Sarah Reinhard reflects on her struggle with trust and the help she receives from the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
Spring is well underway — with all its gusty unpredictability, and I'm left with a lot of mud on my hands. It's on our shoes, in the yard, and seemingly on flat surface of my home on some days.
I can't help but be grateful on so many levels.
Mud means spring, and spring means many of my favorite things all at one time.
There’s sunshine and new life and outside activity. This all calls for an increase in trust, whether it’s when one of my kids is on a 2000-pound horse or behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
The trust I have to embrace is pretty huge, but it's nothing like the trust I'm called to have.
The Sunday after Easter was named Divine Mercy Sunday by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 2000, and it was celebrated as such for the first time in 2001, the same year I entered the Catholic Church.
Trust has never been one of my stronger character traits. I could dig back in my personal history and give you a litany of reasons why, but I've come to accept that it's just something I need to work on. Again and again and AGAIN.
The Divine Mercy image has never really made sense to me. I've never really liked it, to be honest, though I couldn't tell you why. Maybe it's so often made "pretty" and "glossy" and "fancy," while trust seems to be such a dirty and nitty-gritty sort of experience for me. Maybe it's my ongoing learning to appreciate art in various forms. Maybe it's that I don't get why God loves me so much.
But the Divine Mercy Chaplet does resonate with me, and it speaks to my heart. When I pray it, I am often overcome with emotion and, however much I may try to speed through it, I am always somehow moved internally by it.
The chaplet's never ousted the Rosary in my hierarchy of devotions, but it's become a go-to for me over the years. There's comfort to be had in letting go and trusting God … if only I remember to do it.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet has taught me a lot about Mary. As I contemplate the words in their cycle, I see her as a guide to understanding God’s infinite mercy. The words become a way to keep my restless self busy as my mind delves deeper into the idea of how much God must really love me.
He gave His Son; His Son said Yes to the Cross. Though the language feels old-fashioned, at first, it also reminds me of the timelessness of God. Though it always feels like I don’t have time, like I can skip it just this once, like I can save it for later, I need the daily reminder of God’s mercy and love.
With so much wrong in the world, the Divine Mercy Chaplet anchors me in hope, with Mary guiding me to a deeper understanding of her Son.
The Chaplet has also made me think about how Mary must have used prayer in her daily life. I’m pretty sure she had a fair share of stress in her life. Life back in those days was hard in a way few of us can appreciate. She wasn’t rich, and she didn’t have the luxury of sitting down for a few minutes of “Me Time.”
I wonder, though, how prayer played a part in Mary’s life, how conversation with God — both the talking and the listening — worked in her life.
When she woke up to the silent house, everyone else still barely asleep, did she share those precious still moments with God? As she scrubbed, did she silence herself and wait for the small Voice to pierce through the activity?
As she prepared food, did she laughingly recount Jesus’ latest antics to His Father? Before collapsing at night on her bed, did she offer a thankful Psalm of praise?
That’s my goal: Be more like Mary. (If anyone who actually knows me is reading this, keep laughing. And say another prayer for me, because you know how badly I need it!)
I’m failing daily. Over the years, I’ve learned that failure is almost necessary; it’s a feedback loop that helps me grow. Don’t be fooled into thinking I like it, though.
I will be reaching out, yet again this Divine Mercy Sunday, and reminding myself to really believe the message of mercy: "Jesus, I trust in you."
Copyright 2021 Sarah Reinhard
Images (from top): Canva Pro; Eugeniusz Karimirowski (1934), Public Domain; copyright 2021 Sarah Reinhard, all rights reserved.
About the Author
When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.