This Divine Mercy Sunday brings about such appreciation for the some of the greatest hardships that have been present in my life. This day, the Sunday after Easter is the day that St. Faustina was canonized. Through St. Faustina, “the Lord Jesus communicates to the world the great message of God’s mercy and reveals the pattern of Christian perfection based on trust in God and on the attitude of mercy toward one’s neighbors.”(1) Today’s homily at my parish was a beautiful reminder of what peace truly means and how to get back to a place of peace and it moved me to write about my path to peace.
My path back to God was long and winding. Although I attended Catholic schools growing up and even a Catholic college, I was never taught about Jesus in a way that made me feel close to him. Everything felt ceremonial, obligatory, something that I had to just get done. If it wasn’t for having kids I may not have gone back to the church at all, but I wanted them to have what I knew was possible, even if I didn’t fully experience it myself. As a young family we were members of a parish that was very cold and uninspiring, but continued for the kids. There were some great people and it is where my faith journey really began, so I am eternally grateful for it even though we have now moved on.
When I was preparing to have brain aneurysm surgery in January of 2014 I was so consumed by fear that I couldn’t function. I had a 2 year old and 4 year old that I needed to see grow up and I had no faith. I had lost my father a year and a half earlier and death consumed my every thought. My mother suggested that I receive the Anointing of the Sick and penance the night before my surgery and I almost didn’t. I was in a dark and lonely time of life and I had been away from the church in my heart for so long it seemed pointless. Thank God I listened to my mom.
When I received the Anointing of the Sick that night I felt instant relief and assurance that God, my father held me in his hands. Ever since that day, in moments of discomfort and anxiety all I need is an Our Father to calm any anxiety. I can feel Him with me.
During my one year post-surgery MRI/A my nerves were through the roof, I was shaking and panicked. I have been having MRIs of the brain since I was 8 years old and was never this nervous. The nurse/attendant in the room began playing the Christian music that my Holy Yoga teacher, Beverly plays in class. It reminded me of Him and brought me right back to center. Although the excruciatingly loud, pounding of the MRI made it impossible for me to think straight, I imperfectly said the Our Father and Hail Mary over and over from that moment until the test was over, about 45 minutes. That test was the ultimate reminder of faith. The embolism that formed where the aneurysm was repaired (unbeknownst to any of us) had a pinhole of blood flowing through it, a miracle.
During the time after my surgery and healing, the memories and pain of the loss of my child in my teen years weighed heavily on my heart. I never confessed that sin, the greatest sin, after 14 years. It was on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014 that I went to confession for this for the first time and began healing. The shame was so heavy, but that day I felt the burden begin to lift. My relationship to Christ has grown and I have become a better wife, mother and everything else because of it.
In 2020 the leadership of our church was weak and uninspired. We began searching for a parish that was more aligned with what we were searching for as a family and we found it. Our new parish has young, wildly intelligent, strong priests who lead with heart like my husband and I hadn’t yet experienced and we are beyond grateful to have found it.
I recently signed up to become an Ambassador for Live Action to help make abortion unthinkable and let God work through me to save women/girls from committing this soul depleting sin. I also hope to help women know the forgiveness of Christ and feel His love and healing if they are in the position of being post-abortive. Women today are taught that their babies are not human, pro-abortion groups change the definition of words to make it acceptable and even encourage women to be proud and shout their abortions. We need to be teaching our children how to live in a way that they will truly find happiness, protecting the vulnerable and in service to others. Whether it is by starting a family or serving their communities, living is giving and that is where true joy is found.
This year, an even greater blessing has come in relation to a recent confession of my own and mercy toward another. I have received a blessing that I didn’t even believe was possible when I requested it and yet, somehow deserved. This is a lesson that I learned from Bible study with Beverly, God’s love for us is unconditional, all we have to do is open our hearts to Him. I cannot stress enough how healing He is. If you give your heart to God He will heal wounds you didn’t think could ever be healed.
I was away from the church for so long and I still can’t believe how he has lifted me up as much as I can’t believe that I am writing this. If I can help one person come to Him (or come back) for healing and peace, I will write about Him every day of my life. You never know how your story can help another and we are all here to serve. If nothing else perhaps I will inspire someone else to share their path to peace. My parish priest wrote in the bulletin this week that we all may “receive a renewed devotion to the Lord’s Mercy this Divine Mercy Sunday”. Amen.
- The Biography of St. Maria Faustina. The Divine Mercy. <https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message/stfaustina/bio>