I never expected to lead a group of twelve women into a book study, least of all on divine mercy. In fact, six months ago all I could have told you about divine mercy was that it was a particular devotion in our Catholic faith. It’s funny what can happen in unexpected moments of surrender to God, isn’t it?
Divine mercy was a new concept to me, having only been really introduced to it this past year. It wasn’t long after that unintentional introduction (my kids were learning about it at a club they attend) that a fabulous opportunity to review the new book Divine Mercy for Moms arose (by fellow CatholicMom.com contributors, Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet). I heartily jumped at the chance for this spontaneous opportunity, and so this journey began. In this year of mercy, I have been surprised at the opportunities that have arisen for learning about mercy, for living mercy, and for sharing mercy in my life – truly the Spirit is at work.
Coincidentally, it was at this time that a friend approach me to ask if I’d be interested in reading this same book with her and see if we could gather a few other women to do a book study for Divine Mercy for Moms. Within a couple conversations I had the interest of a few other moms and –boom- we were a book club. Five of us would be a great sized group and just think of all the opportunities to share about how divine mercy was working in our own lives – I was thrilled with such a great response! Looking back, it’s not so coincidental anymore.
However, the invitation still was out there and then I started receiving texts from others saying, ‘I’d love to be a part of the group!’ and all of a sudden, we were a book study of twelve women. Twelve! There were so many of us with an interest in growing in divine mercy, and there were also many who asked, ‘Can we do this in the Fall? I can’t make it just now for a club.’
Ladies, this mercy of our Lord’s is already rooted in our hearts – and this book, Divine Mercy for Moms, has proved an accessible and appealing way for many of us to enter into this life of mercy!
As we met over the course of six weeks, we shared stories about our own journeys with divine mercy. Some of us hadn’t realised how ingrained the image of God as judge was in us and how it had influenced our worldview, and were jumping at the chance to be enveloped in the mercy offered to us. Others of us have been remarkably touched by God’s mercy and have been living as much of this life as possible sharing with others about God’s mercy and living the works in the daily grind. Many of us were in between.
One woman in our group shared an amazing story about her daughter: before they were rekindled in their faith as a family, her daughter at age eight started having visions of Jesus during her dreams. There was one morning her daughter told her about the visit, that Jesus had taken her over to a large rock, and they sat down and he began to share with her the prayers of divine mercy and taught her how to pray it. When she told her mother this, she asked her daughter about the prayer and what she remembered of it and lo – she knew it all by heart! Our friend adamantly emphasized that this experience was before a prayer like that would have been spoken in their house, that they had never prayed the chaplet of divine mercy before and there was no human explanation for her daughter knowing perfectly this rhythmic prayer appealing to God’s mercy. This was the start of the fire of faith in their lives, and this is what drove her to divine mercy in her own life, including this book study. What an amazing testimony!
My own story has no miracles (thus far!) but it has become a beautiful marriage to my passion for social justice through the realisation that God’s justice is mercy. The challenges at the end of each chapter highlight just how much God desires mercy for us and desires us to share that mercy. It is our gift and duty to choose the mercy and act against our more natural instincts that lead to anger or aggression or complacency (so easy! Especially with kids!) and we often fail, but Christ’s mercy covers us, redeems us, and brings hope and encouragement. We have nothing to fear!
In the introduction to the book Fr. Michael Gaitley shares that mothers are often the forgotten warriors, but we have a special mission in regards to God’s message of divine mercy. And often we are attendant to this mission without giving ourselves the credit due for the work. How often do we feel that we aren’t praying enough? That we should be going to visit the senior’s home but just don’t have the energy? Or we should be doing this, or that, or the other thing? How much do we focus on that which we aren’t doing and forget the little things that we are doing? It’s not to diminish the areas we can grow, but it was quite the relief when the challenges in the chapters highlighted for myself and other moms how much work in mercy we actually do on a regular basis and had never noticed! I say it again, we are rooted in this mercy and we ache for it. God’s justice is mercy – not damnation – and it’s not enough for us to preach God’s mercy to others, we need to recognise God calling our own name in mercy, not condemnation, and step into that pool of love waiting for us.
Divine Mercy for Moms has opened a door for us to step into that pool, to help recognise our own participation in the merciful life to which God calls us by name. It has been a balm of encouragement and a blessing to share this journey with other women (twelve, in fact!), each of us on our own journey yet growing together. I highly recommend this book as encouragement and a challenge. And the Divine Mercy for Moms website is full of great resources too! Divine Mercy is calling to you – what is waiting for you if you say, “Yes”?
It’s funny what can happen in unexpected moments of surrender to God, isn’t it? What awaits you?
If you’re interested in participating in a Divine Mercy for Moms book club, starting July 9th, 2016, you can join the online community in deepening your faith and rejoicing in the gift of divine mercy! Make sure you check out the article with more deets and don’t hesitate to join in!
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Copyright 2016 Jane Korvemaker