It is Monday of Holy Week and I am crying.
Why am I crying? Well, on Friday we will begin saying The Divine Mercy Novena as a family and I was thinking of all of the changes that have happened in our lives through this powerful novena and I just got overwhelmed.
Grace does that sometimes.
Now, you and I are living in a crazy time in 2020. We are scared. Freaked out. Our lives are in limbo with this Coronavirus.
Many of us have been ordered to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus. Going into an “essential store” such as the grocery store or hardware store, has become a bit nerve racking.
My husband Russ told me how Ace Hardware routed him into the bathroom to wash his hands with soap and water (keeping a safe distance from others) before he could even go into the store.
Walmart was counting customers as we went into the store this weekend. Many customers wore surgical masks and vinyl gloves. It felt surreal.
With all of that happening, I need grounding. I NEED it.
I believe it is THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT TIME to understand more about this novena.
Let me start with St. Faustina and her mission of mercy.
Who is St. Faustina? Well, she was born Helena Kowalska in Poland in 1905, the third of ten children; her parents were poor peasants but very religious.
Helena knew she wanted to be a nun and after many hardships, she entered the convent at age 20, where she took the name "Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament."
Jesus chose Sister Maria Faustina to be his "Secretary of Divine Mercy." What does that mean? Well, Jesus told her over and over again that He was Love and Mercy itself. He desired us to TRUST HIM with everything. He asked us to pray for others.
She wrote everything down in notebooks, which were later compiled into “The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul.”
Now, the Diary is daunting. It is 700 pages. But they are blessed pages.
(Please read more about her story at this site: The Divine Mercy.)
I love St. Faustina. I love her earnest heart. I love her zeal. I love her crazy abandonment into Divine Mercy.
But most of all, I love the messages she received because they are a gift to you and to me.
God wants to give us this message: He is not a tyrant. He is Love and Mercy. He desires to light us on fire with that mercy.
What if we are lukewarm?
What if we are full of sin?
What if we are preoccupied with self?
What if we are trying to control?
Well, first of all, that describes all of us. We all have struggles.
This weekend I opened the book, “In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart - The Journal of a Priest at Prayer” and read from the entry on Thursday, July 3, 2008:
“I renounce every impulse of mine to control the course of events, and place myself...in the wound in Thy Sacred Side...I ask Thee to purify me of the desire to please, to win approval, to solicit affection, and to manipulate the emotions of others in such a way as to feed my self-love and numb my insecurities….I ask Thee to delver me of possessiveness, vanity, fear, lust and timidity.”
When I read that, I was pierced deeply. Because I think that pretty much describes all of us at certain times during any given day, yes?
Yet. I want to be DELIVERED of all of that self-serving garbage. I desire MUCH MORE.
One of the ways that “MUCH MORE” can (and will) be delivered is through the Novena to the Divine Mercy, which begins on Good Friday and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter.
And that’s why I was crying this morning. I thought of all of the wondrous ways our family has received mercy in extremely SPECIFIC ways through this novena.
With that in mind, I’ve been spending time in reflective prayer. I know whatever I ask for during this year’s novena will most likely be granted. That’s the power of this prayer. So I have been carefully considering what and who I want to bring before the throne of grace.
This isn’t a Lori thing. This is a Jesus thing.
Jesus told St. Faustina, “I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those who trust in My mercy.” (Diary, 687.)
In 2007, my husband and I were praying the Novena of Divine Mercy, asking to be used for a greater good. We were both incredibly open to whatever and wherever Jesus would lead us, not imagining that it would lead us to parent a little four-year old.
In 2008, we needed a bigger home. We prayed our novena that year, asking to be led to a home for us. On DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY my husband looked at a seven-bedroom home in Goddard, Kansas. (We had never considered moving out of our parish boundaries.) Yet we trusted. We bought the house and enrolled in a new parish, Church of the Holy Spirit. We enrolled our children in a small school, which was exactly what our newest child needed. That church community was what Russ and I needed.
Every year we have prayed the novena. Every year there have been graces granted, some too private to mention.
One year I felt helpless because of my oldest son’s p*rnography addiction. I brought him before my Jesus in this novena. I asked for the grace that Eric would not only be free of his addiction, but that God would somehow use his struggle for good in our world. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I trusted that it would. And it has. Over the course of time, Eric broke free of his addiction. He joined me in speaking out about p*rnography, helping parents understand the pull of it. We created The Parenting Dare Proactive, a great course to help parents in this realm.
This is pretty humbling to admit, but in 2018, I realized that I was basically deathly afraid of God the Father. That revelation was not easy for me to accept.
My prayer during that year’s novena: Jesus, show me the love of God the Father.
What happened next changed my life. Forever.
(As an added bonus, my fierce focus on food management more or less ceased, which I could not even believe. I wrote a course about that experience: INSIDE OUT.)
People. If you are in need of UNIMAGINABLE GRACES, pray the Novena of Divine Mercy. It begins on Good Friday, April 10, 2020.
My encouragement for you right now:
Read about the novena.
Learn how to Pray the Divine Mercy Novena.
Think about your personal intentions.
Then prepare your family for it.
Tell them about the power of the novena.
Help them form intentions for the novena. (Jesus is not a genie. But dang, He loves to give grace through this prayer.)
If you want some more background to this novena, read our adoption story. It makes me weep every time: Divine Mercy + Our Adoption Story
If you want to know how Jesus showed me the Love of God the Father read this story: My New Conversion
I love Divine Mercy and I am incredibly grateful for the ways His Mercy has touched and converted us. However, it is not for us alone.
Jesus said this to St. Faustina:
“My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful heart, and I will fill it with peace.
“Tell all people, My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to others souls.” (Diary, 1074)
It’s time to radiate.
“I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those who trust in My mercy.”
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