Today we are delighted to be celebrating the Feast Day of St. Faustina. She is probably one of the most under-rated saints of the modern Church. But, with Padre Pio, she is probably one of the most important people to have lived during the 20th Century. The more you get to know St. Faustina, the more you are inspired by her extraordinary character and the courageous way she dealt with the supernatural events that were happening during her short life. She died on this day 74 years ago.

It is easy for us now to look back on her life and be unimpressed. She lived a very simple, quiet, humble life. She strove to achieve the highest level of holiness and as her confessor remarked, there was almost never anything to forgive her for. She never sought any limelight, even after it became common knowledge that she was spiritually blessed. She never sought any favouritism from Jesus or Mary. She never conceded to pride, by considering herself special because she was chosen to bring a message from Jesus to the world. Her love for Jesus was exceptional. For Him, no sacrifice was too great. 

In short, she was a perfect saint. We can read her diary now and learn about the events that shaped her life, but it was a completely different story to have lived it, trying to understand the experiences she was having, not knowing what would happen next or how to deal with the demands that Jesus was making of her. She could not have known that the revelations she was writing in her diary would one day become the worldwide devotion we know today.

But she handled these profound events perfectly and in complete accordance with how the Catholic Church requires such incidents to be dealt with. What we must understand as Catholics is that the church is exceptionally sceptical and prudent in its approach to supernatural events. It subjects all reports of supernatural occurrences to the strictest scrutiny and only pronounces them as worthy of belief after a very long period of investigation and discernment. In fact, it is almost another miracle that the church accepts an event as the true work of God.

During the celebration of Corpus Christi in Rome in 2004, the Pope announced the Year of the Holy Eucharist. Saint Faustina’s full religious name was Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament and her whole life revolved around the Holy Eucharist. If you read her diary almost every page makes reference to the Eucharist. In talking about her life to a friend she said, “The most solemn moment of my life is the moment when I receive Holy Communion and for every Holy Communion I give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity” (Diary 1804).

The sisters had a tradition that each sister drew a choice of patron for the year at the begining of each New Year. Sister Faustina was overjoyed year after year when she drew  "The Holy Eucharist"  (Diary 360).
She had a special relationship to the Holy Eucharist, because Jesus gave her a clear understanding of this mystery. She describes it “as the wonderful gift of His presence on earth”. During Mass, “I thanked the Lord Jesus for having redeemed us and for having given us the greatest of all gifts, the Holy Eucharist”. “You wanted to stay with us, and so you left us yourself in the Sacrament of the Altar, and you opened wide your mercy to us. You opened an inexhaustible spring of mercy for us, giving us your dearest possession, the Blood and Water, that gushed forth from Your Heart” (Diary 1747).
During a Holy Hour, in a vision of the cenacle, Sr. Faustina saw the institution of the Holy Eucharist. She came to understand that, "At the moment of consecration...the sacrifice was fully consummated. Hereafter, only the external ceremony of death will be carried out. Never in my whole life had I understood this mystery so profoundly as during that hour of adoration" (Diary 684, 757, 832).
She devoted a lot of her prayers to asking God to let the world understand more the unfathomable mystery and mercy of the Eucharist.  She said, “Who will ever conceive and understand the depth of mercy that gushed forth from His Heart”? 
It is only in eternity that we shall know the great mystery given to us in Holy Communion. One day we will know what God is doing for us in each Mass, and what sort of gift He is preparing through it for us.
“All the tongues of men and angels united could not find words adequate to describe this mystery of Your love and mercy”. “Transform me in Yourself, 0 Jesus, that I may be a living sacrifice and pleasing to You. I desire to atone at each moment of my life for poor sinners.“
Jesus answered her prayers telling her: “You are a living host, pleasing to the Heavenly Father” (Diary 1826). She said: All the good that is in me is due to the Holy Communion. I owe everything to it.
St. Faustina lived fully the prayer of the Church: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love“.
Her experience of being like a living host, hidden, broken, and given, was to be the experience of her life - Her greatest desire was: to be hidden, like Jesus in the Eucharist; to be broken, like Jesus, in the passion; to be totally given, like Jesus, in the salvation of souls.
But, this experience was based on the union of love with the living God and this union was most profoundly experienced in conjunction with the Holy Eucharist, either during Mass and Holy Communion, or during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Her union with the Lord was, in His words, as a bride: Here, I am entirely yours, soul, body and divinity as Your Bridegroom. You know what love demands, one thing only, reciprocity. (Diary 1770) What she experienced during Holy Communion was a complete union with the Holy Trinity, “At that moment, I was drawn into the bosom of the Most Holy Trinity, and I was immersed in the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit“. (Diary 1670, 1121,1129)
These times of union are a taste of Eternity she said. (Diary 969). Holy Communion was the strength and support of St. Faustina in her every day struggle of life. The Lord told her: In the Host is the power; it will defend you always. (Diary 616)
Throughout her diary, she recorded the strength she received from the Eucharist  Throughout the day she adored Jesus, praising and asking Him for graces, especially for suffering children (Diary 1821).
A regular experience for St. Faustina was the vision of the Lord during Holy Mass. Over sixty such visions are recorded in her diary, mostly of the infant Jesus, a few occasions with the Blessed Mother, and at other times, Jesus during His passion and some of His majesty.
Some dozen times she records seeing the rays of mercy as in the image of the Merciful Savior coming from the Holy Eucharist, at times covering the world. (See Diary 420, 441, 1046)
These profound experiences during the Holy Eucharist were closely associated with the vessels of mercy, namily the Feast, the Image, the Chaplet, and the Three o'Clock prayer.
Holy Communion is the most important part of the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy. On a number of occasions, St. Faustina saw the Eucharist radiate red and white rays, like in the Image of Divine Mercy.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is Eucharistic. It is an offering of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the Father, in atonement for the sins of the world.
If you wanted to summarise the Diary of St. Faustina, you would have to come to the conclusion that all the vessels the Lord gave us through St. Faustina are Eucharistic. There was a very special place for the Holy Eucharist in the life of Sister Maria Faustina of the Most Blessed Sacrament.



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