the gesture of blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From beneath the garment, slightly drawn aside at the breast, there were emanating two large rays, one red, the other pale. In silence I kept my gaze fixed on the Lord; my soul was struck with awe, but also with great joy. After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world. 48 I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. 49

This is when the Lord began telling her about his divine mercy: When I told this to my confessor,29 I received this for a reply: “That refers to your soul.” He told me, “Certainly, paint God’s image in your soul.” When I came out of the confessional, I again heard words such as these: My image already is in your soul. I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy. 50 + I desire that priests proclaim this great mercy of Mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me — clamoring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls. Jesus complained to me in these words, Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. Despite My inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me. Even My death is not enough for them. Woe to the soul that abuses these [gifts]. 51 (19) When I spoke about this to Mother Superior [Rose,30 telling her] that God had asked this of me, she answered that Jesus should give some sign so that we could recognize Him more clearly. When I asked the Lord Jesus for a sign as a proof “that You are truly my God and Lord and that this request comes from You,” I heard this interior voice, “I will make this all clear to the Superior by means of the graces which I will grant through this image”. 52

When I tried to run away from these interior inspirations, God said to me that on the day of judgment He would demand of me a great number of souls. Once, exhausted because of these various difficulties that had befallen me because of what Jesus had said to me and what He had demanded of me for the painting of this image, I made up my mind to approach Father Andrasz31 before my perpetual vows, and to ask him to dispense me from all these interior inspirations and from the duty of painting this image. After having heard my confession, Father Andrasz gave me this answer: “I will dispense you from nothing, Sister; it is not right for you to turn away from these interior inspirations, but you must absolutely — and I say, absolutely — speak about them to your confessor; otherwise you will go astray despite the great graces you are receiving from God.

AND CAN YOU IMAGINE SHE SAID TO JESUS?:So I asked Jesus to give these graces to someone else, because I did not know how to make use of them and was only wasting them. “Jesus, have mercy on me; do not entrust such great things to me, as You see that I am a bit of dust and completely inept.” But the goodness of Jesus is infinite; He had promised me visible help here on earth, and a little while later I received it in the person of Father Sopocko.

One day, tired out with all these uncertainties, I asked Jesus, “Jesus, are You my God or some kind of phantom? Because my Superiors say that there are all sorts of illusions and phantoms. If You are my Lord, I beg You to bless me.” Then Jesus made a big sign of the cross over me and I, too, signed myself. When I asked pardon of Jesus for this question, He replied that I had in no way displeased Him by this question and that my confidence pleased Him very much.55 1933. Spiritual Counsel Given Me by Father Andrasz, S.J.MAnother time a confessor said to her “Sister, God is preparing many special graces for you, but try to make your life as clear as crystal before the Lord, paying no attention to what anyone else thinks about you. Let God suffice you; He alone.”

One night, a sister who had died two months previously came to me. She was a sister of the first choir. I saw her in a terrible condition, all in flames with her face painfully distorted. This lasted only a short time, and then she disappeared. A shudder went through my soul because I did not know whether she was suffering in purgatory or in hell. Nevertheless, I redoubled my prayers for her. The next night she came again, but I saw her in an even more horrible state, in the midst of flames which were even more intense, and despair was written all over her face. I was astonished to see her in a worse condition after the prayers I had offered for her, and I asked, “Haven’t my prayers helped you?” She answered that my prayers had not helped her and that nothing would help her. I said to her, “And the prayers which the whole community has offered for you, have they not been any help to you?” She said no, that these prayers had helped some other souls. I replied, “If my prayers are not helping you, Sister, please stop coming to me.” She disappeared at once. Despite this, I kept on praying. After some time she came back again to me during the night, but already her appearance had changed. There were no longer any flames, as there had been before, and her face was radiant, her eyes beaming with joy. She told me that I had a true love for my neighbor and that many other souls had profited from my prayers. She urged me not to cease praying for the souls in purgatory, and she added that she herself would not remain there much longer. How astounding are the decrees of God!

One day I complained to Jesus that I was being a burden to the sisters. Jesus answered me, “You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will give them the light and strength to accept My will.” One day I felt driven to take steps to see to it that the Feast of Mercy be instituted and the image of the Merciful Jesus be painted, and I could find no peace. Something was pervading my whole being, and yet I feared being deluded. However, these doubts always came from outside, because in the depths of my soul I felt it was the Lord who was penetrating my being. The priest to whom I was going to confession at that time told me that one can often have illusions, and I felt that he was somewhat afraid to hear my confession. This was a torture for me. Seeing that I was getting very little help from people, I turned all the more to Jesus, the best of all teachers.

At one time, when I was filled with doubts as to whether the voice I heard came from the Lord or not. When people spoke to me about God, my heart was like a rock. I could not draw from it a single sentiment of love for Him. God alone knew what was going on in my heart. 78 Once when I was being crushed by these dreadful sufferings, I went into the chapel and said from the bottom of my soul, “Do what You will with me, O Jesus; I will adore You in everything. May Your will be done in me, O my Lord and my God, and I will praise Your infinite mercy.” Through this act of submission, these terrible torments left me. Suddenly I saw Jesus, who said to me, “I am always in your heart.” An inconceivable joy entered my soul, and a great love of God set my heart aflame. I see that God never tries us beyond what we are able to suffer. Oh, I fear nothing; if God sends such great suffering to a soul. He upholds it with “an even greater grace, although we are not aware of it. One act of trust at such moments gives greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations.

OFTEN JESUS TOLD HER TO WRITE SOMETHING DOWN. ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD HE SAID: Write this: “Before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day.”

SHE WAS TAKEN TO HEAVEN: On Friday, after Holy Communion, I was carried in spirit before the throne of God. There I saw the heavenly Powers which incessantly praise God. Beyond the throne I saw a brightness inaccessible to creatures, and there only the Incarnate Word enters as Mediator. When Jesus entered this light, I heard these words, “Write down at once what you hear: I am the Lord in My essence and am immune to orders or needs. If I call creatures into being—that is the abyss of My mercy.” And at that very moment I found myself, as before, in our chapel at my kneeler, just as Mass had ended. I already had these words written.

ANOTHER TIME:I saw the Lord Jesus above our chapel, looking just as He did the first time I saw Him and just as He is painted in the image. The two rays which emanated from the Heart of Jesus covered our chapel and the infirmary, and then the whole city, and spread out over the whole world. This lasted about four minutes and disappeared. One of the girls, who was walking with me a little behind the others, also saw these rays, but she did not see Jesus, and she did not know from where these rays were emanating. She was overwhelmed and told the other girls. They began to laugh at her, suggesting that she was imagining things or that perhaps it was light reflected by a passing airplane. But she persisted in her conviction, saying that never had she seen such rays before.

INQUIRING ABOUT THE IMAGE:I asked Jesus whether the inscription could be: “Christ, King of Mercy.” He answered, I am King of Mercy, but He did not say “Christ.” I desire that this image be displayed in public on the first Sunday after Easter, Sunday is the Feast of Mercy. Through the Word Incarnate, I make known the bottomless depth of My mercy. 89 + Strangely, all things came about just as the Lord had requested. In fact, it was on the first Sunday after Easter [April, 1935] that the image was publicly honored by crowds of people. One of the older sisters said to me, “Get it out of your head, Sister, that the Lord Jesus might be communing in such an intimate way with such a miserable bundle of imperfections as you! Bear in mind that it is only with holy souls that the Lord Jesus communes in this way!” I acknowledged that she was right, because I am indeed a wretched person, but still I trust in God’s mercy. When I met the Lord I humbled myself and said, “Jesus, it seems that You do not associate intimately with such wretched people as I.” “Be at peace, My daughter, it is precisely through such misery that I want to show the power of My mercy.” I understood that this Mother had merely wanted to subject me to a [salutary] humiliation. We started gathering in 2016 a few times a year to share our faith and fellowship.