Entering my junior year of high school was like entering a battlefield. Nothing in my future was set in stone: not my college, not my major, and not even my spiritual life. Nothing made sense, and Jesus wasn’t talking. After discovering that the career I had trained for all my life wouldn’t satisfy the thirst in my heart, everything I knew to be true about myself, suddenly seemed to crumble right before my eyes. I remember a lot of sleepless nights, a ton of tears, and a cloud of anxiety. I didn’t understand where God was leading me. If I wasn’t meant for the career I had trained for, where was I suppose to go? An even bigger crisis arose as I tried to figure out my future. I had focused so hard on achieving a career and a path to success, that I had no idea who I was without it. I forgot my identity, to the point where I was unsure of whether I was truly God’s daughter. This began my descent into a spiral of deep despair. I would pray and listen to God, and yet I believed in my heart of hearts, that the reason why I wasn’t getting answers was because I had offended Him. I felt that my sins were so severe and so wretched, that God couldn’t love me anymore. I convinced myself that God had figured out what was true all along: that I was not worth the sacrifice of the cross.
As the spiritual climax of my battle reached its peak, My heart would break as I focused on my brokenness. Every sin I had ever committed, was at the forefront of my mind. How could I be God’s daughter? Look at me, I’m Nobody. God can’t love me. I’m not enough… Satan carved these words into my heart so deeply that nothing could alleviate it. He made me believe that God’s Love for me had limitations, and that I had exceeded those far too many times. And even though I whole-heartedly believed Jesus was justified in his reasons to hate me, I couldn’t fight the desire to try to seek Him out anyway. I needed consolation directly from the Consoler Himself. With teary eyes, I recall looking up at a picture of our Lady. My heart’s pain increased. And my Spirit longed for consolation. I remember my broken heart whispering: “I have fought the best that I could Mom. I am too weak to go on. God has forsaken me, and the devil is towering over me, ready to torment my soul. Let him take me, for the Lord has abandoned me, so then, what is the point of living on?”
It was right after this prayer of complete despair in which I happened to notice a book on my dresser. To this day, I have no idea how it appeared before me. This little book was none other than the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. I took the book with trembling hands. Deciding that I had no one else to turn to, I started reading. As I read St. Faustina’s diary, I was surprised how directly her life paralleled mine. Her soul saw through my soul, and her heart spoke to my heart. I wept when she was hurt, and I laughed when she was bold. Finally, it seemed that light was breaking through this dark stormy sky. But the writings which most touched my heart in this diary, was of the way she spoke of God’s mercy, and how Jesus spoke of her. Jesus would repeatedly call her his “Delight of my delights, Heart of my Hearts, etc.” All of these words pierced my heart with a sweet sword. I loved Faustina, but I wanted to be that to Jesus. But how could I ever receive such beautiful words to confirm my identity when God Himself was hiding from me? Despair crept back into my heart, waiting for me to dive head first into the sorrows of my soul. But, something within me stirred to pray to God’s delight, and so I asked: “St. Faustina, you have been my teacher in healing my heart. You are helping me to trust in the Lord, even when I cannot see. If it is pleasing to God, begging Him to reveal who I am specifically to Him.”
This bold prayer said in a wobbly voice would change my life forever. During Holy Week of my senior year, my mom and I went to New York. At the time, I still hadn’t found the courage to tell her that I knew in my heart of hearts, I wasn’t called to work in entertainment. On Good Friday, we decided to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Now, I won’t get into the specifics, but all that I will say is that I felt the exact same way that Jesus felt in the temple when he saw how the people had lost sight of God by selling and trading. Nothing could console my already agonizing heart. As I aimed wanderlessly, I felt my heart ache for Jesus. I wanted to console Him. But most of all, I wanted Him to console me. That’s when I bumped into a picture. This picture was none other than the Image of Divine Mercy. The same image Jesus instructed St.Faustina to paint and share around the world. The instant I recognized the image, I fell to my knees and came undone. In tears of gratitude and of pain, I thanked St. Faustina, revealing to her and to Jesus, the inner desires of my heart with this prayer:
“Oh, My Sweetest Jesus. How I desperately want you to be pleased with me. How can I who knows nothing, lead souls to your mercy in which I now know is what heals your heart the most?”
In small yet powerful words, I heard the saint who had lifted me up from the iron grasp of the Devil. Eight words were said.
“I am your Sister. Let me help you.”
In a time when all I could do was despair, St. Faustina taught me to trust instead. This small nun from Poland decided to make it her mission to unveil the face of Jesus to me. She was the thread that held my fragile faith together during this period of darkness. It was solely due to her intercession for me, that Jesus restrained his “hand of justice”, and instead helped me tend to my heart. She taught me that all I needed to be in order to be Jesus’ favorite was to be his friend. She showed me that even our beautiful Lord and Savior needs someone to be merciful to Him. And that the torments that I go through, are not even a drop of the torments Jesus goes through when souls reject His love.
The lie that I wasn’t enough for Jesus was eradicated as St. Faustina lifted the veil and allowed Jesus’ tender gaze to befall me. Here He was, looking into me, into my wretchedness and brokenness, and saying:
“Yes. You are my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
You see, my soul knew that it was meant for the Creator. It knew that Jesus’ love for me was infinite. But the terrors and clamors of this world swallowed me up and spit me out. It felt like the only voice that would speak to me was that of Satan, and for the longest time, I felt that if that was the voice that I heard, then God had truly left me to die. I needed someone to help pull me out of the dark pit I was in and pull me into the Loving and Merciful embrace of Jesus. Truthfully I tell you, that without this Polish nun, who took it upon herself to reach me, I would have abandoned my faith and my identity. I would have had become the worst of sinners, and the worst of criminals. With Faustina, I would have never continued to actually believe that God’s Love for me is truly bigger than my comprehension. This beautiful Saint who was ridiculed, mocked and slandered is one of the souls who truly helps save the hearts of God’s children. She is a gift and if one only asks, She will help you start the journey to reach the destination of Love.