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Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Came Home to Divine Mercy


Divine Mercy is part of my conversion story - a part that wasn't told in that series of posts.

When I was living in the darkness of my sin, working nights, and basically, embracing the total darkness that was my life, a co-worker gave me some books to read while at my post at night: The Left Behind series.

I was seeking God at the time, sensing my separation, sensing his call, but I was at a loss as to what to do. I remember thinking that maybe I should find a priest, make an appointment, and pose my questions to him. But who? What church? Weren't priests too busy to deal with the likes of me? And if I DID find a priest, I was quite certain he would tell me I needed to go to Confession, and I didn't want to and would be at a loss to explain why. I feared being pressured into something I didn't want to do, so I ran from the idea.

And because I had nowhere to go, I went nowhere...or so I thought.

One Christmas, Mom had given my brother and I a CD with the Divine Mercy prayer on it, along with a pamphlet explaining the devotion and how to pray the chaplet. I remember finding the CD and the pamphlet, and I read it over suspiciously, thinking it was too easy. It also said I had to go to Confession...so at first, I tossed it aside. Something told me not to throw it away, though, so I added it to my collection of eclectic things that didn't otherwise have a place in my home and my life.

But as I was reading the "Left Behind" books, I found that I was offended by the outright anti-Catholicism expressed within the pages, including the idea that the Pope became the right-hand man of the Antichrist. I couldn't explain why I was so offended, but it was like someone was attacking my Mother. Attack me all you want...but do NOT mess with my Mother!

I was conflicted, but somehow, these books drew me into an understanding that I had been rejecting God, and I had to make my peace with Him...and that move was mine. I didn't believe in the Rapture, but it did come to me that if God wanted to wipe me off the face of the earth, he would do it. If he wanted to cause the earth to erupt into earthquakes and raining fire, he could do it.

And always, I had the presence of the crucifix on the wall of my livingroom - because it wasn't home without that. Thank you, Mom.

So through all this introspection, I went back to Divine Mercy, not really believing the promises to St. Faustina, but I really wanted to. I needed to believe, and I needed mercy.

But I could not leave the life I was living behind me. I could not, in good conscience, come to Jesus begging for his mercy without a true desire to change. Somehow I understood this, so I put the pamphlet down again.

Then finally, I picked it up, and I found a rosary buried in a box somewhere, and I prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I apologized to Jesus that I could not go to Confession, but I begged for Mercy just the same.

I think I might have prayed it a few other times, and then put it away again.

I credit Divine Mercy for bringing me home, for it was shortly after these prayers that my struggle to return to Confession began in earnest. I began going to Mass somewhat regularly, almost always receiving communion, but still feeling like an outsider. I always sat in the back of the church, not wanting to approach the Holy of Holies, as though Jesus didn't know I was there!

And he drew me on, even as I ran away...His Mercy continued to endure. I so desired mercy, but I was terrified to approach. I could not trust. My life had beaten all forms of trust out of me, such that I could not even trust God.

Jesus never gave up on me, and he doused me with those rays of Mercy until finally, finally, I came home. In my conversion story I explained some of that experience, the agony and ecstasy of it, but I don't think mere words can possibly convey the reality of this incredible experience of Divine Mercy.

When I bought my townhome, I had bare walls, so I requested art for Christmas and birthday gifts. Specifically religious art. I can't remember if I requested Divine Mercy specifically or whether the Lord put it on her heart, but my Mom gave me a Divine Mercy image which I had blessed on Divine Mercy Sunday a couple years ago. It now hangs on my livingroom wall next to a very realistic crucified Jesus, and I find that I cannot venerate one without the other, for they are one in the same.

I have another picture that combines the Sacred Heart of Jesus (another image I grew up with) and the rays of Divine Mercy. No one can enter my home without seeing these things.

Thanks be to God, the Divine Mercy of Jesus brought me home and to this day envelopes me in all my sinfulness, all my imperfections, and brings me to him with all his Divine Love.

If you are struggling with your faith, if you have been away for a long time, just pray this chaplet...you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

For those interested, my Conversion story can be found here. Warning: many links!

10 comments:

Ray from MN said...

Thanks for sharing that, Adoro. First Terry, then you. I think I shall share my Divine Mercy conversion also, because I Trust in Jesus.

And that's the only way that I will be saved.

paramedicgirl said...

Beautiful story, Adore. I love the Divine Mercy, and always pray the chaplet for my patients who are in danger of death. I remember once, last November, we had an overturned PU truck with a man trapped under the roof. It was a 90 minute extrication. I had no access to his upper body, and couldn't even get him an 02 mask. All I could do was palpate his pedal pulses and talk to him to make sure he was still with us. I prayed the chaplet of Divine mercy (in my mind) for him over and over. When we finally got him out, all he had was a fractured humerous. (upper arm). Turns out he was a druggie, and I'm sure that he really needed those prayers.

