Saint Faustina understood that it is the sacrifice – not the suffering – that has merit! I have wasted infinite Graces through mere SUFFERING – when I have been called to SACRIFICE.
I have been reading the beautiful Diary of Saint Maria Faustina. It is extremely slow-going for me – which is something that I am very unfamiliar with – as I am normally an incredibly fast reader! But with this particular text, there are simply so many revelations of the Mercy of God – from the Holy Mouth of God Himself – that I cannot work any faster through the book than this.
I find with my reading of this text that there is so much time required for reflection on these great announcements of Christ to His Saint!
One overarching theme of this text is about the offering of sacrifice! And the message is clear through the revelations of the life of this Saint…
Saint Faustina herself died when she was only 33 years old, after suffering intensely with a very protracted illness, which was later diagnosed as tuberculosis. And yet, it was not only her physical suffering from her illness through which she suffered, because Saint Faustina also suffered great mental anguish in relation to temptations of the Evil One and also through her initial reluctance to accept the will of God and her later impatience to fulfil It!
Often, her suffering resulted from significant misunderstanding of her. After all, she was a strange sort of woman. Her interior life was so full of God Himself that she often appeared mentally unstable, depressed and pitiable to the other sisters in the convent. Once, for example – when her illness was in its extremity – she asked one of the sisters if she could eat her dinner early as she was so tired and sick that she wished to sleep early. One would imagine that considering the terrible physical state of the Saint that the sister would have responded with compassion. Instead, the sister replied that the Saint was not sick, and that she did not really believe in the Saint’s illness, and that Saint Faustina was using her illness as a way to get out of doing her share of the work in the convent.
I have been reflecting very much on this misunderstanding of this great Saint, because it is heartbreaking…
I have written before about the feeling of isolation that I experienced during the years of misdiagnosis of my illness. The difference between Saint Faustina and myself, is that she was DYING of her illness – mine just caused a little discomfort!
The difference too is that Saint Faustina KEPT SILENT in the face of such misunderstanding – she did not write her Dairy for publication – it was secret and available only to her Mother Superior and her Spiritual advisors and confessors – as was their right through her vows of obedience. Her Diary was published posthumously…
Once, when Saint Faustina was bearing – in silence – the unfair and deliberate disruption of her work by one of the other sisters, a third sister in the convent remarked that Saint Faustina must be either a “saint or a fool” for nobody would endure such frustration in silence otherwise. Obviously the former was true for Saint Faustina noted in her diary that day that she was grateful for the opportunity that this difficult sister provided to her to make another offering to God for the repentance of sinners.
Saint Faustina offered her life for LOVE of God. She wanted to make her life a sacrifice to God because she understood that without love her sacrifice and her Cross was just torture… But with love, her Cross was a sacrifice. And Saint Faustina understood that it is the sacrifice – not the suffering – that has merit!
Pope Saint John Paul II – who was the Pope who canonised Saint Faustina and implemented Christ’s wishes for the Feast of Divine Mercy, as communicated to Saint Faustina by Christ Himself – declared, “Suffering is salvific so don't waste it!” For he understood – as did Saint Faustina – the words of Saint Paul, who said that we must complete what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of His body, the Church.
And when I think of the Perfection of Christ’s offering on the Cross, I can understand that what is lacking in the suffering of Christ, is OUR suffering – Offered to God in unity with His suffering on the Cross!
And for this reason, Saint Faustina recorded the words of Christ, who said to her, “I desire that you be entirely transformed into love and that you burn ardently as a pure victim of love.” (Diary 726).
And as I reflect on these words of my Beloved, I look at my own life and all my worthless complaining… And I weep…
For I have wasted infinite Graces through mere SUFFERING – when I have been called to SACRIFICE.
For the FRUIT of Sacrifice is HOPE! Just as Christ Sacrificed His suffering on the Cross for Love of us, through sacrifice of our suffering, we can achieve the Grace of Hope. For my Beloved SUFFERED and DIED to bring me the HOPE of SALVATION!
My Lord and my God, give me the Grace to emulate the GREAT SAINTS and to “burn ardently as a pure victim of love…” for You – Only for You…
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.