Proof of How the Diary Stacks Up Against Scripture
In time for Lent, Marian Press has released Mercy's Gaze: 100 Readings from Scripture and the Diary of St. Faustina, by Vinny Flynn. We speak with the book's editor, David Came, about this landmark publication.
What makes Mercy's Gaze unique among Marian Press titles that are based on the Diary of St. Faustina?
This book breaks new ground in making the case that the Diary of St. Faustina as private revelation stacks up well against the yardstick of the inspired Word of God in Sacred Scripture.
The author, Vinny Flynn, has gone far beyond producing another thematic treasury of passages from the Diary. Guided by his deep knowledge of Divine Mercy, Vinny selected the best parallel passages from Scripture and the Diary in developing key mercy themes, as well as themes common to the Christian life that figured prominently in St. Faustina's spirituality. The result is not only powerful, even profound, passages for prayer and reflection on God's mercy, but confirmation of the Diary's consistency and harmony with Scripture. Set alongside Scripture, St. Faustina's revelations are better appreciated as a striking Gospel of Mercy intended for our time.
Further, just as all of Scripture ultimately points to Jesus Christ as its fulfillment, so Vinny frames all of his readings with a call for the reader to gaze upon and return the gaze of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus — as depicted in the Divine Mercy Image that was revealed to St. Faustina. The goal of such double or mutual gazing, as the author puts it, is our transformation into living images of mercy.
What special background did Vinny Flynn bring to this project?
Vinny has made many important contributions to promoting the Divine Mercy message and devotion, especially as a writer and an editor. These contributions included helping the Marian Fathers edit the English edition of the Diary of St. Faustina, as well as co-authoring two masterworks on Divine Mercy that have been in print for many years and have appeared in various Marian Press editions: The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion and Now Is the Time for Mercy.
Vinny also served for seven years as editor of The Association of Marian Helpers BULLETIN (now Marian Helper magazine). This magazine is one of the primary publications in the world that covers the Divine Mercy movement in the life of the Church.
Can you tell us about your longtime friendship with Vinny, as well as your contributions to Mercy's Gaze?
Well, I consider Vinny a mentor and a colleague in my work for the Marians as an editor and a writer. He also used to be my boss here at the Marian Helpers Center. In fact, Vinny hired me nearly 19 years ago, and I've now served for many years as the executive editor of Marian Helper magazine — the same magazine Vinny used to edit. I'm also the executive editor of Marian Press.
As to my contributions to Mercy's Gaze, they included more than serving as the book's editor. I was overjoyed when Vinny asked me to write a foreword for the book. He also asked me to write the short reflections that appear at the start of each new theme. Making these contributions to Vinny's new book was a labor of love for a good friend.
As the editor of Mercy's Gaze, what advice can you give on using it for daily prayer and reflection?
Ideally, Mercy's Gaze is intended for daily prayer and reflection, using one reading each day over the course of 100 days.
Begin and end each time of daily prayer and reflection by gazing upon the crucified and risen Lord Jesus in the Divine Mercy Image, which is provided inside the book. Follow Vinny's advice on double gazing: Gaze upon Jesus and receive His gaze. Ask Jesus to transform you into a living image of mercy.
After you have read the passages for the day prayerfully and slowly, give yourself enough time to ponder their meaning for your life. Perhaps a word or phrase in one of the passages seems intended for you. Maybe the Lord is helping you understand an aspect of His mercy in a deeper way. Stay with it.
Head knowledge alone isn't enough. Ask Our Lady to help you move from your head to your heart in seeking to understand and apply God's Word. Saint Luke tells us that Mary pondered and reflected in her heart as God acted in her life (see Lk 2:19; 2:51).
If you are familiar with lectio divina (Latin for divine reading) and have enough time for it, it would be an ideal way to use this book. Lectio divina is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation, and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase your knowledge of God's Word. It doesn't treat Scripture as simply texts to be studied but as the living Word.
While using Mercy's Gaze, you can also create a prayer journal. When you come to the end of the readings for a particular theme, record your thoughts and reflections on the blank pages marked "My Reflections on the Theme." Or record a thought or reflection on these pages every day as you follow the theme.
What's the best time of the year for using the book?
While you could start Mercy's Gaze on any day, a great time to use it would be over the 40 days of Lent and the 50 days of the Easter season. After all, both Lent and Easter are all about God's mercy shown to us in Christ. In particular, the Divine Mercy focus of the readings in Mercy's Gaze provides an excellent preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday, which is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter.
What's the key benefit you hope the reader gets from using Mercy's Gaze?
My hope is that readers of Mercy's Gaze will grow in appreciating how God's awe-inspiring revelations of His mercy come to us from the Diary and especially from Scripture as the inspired Word of God. May they come to see with fresh eyes that God's mercy is the heart of the Gospel — the message for our troubled times. What a gift Jesus has given us in this Gospel message to guide us home to the House of the Father, who is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4)!
To order Mercy's Gaze, visit shopmercy.org.