Angela Messenger said...

What are we supposed to be meditating on while praying the DM? This is a big devotion in my parish but I have always stuck to the Rosary.

Can someone go more in depth - I want to be part of this too!(Mercy is almost incomprehensible to me, maybe that's why I shy away from this devotion.)

Adoro te Devote said...

Angela ~ I would encourage you to read the Diary of St. Faustina, so you can get the whole story. Just keep in mind that Divine Mercy is not a new concept. The feast day of Divine Mercy is new, instituted by Pope John Paul II in 2002 when he canonized St. Faustina.

Here's an excerpt (which I kuiped from Terry's blog):


Our Lord’s words to St. Faustina

I desire, Jesus promised, to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be confirmed in good. Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with My divine peace at the hour of death.

Trust is not only the essence or soul of this devotion, but also the condition for obtaining graces.

The graces of mercy, Jesus told Sister Faustina, 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. The soul which will trust in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it. No soul that has called upon My Mercy has been disappointed or brought to shame. I delight particularly in a soul which has placed its trust in My goodness.

Sanctus Belle said...

I meditate on our Lord's passion during the chaplet of DM - similarly to the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. Although sometimes I offer an intention for the chaplet, say Mercy for the suffering souls in purgatory. Then with each decade of the chaplet, I visualize mentally God's mercy pouring down on the souls suffering the worst, the longest, those who are nearest to release, etc. Or if the intention is for the dying, first decade for those dying this hour of heart disease, next decade is offered for those dying of cancer, dying accidentally, Catholic dying without the sacraments...etc. Just offering my humble practices.

Angela Messenger said...

Sanctus and Adoro - very helpful! Thank you!

Adoro - the Feast was institued in 2002 - how interesting as that was the year I announced I was done with the Church forever (approx April of that year) and returned to Her (Dec. 1, 2002 - first Sunday of Advent)

I didn't know the devotion existed until 2003 though but maybe I am one of many that benefitted from all the prayers!!!

Angela Messenger said...

I find a different date for the institution of the feast - AD 2000.

Adoro te Devote said...

Angela ~ I've been wrong before. I suspect it'll happen again. But in any case, the institution of the feast should be on the same day as St. Faustina's canonization, set as the 2 nd Sunday of Easter.

Anyway, I see I got Rapture spammed.

DELETE!

If anyone followed that link before I deleted it...please pray Divine Mercy for that misguided and possibly mentally ill soul.

Just add the Rapture Spammer to your permanent prayers, actually.

Melody said...

I try to pray the Chaplet every day. I find that it is a really good way to pray if you are tired or stressed; because you don't really have to think of anything in particular. I just let God lead me to what He wants me to meditate on. I offer each decade for a person or special intention. I love St. Faustina's Diary. She gives us glimpses of what heaven must be like, because she was given mystical experiences of union with God.
I liked what our priest said in his homily yesterday; that the prayer "Jesus, I trust in You" can be a prayer of petition, because we aren't as perfect in trust as we want to be.

Adoro te Devote said...

Melody, that's a great observation, and I've done the same thing.

I usually consider what I'm offering the chaplet for...is it for me...I often pray it as I stand in line for Confession. If I pray it for a certain person, I try to "say" their name at every bead. I have at times meditated upon the Passion and the deep mercy of Jesus, esp. since I've come to a greater theological understanding of what he was doing.

I love this chaplet...it's shorter than the rosary, so powerful, and really, it's other-centered, takes us out of ourselves and by its nature encourages us to pray for others.

Because of the message of Divine Mercy, if I offer it for myself, I feel guilty...because it seems to me that it must always be offered on behalf of another, someone perhaps in greater need than myself.

And that also draws me deeper into the mystery of of this devotion because, as much as I need mercy, I'm not likely in more need than, say the gunman today in Virginia. I have never gotten out a gun and shot someone...or several someones. This man is in deeper need of mercy than I am, even in all my sinfulness. Thus, I am already the recipient of mercy. Let me be clear; I am not without mortal sin and maybe I've damaged other souls almost beyond repair spiritually through my actions of the past...and after all, that's worse than a physical killing. But I'm better now...because of God's mercy.

And so I have received mercy, I can understand it more, and the need we all have for the reception of mercy.

I know it's hard, but let us all offer our next chaplets for the gunman at today's tragedy. Out of all the deaths there, his is the most tragic and in need of mercy by his final acts in life..and we must also pray for all those who were killed, and for their families.

Let us use this huge tragedy to bring mercy to each individual affected through this chaplet. Such action is fully conformed to God's will, for if it was not, he would not have offered us the chapel. And remember...God stands outside of time, so our prayers offered now are applied in the time period needed.

Let's save souls through our prayers, by adopting these brothers and sisters, including the murderer.