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How does the Rosary Lead to the Miracle of Divine Mercy? Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle walks us through the Diary of St. Faustina on her Oct. 5 Memorial.
Guest Authoring w/ repost from her book in support of Fr. Anthony’s talks on Divine Mercy is EWTN host, author of 35+ books: our Rosary Hour Podcast friend-in-Christ, Donna-Marie (Connecticut, USA).
The Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter, 2nd Edition (published on Oct. 5, 2022): GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE)
The following post is a collaboration between our GUEST AUTHOR, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle and THE ROSARY HOUR PODCAST™️. Donna-Marie is scheduled appear on Episode 3 of The Rosary: A Mini Series.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE
From the beginnings of our journey in imagining The Rosary Hour Podcast, and the ensuing Mini Series of mini-interviews that might relay the wisdom of many experts on the Rosary, we spent most of our time in the humble simplicity of prayer of the Rosary.
Months and months later, we’ve learned through experience that the Blessed Mother chooses certain souls to collaborate to assist her, and that their interconnectedness and unity in prayer, which like a magnet somehow draws them together, mirrors Christ’s own wish to draw us to Himself.
Our encounter with Donna-Marie was that sort of case, as was our mutual desire that developed a special friendship in Christ that might enable us to work together to spread the prayers of the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet, and the message of Divine Mercy where ever God might wish to plant those seeds of love.
This call for souls by the Blessed Mother to be the hands, feet and voice that may proclaim the Kingdom of God in our times so desperately in need of God’s Mercy, St. Louis de Montfort defines as “the most important gift” in that we no longer live, but that “Mary lives in us.”
In his treatise on “The Secret of Mary”, he states:
Mary’s soul becomes the soul of her servant. Indeed when by an indescribable but real grace Mary most holy becomes Queen of a soul, what wonders does she not work in it?
She is the great wonder-worker, especially within the interior of souls, it is in secret that she works there, without the soul being aware, as knowledge of it might destroy the beauty of her work.”
“As Mary is everywhere the fruitful Virgin, she brings to the soul’s interior where she dwells, a purity of heart and body, a singleness of intention and purpose, and a fruitfulness in good works. Do not think, dear soul, that Mary the most fruitful of all God’s creatures, who went so far as to give birth to the God-man, remains idle in a faithful soul. She will cause Jesus to live continuously in that soul and that soul to live continuously in Jesus. If Jesus is equally the fruit of Mary for each individual soul as for all souls in general, He is even more especially, her fruit and her masterpiece in the soul where she is present.
To sum up, Mary becomes all things for that soul in its relationship to Jesus Christ. She enlightens its mind with her pure faith. She deepens the soul’s heart by her charity, makes it pure by her purity, makes it noble and great through her spiritual motherhood. But why dwell on this any longer? Experience alone teaches us of these marvellous deeds of Mary, which are hard to believe for the learned and the proud, even for the devout.” (42-43, “The Secret of Mary" St. Louis Marie de Montfort).
Donna-Marie is one such soul in which Mary’s soul dwells. She is prolific: she has written & given many talks as a keynote speaker about her 35 published books, of which include three books about Fátima (plus a children’s guide to understanding its story and message); a book about the Miraculous Medal, and finally the book featured in today’s Rosary Hour Podcast Newsletter post: 52 Weeks with Saint Faustina: A Year of Grace and Mercy, published by Marian Press.
On today’s Memorial of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, known as the secretary & apostle of God’s Divine Mercy, we invite you to read the “Foreword” to Donna Marie’s book, authored by mutual friend-in-Christ, Fr. Chris Alar, MIC. (One might view this Foreword for free on Amazon USA here: https://www.amazon.com/52-Weeks-Saint-Faustina-Grace-ebook/dp/B07S2XJ8C9.)
Father Chris introduces Donna-Marie’s book on St. Faustina in this way:
“Can I make a bet with you?
I bet that if you take up this book and
spend 52 weeks with St. Faustina,
these weekly meditations will change your life”.
Here is the entire text of Fr. Alar’s introduction below. Load the images to view or visit our website to refresh: https://rosaryhourpodcast.substack.com
“Saint Faustina changes lives. The Divine Mercy message and devotion that she was given by Jesus, a reminder and a prophetic restatement of the classical Gospel teaching on the mercy of God, changes lives.” (Fr. Alar)
WEEK 34: TRIALS AND PURIFICATION, from “52 Weeks With St. Faustina”
“Mary, Immaculate Virgin, take me under Your special protection and guard the purity of my soul, heart and body. You are the model and star of my life.”
— Diary, 874
Trials and purification go hand in hand. We might resist at times, but trials and purification are absolutely essential in our spiritual lives. Facing these challenges should start within our hearts and our souls as early as possible. Saint Faustina shows us how to do it! Let’s delve into all of that in this week’s spiritual exercise — and also learn of another wondrous mystical experience for Sr. Faustina! Let’s get started!
