By now, most of us have been inundated with information about the Divine Mercy devotion popularized through St. Faustina’s Diary. But have we learned about how divine mercy itself aids us through grief as a healing balm for our wounds? Probably not.
It’s easy to take care of yourself in the immediate aftermath of loss: you make sure you are fed, clean, and get adequate rest. You drink enough water. You might take a walk or sit down to read a book. But what about the condition of your soul? Certainly we are a composite of mind, body, and soul, which are all intricately interconnected.
But we cannot neglect our souls. In fact, I strongly believe that, when we don’t face our deepest inner turmoil from a spiritual perspective, we will not ever be completely healed.
How does divine mercy give us the grace to experience lasting peace and permanent healing? I am not implying that grace alone will solve all of your suffering, nor that it’s not important – necessary at times, even – to seek medical or professional help in addition to turning to your faith. What I am saying is that if you truly wish to be deeply healed, you simply cannot overlook the value of sacramental grace.
Here is a way for you to understand how divine mercy plays an integral role in grief healing:
Divine mercy is the only means by which we can be fully restored and made whole after we have incurred grave losses. It’s not His obligation, but He cannot deny us this because of love. Mercy is the way God reaches our torn and tattered hearts after betrayals and breakups (p. 125 in my book, From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph).
If you need some practical ways to experience the power of Divine Mercy, start with these:
- Frequent the Sacrament of Mercy – Reconciliation. Better yet, frequent the Sacraments of Healing together – Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
- Read about God’s incredible mercy in the Psalms.
- Pray to St. Faustina for a deeper understanding of how much God’s love envelops you in your pain.
- Offer your misery to Jesus as a gift. His mercy will transform your heart.
- Be merciful to both yourself and others. This means being more patient and kinder than necessary. Remember the quote, “Be kinder than necessary. Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”? Keep that in mind regarding the message of mercy.
- Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Pray about which one or two God is inviting you to try rather than committing to all of them. Base your selection on your specific gifts, talents, personality, lifestyle, and the time you have.
Consider this quote from the Diary of St. Faustina (no. 1273). Read it as if Jesus is speaking directly to your heart. Ponder it throughout the week. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what it means for your particular cross right now:
There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted, it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it.
Friends, faith alone will not solve all of your ills. Neither, though, will prescriptions and therapy. Remember that your soul is the center, the wellspring of your existence. From it flows the Spring of Eternal Life. Access this spring so that you might discover true and lasting healing through mercy, as well as the other ways you care for your health.
I believe if we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” then truly “all these things will be given to you besides” (see Matthew 6:33).
Adapted from my book, From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph.