St Faustina mentioned the angels in more than 70 places in her writings. The reason why the fallen angels whose names we do not know are present and mentioned in the Diary is because they were disturbing, interrupting, discouraging and it was their intention that St Faustina would give up writing the Diary. St Michael said “You are hated by evil and the devil”. Sometimes Satan himself would come to her.
Jesus wanted St Faustina to become a knight and fight for the salvation of souls. If you become more advanced in the Divine Mercy spirit, it makes you more courageous and you know then this is a spiritual fight and it is not easy. Initially, it is pleasing for our hearts to be in the fight for souls but afterwards we realise that this is a spiritual battle. One of the most beautiful sentences in the diary, she said “Every day I begin a day with a battle and I finish it with a battle.”
St Faustina was a mystic and had supernatural gifts like St Padre Pio, those of bilocation, prophecy and reading human souls, but even so she had to contend with spiritual conflict. Daily life was a battle for her, for us this is our way forward to grow in the Divine Mercy devotion.
To be fighters for God we have to call and ask for assistance, we can never fight with our own strength alone. It is impossible and we will be defeated.
St Paul wrote “when I am weak I am strong”. When we are weak we receive the strength from God and the Holy Spirit. The poverty of the heart and then the Holy Spirit will come.
St Faustina said “I look with one eye into the abyss of my own misery and the other eye at the ocean of God’s mercy.” We have two eyes, one eye is to discover our own misery and the other eye is to see God. He is full of love and mercy and He loves us as we are and He comes to help us. That is why we have St Michael the Archangel. The name of St Faustina’s confessor was Michael, the name of the Church in Vilnius where the Divine Mercy image was displayed is called St Michael and the name the Mother Superior who accepted St Faustina into the convent of The Sister’s of Our Lady of Mercy was called Michaela, which comes from the name Michael. St Michael the Archangel appeared to St Faustina only once on his feast day 29th September. On this feast day St Michael is closer to us and we will receive graces.
St Michael the Archangel was sent to us by God for him to be closer to us and offer us graces. St Michael said to St Faustina “Do not fear, the Lord has ordered me to take special care of you,” and then disappeared.
St Faustina had the special protection of St Michael because of her mission, and this protection was also given to her confessor Bl Fr Michael Sopocko who received the Divine Mercy in his soul first. He was a bright intelligent man, a professor of theology and the right man to find out if it was true what was going on in St Faustina’s heart.
Bl Fr Michael had a special grace from God to be the confessor of St Faustina. Today you can walk in the footsteps of St Faustina. In Vilnius she walked along the same streets many times, attending the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Ostra Brama, going every first Saturday to the appointment with the painter. Her confessor and Mother Superior sent her for consultations with a psychologist so the doctors could observe her behaviour to determine if she was mentally of sound mind. Bl Fr Michael Sopocko was a great help for St Faustina she wrote “There are lots of things done in this case, that when I think of it, I am amazed Father that you managed to do so. Many things, although it seemed impossible due to accumulated difficulties, I hope that you Father will lead the rest of things and no one else.”
She prayed for Bl Fr Michael Sopocko often doing mortifications for his intentions. For example, she wrote in one of her letters “I put all my soul to help you Father with this great work to establish the Feast of Divine Mercy, with my prayers and burnt sacrifice I will ask for the Lord’s blessing for you my dear Father in this whole matter.” St Faustina was supporting Bl Sopocko by her prayers.
It is a great teaching that we should support our priests by prayers. Thanks to the prayers of St Faustina, Bl Fr Michael Sopocko was very able to carry on with this mission and then hand it over to St John Paul II.
In one of her letters she wrote “I wonder what is new, how about your health my beloved Father, it is His will I ask God for your good health.” St Faustina had a very deep care for her confessor, she was aware that so many things depended upon Bl Fr Michael.
St Faustina received a great help from St Michael, her Confessor and also her guardian angel. I was actually surprised to find there are more than 70 places in the Diary where the angels are mentioned. Consequently it means a lot, because when we read the Diary we encounter the angels. They introduce themselves to us.
In the Diary 1200, she wrote “I thank God for his goodness that He gives angels for our companions. How little people reflect on the fact that they have always beside them a guest and at the same time a witness to everything. I thank God for the angels.” St Padre Pio had a great devotion to the angels; he was a great teacher in advising us on how to take the opportunity of using the angels. He said to one of his spiritual daughters “Remember you are supposed to call and invoke your guardian angel a few times each day, so it becomes routine.” Sometimes we forget about calling on our guardian angel.
St Faustina prayed to her guardian angel and the prayer to St Michael each day - the exorcism prayer by Pope Leo XIII. She often experienced the protection of her guardian angel. Once, when she was on a train, she saw an angel present above each of the churches that she passed. Another time when she was acting as a doorkeeper she was worried about the convent and the sisters because of an uprising in the town and asked the Lord to help, instantly she saw an angel. In a vision Jesus said “Immediately I sent my angel to take care of the sisters.” Jesus sends the angels to help us like he did towards St Faustina.
An angel brought Holy Communion to St Faustina for 13 consecutive days when she was ill. It was an amazing mystical experience. We have to go to Church to receive Holy Communion at the Mass by a priest or a Eucharistic minister.
St Faustina wrote “If the angels were capable of envy they would envy of us two things, Holy Communion and suffering.” The angels can only adore Jesus. We can receive Jesus, He is inside us; in our souls by giving us His body and blood. We do not understand the mystery of suffering. When I suffer I usually take a painkiller. Initially when St Faustina was ill she took tablets from the doctor but when St Faustina was dying she did not take painkillers as she wanted to offer her suffering for the salvation of souls because she knew it was powerful.
To understand suffering is a tremendous grace, pleasure and privilege given only to some people. Saints treat suffering as something sweet. This is a great mystery. Suffering is mentioned in the Diary of St Faustina many times, she had this grace and looked forward to the suffering and also for the conversion of sinners. We believe this because it was said by Jesus. Saints treat suffering as something sweet.
Fr Peter Prusakiewicz CSMA, Poland