Just another Wednesday posting
for Saint Maria Faustina KoWalska (what else,)
with a brief reflection on the Divine Mercy of God,
which comes directly to you from a recent reflection by…
The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, one of whose foundresses was Saint Sr. Faustina Kowalska herself!
The word trust in the school of St. Faustina’s spirituality signifies the attitude of man towards God. In the signature of the image, which Jesus ordered her to paint, are the words: Jesus, I trust in You!
Trust is the first response of man to knowing and experiencing the attentive merciful love of God. This word has unusually rich contents because it signifies not only faith in the existence of God, in His omnipotence, in the truths revealed through Him, but it also denotes an all-embracing attitude of man towards God, which expresses the fulfillment of God’s will contained in the commandments, in the duties of our state of life, as well as in the recognised inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
In the writings of Sister Faustina, trust is identical with the biblical conception of faith and so it means entrustment of our own life to God as the best Father who does not desire anything other than man’s temporal and eternal happiness.
God’s will – as Sister Faustina often used to say – is for us mercy itself. It is the fulfillment of God’s will that is a concrete measure of trust towards God. The Lord Jesus said to Sister Faustina, The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive. Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts (Diary 1578).
The current climate of our world certainly does not encourage the concept of trusting one another.
And perhaps there is some noble merit to this.
However, I find great peace in knowing my God is The One I can always trust. Who will point me in the way I am to go. I may not always understand His way(s) or His call to me, but I have discovered (sometimes painfully,) His will is far better than my desire.
Recently, I began following a relatively new blogger Life as Leah Knows and she gives a beautiful witness to this very lesson of relational trust in God. She may not have intended to speak to this exact point; however, her conversion story is a beautiful unfolding of what St. Faustina dictated in her Diary, “the more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.”
Two of the most common messages I get from my followers are from young Catholic women who are dating/engaged/soon-to-be engaged to a non-Catholic Christian guy OR from single Catholic women who want to know my opinion on if a Protestant/Catholic relationship can work. The messages generally go something like this (this is a general hybrid of many messages):
“Hi Leah! I wanted to reach out because I am a Catholic and my boyfriend is a Protestant. We have been together for some time and we are getting close to seriously talking about marriage. We love each other very much and he definitely loves the Lord, however, as we start getting more serious, I am starting to get worried. I want to be able to stand firm in my faith and get him to see beauty of the Church but I am struggling. I know you came from a Protestant background and didn’t know if you had any advice?”
“Hey Leah. So I know when you and your husband were dating, you were a Protestant and he was Catholic. I am single and as I look for my future spouse, I wanted to know your honest thoughts on if a Catholic/Protestant faith relationship can work?”
I have debated for months whether or not to address this topic. You have probably already figured this out but I am always hesitant to speak about controversial topics online. Just because this is a personal blog and not CNN, doesn’t mean I don’t take what I post out in cyberspace seriously. You never know who is reading. Therefore, I feel a real sense of responsibility to handle potentially controversial topics ONLY when necessary and with careful consideration. I decided to write this post because frankly, I keep receiving these messages from some awesome women. I wanted to be able to express my feelings on this topic more thoroughly, completely, and thoughtfully than I have previously been able to through Instagram messages (for those who I have had conversations with, you know I tried to write you a novel! Lol.). There is so much to say. There is not a simple answer, nor is this a simple topic. I don’t have a quick list of advice. It isn’t an easy, “Yes, it can work no problem,” or a, “No, it can never work.” I am not a relationship expert and I can only share from my own experience but I will do my best.
Leah’s response, below, to these questions were answered honestly and to me are a beautiful lived-out lesson in the type of trust the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy are speaking about. Leah trusted that God was calling her into a re(new)ed relationship with Him…..
I can’t assume everyone here knows my past and regularly follows my blog so let me give a little context (I will be brief). Very long story made very short… I am a Catholic convert. I am a former Catholic-bashing nondenominational Protestant who converted to Catholicism Easter of 2016. I started dating my husband (aka Andy), a cradle Catholic, in 2012. I never had a single intention of becoming Catholic and Andy knew that. Andy never had a single intention of becoming Protestant and I knew that. He went to mass every Sunday (sometimes I would go with him) and I would go to my church service some Sundays (more likely, I attended online). In 2015, we got engaged. Nothing had changed. I would never be Catholic and he would never be Protestant. We were prepared for a mixed-faith household (although I would have NEVER called it that) and we went through our pre-marital counseling with that understanding. The very end of 2015, *insert a really long explanation and way more context that this blog post doesn’t have time for* I decided to go to RCIA. In 2016, a couple of months prior to getting married, *insert another very long explanation with a lifetime of context* I came into full communion with the Catholic church. No one was more shocked than my husband!
There is SO MUCH MORE to Leah’s story and the answer to her questions, which I highly encourage you to read in its entirety by clicking on the attached link: “My boyfriend isn’t Catholic, but I am.”
But I want to focus on one small part of the answer Leah offered to her readers, which was the second reason she gave…
Okay, now that you have an idea where I am speaking from, let’s start with this difficult topic.
- The second thing I would say is don’t waiver in your faith. Seriously, please don’t. Stand firm. If they ask you questions you don’t know the answer to, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. I PROMISE you there is one. One of the most incredible things that my husband did for me was not anything he said. He isn’t overtly passionate about apologetics or theology (I got those answers from others). It was how relentlessly and lovingly Catholic he was. That man would not miss a Mass for ANYTHING and not because he felt obligated to go with his parents or his family (he lived alone, hundreds of miles away from them), but because he felt so strongly about it. Rain, shine, sick, tired, that man was RELENTLESS in going to Mass. I will never forget when we would have long road trips together, I would always fall asleep in the car (still do). One time in particular, I remember waking up and I saw him praying a rosary (at the time I didn’t know what that weird thumb thing was). Apparently, he did it all the time when I fell asleep. He wouldn’t tell me about it. He wouldn’t go on and on about how amazing Mass was or how great his rosary was. He just did it (and trust me, I noticed).
Without saying a word, and through his actions only, Leah could see and slowly began to trust in the relationship she was witnessing her husband share with God.
God poured His grace and mercy into her, as she too nurtured her own belief – Jesus, I trust in you.
I am so grateful to Leah for sharing her conversion story and I keep going back to what St. Faustina often said, “God’s will is for us mercy itself. It is the fulfillment of God’s will that is a concrete measure of trust towards God.”
All of which has since left me to answer a few questions for myself…
Am I fulfilling God’s will?
Do I do show that to others?
Do I nurture a trust in God through my own life lived-out?
hugs n’ blessings to all the saints who are and to all who are encouraging future saints, as well!