by Maggie Hagenauer
Do you ever think back and wonder, “How did I get to where I am today?” I think about this constantly with my faith journey. How did I become a person who goes to mass daily, prays all the time, and loves saints? Well, it all started with the Divine Mercy devotion and the rest is history.
One day, a friend and I were talking about this prayer having to do with Jesus’ mercy and St. Faustina. I had never heard of her or the prayer before and when he finished, I was intrigued and went out and bought her diary. Now, at this point in my life, I was not really into saints, their stories, or understood why we really spent time on them. HELLO, I was missing out!
I started reading her diary and I was hooked. I didn’t really understand at first why I was so inspired, but I kept reading. About a hundred pages in, I stopped reading it and moved on. I began praying the chaplet every day, but didn’t really understand why. Then it happened…
At a New Year’s Eve party going into 2012 I picked a saint for the year. GUESS WHO I GOT!?? You know it, St. Faustina. Long story short, I had just been at World Youth Day the August before and had a life changing experience. Picking St. Faustina was Jesus saying, “Here is the next step to draw closer to me.” This is what the paper I picked out at New Year’s said about St. Faustina:
“I know God is in my heart. With Him I go to work, with Him I go to recreation, with Him I suffer, with Him I rejoice; I live in Him and He in me. I am never alone, because He is my constant companion. He is present to me at every moment. Our intimacy is very close, through a union of blood and flesh.”-St. Faustina (after this quote is said: Pray for deeper intimacy with God.)
Looking at this quote now, I totally understand why she picked me that cold winter night. This is what I desire to the fullest, complete union with God. Since she picked me, I decided that I should probably finish her diary and find out more about who she was and the message she was trying to share with the world. That Lent I finished her diary. As I was reading the diary I learned so much and started to understand what Jesus wanted her to do, and how I connected with her. She has become my kindred spirit and sister in Christ.
One thing that stuck out to me while reading her diary was the importance to have a confessor. What did I do, I started praying for one. Now I started praying at the start of Lent that year and guess what happened – JESUS GAVE ME ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!! The best part was that I met the priest on Divine Mercy Sunday. It has been one of the best gifts Jesus has ever given me. He has given me someone who He can talk through to me in the most blessed Sacrament of Reconciliation. Now, I know that you must be thinking, “Who in their right mind wants someone who hears my confessions on a regular basis?“ He is someone who knows the darkest part of me, but at the same time shows me Jesus’ love. I love confession!!!! Now don’t think I don’t get nervous, or have a hard time confessing my sins. I do, but I have the grace of God to help me be healed. Every time you go to confession you are healed and made pure again. Not only that, but the bonds that have been broken with the Trinity are mended and you are united more fully with them. WHO DOESN’T WANT THAT??? Here is what Jesus told St. Faustina about going to confession:
“Today the Lord said to me, Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.” (1602)
WOW! It is so deep but so simple. The love of confession, adoration of the Eucharist, praying the chaplet, making an offering during the three o’clock hour and so much more has changed my soul, and all because of Jesus’ Divine Mercy!
The best way I can say thank you to the Trinity for this gift of faith in Jesus’ Divine Mercy is by sharing it. My second grade students are the lovely bunch who have the opportunity to hear me speak about it. For the past three Lents my class has made the Lenten promise to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet as a class. I explain to them about who St. Faustina is, what the image of Jesus looks like, why we say the chaplet, etc. I give them coloring pages, show them the images, have a statue, and this year had a movie about St. Faustina. THEY LOVED IT!!! I can’t explain it. Divine Mercy burst into my classroom. Of course we were saying the chaplet everyday but the students started fighting over who would lead each decade. Every picture they drew was a cross or Jesus with the Blood and Water gushing out of it. Not only did it burst in my classroom but poured out into other classes as well.
One day I was walking down the hallway of my school and I see a picture of a cross with the blood and water gushing out of it. It was a kindergartners. I was intrigued on whose it was. I looked on the back and it was a brother of one of my students. I asked the teacher where this little boy learned about the blood and water coming out of the cross. He said that his brother taught him how to draw it. HELLO! It made my heart burst with love and thanksgiving to Jesus. This is why I teach. The boy may not understand what exactly the blood and water means, but He knows it’s important!
The major lesson I have learned this year is how powerful the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer is. When we pray, “Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world,” I never realized that we are offering the Body and Blood of Jesus to God for our sins. That is the most beautiful and powerful gift we can offer God for our sins. BUT the best part is that God gave us His only son first, and when we pray the above prayer we are just saying, “Thank you God for giving us Jesus and we offer His sacrifice on the cross back to you.” It’s something to think and pray about more, for sure.
May Jesus’ Blood, which gushed forth from His heart pour over all who read this and may the Lord bless us and protect us from all evil. O blood and water which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You. Amen.
Maggie Hagenauer is a second grade teacher at St. Philip Neri Catholic School. She lives in and leads the St. Catherine of Alexandria house, a young adult formation house here in Indy. Maggie enjoys long walks on the beach and white roses. 🙂