Mary: Who She Is and Why She Matters

Who is Mary and why does she matter? Theologian and author Dr. Robert... Read more


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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Nov 23, 2016)
The question I want to answer this week is one that came to me almost by accident (that is, by Divine Providence) in a chance remark that someone made to me the other day. I was chatting on the phone with a friend in the Divine Mercy movement, and he said to me: "I can't wait until Thanksgiving. Saint Faustina gave thanks for a lot of things, but I guess she never had a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, with turkey and all the trimmings!"

Of course, in one sense my friend was right: Thanksgiving dinner is a distinctively American tradition, rooted in on our own history as a nation, and since Faustina never lived outside of Poland, that particular holiday would not have been part of her heritage.

And yet, my friend's comment left me wondering the following: If St. Faustina were to celebrate Thanksgiving with us today, what things would she be especially thankful for?

It's not hard to guess. Just take out your copy of Fr. George W. Kosicki's Thematic Concordance to the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska. (Every disciple of Divine Mercy should have one. It was previously published under the title Study Guide.) With the Concordance in hand, look up the things she was most thankful for in her own lifetime.

For example, in Diary entry 1819, she gives thanks simply for being a child of God. "Today I live, glorifying the Holy Trinity," she writes. "I thank God that He has deigned to adopt us as His children, through grace."

Like any child who knows she is loved by her parents and constantly showered with blessings and protected from grievous harm, St. Faustina delights in God's constant loving care for her. She writes:

Lord, first let me pour out my heart at Your feet in a fragrant anointing of gratitude for the many blessings which you lavish upon me; even if I wanted to, I could not count them. I only recall that there has never been a moment in my life in which I have not experienced Your protection and goodness. (Diary, 1489)

Faustina thanked our Lord for the many opportunities He gave to her to do good to others, even by her simple service as the portress at the door of the convent:

Oh, how happy I am that my superiors have given me such a task! I understand that mercy is manifold; one can do good always and everywhere and at all times. An ardent love of God sees all around itself constant opportunities to share itself through deed, word, and prayer. (Diary, 1313)

Above all, she thanked the Lord for redeeming the world, and enabling us to share in the fruits of redemption through the Eucharist:

During Mass, I thanked the Lord Jesus for having deigned to redeem us and for having given us the greatest of all gifts: namely, His love in Holy Communion, that is, His very own Self. At that moment, I was drawn into the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity, and I was immersed in the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These moments are hard to describe. (Diary, 1670).

Perhaps most surprising of all, St. Faustina even gave thanks to the Lord for the many crosses she suffered, even when she did not understand why He permitted them to happen to her or how they might play a part in His merciful plan for her life. I am filled with awe and wonder when I read Diary entry 343, and all the sufferings she gave thanks for, with complete trust in Jesus (whereas I usually grumble, or even get discouraged, when I have to suffer such things!):

Jesus, I thank you for little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans....

I thank you, Jesus, who first drank the cup of bitterness before You gave it to me, in a much milder form.... I want to drink the cup to its last drop, and not seek to know the reason why.... In You, O Lord, is all good, all is a gift of Your paternal Heart. I do not prefer consolations over bitterness or bitterness over consolations, but thank You, O Jesus, for everything!

And finally, of course, St. Faustina gave thanks to our Lord for the spread of devotion to His Divine Mercy, which is rescuing so many souls from sin and despair:

Then I entered into an intimate conversation with the Lord, thanking Him for having condescended to grant me the grace of seeing how the veneration of His unfathomable mercy is spreading. I immersed myself in a profound prayer of thanksgiving. Oh, how great is God's generosity! Blessed be the Lord, who is faithful in His promises! (Diary, 1300)

If you want to spend this Thanksgiving close to the heart of St. Faustina, here is one way to do it. In the morning, when you awaken on Thanksgiving Day, open her Diary and start your day by reading her great canticle of praise to our Creator in entry 1750. Here, she writes of all the glories and blessings He has given to us in nature: "Be adored, O our Creator and Lord. O universe, humbly glorify your God ..." Then, in the evening, perhaps for your grace over that piping hot turkey and stuffing, read her great canticle of thanksgiving in entry 1286 for all God's supernatural graces, especially those poured out upon us through the sacraments, a canticle that ends with these words:

Thank You, O Holy Trinity, for the vastness of the graces
Which You have lavished upon me unceasingly through life.
My gratitude will intensify as the eternal dawn rises,
When, for the first time, I sing to Your glory.

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. His latest book is Mary - Who She Is and Why She Matters (Marian Press).

