Sunday, May 5, 2013

Divine Mercy and Human Desire

Colleen Caroll Campbell has written a dynamite book, My Sisters, the Saints.  

I am reading it aloud to my wife Karen.  Tonight I read Chapter Three, which is about how St. Faustina and the concept of Divine Mercy helped Colleen to make a very difficult decision in 2003, the year she served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

My ears perked up at Colleen's mention of Divine Mercy because Divine Mercy Sunday was a watershed day for me this year, and also because I was feeling a bit guilty about the post I wrote earlier today, Women's Lib: Single, Female, Dog-Lover, Meth Addict.  I felt guilty for saying there things like ...
The fact is - women are not made for this - not made to be "single young professionals".  This is not the form God molded for women.  A woman is meant for far greater and far more mysterious things than climbing the corporate ladder and doing enough amphetamines to get her through the day
I mean, that's a bit harsh - maybe even a bit chauvinistic.  Though Chesterton's quote is more apt ...
Modern women defend their office with all the fierceness of domesticity. They fight for desk and typewriter as for hearth and home, and develop a sort of wolfish wifehood on behalf of the invisible head of the firm. That is why they do office work so well; and that is why they ought not to do it.
But Colleen's Chapter Three was all about this very issue, written from the inside out - from inside the Beltway, no less, and from breaking out.  Colleen says of her life in Washington, DC and of the dilemma she faced there ...
A lifetime of striving had brought me to the epicenter of worldly power.  Now that I finally could direct my workaholic tendencies into the high-pressure, high-status job I always had dreamed of, my drive to strive had waned.  God had replaced it with new yearnings: for union with John, for time with my father, for a personal life that no longer merely fit into the margins of my career.
One of the things that brought Colleen around to making the right decision - a decision that involved sacrifice and courage, a decision contrary to everything the world now tells young women they should do - was Psalm 37.

As it turns out, earlier today I had read Psalm 37 and highlighted the very verses Colleen quotes in her book.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Now, this "desires of your heart" - this speaks deeply to me.  But we miserable sinners, especially we miserable sinners who are addicts of one sort or another, we think our worldly desires - our lusts - are no different than the much deeper and much more profound "desires of our hearts".  Even popular Catholics make this mistake.  I don't know about you, but if left to my own resources, I would rather seek Power than Love, Control than Trust, Apotheosis than Humility.  We addicts want to Live the Lie, it's what we think will get us there; the fix will fix everything, or so we think.

And so the simple challenge, "Trust in the Lord and do good."  "Feed on His faithfulness".  (What a line!  "Feed on His faithfulness")  "And He shall give you the desires of your heart" - not just satiate our lusts, but fulfill our deepest desires - this simple challenge is a challenge indeed!

For the message of Divine Mercy is simply this: "Jesus, I trust in you."
"The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust," Jesus told Faustina, according to her diary.  "The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive."
Not only, Lord, do I believe that You are faithful (I know I'm hardly faithful, but You are always faithful), not only do I believe that You're faithful, I will "feed" on Your faithfulness as Your 37th Psalm says.  I will delight in You and You will give me the desires of my heart - for my deepest desire is simply to be united to You.

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