Father Donald Calloway, MIC, skillfully shares his... Read more
Photo: Marian archives
Yes, Even She
By Felix Carroll (Jul 1, 2013)
There is but one blush-worthy entry in St. Faustina's Diary, and it provides one more reason why this nun, mystic, and visionary is considered a saint for our times.
The entry has to do with lust — her own lust — and the method by which she was able to overcome attacks against the virtue (and her vow) of chastity.
The manner she used was prayer, specifically to the Most Holy Virgin Mary.
In Diary entry 40, St. Faustina discloses that it took "many years" of prayers to the Blessed Mother to end any and all temptations of the flesh. The year was 1929. During Mass, just before Communion, she and her fellow sisters were renewing their religious vows when Jesus appeared at her side, took off a "golden cincture" (a belt of purity) from around His waist and tied it around her waist. He told her:
I give you eternal love that your purity may be untarnished and as a sign that you will never be subject to temptations against purity.
Saint Faustina writes that, from that moment on, she "never experienced any attacks against this virtue (of purity), either in my heart or in my mind." She said that she later came to understand "that this was one of the greatest graces which the Most Holy Virgin Mary had obtained for me."
It's not everyday that we talk in polite company about temptations of the flesh endured by a nun — and a future saint, no less. But when Christ tells St. Faustina that she is to prepare the world for His final coming (see Diary, 429), certainly He has no intention of proceeding with caution in addressing one of mankind's most insidious struggles. That Faustina, herself, endured temptations — and then overcame them through prayer — only underscores the important role God had in store for her as His apostle of Divine Mercy. She was to serve as an example of how God works in souls who reach out to Him in their weakness.
In her book Sister Faustina Kowalska — Her life and Mission (Marian Press, 1989), Maria Tarnawska writes of St. Faustina, "Above all the requests she brought to Our Lady, one was foremost: that the Immaculate Mother would protect her from the temptations of the flesh."
Fast forward to 2013. How delighted Satan must be by the degree to which our culture has glorified emotionless, loveless, reckless, toxic sex and sexual objectification in film, television, advertising, books, the Internet, magazines, and music. How delighted he must be to watch souls succumb to the come-hither call of sexual imagery that has us surrounded.
While so many things have changed for the worse in our culture since Faustina's time, the program of prayer used by Faustina — seeking purity through the intercession of Mary — remains the same. In the battle for souls, Mary understands the stakes. Indeed, in her apparitions in Fatima, she says, "More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason."
We ignore her message to our own peril. We cannot remain chaste without Mary's intercession.
"We may win the battle on Monday, but we'll lose the battle on Tuesday," says Br. Chris Alar, MIC, a Marian seminarian who has learned from St. Faustina a great deal about the powerful intercessory role of Our Lady.
"In this natural world, with natural flesh, and natural temptations, we need supernatural graces," he says, "and Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces."
As St. Faustina's example teaches, turning from temptation won't work through willpower alone. We need Mary, whom St. Faustina describes as "a shield and protection for a weak heart" (Diary, 161).