We will soon celebrate the feast days of two of my favorite saints, St. Therese and St. Faustina, whom I’ve come to regard as sister saints.
This realization came to me during the Year of Mercy in 2016 when I read the book “33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy,” a pivotal moment in my journey towards Merciful Love.
For the first time, I discerned how the messages of Divine Mercy conveyed by St. Therese and St. Faustina were harmonious. Their profound work illuminated the fact that God’s love is inherently merciful.
Their primary mission was to exemplify, through their lives and words, the profound significance of Christ’s teaching: that God’s Mercy is extended to all sinners.
St. Therese advises to her sister,
“Do not fear, the poorer you are the more Jesus will love you. He will go far, very far in search of you if at times wander off a little.”
Jesus’s message to St. Faustina echos this thought of St. Therese,
” The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My Mercy.”
Father George W. Kosicki has a very interesting article on the similarities in the lives of St. Therese and St. Faustina, such as that of suffering for souls.
In St. Theresa’s Oblation of Merciful Love, she thanks God for the grace of passing through, “The Crucible of suffering.”During her suffering moments as she was dying of tuberculosis, she said it’s only to save souls that I want to suffer.
On the day of her death, she exclaimed:
Never would I have believed it was possible to suffer so much! Never! Never. I can only explain it by the ardent desires I have had to save souls. (The Passion of Therese Lisieux P. 183-185)
In hundreds of entries in her Diary, St. Faustina records her reflections and those of our Lord on suffering for the salvation of souls, especially sinners. She also died of tuberculosis. Like St. Therese. her attitude toward suffering can but summarized in an equation: Suffering + Love = Joy.
St. Faustina echoes the response of St. Therese in the amount and extent of suffering:
O Christ, If my soul had known, all at once, what it was going to have to suffer during its lifetime, it would have died of terror at the very sight: it would not have touched its lips to the cup of bitterness. But as it has been given to drink a drop at a time, it has emptied the cup to the very bottom. O Christ, if you would yourself did not support the soul, how much could it do of itself? We are strong, but with your strength we are holy, but with your holiness and of ourselves, What are we? Less than nothing… My Jesus, You suffice me for everything else in the world. although the suffering are severe, you sustain me. Although the times of loneliness are terrible. you make them sweet for me. Although the weakness is great, you change it into power for me. (Diary 1655)
These sister saints died of the same painful disease yet they offered it up for sinners with Jesus.
Let’s honor them by sharing this merciful love to all we meet and all we do.
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Download your Novena to St. Therese and St. Faustina.
As evident from their inspiring lives, these beautiful saints continue to inspire me daily through their embodiment of holiness.
Until next time, have a bright blessed day!