We know that the real purpose of our lives here on earth is to work out our salvation so that, at the appointed time, we can make it to Heaven to live in eternal happiness with the Most Holy Trinity, as well as with the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, and all of the angels and the saints. That is our ultimate goal. It’s no secret that the world is abuzz with activity. Our lives are often cluttered with things we need to do and stuff that gets in the way of our prayer lives. Sometimes we can get sidetracked or distracted, but we must keep our eyes on the prize! We read in Scripture, “[P]ress on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14). We need to fight the good fight and press on throughout all of the nitty gritty details of our lives to stay on that straight and narrow path that leads to Heaven. We want to be able to say with St. Paul,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim 4:7-8).
As my former spiritual director Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, would often say, “There’s work to be done!” This is certainly a succinct instruction about our purpose and direction in our spiritual lives. We must do the work to earn the prize — our crown in Heaven. Purification is oftentimes arduous. However, as St. Faustina had written in her Diary, “In order to purify a soul, Jesus uses whatever instruments He likes” (Diary, 38).
Purification and Trial for Sr. Faustina
Sister Faustina underwent a continual purification as she strove for holiness, pursuing perfection in the spiritual life. Sometimes that purification came through enduring murmuring from other sisters questioning her authenticity, or from the illnesses and weakness she often experienced. Other times, purification occurred during the trials of obedience that she navigated. Though she was very obedient, she felt convicted at times because of how important matters involving Jesus’ requests to her were handled. For instance, when she shared some of these things openly with her confessor, she was told that these things could be from God, but they could also be from the devil, or possibly illusions. Sister Faustina wrote, “Because of my frequent changes [of assignment], I did not have a permanent confessor and besides,” she added, “I had great difficulty in speaking of these things. I prayed ardently that the Lord would give me that great grace — that is, a spiritual director” (Diary, 34). She would be given that special grace after she made her perpetual vows. His name was Fr. Michael Sopoćko. God had allowed Sr. Faustina to, in a sense, meet him in advance of their first meeting. She had seen him in an interior vision long before they met in person.
One time, miraculously, Sr. Faustina was summoned to the judgment seat of God! Jesus presented Himself to her as He appeared in the Passion. “After a moment, His wounds disappeared except for five, those in His hands, His feet, and His side.” Suddenly, Sr. Faustina “saw the complete condition” of her soul as God sees it. “I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God” (Diary, 36).
She learned something profound in that moment. “I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God!” Jesus asked her a question: “Who are you?” Sister Faustina answered, “I am Your servant, Lord.” Jesus told her, “You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory.” The mystic deeply desired to throw herself into the flames of Purgatory. Jesus stopped her by giving her the choice of suffering for one day in Purgatory or for a short while on earth. Sister Faustina chose both. She desired to suffer in Purgatory, but also to endure “the greatest pains on earth, even if it were until the end of the world.” However, Jesus told her “one [of the two]” was enough. He said she would go back to earth where she wouldn’t suffer too much longer, but would accomplish His holy will. He promised her a faithful servant to help her.
Jesus told her to rest her head on His “bosom, on My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings.” He warned her, “[Y]ou will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else” (Diary, 36). He finished by telling her she would have very much to suffer, but not to be afraid, He would be with her. Immediately after that, Sr. Faustina was stricken ill. She said that the physical illness became a “school of patience” for her and that “Jesus uses whatever instruments He likes” (Diary, 37, 38) to purify a soul. Sister Faustina was being purified through the melting pot of God’s love so that she would be able to stand before Him on Judgment Day as pure as pure can be. All throughout, Sr. Faustina sought God’s holy will and responded in love to the many contradictions (that is, challenges or trials) that unfolded in her life, which included many forms of suffering.
Sister Faustina explained, “My soul underwent a complete abandonment on the part of creatures; often my best intentions were misinterpreted by the sisters, a type of suffering which is most painful; but God allows it, and we must accept it because in this way we become more like Jesus.” She continued, “There was one thing which I could not understand for a long time: Jesus ordered me to tell everything to my Superiors, but my Superiors did not believe what I said and treated me with pity as though I were being deluded or were imagining things” (Diary, 38). This caused Sr. Faustina to avoid God interiorly for fear of being deluded. Thank God He always provides! As Sr. Faustina explained, “[T]he grace of God pursued me at every step, and God spoke to me when I least expected it” (Diary, 38).
Eight-Day Retreat Before Perpetual Vows
Getting back to Sr. Faustina’s retreat before her perpetual vows, on April 18, 1933, the three sisters left for Krakow. It would be a welcome place for such an important retreat since the sisters had been there before as novices. It was where Sr. Faustina first embarked upon her religious life. The sisters were over the moon seeing the cheerful Mother Mary Joseph and the others. Upon arriving, Sr. Faustina visited the chapel. Joy filled her heart. “In a flash,” she recorded in her Diary, “I recalled the whole ocean of graces that had been given me as a novice here” (Diary, 216).
