Part 2: Trust in God's Mercy

trust-gods-mercy-pope-francisWe live in an age of lack of trust in God. People today rely only on themselves and their own feelings, allowing these feelings to control their actions and decisions. So if it feels good, it must be good. But if I feel like robbing a bank or committing adultery, is that good? Of course not. Jesus on the other hand is not interested in our feelings. Feelings change according to the mood of the moment and as such they always deceive us. He is only interested in our will and he expects our will to over-ride our feelings, and to be the very engine and the only engine which drives our actions.

Through St. Faustina, Jesus laments our lack of trust in his infinite mercy. He says, “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at my insides.....despite my inexhaustible love for them they do not trust me. Even my death is not enough for them. Woe to the soul that abuses these gifts”. He then says, “The distrust of a chosen soul causes me even greater pain.” By a chosen soul, he is referring particularly to priests, deacons and religious sisters. He expects their trust in him to be without reservations of any kind. However, all of you here are also chosen souls. You have been chosen by God to be his special children, sons and daughters and heirs to the Kingdom. So God greatly desires your trust in him, and our failure to trust in him causes him untold pain. As Jesus says, “It is tearing at my insides”.

Do I want to cause my Savior pain? If the answer is no, then I must set about trusting him in all things. Jesus says, “I desire that priests proclaim the great mercy of mine towards souls of sinners. Let the sinner not be afraid to approach me. The flames of mercy are burning me, clamoring to be spent. I want to pour them out upon these souls.” Oh how much Jesus must love us for him to be burning with desire to save us from ourselves. He says, “My heart overflows with great mercy for souls and especially for sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and it is for them that the blood and water flowed from my heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. I desire to bestow my graces upon souls but they do not want to accept them. Oh how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love. My heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything but they have no time to come to me for graces.” Is that true of me? That I have time for every unimportant thing in my life, but give none of my time to my Lord. Is watching sports or staring at the afternoon soaps more important to me than my rosary? Do I fill my day and my head with noise? The radio is blaring at me 24 hours a day and so my brain is filled with silly and often sinful lyrics of songs. So I spend no time at all in silence and meditation and prayer. My poor brain becomes saturated with endless noise. No time for God.

Jesus-Divine-MercyOh how much pain we cause to such a God of love. How hurt he is by our lack of trust and our indifference. How in the face of so much pain in the heart of Jesus, can we go on wounding him and ignoring him and turning our backs on his grace. How can we not allow the blood and water which gushed forth from his pierced heart to pour over us and bathe us and immerse us and cleanse us of our sinfulness. My dear people, if another human being loves you with all his or her heart, do you not rejoice in it? Do you not treat that person with tenderness and respect and do you not make every effort to return love for love? Well, why do we not give all of our love to Jesus who died out of love for us and who longs to be loved in return?

He says, “Most dear to me is the soul that strongly believes in my goodness and has complete trust in me.” Trust in God therefore is an indispensable prerequisite if we are ever to enter into Heaven. As Jesus again says, “How much I am hurt by a soul’s distrust. Such a soul professes that I am holy and just but does not believe that I am mercy and does not trust in my goodness. Even the devils glorify my justice but do not believe in my goodness. My heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.” So if Jesus rejoices in pouring out his mercy, should we not in turn rejoice in receiving it?

f867073a249065a55471f91d3fc1456bIn his locutions to St. Faustina he again talks about the marvelous graces he wants to freely give to us. He says, “Take these graces not only for yourself but also for others. Encourage souls to trust in my infinite mercy. Oh how I love those souls who have complete confidence in me. I will do everything for them.” What more can Jesus do or say to convince us that he is totally trustworthy? So what is it that prevents us from completely trusting in Our Lord? Well there are 2 major problems which many souls suffer from.

The first is our fascination with the world and its temptations. All of us suffer from this often fatal attraction to what the world offers. And so many of us can’t get enough of it....power, money, sex, alcohol, drugs — you name it. We are so easily seduced and Satan knows it so he dangles the trinkets of the world before our eyes.

