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By Fr. George Kosicki, CSB (Apr 15, 2011)
All of the saints in heaven followed Jesus who is the Way. Yet major saints followed the way of Jesus in a unique and precious way that can be instructional for all of us. We might think of them as God's "Dream Team."
Saint John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church and great mystic, followed and taught the dark way: dark, because we walk in the darkness of faith. When the faithful follow St. John's teaching, the Lord Jesus is able to prepare His pilgrim bride for total surrender to Himself in love.
Saint Therese of Lisieux, spiritual daughter of St. John of the Cross and a Doctor of the Church, followed and taught the little way: the way of love. We are called to be love in the heart of the Church, to go to the Father as a little child.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits and great teacher of the spiritual life, lived and taught the discerning way. Through his spiritual exercises based on the Gospels, he taught us how to discern God's will, and then to follow it wholeheartedly.
In following the merciful way, as revealed by Jesus and recorded in her Diary, St. Faustina, who was canonized on April 30, 2000, built on these great saints who had gone before her. She went through her own "dark night of the soul," which is described by St. John. She was also devoted to St. Therese and her little way (see Diary, 150). Further, St. Faustina was trained in the spiritual life by Fr. Joseph Andrasz, SJ, her Jesuit confessor in Cracow, Poland, who helped the young religious discern her call. This great Apostle of Divine Mercy has taken her own place as a member of the "Dream Team"!
But what is so special about the merciful way of St. Faustina? When we follow this way, we discover the immense spiritual benefit of recognizing the great misery of our human condition and growing in greater trust in God's mercy every day. As Divine Mercy transforms the misery in our own lives, we are eager to share this good news with others in need.
At the end of the Diary, we capture a glimpse of how following the merciful way transformed the spiritual life of St. Faustina:
One day during Holy Mass, the Lord gave me a deeper knowledge of His holiness and His majesty, and at the same time I saw my own misery. This knowledge made me happy, and my soul drowned itself completely in His mercy (1801).
Now her mission in heaven with the "Dream Team" is to share the great news of Divine Mercy with souls that are in misery:
I feel certain that my mission will not come to an end upon my death, but will begin. O doubting souls, I will draw aside for you the veils of heaven to convince you of God's goodness, so that you will no longer continue to wound with your distrust the sweetest Heart of Jesus. God is Love and Mercy (281).
So, what can we do in response?
We can follow the merciful way. In our misery, we can plunge into the infinite ocean of God's mercy with complete trust in Jesus. When doubts assail us, we can pray unceasingly, "Jesus, I trust in You!" We can decide to "nestle close" to the merciful Heart of Jesus (1726).
Then, like St. Faustina, we can "tell aching mankind to snuggle close" to His merciful Heart to find peace (1074). We, too, can be an apostle of Divine Mercy, inspired by the newest member of the "Dream Team."
Father George Kosicki, CSB, is one of the best-known authors and speakers on Divine Mercy. He lives in solitude in upper Michigan with the community of Companions of the Lamb.