I will end this series with the Act of Obligation reading from St. Faustina, Diary of Divine Mercy, which sums up total surrender so well. And in the next message, [I will] provide a prayer where you can join me in offering yourself entirely to Jesus. I have shared this reading with all of you before in conjunction with a message but now I would like to examine what she says—what she offers the Lord, how it can relate to us, and how we too can examine our hearts and respond letting go of every attachment and our wills when we belong to Christ in total surrender.
St. Faustina begins,
“Bid me to stay in this convent, and I will stay.” St. Faustina had moved to different convents throughout her religious life because of her illness—she wasn’t at home, and she was willing to give that up. So are you living at a place where it’s very uncomfortable—a bad location, a tough city, or going to a school which you dislike? Are you willing to stay if Jesus asks you to stay? Or maybe the other way around—you have saved to build your dream home—leave in your dream city
and location. What if Jesus asks you to uproot immediately and leave to go somewhere else. Are you surrendered to that and detached from your will?
She continues, “Bid me to undertake the work, I will undertake it.” You see, St. Faustina was called by the Lord to start a community, a congregation of religious sisters, but she really didn’t get support as a nun with this vision. It seemed so far stretched and it came under all manner of opposition. What has the Lord asked you to do? Does it seem impossible or far beyond your reach too? Are you so focused on your inability and your weakness that it has caused you to be insecure and discouraged moving forward? Has everyone scoffed at you —your Christian friends, family members? You have no support in what the Lord told you to do. So will you listen to them or to the Lord and undertake what he asked you to do, surrendering your insecurity to him and trusting him to do it through you?
“Leave me in uncertainty about the work until I die, be blessed.” Certainty is what we build our confidence on. What if Jesus asked for that from you? What if he gave you many visions and dreams in your heart but never made a way to see those things you wished for come to pass? Many times we get so attached to the work, the vision, the promise. What if He leaves you unsure of what to do, how to move forward, where to start? Or if this dream or promise never came to pass in your lifetime here on earth would you be okay with that, totally surrendered to His will?
“Give me death when, humanly speaking, my life seems particularly necessary, be blessed.” You know the saying when someone dies so abruptly—many say they were “gone too soon”. But the Lord knows the timing of our lives and of our loved ones’ lives. What if he asked for your life at your prime, would you surrender that?
“Should you take me in my youth be blessed, should you let me live to a ripe old age be blessed.” The Lord gives and truly takes away. Are you willing to give him your youth? Are you willing to give him your old age which comes with all the aches, pains, and long-sufferings?
“Should You give me health and strength, be blessed. Should You confine me to a bed of pain my whole life, be blessed.” The Lord gives us our health and he also permits sickness. Although many see sickness as punishment or judgment on a soul, it can be, but sometimes it can be a cross. Are you willing to surrender to whichever lot he has destined for you? To be in a bed of pain your whole life is a hard and painful sacrifice, one that Father Ezekiel lives daily, now going on three years. Many who are Quadriplegic, or elderly carry this cross daily. What if the Lord asked for your strength and health, would you be able to surrender that?
“Should you give only failures and disappointment in life, be blessed.” This one I am starting to know very familiarly as the Lord has given me this cross to carry from time to time and I am coming to terms with this. We have been taught to be so goal-oriented, so this is a hard cross to carry. When all your labor comes up as ashes and failures, not only is it humiliating (which is good for the soul), but it can easily get you discouraged when you look at the results of your work. Whereas Jesus rewards us for the labor undertaken and doesn’t care for the results at all. We must leave all results to Jesus and do all he asks us to out of the purest motive of love and let the seeds fall where they may, as St. Therese would say. Lord help us.
“Should you allow my purest intentions to be condemned, be blessed.” When you are misunderstood, judged, or what you said or did was twisted in a negative way do you defend yourself? Or even justify yourself? Or do you silently receive the reproach and scorn? Many times our pride does the first. It jumps to save our necks, our name, our character, and our actions, whereas Jesus would rather we humbly submit to this cross— the crown of thorns that he wore for us and was
silent before Pilate and all his accusers, saying nothing when his actions were condemned. Can we surrender to that?
“Should you enlighten my mind, be blessed. Should you leave me in darkness and all kinds of torments, be blessed.” So you see, to Jesus, those who are enlightened minds and those who are under constant oppression, depression, and torments are one and the same. No one soul is better. There are many times I have pondered the sovereignty of God and that he can take from me at any time, any sacrifice He wants. He could take my mind in an instant if he needed that as a sacrifice, and having to seem as a mad man in the streets—which makes you look at those who have been left in darkness and torments—could this be the Lord’s will for them? Could be, in all of this it causes us to examine ourselves and our level of surrender. We easily can praise God when he lavishes consolations, heavenly wisdom and heavenly experiences but can we praise him in complete surrender and abandonment to our will when we are in anguish, under the oppression or even possession of a devil fighting all sorts of torments and temptations. Can we praise him and offer him that sacrifice?
St. Faustina found the way in living out this scripture Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Because she lived for the will of God she rejoiced in everything. Therefore that is why she told the Lord, “Be blessed in whatever You will, to do to me.”
“All for Souls.” That is our motto as Heartdwellers. We are to be brides dwelling in the heart of God, being living sacrifices giving Him access to ourselves completely, refusing him nothing. When we belong to Christ we have to see him in every pain, trial, heartache, loss, gain, healing, blessing, restoration because it is all the same from the hand of our Beloved God—using us as he pleases, all for the sake of our own sanctification, and for the salvation of souls. So, are you ready to surrender your entire self to Jesus?