First, a story of a print of the Divine Mercy: Three years ago, I was in Europe with some fellow colleagues of Chaminade College School and we spent approximately two days in Florence, Italy. When we had time to do some self-discovery in small groups, before lunch, myself and some others came across a plain looking church (which turned out to be the church of San Remigio, with its current structure dating back to the 13th century). This church was not elaborate, but what was inside it was special. Not only was our Eucharistic Lord present (as in any church), but there were some second-class relics of Padre Pio, and a beautiful painting of the Divine Mercy… I’ll be focusing on the image of Divine Mercy in this reflection. I can recall, the church was dark, with some dim sunlight let in through the windows, with the exception of the crucifix in the sanctuary and the image of Divine Mercy which were lit with some spotlights. I remember walking quietly into the church and observing the simplicity of the church. There was barely any art in this church, so I spent a short while, a minute or two gazing at the Divine Mercy painting. Beside it, there were some complimentary prints of the painting, so I took one, carefully stored in a folder and went into my backpack. When I was back at my hotel, I wrote the date on the back of the print: “March 13, 2019.”
This was one of the few souvenirs I got from Florence. But honestly, I paid little attention to it thereafter. It was stored on my desk pad which became buried under a number of other prints. It was only recently when the recent Russian-Ukraine conflicts broke out at the end of February that I started to think about the print. I spent some days frantically looking for it. It may have been the significance of the print as a souvenir that prompted me to find it. However, upon reflection, I think the print is beyond a mere souvenir and leads to a thought deeper than that.
I don’t know if you ever paid close attention to any image of Divine Mercy, but at the bottom, below the feet of Jesus there lies the inscription, “Jesus, I trust in you,” which Jesus instructed Sr. Faustina Kowalska to inscribe on the image of Divine Mercy. Considering the circumstances of the current Russian-Ukraine conflict, the ongoing pandemic, the economic crisis, the migrants and refugees crisis… this invitation, “Jesus, I trust in you,” becomes ever so prevalent. For all the uncertainties in this era in world history, for all the worries of academics and parish ministries, for everything that is going on my life, and your life, the invitation that Jesus gives you through the image of Divine Mercy is, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Looking to another dimension: I recently attended a Come-and-See Retreat at St. Augustine’s Seminary and still, a little over a week now, I continue to reflect on what I experienced that day as well as my own discernment process. It is difficult, to navigate through discernment alone. At times, you come into the mindset that, “I can take care of this myself,” and forget to say and remind oneself, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Therefore, you need the help of your family, friends, spiritual director and members of the community to accompany in this process.
“Jesus, I trust in you,” must be more than a mere slogan. In saying, “Jesus, I trust in you,” we not only say that we are trusting in Jesus like a friend trusting his buddy. It is much deeper than that, I think: In trusting in Jesus, we are required to surrender ourselves to Him. In that, we must be receptive to God’s will, no matter what it is because we know that despite our human frailty, God is good and only desires the best for His sons and daughters.
I don’t think it was a mere coincidence that I frantically went out of my way to find that Florentian souvenir – I needed to be reminded to trust in Jesus this point in my life… more than ever before.