Rays of Merciful Love Fall-Winter 2019

“Mercy is love that seeks to lessen the misery of others” — Bryan Thatcher, MD Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy Newsletter Fall/Winter 2019 I t seems everywhere I go, people are facing one form of adversity or another. That includes health issues of a physical or mental nature, marital problems, death of a loved one, financial woes, difficulty with children such as divorce or loss of faith, and more. As I am writing this article, my brother-in-law Leo is dying, and by the time this newsletter goes to print, he will have surely died and seen Jesus face to face. Leo had many complications from long-standing diabetes, and he suffered much. Even so, in advancing years he would help the ministry by picking up medical supplies for the poor overseas. We will all face death one day. At that time, as well as in times of struggle, we must trust in the Lord. Trust comes easy when things are going well. It is at the hour of death that trust in the Lord and His mercy is most critical. Jesus told St. Faustina, “Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties, obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have the most need of trust, and they have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final mo- ment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sin- ners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul” ( Diary , 1777). People often ask, “Why is there suffering? Why did my wife get cancer? Why did I have a stroke? Why did my son get killed in an auto accident? Why? Why? Why?” Let us see what we can learn from the life of St. Maria Faustina, the apostle of mercy. Like many of the saints before her, she suffered greatly. She had advanced tuberculosis that went undiagnosed for a long period of time, and she died at the young age of 33 years. She also suffered humiliation and rejection from fellow nuns, as well as deep interior suffering. Her physical suffering at times was overwhelming. “Today my suffering increased somewhat; I not only feel greater pain all through my lungs, but also some strange pains in my intestines. I am suffering as much as my weak nature can bear” ( Diary , 953). Yet, she maintained her trust in God in spite of all her trials and tribulations. She wrote, “Oh, how pleasing are the hymns flowing from a suffering soul! All heaven delights in such a soul, especially when it is tested by God. It mournfully sings out its longing for Him. Great is its beauty, because it comes from God. The soul walks through the jungle of life, wounded by God’s love. With one foot only it touches the ground” ( Diary, 114). She suffered much, but she suffered with joy. “I fixed my gaze upon His sacred wounds and felt happy to suffer with Him. I suffered, and yet I did not suffer, because I felt happy to know the depths of His love, and the hour passed like a minute” ( Diary, 252). She understood the power of sal- vific suffering. She wrote, “Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love” ( Diary , 57). Any discussion on God’s love, mercy, and suffering must include His Passion. Our Lord asked that we meditate on His Passion. He told her: There is more merit to one hour of meditation on My sorrowful Passion than there is to a whole year of flagellation that draws blood: the contemplation of My painful wounds is of great profit to you, and it brings Me great joy ( Diary , 369). Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds (Diary , 379). When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. I want your last moments to be completely similar to Mine on the cross. There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the Cross. Pure love understands these words, carnal love will never understand them ( Diary , 324). You may feel alone. You may ask yourself, “Where is God? Why me? What have I done to deserve this?” You must remember that even though you may feel abandoned by God, you are not alone! This beautiful passage from the Diary gives me great comfort. “After the adoration, half way to my cell, I was surrounded by a pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear me to pieces. I realized that they were not dogs, but demons. One of them spoke up in a rage, ‘Be- cause you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces.’ I answered, ‘If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, and God is ever holy, just, and infinitely merciful.’ To these words all the demons answered as one, ‘Let us flee, for she is not alone; the Almighty is with her.’ And they vanished like dust, like the noise of the road, while I continued on my way to my cell undisturbed, finishing my Te Deum and pondering the infinite and unfathomable mercy of God” ( Diary , 320). So remember, let trust in God be your anchor in life, and you are not alone! T RIALS , TRUST , and D IVINE M ERCY By Bryan Thatcher, MD My sister Diane and her husband Leo. R AYS OF M ERCIFUL L OVE

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