For week 3 of the Secrets of the Sacred Heart Book Club, Michele Faehnle discusses our obligation to share Jesus' mercy with the world.
Promise #6: Sinners will find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
As a lover of both the Sacred Heart and Divine Mercy Devotion, this was my favorite chapter of Secrets of the Sacred Heart, showing the true inseparability of these two devotions. This theme of mercy shares that Jesus’ heart overflows with merciful love for us, and we in turn are to overflow with love to others.
Growing up, my family had a strong love of the Sacred Heart and we participated in First Friday devotions on a regular basis. We kept an image of the Sacred Heart on the mantle and even used a heart-shaped rock as the focus of our fireplace that went from floor to ceiling. Later, we were introduced to the Divine Mercy Devotion and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy became a regular part of our family prayer time. The messages of both these devotions spoke to me deeply, reminding me of God’s constant extension of forgiveness and mercy, the promise of peace in our tumultuous world, and our obligation to share this gift of God’s mercy with the world.
As an adult, I began to actively share the message of Divine Mercy with Emily and my first book, Divine Mercy for Moms, which was our opportunity to share with the world how this devotion touched our lives. As I began to learn more about Jesus’ most merciful heart, I also began to understand the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Not as “dueling devotions” as Emily shared in this chapter, yet their integral complementarity of the truth of His heart, which burns with love for each of us.
It wasn’t until recently that I had a special moment with the devotion to the Sacred Heart. For years, Emily had encouraged me to enthrone my home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a powerful practice she explains as “making Jesus King of homes.” Mostly due to the business of life, I had put this opportunity off. This spring while churches were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, life slowed down and we decided to enthrone our home on Easter Sunday. We began the preparation on Good Friday, along with the Novena for Divine Mercy to prepare our Hearts for Divine Mercy Sunday. We placed our Divine Mercy and Sacred Heart images on our mantle and joined together in prayer. On Easter Sunday we formally enthroned our home and I asked Jesus for special graces for our family.
A few weeks later I received a wonderful gift from Jesus. After the end of the closure of churches, I was very ready to return to Mass in person. However as a school nurse spending 12 weeks reading every scientific study on the coronavirus, I was paralyzed with fear. At the first Mass I attended, I was so anxious: instead of the beautiful Mass I anticipated after being away from the Eucharist for so long, all I could do was think about when I could leave. The following week, I asked Jesus for His great mercy on me to release the anxiety I was experiencing.
The next Sunday, I chose to sit in a different area of the church, in the pew in front of the Sacred Heart altar. Since we usually sat in the front of the church, I had very rarely sat directly under the gaze of Jesus and the Sacred Heart statue. At first, I found myself still gripped with anxiety, but as I gazed upon the stained glass windows with the promises of the Sacred Heart inscribed upon them, I began to relax and talk to God.
As I closed my eyes to pray, an infant sitting a few rows ahead of me began to whimper. With that cry, I felt if the floodgates of mercy were opened upon me. I began to weep as an incredible peace came over me, the knowledge that Jesus was with me and always opening his loving arms to embrace me, no matter what. The anxiety was lifted since that day and that pew underneath the Sacred Heart became our new home in church. Yet more than that, my cold heart was warmed with His love and the desire to share this gift with others.
Let us pray: Lord, have Mercy on me, a sinner!
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Copyright 2021 Michele Faehnle
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About the Author
Michele Faehnle is a wife, mother of 4 and a school nurse. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for the church and is the co-chair of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference. She is also the co-author of The Friendship Project, Divine Mercy For Moms, Our Friend Faustina and Pray Fully; Simple Steps to Becoming a Woman of Prayer. Read more of her work at InspireTheFaith.com.