Love One Another! 4/2004 → Divine mercy
Once at church I heard a sermon on morning and evening prayer. What I took from it was that when it came to prayer I could no longer plead lack of time or ignorance, since I was always able to say the words, Jesus, I trust in You!
Flowing from the depths of one’s heart, this prayer was as worthy of being heard as any. The priest’s words struck home. Jesus, I trust in You! Those were the words at the bottom of the image of Divine Mercy in the side aisle of our parish church. They brought to mind the singing I used to hear before the Divine Mercy image when I was a girl. The old women would chant those words – Jesus, I trust in You! – in every tone imaginable. Often I found this tiresome and laughable. But God was patient and persistent.
He entered my heart about three years ago, when a picture of the Divine Mercy came into my possession. Printed on the back of it were instructions for saying the chaplet. I understood this as God’s invitation to me to pray. At about the same time, I began listening to a Catholic radio program. One day I happened on the recitation of Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which the radio aired every afternoon at three o’clock. I pulled out the picture and prayed along. And so, after having made fun of “pattered prayer” for years, I began to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy with reverence and a willing heart. I would entrust to God’s mercy everything the day would bring me. Often my hands were busy, as I would be preparing dinner for the family; but my heart and lips were always free.
Yet, despite my prayers, there came a time when I lost hope and strayed from the straight and narrow. I abused the post I had held at work for many years. I took something that did not belong to me. True, I fully intended to return it as soon as possible, but an audit was called before I could do so, and I was caught without an explanation. I faced the prospect of criminal charges and dismissal from a job that assured my family of its livelihood. In a state of near collapse, on returning home from the office, I glanced at the image of the Merciful Jesus. I began to pray in earnest.
The inquiry into my work lasted nearly a month. I was exhausted and felt great shame over my act of dishonesty. I began to see my deed in its true light. I experienced much anguish and shed many tears. I knew now that I had acted wrongly; I hadn’t imagined it was that bad. How I survived that month, I do not know, but I believe Jesus saw me through it, for I sincerely regretted my action. Full of trust in the Mercy of God, I prayed daily for a favorable resolution to my situation.
My legs trembled as I entered the manager’s office on the last day of the inquiry. The room was filled with colleagues and fellow-workers. They had to decide what to do with me. All I could tell them was that I deeply regretted my action, that I was aware of the trust I had abused, that I was sorry, and that I would like to earn their trust over again. And would you believe it: my prayers were answered! I still hold my job. They imposed a light penalty. I was merely fined.
I believe God spoke to my superiors and fellow-workers. He forgave me much. For my part, I continue to pray with gratitude before the image of the Divine Mercy. Now I know that grace comes first, before something bad happens. In my case, grace was coming to know this prayer and persevering in it.