The second problem we have is that if we do embrace the Lord and his grace and if we do place our trust in him, well, he will definitely want me to change and I do not want to change. I like the way I am and so I refuse to entertain the disturbing notion of what it means to walk with God. I would have to give up my sinful pleasures and that I do not wish to do. After all, my sins are not so bad. Everybody does it. So I tell myself it is no big deal and I tell myself it is too hard. I do not want to be accused of being holy. Nor do I want to make the effort to become holy. I am too busy so I don’t have time for God’s demands. Besides, I go to Mass on Sundays. Is that not enough? Well it is true that Jesus loves us just as we are but it is also true that he is not content with where we are. He wants more than that from us. He wants us to grow in holiness more and more and more, so that we will be rewarded with an even higher place in Heaven. He wants all of us not just a piece of us. And yes, that will mean renouncing the world and all of its sinful attractions. Yes, it will require effort on our part, but Heaven is so beautiful, so perfect, that it is more than worth all our energy, and the truth is that Jesus asks so little from us in order to take Heaven by storm.

So how do we go about trusting in God? What can we do to deepen our commitment to our lovely Lord Jesus?

The very first thing we should do is to be faithful to the Eucharist. Jesus says, “Do not omit Holy Communion unless you know well that your fall was serious. Apart from this, no doubt must stop you from uniting yourself with me in the mystery of my love. Your minor faults will disappear in my love like a piece of straw thrown into a great furnace. Know that you grieve me much when you fail to receive me in Holy Communion.” Here Jesus is giving us the golden key to our salvation. Receive him as often as possible in the Eucharist. Love him when you receive him. Love the Mass. Allow Jesus to strengthen you with his own body, blood, soul and divinity. Holy Communion gives you torrents of grace with which to grow in trust. Did you know that if you hear Mass twice in one day, you can receive Jesus both times? What a great gift this is from the Church, and from the Holy Spirit. The second thing we can do is to stop worrying about our day to day challenges. act-of-contrition

In the Gospel of Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us 5 times not to worry or be anxious. He says, “Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin yet, I tell you, even Solomon is all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear, for the gentiles seek all of these things and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” For Jesus to tell us 5 times not to be anxious or worried about our welfare means that he was very serious indeed. He meant what he said. If we would stop worrying, but rather place all our confidence in the providence of our Heavenly Father, we would enter into a whole new world. — a world free of anxiety for our well being, a world of trust in God’s goodness and mercy. What freedom there is in such a surrender. Jesus, I give you myself. I give you my family. I give you my worldly goods. I trust in your benevolence, that you will provide and take care of me and mine. Thank you God for your love and your grace.

The third way of growing in trust is to forget yourself and to pray for other sinners. Jesus says to St. Faustina, “My daughter, look into the abyss of my mercy and give praise and glory to this mercy of mine. Do it in this way. Gather all sinners from the entire world and immerse them in the abyss of my mercy. I want to give myself to souls. I yearn for souls. On the day of my Feast, the Feast of Mercy, you will go through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of my mercy. I shall heal and strengthen them.”

So there it is. Forget self and pray for the conversion of sinners throughout the world. The world, as you know, is falling deeper and deeper into darkness. Sin is multiplying and believe it or not, Jesus desperately needs your prayers of intercession for sinners in order to save as many souls as possible. Yes, your prayers are that powerful and the upshot of such selfless prayer for your brothers and sisters, is that you will automatically grow in a more profound trust in God. Jesus will be delighted at your generosity and trust. In fact, he promises St. Faustina this, “My daughter, I assure you of a permanent income on which you will live. Your duty will be to trust completely in my goodness, and my duty will be to give you all you need. I am making myself dependent upon your trust. If your trust is great, then my generosity will be without limit.”

How can we refuse such an offer? These words apply to you and me as much as to St. Faustina. What more can Jesus offer me than his promise that he is making himself dependent upon my trust in him? O the humility of God. A mere creature like me can call down God’s generosity and all I have to do is trust him. Then I too, like St. Faustina, can enjoy an income from God and that income is his abundant grace. That my dear friends is better than money in the bank.

The fourth way to grow in trust is very, very important. I must offer mercy to others. Not only do I want God’s mercy for myself, but I cannot have God’s mercy unless I also show mercy to my brothers and sisters. If someone has insulted me, betrayed me, gossiped about me, lied about me or in any way has subjected me to an injustice I must display my trust in God by offering mercy to the one who sinned against me. I am obliged not only to forgive, but I should also reach out and help that person in whatever way he or she needs help. In other words, I am called by God to love my enemy. If only I could be that generous, not only would I trust God with all my heart, but I would be the happy recipient of God’s limitless generosity. That is a very good bargain indeed.

