Streams of Mercy, Part 4: Trust

We continue our series "Streams of Mercy," reflecting on themes and lessons presented in the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Each month, we dive into a different virtue or theme presented by our Lord in the Diary, so that we might learn from Him and prepare our hearts for His coming to us each and every day, and at the end of our lives - whether that be through a bodily death or His Second Coming. This month we reflect on trust.

"Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy" (Diary, 300).

We, broken men and women, are invited to turn with trust to His mercy to receive peace. Note that, as Jesus has said above, trust is essential to receive His mercy and so find peace. I would bet that everyone would agree that peace is a good thing.

How do we obtain peace, and how do we work for peace? Jesus' answer to this is primarily spiritual and not political. We encounter peace through trust in His mercy. What does it mean to trust in His mercy? Jesus doesn't offer a definition to St. Faustina, nor does she describe what trust actually is. Both Jesus and St. Faustina seem to presume the obvious nature of trust. However, during a time in my own life when I did not have peace (after my father's sudden death), I began to ask the Lord, "What exactly is trust, so that I can obtain this peace?"

So I looked it up in the dictionary. Trust - related to the word truth - comes from a Sanskrit word for "tree." The idea is that truth is something solid, unchanging, and dependable. Trust is therefore the act of placing one's confidence in someone or something else that one considers to be dependable or reliable. Or, if you remember that trust and truth are related, trust is believing that what another person says is truth, that is, reliable and solid.

Now, the world wants to say that the truth is "relative" - that it changes, depending on a person's culture, perspective, education, etc. If that is true, then some truth is very unreliable, and it wouldn't be good to put one's weight on something that might slip and cause us to fall. Jesus speaks about building our lives upon His Word precisely because it will not and cannot change, even when everything else changes (see Mt 7:25, 24:35).

We experience this reality when suffering and trauma enter our lives. I know I did as I watched my father die before my eyes in a matter of seconds.

When life changes - and it does - we need something that does not change. If all of life is like being adrift in an ocean with nothing to cling to, not even a raft to keep us afloat, we will eventually become too tired and sink. But there is a raft - God's mercy, given to us in the Sacraments (interesting fact: the Church Fathers called Confession the second plank or life-raft after the shipwreck of sin.) When everything else changes, Psalm 136 reminds us - repeating after every line - "His mercy endures forever!"

Knowing this, believing this in faith enables us to turn with trust to His mercy amid suffering. This means acknowledging both the finite reality of our pain as well as the infinite reality of His mercy. Turning with trust means to accept the truth that, as big and terrible as our suffering may be, even bigger and better is His mercy. Trust means opening one's heart to the reality that we do not see, but that we know is still there.

Jesus makes clear to St. Faustina, there is a clear relationship between our trust and His mercy: "The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive" (Diary, 1578). And the more we receive His mercy, the more we will have peace even in this life, amid its storms and trials. Jesus promises St. Faustina: "Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul" (Diary, 1777).

I encourage you, then, to trust in what is truly solid in life, to build your life and find your security in His mercy - which endures forever!

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