One of the things I have picked up doing in prayer is reading religious material. This could be books by or about the saints, official Church documents, books about what the Church teaches, etc.
In 2019, some of the books I’ve read in prayer include Why I Love Being Catholic, Defiant Daughters: Christian Women of Conscience, Saint Joan: The Girl Soldier, Making Missionary Disciples: How to Live the Method Modeled by the Master, and The Name of God is Mercy. So while it took me a while to finish each of these books, they were still fairly easy to understand.
But the book I am currently reading is a bit more difficult to get through. And this book is the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. Many of you have probably heard of it, and some of you may have even read it. But for those of you who may not know the background of this book or what it’s about, don’t worry.
Saint Faustina was a Polish nun in the 1930s. She had an immensely close relationship with God, especially the person of Jesus. She kept notebooks detailing her spiritual life, her prayer, her relationship with Jesus and the Blessed Mother, and even how she interacted with others based on what she experienced in her spiritual life. She was the one that Jesus wanted to help with the painting of the Divine Mercy image.
Back in mid-April of this year (2019), I decided to start reading this book composed of her notebooks. Since picking up the book, I’ve only read roughly 200 pages of the over 700 page book.
There are places in this book that I’ve been able to underline, note, learn something from, or relate to. But for most of the book, I’ve struggled with moving forward and connecting with anything she’s written down.
Faustina did a spectacular job at tracking everything that went through her mind, heart, and soul. But I think what makes it difficult for me to connect with much of what she says is that we’re in different places in life. She was a nun who seemed to be confident in her relationship and identity in Jesus. But I am a lay person who struggles to think about Jesus inside and outside of prayer. I’m a girl whose relationship with Jesus is nowhere near the level of relationship Faustina had with Him.
What make this even more difficult is that I may have this idea that Faustina’s level of intimacy with Jesus is unattainable knowing who I am (or who I think I am) as a person.
For most of my life, my relationship with Jesus has either been nonexistent or incredibly iffy. And even now, in my 20s, I have almost a fear of intimacy. Especially with someone who I can’t see, hear, or touch like I would with others. I’m just recently starting to get the tendrils of actual belief that God is indeed real and present in my life.
So, needless to say, Faustina and I are on different levels of spirituality and intimacy with God.
And, to be honest, I’ve thought about shelving the book for the time being and returning to it at a later date. But I don’t like the idea of shelving a book without finishing it. So I’ve kept on moving through the book (even though I might not finish it this year). We’ll have to see how it goes.
Until next time!