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Patrick S - Nov 23, 2017

Thank you for reminding all of us that our blessings and our crosses are all graces from God, and knowing that all things from God are good, we should rejoice in everything we receive from him. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Joey - Nov 25, 2016

Thank you.

Nelida - Nov 24, 2016

Thank you for sharing. This is beautiful!

Chuck - Nov 24, 2016

I thank God for every child conceived today. May each child and their parents experience the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ.

Eileen Ann Mc - Nov 24, 2016

As St Faustian, I too give thanks as a child of God and the opportunity to thanks and praise God with my life for His many blessings, especially His birth, death, and resurrection and His giving us His Body & Blood in Eucharist.

Linda - Nov 24, 2016

Thank you so much, all Marians, for sharing such a grace filled, heart felt thanksgiving prayer from St. Faustina. May God shower you with abundant mercy. From that I know God is always with me helping me carry my crosses, and being thankful for each one. He dries all my tears and I'm so thankful for everything ,and everyone He puts in my life.

Paul God's gift to our family - Nov 23, 2016

St Faustina please ask Jesus to bring his Divine Mercy to my family and bring our Paul back to life on earth,we are unable to enjoy all the beautiful things God gave us without Paul,he is the soul,the center,the peacekeeper of our family,a masterpiece of a human being he his his brother Michael who suffers from Parkinson's only frien and support,I have full trust in Jesus's love I know deep in my heart God will grant us this miracle, for some reason he wanted us to go through this suffering, Paul was the first to get baptized ,then his brother Michael and then their Father Sam,God cannot be doing this to us they came to him with such love and trust, St Faustina pray for us please

Peter - Nov 23, 2016

Thank You for reminding me that our daily crosses are also a gift from our Lord. Happy Thanksgiving everyone

Theophilus - Mar 5, 2016

I praise Almighty God to have given me St. Faustina as a model and a guide to me to live in God's power.
I am 62 years of age, it is the Year of Mercy, I am begining to open my spiritual eyes to see life is worth the living only I live life as God wishes.
I earnestly ask our Blessed Mother to intercease for us and like St. Faustina to thank him and to live for him. Amen.

Replying to Jenny in Eugene - Nov 26, 2015

Jenny in Eugene - Nov 23, 2010 writes:

"I am being called to a Devotion..I'm discerning if it is this one. What has made DEVINE MERCY so instrumental in serving and in building a soul of stamina?"

My reply:

Divine Mercy is above all a prayer life, because before we can spread the devotion to others, we have to appreciate it ourselves...and Sr. Faustina did say that everyone ought to pray faithfully no matter what! :) Here's 2 of my favorite quotes of hers about that:
1. "By prayer a soul arms itself for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty. A soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it. A soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again. A sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer” (Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul, par. 146).
2. “...a soul should be faithful to prayer despite torments, dryness and temptations, because often the realization of God’s great plans depends on such prayer. If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us. Let every soul remember these words: And being in anguish, He prayed longer” (Diary, 872).
I think the Divine Mercy devotion can be lived out by people with any level of stamina, because God's grace can reach everyone, and the more one exercises their spirit, the more spiritual stamina gains strength in the soul.
The distinctive marks of the Divine Mercy devotion are so all-encompassing that they form a kind of spirituality... does this appeal to you? :)

"~Coming to know the mystery of Divine Mercy and its contemplation in everyday life,
~The attitude of trusting in God and
showing Mercy toward neighbor,
~Love for the Church and the charism of shedding Light on the Mystery of Divine Mercy,
~Love for the Eucharist,
~Devotion to Our Lady of Mercy."
(as described by the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy)

Arlene Bolia - Nov 24, 2015

Keep the discussions going. I loved them. I only get emails once a week but I read some of them and they are uplifting. AB

Elisa - Nov 24, 2015

What a blessing I have to have been to the shrine and received the blessing of Divine Mercy. I am grateful for my struggles and offer them for Divine Mercy!

John - Nov 24, 2015

What a wonderful way to begin Thanksgiving. God Bless Marian Fathers and all who seek Divine Mercy.

Zoila - Dec 22, 2014

Thanks for this beautiful prayer. It is really inspirited to any one.

SCHOLARSTICA - Dec 3, 2014


sandy - Nov 25, 2014

I came to know St Faustina a few years ago and started reading her diary this year. She suffered and never complained, when i think of her suffering with such faith, I feel so humble. Thank you St Faustina for your presence in my life. Amen

Patty - Nov 22, 2012

This is a lovely reminder of our greatest gift and how to continue to try to open up to this Truth with gratitude. I am thankful to have received this and thank you for sending it Francia. Happy Thanksgiving. Peace

Walter - Nov 21, 2012

Thank you for reminding me of St. Faustina's messages of thanksgiving. Her diary has been a huge inspiration to me. I will re-read the diary segments that you suggest for this Thanksgiving Day.

