By Scott Foley
Imagine walking into a bank with a friend to inquire about a loan. After a cordial discussion, your loan request is denied due to a lack of collateral, and you make ready to leave. Then, out of left field, you get a bright idea! Interiorly you think, “Why don’t I just ask for twice as much money from the banker?” In a moment of pure insanity, you open your mouth and pitch your new request to the banker. Your friend’s jaw drops at your request, and then in amazement, it drops even farther when the banker smiles and says, “Well of course you can have the loan. Why didn’t you ask for more from the start?”
Fat chance this scenario is going to work the next time you go to the bank, so I do not recommend trying it. Nevertheless, the above story gives us a glimmer of how God actually looks at the world. Case in point, one day St. Faustina is sewing with a crochet hook and then boldly asks Jesus to grant the grace of conversion to as many souls as she makes stiches that day (see Diary #961). To let the gravity of this request sink in, consider that the conversion of sinful souls to friendship with God, “…Is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth.” This insight of St. Augustine, quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, would not deter St. Faustina, for she understood that God’s mercy is inexhaustible.
After Jesus initially refuses her request, St. Faustina confidently presses on saying, “Jesus, you know that it is easier for you to grant much rather than a little.” If this appears like wishful thinking, not so. Jesus sides with the saint, “That is so, it is less difficult for me to grant a soul much rather than a little, but every conversion of a sinful soul demands sacrifice.” Elsewhere in the Diary, Jesus even notes his sadness when souls ask for little, because he wants to grant them very much. These great graces are simply gifts of God, and God is not bound by space or time or by any kind of lack. The passage from Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways,” gives a glimpse of God’s goodness in desiring to give us grace.
So what about the souls? Were they all converted? Well St. Faustina understood, as St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta has put, “It is not how much we do that is pleasing to God, but how much love we put into the doing.” This is a page right out of the playbook of another great saint, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, and her Little Way. St. Faustina was often sick, and therefore she was not always permitted by her superiors to make great sacrifices. Obedient to their wishes, she did the little things she could with supernatural love, the love that is solely a gift of our merciful and loving God. Jesus happily granted St. Faustina’s request, and every stitch she made that day converted a soul. God loves souls infinitely, and a single soul is greater in God’s eyes than all the stars and planets of the entire solar system combined.
Following the example of St. Faustina, we are invited to:
• Ask boldly in prayer (Confident Faith)
It is less difficult for God to grant a soul much rather than a little
If you want to pray for your grandmother, pray for all grandmothers, while specially mentioning your own grandmother.
• Trust in God
Jesus tells St. Faustina that all graces come through one vessel — trust.
God always wants the best for us, no matter what, but that doesn’t mean a Get Out of Suffering and Crosses Free Card.
Not winning the lotto may be a blessing. It just may be that such a thing might actually draw me away from God.
God is pure goodness and mercy, and to live trust is to be filled with praise and thanksgiving.
(Scott Foley is a seminarian for the Diocese of Davenport.)