Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful…
Several years ago, I was introduced to a beautiful litany found in the Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska that I now strive to read every day. What is so inspiring about her diary is that it is no ordinary diary just recounting all of her actions and events of the day, but rather it walks through her spiritual and intimate relationship with Christ. Our Lord revealed himself to her several times and unveiled the beauty and infinity of His Divine Mercy towards all men. Christ called her to share the message of Divine Mercy to the whole world and so she did through her life and her Diary. What I’d like to do is focus in on her litany of mercy which I have found to be so very applicable in my life. In striving to imitate the actions of this litany, I have seen the Lord work in my heart through the ways that I relate and converse with others. It calls upon the Lord and asks him to enter each aspect of our loves and shower His Mercy upon us so that we might extend that mercy outwards. This litany can be found on in paragraph 163 of St. Faustina’s Diary and after each statement of the litany I hope to expound a little more on its application to your own daily life. It begins:
Through this statement we are inviting the Lord to transform our hearts in the ways He sees most fit. We are surrendering who we are and our personal desires over to Him so that He can work in us and mold us. As His instruments, Christ can shine through us to others, and we should want to be a mirror of his love and mercy to everyone that we meet. We are inviting Him to fill us, all of us, heart and soul, with the highest of all heavenly attributes, Divine Mercy, so that it might flow perfectly through us to all the people in our lives so they might experience this heavenly attribute as well and be changed.
As a woman, comparison can be a real thief of joy as well as friendship and love. God loves each and every person with divine and infinite love and we are called to recognized and affirm that truth as well. The heart and the soul of every person holds their unique and infinite dignity and value, not their looks or how they dress. Pride and envy are also distorting sins that corrupt the heart, especially that of the feminine genius, by construing authentic love towards others and degrading another’s dignity. Through this statement we invite the Lord to shower our eyes with His Mercy so we can truly see what He sees in the people He loves with His whole heart. It calls us to see the beauty found deep with the souls and hearts of others and recognize it for the value it holds and makes it known. By doing this we may “come to their rescue” and help them see the value that they truly hold even when they might be struggling to see that for themselves.
So often I find myself prioritizing my own needs before others, thinking that what I have to do is so much more urgent. This invites the Lord into every moment of every day when we are busy bustling around with our tasks and it calls us to stop and recognize when someone else needs us or the Lord might be calling us to set aside ourselves to put others first as He would. How many times have we walked past an elderly man struggling with his groceries or a homeless person on the side of the road or found a stranger crying? This invites us to be empathetic for “to the least of my brothers, you do to me”. Let us allow the Lord to transform our heart to be attentive to the moments of mercy He is calling us to act in.
Gossip is also considered one of the most destructive sins upon a person’s dignity and I have found it to be such an easy sin to fall into and sometimes not even realize it. Our words hold value and weight, and we are called to be prudent in what we say and speak about others as God would. More fruit and goodness comes from speaking positively about others but it goes above just outward conversation. It goes deeper into our hearts and the way we truly feel about others. It is important to have self-reflection and strive to believe and see the best in others, especially those who have hurt us. Mercy and forgiveness go hand in hand, you can’t have one without the other. Therefore, we are inviting the Lord to fill our thoughts and words with mercy so that we can speak His love, comfort and forgiveness to others.
We should want to invite the Lord into every aspect of our work. Small tasks, big tasks, in the work force or at home. Even if the work that we do isn’t spiritual, we should desire that our best friend be a part of all that we do. And we should want the Lord of the universe to bless our deeds so that they mirror His Holy Will working in us and so that all that is seen by those arounds us points to God and not to ourselves. Through His grace and mercy we will be able to take on the more difficult items with ease. We should always desire the good will of those around us and be willing to sacrifice for them as Christ would.
Inviting the Lord to help us see and assist the needs of others before our own is an attribute of mercy. We should also know to call upon the Lord when we need to be rejuvenated and restrengthened. When we are running low, we should know how to allow him to refill us in the ways that only He can. Our Lord is our strength and from His strength we are able to serve more perfectly and sacrificially. We will recognize that it is through serving others above ourselves that He strengthens us in return as well. By serving Him in others, we will find our true rest and fulfillment and it will refresh us in ways we didn’t know were possible.
This is the hardest line of all for me. Refusing my heart to no one is a big commitment and a daily struggle. Inviting the Lord into that struggle is key. None of us are perfect but what is important is that we are striving. We have to remember is that the Lord is there encouraging us to strive for holiness and mercy every step of the way. He never leaves our side. The Lord wants to submerge himself into the deep recesses of our heart so that we can love like He loves and not only to experience the power of His mercy, but to show and illuminate His mercy outwards. Once we truly encounter and embrace His mercy as a daily reality, we can more perfectly help those around us experience it as well. Sincerity, authenticity, and humility are attractive attributes of holiness that the Lord wants us to experience and integrate into our identity. And He helps us achieve all of these qualities by walking with us and never relenting in His love and mercy. I hope this litany illuminates your heart and life like it has mine and that you might everyday trust that the Lord is working in you!