The Mother Directress explained the retreat program and gave a short talk. Sister Faustina was profoundly grateful for her. She felt bittersweet emotion, realizing that the retreat marked the last time she would be in the novitiate. There was a certain security felt in the novitiate, as though the novices had a kind of spiritual “safety net.” Now, though, Mother Directress would no longer “be at my heels to teach me here, warn me there, or to admonish, encourage, or reproach me.” She paused and took it all in. She thought, “Now I must battle together with Jesus, work with Jesus, suffer with Jesus; in a word, live and die with Jesus.” It thoroughly penetrated her brain. “I am so afraid of being on my own,” she thought. “Jesus, do something about this. I will always have a superior, that’s true; but now a person is left more on her own” (Diary, 217). She had a lot to think about, but would trust God.
Later on, she prayed, “I am beginning the retreat today. Jesus, my Master, guide me.” She desired only His holy will, praying, “Govern me according to Your will, purify my love that it may be worthy of You, do with me as Your most merciful Heart desires.” She wanted to drown out the world and just be with Jesus. “Jesus, there will be just the two of us during these days until the moment of our union. Keep me, Jesus, in a recollected spirit!” (Diary, 218), she earnestly begged. He answered her that evening.
“My daughter, let nothing frighten or disconcert you. Remain deeply at peace. Everything is in My hands. I will give you to understand everything through Father Andrasz. Be like a child towards him” (Diary, 219). We can imagine that Jesus’ words deeply consoled Sr. Faustina’s heart, since now she could know that a priest would understand her. Jesus had told her to be at peace — deeply at peace!
Something to Ponder
Trials certainly help us to become more loving and humble, depending upon how we respond to them. We must be purified in this life on earth before we can go to Heaven for all eternity. Even holy St. Faustina, who was privileged to receive many great graces, was told by Jesus that, unless she suffered her Purgatory on earth, she would have to undergo “one day of fire in purgatory” for purification before going to Heaven. Sister Faustina teaches us that “even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for.” What might be the state of our own souls? Take time this week to pause and ponder, as well as to beg for grace and mercy. We know not the day or the hour when we will be called to the judgment seat of God.
Now is the time to pray for a more profound conversion of heart. It is time to do the work required to change our hearts and souls. Will we grumble and complain when our Lord allows us to be burnished in the fire of His love? Will we respond in love to His holy will in our lives? Certainly, we will want to earn that “crown of righteousness.” However, first we must fight the good fight! We can also pray to serve at least part of our Purgatory while on earth.
A Merciful Action
What are some concrete ways in which you can impart God’s love to those in need this week? Can you devise a plan to do so by taking time to jot ideas down on a short list? Also be open for the needs that spontaneously unfold before you. In light of our discussion this week, could you work hard at bearing wrongs patiently? It’s not easy. But never doubt that it will change your soul and perhaps help to change the person or persons who have wronged you. Pray about it.
A PRAYER OF MERCY FOR THIS WEEK
(To be prayed each day this week with your Rosary / Daily Devotion Practice)
Dear Merciful Jesus, I want to pay more attention to the state of my spiritual life. I want to step back from the busyness of the world and immerse my heart in Your Heart. Mother Mary, help me to slow down and pray more. Saint Faustina, please pray for me.
Jesus, I trust in You!
Thanks to Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle for her prayers over the Rosary Hour Podcast since March 2022.
We are thrilled to share this excerpt from her book published by the Marians of the Immaculate Conception via Marian Press in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA. She will be featured in the next posts to support Fr. Anthony Gramlich’s mini-talks on how prayer of the Rosary brings us to the miracle of Divine Mercy.
We invite you to link to "52 Weeks to St. Faustina" via https://shopmercy.org/52-weeks-with-saint-faustina-a-year-of-grace-and-mercy.html) or Visit https://shopmercy.com
ABOUT DONNA-MARIE COOPER O’BOYLE
VISIT HER WEBSITE: https://www.donnacooperoboyle.com/blog/
Feel free to review a little background on Donna-Marie’s writing of "52 Weeks with Saint Faustina: A Year of Grace and Mercy”:
Furthermore, in section 1731 of the diary, Jesus says to St. Faustina:
“Through the chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask is compatible with My will.” (Diary, pg. 612, Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA, USA).
Jesus further reminds:
“But I want to tell you that eternal life must begin already here on earth through Holy Communion. Each Holy Communion makes you more capable of communion with God throughout eternity.”
On the Memorial of St. Faustina, The Rosary Hour Podcast team invites you to read about “the Hour of Great Mercy”, an important message for our times as relayed to St. Faustina through her diary:
At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).
He further teaches St. Faustina:
As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice. (1572)
Finally, Jesus instructs the following options as devotional practices at 3:00 daily:
My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. (1572)
In schools, teachers might pause at the end of the school day in home room to allow children to turn to God and pray the following prayer:
“You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times):
O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you.
We’d like to dedicate this post to the memory of Fr. Seraphim Michalenko and ask you to pray today and every day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory at the Hour of Great Mercy.
We invite you to watch Fr. Chris Alar and the Marian Fathers and Brothers from the National Shrine of Divine Mercy on their show Living Divine Mercy.