By Andrew Ryan Duckworth
Oh, Sister, Saint Faustyna, What occurred on your worst day? What spiritual pain came about this plane To prompt the words you say? Horrors call out from the reeking deep, Coming to the world while the world is asleep, And the haunts that haunted years before Have come to Earth to creep. Oh, Sister, Saint Faustyna, Your cries for mercy heard. I hope my God might hear our cries, The calls that echo from the wise. Rise... Rise to the Heavens, pleading words. Has Satan stolen Saint Peter's Chair? Will the world be able to see him there? Is something amiss in the Holy Church? Is one still alive who bothers to care? The feast is almost ready for those who are blessed. How I wish to be counted among the guests, Near the Heavenly Thrones among the clouds Where the blessed savior gives holy rest. Oh, Sister, Saint Faustyna, Who pleaded mercy most, May the Lord still hear our sorrowful sighs, Our desperate pleas, our meaningful cries To join the Heavenly Host.
Lately, I have been meditating on the lives and times of the Saints. Call it a cry for wisdom from those who came before, from those who lived charitable lives of selflessness, from those who held God as their number one priority. Today’s busy, crazy, and unforgiving world can be full of distractions. It is something that I often feel guilty about, not putting my relationship with Christ as my number one priority. It is difficult. There’s a job to worry about, a family to worry about, a pandemic to worry about, etc. Mindless distraction after mindless distraction. However, let us not kid ourselves. Many of the Saints lived during times of tremendous turmoil. They may not have had social media to constantly remind them of this. Instead, they had reality. The reality for many of them was that life was incredibly difficult. Some lived during times of ravaging epidemic. Many of them kept a skeptical eye towards those in power, including those of the Church. Yet, they remained dedicated. They continued to strive for something greater than this earthly life. That is where this poem came from. But, as I’m sure you noticed, that is not where this poem ends.
Presently, I’ve never been more skeptical of those in power than I am today. This includes Church leadership. My searching of the lives of the Saints brought about many thoughts of concern. If it was any indication by my last poem, I firmly believe that we are living in the days of the Apocalypse. I obviously won’t put a timeframe on it, as only the Father knows the time. But current events lead me to believe that many of the Apocalypse’s more notorious happenings are playing out as we stay mindlessly and helplessly attached to our smartphones. Perhaps we are too busy to notice. However, something that concerns me greatly is the current leadership of the Church of Rome, the church I grew up in, and a church that is still very near and dear to my heart. I won’t accuse any one figurehead in particular, although if you know your terminology, I’m sure you can manage a fairly accurate guess. Should I be wrong in my assumptions, may God grant me mercy.
Throughout her life, Saint Faustyna, often spelled Faustina, pleaded for divine mercy. It is where the hour of mercy comes from, beginning at 3 pm. It is during this hour that many Catholics that are able pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It begins with an opening prayer the Lord’s Prayer and, through this, is prayed on a rosary with the prayer of Divine Mercy (“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” For each bead of the decade, the following is recited: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on us and on the whole world”). Saint Faustyna also had visions of Christ, recorded in her private writings. The significance of 3 pm is that it calls to mind the hour of Christ’s crucifixion, particularly the darkest hour. There is a beauty to this devotion, notably that it cries out for that which we most need, mercy. I know, as someone who remains deeply flawed in an abundance of ways, that I’m in need of mercy.
This poem is the first of many along this particular subject. Others will deal with themes more connected to the lives of particular Saints. For that reason, I have titled the poem series Saints at the End of the World.
This writing is the work of its author, Andrew Ryan Duckworth, and can in no way be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form without request from the author.