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St Faustina Kowalska
(entered heaven this day in 1938)
Would you mind my telling you what I really think about your last note? I think you’re falling for a big, fat, juicy worm on the devil’s jagged hook. A mere month into your sophomore year, with the profound missionary experience from last summer already losing its resonance (probably because you haven’t been praying, am I right?), you are beginning to doubt your vocation. So you have told God that he needs to send you a “clear and unmistakable sign” that he’s calling you to religious life. Yeah, right. He needs to send you a sign? Boloney. You need to get real. The sign has already been sent. The desire you have long felt in your heart to put your talents and your whole life and every minute of your time at the service of Christ’s Kingdom is the sign. That, my inconstant nephew, is not a “natural” desire; it’s a supernatural one. Asking for more signs is a subtle way of distancing yourself from God’s will, and that’s exactly what the devil is hoping for. I think you need to take a lesson from today’s saint.
She died when she was only 33, her body torn asunder by tuberculosis and a host of other illnesses and sufferings, in her convent in Krakow, Poland. At the time, few guessed what an extraordinary saint she was. But when her Diary was published (“Divine Mercy in My Soul”), word spread fast, and she was recognized as Christ’s specially chosen Apostle of the Divine Mercy. She entered the convent when she was 20, after an uneventful but pious childhood. For the next thirteen years she would live in four different convents of the same religious congregation, The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, and serve as cook, gardener, and doorkeeper – hardly a glamorous résumé. But in those years her intimate union with Christ deepened steadily, under the subtle action of grace, and she was granted visions, revelations, hidden stigmata, participation in the Lord’s Passion, bilocation, the ability to read souls, the gift of prophecy, and the privilege of mystical engagement and marriage. All these were directed towards helping her fulfill her threefold mission of reminding the world of God’s powerful, loving mercy, sparking a new devotion to that mercy (by means of a new Icon of Divine Mercy, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the institution of the Feast of Divine Mercy on the Sunday after Easter), and founding the Apostolic Movement of Divine Mercy – all three were successfully carried out in her brief but intense life.
And do you know what she valued more than any of her special graces? Simple, peaceful, deep communion with Jesus in prayer and in the humble, loving FULFILLMENT OF HIS WILL. Here’s how she explains it: “Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. These gifts are merely ornaments of the soul, but constitute neither its essence nor its perfection. My sanctity and perfection consist in the close union of my will with the will of God.”
And that is the lesson you need to hear. Enough about “clear and unmistakable signs”! You need to roll up your sleeves and get to work – studying, building up your Compass chapter, fulfilling your prayer commitments, being a faithful friend and family member, in short, fulfilling all the normal duties of your state in life, because that’s God’s will for you now. In doing that, God will be able to prepare you and guide you towards the next step in your vocation. In not doing that, you will be ignoring the greatest “sign” God has given – the inklings of your heart.
Your devoted uncle, Eddy