REC - Nov 20, 2012

Father I give you thanks and praise in all circumstances; thank you for giving us St. Faustina in this day and age:thanks to her interession a loved one has been safely delivered, from illness and returned to her family;
thank you St. Faustina for drawing us closer to God through the Divine Mercy Chaplet; thank you for teaching us how blessed we are to be able to thank God
for His presence among us; to be thankful for His help as we each take up our cross and try to follow Him; thank you for teaching us that every good thought, word or deed is pleasing to Him; thank you for being a role model to emulate, as we seek to know Him, love Him and serve Him. both in this world and the next. Amen

John - Nov 21, 2011

Wow! What devotion!!! I pray that I may find the peace St. Faustina had even in times of suffering. God is gracious and merciful and his blessings are everlasting. May God bless St. Faustina and all our Saints who constantly intercede for us. May God have mercy on us and grant us peace, especially those in need. Amen

diane - Nov 19, 2011

thank You for the wonderful email i have read st faustinas book many times and it always amazes me as to how close i feel to Jesus when i do i will read the passages you suggest on thanksgiving thank you and have a happy and blessed thanksgiving

Prof. Barbara - Nov 19, 2011

St. Faustina has poured forth great blessings upon all of us which she has received from God's beloved son, Jesus. Jesus does share with His beloved souls love, peace, mercy, compassion, patience, kindness, respect. When we see children of God who are in need, we can share this with them, also. Thank you for sharing these WONDERFUL words of ST. Faustina with us. They have fallen into my heart. AMEN xoxoxoxo

Stephanie - Nov 19, 2011

Just beautiful and I thank the Lod Jesus for sending us St. Faustina whom I so much love and pray to and who has responded to my prayers. I am most grateful for St. Fautstina and our Lord Jesus Christ.

LORIE C - Nov 19, 2011

Thanks so much for the gift of life, gift of prayer, and gift of friendship. Thanks for all the graces and blessings that God has given be a small or big it's a gift of wisdom from God. thanks for the gift of unemployment that every moment of my life God's words always echo in my mind and heart. St Faustina, the Divine Mercy Saint, am always requesting your great intercession for the gift of employment so I may be alive in all these hassle of life, and I always live it to God, and Thy will be done.

Mercedes - Nov 19, 2011

I've several of those "little crosses" to bear at the moment and I know two big ones were already removed from me in response to my prayers. I have His Grace working in my life although as Dr Stackpole says, some times we grouse & just don't see it. But it IS there with you always!

Sandra Bentivoglio - Nov 25, 2010

Blessed St. Faustina's Diary has been such a help in my life. I went and visted her Shrine in Stockbridge Massachuuttes. I recently was confirmed and took her name as my confimation name. Blessed be the person who finds trust in her. She will NEVER FAIL YOU! Amen....

Nancy - Nov 24, 2010

This is lovely; just right. I'd been putting off reading this - too busy - but so glad I finally opened it. Our son Dan is going through multiple miseries, out of the church, etc. and am thinking of forwarding to him. Would appreciate prayers on behalf of Dan and Allyson and family. Many thanks to God through St. Faustina and you all.

Jenny in Eugene - Nov 23, 2010

I am being called to a Devotion..I'm discerning if it is this one. What has made DEVINE MERCY so instrumental in serving and in building a soul of stamina?

Jean - Nov 23, 2010

Thank you for your reminders of Saint Faustina. I have read the diary several times but am amazed at what information it has within it for our daily lives.

Marcy - Nov 22, 2010

Thank You for reminding me of the great love St. Faustina had for Our Lord and her Thansgiving for the hardships she endured.
May we all be blessed and thankful for what we have everyday not only on Thanksgiving Day.

Joy - Nov 21, 2010

thank you for emailing me the beautiful prayer of St Faustina , I am grateful to the Marians

Janice - Nov. 21, 2010 - Nov 21, 2010

We as Catholics are so fortunate to have St. Faustina as a role model. She consistently thanked the Lord for everyone and everything around her. In my life, like St. Faustina, let me stress the positive and be grateful, Lord, for all I have.

Jenny - Nov 21, 2010

BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thank You for bringing
to my prayer Life a Greater Intimacy
of our Lord's Mercy and many Blessings.
May we all be enriched by St. Faustina's
prayers of Gratitude to our Loving Lord.