I have a true story to tell you and it concerns a man I studied with at Wadham’s Hall Seminary in New York. He is now a Permanent Deacon like myself and his name is Marcel. When Marcel was a little boy, he was notorious in his family for being late for his dinner. This was upsetting to his mother who had lovingly cooked the meal for him and his father.RosaryPic Well it got so frequent that his father finally warned him. “The next time you are late for supper you will not enjoy the food your mother has prepared. You will only have plain bread and water.” Marcel understood and agreed and off he went to play. Well, wouldn’t you know it, he again got so absorbed in his games that he forgot the time. So again he turned up late for his meal. To his horror, there were mom and dad sitting at the table and they were having Marcel’s favorite food. But in Marcel’s place, there was a glass of water and a plate with an unappetizing slice of plain bread upon it. Marcel knew that he could not complain so he silently sat down to his punishment meal. He looked down for a while at the bread and water, knowing he had no right to complain. After all, dad had warned him. Suddenly he saw dad’s big hands come across, take away the bread and water and replace it with his own plate of savory food. Marcel was puzzled and he looked up into his dad’s face. Dad quietly said, “Marcel, I will take your punishment for you.”

That wonderful father was showing his son an act of mercy. He remitted the punishment due in all justice to Marcel but instead took the punishment upon himself. My dear brothers and sisters is that not what Jesus did for us? He personally took on all the punishment that we are due for our sins against Almighty God and he went to a dreadful death on the cross. Marcel learned a powerful lesson that day and he rejoices to tell the story over and over again. Well, can we not also learn a powerful lesson from the sacrifice of Jesus and tell the story of the passion of Our Lord over and over again? We deserve death. Jesus died for us instead. Just like Marcel, we deserve justice and not mercy, but Jesus took on our punishment and offered us mercy instead. Jesus gazed from the cross and extended his mercy to all of us. How can we not trust in so beautiful a God? Marcel has come to trust in his earthly father, because of his act of mercy. Can we not likewise come to trust Our Heavenly Father who sent his Son to take on our punishment?

The 5th way to more deeply trust in God is to decide to trust him in all things. Trust in God is actually a decision and you and I can make that decision right now, this very minute. Trust is not a feeling so do not expect to feel anything when you make your decision. Yes. As of this moment on this day, I choose to trust God in all things. Whatever God sees fit to send me I accept it with humility and gratitude. Not, why me God? Or why have you allowed this to happen to me? I do not know what is to happen to me this day whether good things or bad, whether I will be in joy or sorrow, consolation or grief. No matter what, I accept your will O God because you love me and your plan for me as the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Is peace and not disaster.” Your Divine allotment for my life is for my good, especially for my ultimate good which is my salvation. My earthly life is meaningless and of no use at all if I do not place my whole trust in you.

So there are 5 ways to increase your trust in God:

1. The Holy Eucharist

2. Stop worrying and feeling anxious about your welfare.

3. Forget self and pray generously for sinners.

4. Show mercy to all others.

5. Make a strong decision to trust God in all things.

 

In conclusion, I again quote Jesus’ words to St. Faustina, “I promise a great grace to those who will proclaim my great mercy. I shall protect them myself at the hour of death as my own glory. And even if the sins of souls were as dark as night, when the sinner turns to my mercy he gives me the greatest praise and is the glory of my passion. When a soul extols my goodness, Satan trembles before it and flees to the very bottom of hell.”

There we have it. If I trust Jesus, if I extol and proclaim his wonderful mercy, Jesus himself will protect me at the hour of my death. I want to die in the arms of my Lord Jesus and he has given you and me the infallible plan by which to realize it.

May Jesus be praised and extolled for his infinite mercy. Jesu ufam tobie. Jesus I trust in you.

Amen.

 


Given at St. Hedwig’s Lent Mission on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016

Part 1: Divine Mercy | Part 2: Trust in God's Mercy | Part 3: God's Supreme Act of Mercy - The Passion

Deacon Dr. Bob McDonald is a Catholic pysician and psychotherapist who resides with his wife Rita in Barry's Bay. Ontario, Canada.
Some of his talks can be found as audio CD's at | https://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/speaker/deacon-dr-bob-mcdonald

 


 

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