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Yes, Even She

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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).

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Rose J - Sep 6, 2013

Our blessed Mother will always listen to us, her children, especially when we need her protection. in the midst of strong temptations. When things look helpless trust Mary to be you best resort and intercessor to our almighty God through her Son, Jesus Christ. Be eternally grateful for this!

Michael - Jul 17, 2013

I have come to know that this is not anything to be shocked about, some of the greatest Saints were not only tempted in this way but St. Augustine was a womanizer and so was St. Ignatius before their conversions. Jesus wants to save the most wretched sinners! The Divine Mercy is for the greatest sinners to achieve the Mercy of God who otherwise had no clue and no chance. To say this is surprising is to misunderstand the message of Divine Mercy, which is, Pray for Mercy for yourself and others (the whole world), do kind acts of Mercy for others and have kind words of mercy for others even when you know they are taking advantage of you. Just like Christ did for us all. Do you know of those who are trapped and hardened in sin? These are the ones to pray for (if nothing else). If they get you irritated due to their arrogance? This is Gods way of telling you who to pray for :)

Rick Scocozza - Jun 5, 2013

Great article on St. Faustina. It's hard to imagine someone as holy as her struggling with physical temptations too.

Jay - Jun 1, 2013

Great Article. It should help many souls. Thank You