• Sarah Raad

Role Models

“You will have nothing on which to judge me, and we shall meet on that day: Love and mercy.” (Saint Faustina, Diary 1426).

Divine Mercy Image

This year I read the Dairy of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska to whom Christ, Our Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and other Saints and the angels appeared many many many times...

Saint Faustina was a heroic saint! Her apparently miserable and ordinary life was filled with suffering and profound joy in submitting to the Holy Will of God as His “Secretary of Mercy”.

I was speaking about this holy woman with a dear friend last year – because after reading her Diary I find myself revolutionised in my thinking – and my friend asked me an interesting question…

She asked: With a saint such as this – where her holiness was so extreme and profound – is it possible to connect with her if you are an ordinary person living an ordinary life?

I have been thinking about this question for months because it is an important one.

You see, Christ Himself called Saint Faustina the comfort of His most Sacred Heart. He told her that during His Passion – especially in the Garden of Gethsemane and when He was being judged by Pontius Pilate – it was the thought of Saint Faustina’s soul that gave Him comfort in His sorrow.

And I read those words and reflect on them – I really cannot get that thought out of my mind. You see, to all the world, Saint Faustina appeared quite a miserable soul. She was a sickly woman – a very very very sickly woman – whose very serious illness was misdiagnosed, trivialised and ignored until the tuberculosis in her intestines was so severe that her living body smelled like a corpse as it started to decay before she was granted the comfort of death.

Christ spoke to Saint Faustina and she recorded the conversation in her Diary 1318 on 10 October 1937. In that conversation – and after she had offered to God her “body and soul, intellect and will, and all the sentiments of my heart.” – Christ told Saint Faustina, “My daughter, you have not offered Me that which is really yours…. Daughter, give Me your misery, because it is your exclusive property.”

God was exacting of Faustina. He did not deal lightly with her soul. He allowed her to offer her suffering to save many souls but in return He promised her a throne in Heaven.

In her Diary 1426 Saint Faustina said, “Christ, give me souls. Let anything You like happen to me, but give me souls in return. I want the salvation of souls. I want souls to know Your mercy. I have nothing left for myself, because I have given everything away to souls, with the result that on the day of judgment I will stand before You empty-handed, since I have given everything away to souls. Thus, You will have nothing on which to judge me, and we shall meet on that day: Love and mercy.”

Look at what she did! Saint Faustina GAVE GOD EVERYTHING – she had no children or husband and lived a cloistered life away from her family – and she even gave away her graces that she earned through her life of suffering and still God pushed her to give more…

And when I think about this, I understand the importance of this Saint… For she is a role-model to us all.

A role-model is someone to whom we can aspire. I understand role-models very well. You see, I have many myself…

You see, I love to write and because I love to write, I love the writing of the great writers – Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Yeats, Eliot, Barret-Browning, Austen, the Bronte sisters and hundreds of others.

And yet – though I have some God-given talent for writing – I am NO GREAT writer, nor shall I ever be… I shall never even come close to emulating the writing of my role-models. Even if I write all day and every day for the rest of my life, I shall simply never write as beautifully or as wonderfully as those writers.

So, what does this mean for me?

Does it mean that I should give up writing altogether because I am only a mildly-good writer and I shall never be remembered as a GREAT one?

Of course not!

Rather – it means the contrary – it means I should read the writing of my role models and learn from it, just as I learn from the lives of the Saints. And then – and perhaps most importantly – I must use their far greater example as a motivation to learn more, try harder and push further.

After all, that is the job of the Saints – to lead weak souls like mine all the way home…

And as Saint Francis Xavier said, "Be great in little things. "

For maybe then, I too could give my Beloved some comfort during those long and lonely hours of His Passion and Death…

Oh, such a thing is my dearest wish…

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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