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The Last Wish Of Pope John Paul IIThe Life And Messages Of Saint Faustina Kowalska
By Susan Crimp Sister Paulette Honeygosky Maxine Burton
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2009 Susan Crimp, Sister Paulette Honeygosky, vsc., and Maxine Burton
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHumble beginnings
"You will prepare the world for my final coming." -Diary Entry 429
If you have faith, the notion that Christ would impart messages in a Diary to warn the world of His final coming may not seem at all preposterous and no explanation as to why Christ might have sent these messages to be revealed at the start of the 21st century is necessary. Indeed, in addition to the international tensions over the Middle East conflict, what humanity has witnessed since the start of the new millennium is almost beyond comprehension with terror attacks in the name of Islam in virtually every corner of the globe. This is also the century that saw Sister Faustina Kowalska become its first Canonized Saint. If, on the other hand, you do not have faith, it is conceivable that no explanation is possible. Yet even when examining the story of Faustina from a skeptical perspective, it is very difficult to get past several facts. Additionally, regardless of one's religious or non-religious belief, it is very difficult not to believe that our world at this juncture inhistory is desperately in need of hope and much prayer. Nevertheless, why would humanity need an Image, with the inscription "Jesus I trust in you" as well as a prayer asking for God's Mercy to be sanctioned by the Vatican specifically in April 2000? After all, on the face of it there have been thousands of different icons and images of Christ presented over the Centuries. Why is this one any different? Could it be that this Image, which Christ Himself instructed Faustina to have painted, represents the true face of the coming messiah? Why is it that when this Image is superimposed onto the Shroud of Turin that it provides a precise match? Do recent World events suggest that mankind is on a downward spiral and might possibly need divine reassurance? Could this possibly explain why these messages were sent to us for revelation now? Furthermore, is this all a divine mystery that could only be more fully revealed at this particular moment in time when we might better need and understand it?
Let us consider some facts about what has happened to our World since the turn of the 21st Century. All of us are horribly aware where we were on September 11, 2001 when America was attacked by Islamic fundamentalists. Now, all these years later it is still almost impossible to fully comprehend the death toll on that day-calculated to be over 2,900. The events that unfolded following September 11th are equally terrifying. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the countless terror attacks all over the world including Bali, Madrid, London, Russia, Pakistan, China and Israel-along with the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as a world in economic turmoil. There is it seems that no area of the world is immune from tragedy, and ever increasing natural tragedies have also given us cause for concern. In Iran on December 26, 2003, a major earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale hit the southeastern province of Bam, killing 43,000 people and injuring thousands of others, leaving an estimated 75,000 people homeless. Disaster struck again exactly one year later in 2004 in South East Asia in the Indian Ocean tsunami, and even now officials still don't know exactly how many people died. A tally of conservative government figures puts the number of dead and missing at more than 216,000 in 11 countries. August 2005, saw Hurricane Katrina hit America taking around 1,033 lives in its path. Two months later, in October 2005, over 80,000 people were lost in an earthquake in Pakistan. While in May, 2008 a cyclone of mammoth proportions claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in Burma, and a massive earthquake left an equally horrifying death toll in China.
There are also other forces at work which also pose a threat to the security of the world. In Iran, President Mahmoud believes he must bring about the end-times and pave the way for the return of the Shi'a Muslim Messiah figure known as Imam al-Mahdi. Ordinarily such statements would be dismissed as the ranting of a madman. Clearly though, Ahmadinejad's power on the world stage cannot be ignored. Iran has a large proportion of the world's oil supply and can threaten to hold the world ransom.
Given that the Islamic Republic of Iran also continues to pursue its nuclear program, all the while voicing his opinion that Israel should cease to exist as a nation, we have a right to be concerned that its leader is waiting for his apocalyptic so-called Messiah.
In fact a majority of Muslims believe the "12th Iman" or Mahdi, an Islamic messianic figure, was placed in hiding until al-Qiyama or "The Day of Judgment". There is much dissent among Muslim factions as to who this savior figure will be and where and when he will return. Some factions even believe this Mahdi may be Jesus himself. However, almost all Muslims agree that in order for this day to arrive, Israel must be destroyed. A chilling thought considering that in June 2007 radical Islamic extremists took over Gaza leaving Israel with a radical Islamic neighbor that wishes to destroy her. Additionally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been cited by various news sources as not only believing in the eventual return of the Mahdi, but that the return is near and that it is the responsibility of the Iranian government to prepare the country for the occasion. The Iranian President's anticipation of the 12th Imam and his call for his return along with his derogatory religious rhetoric towards the nation of Israel is certainly a far cry from the belief system of the views of the late Pope John Paul II, whose funeral the Iranian President ironically attended. Certainly the Iranian's comments regarding his denial of the Holocaust and the elimination of the State of Israel are totally against the mindset of any rational or God-fearing human being, and certainly contrary to the late Holy Father; who believed in the Divine Mercy of God and the exhibiting of love to all the people of the world regardless of their belief system. Whichever way we confront the issue, fundamentalist Islam is at war with Christians, Jews and apparently anyone not of its same mindset, including peaceful Muslims. A position polar opposite to Pope John Paul II who spent his life exhibiting love to all people and who made a point of visiting every corner of the world to express his concern for the entire human family. This desire to show love came as a result of a call from God, compassion from birth and also as a direct result of messages contained in Saint Faustina's Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Could it be that, just as Joan of Arc was given a divine mission from God so many centuries ago, so also has Faustina Kowalska been commissioned to spiritually prepare the world for the great difficulties that may lie ahead?
This was certainly a notion that had occurred to Pope John Paul II when he stated that he wanted the message of The Diary known to the whole world. Current world events seem to bear out the need for this. The US government was trying to establish a new anti-missile site in Europe designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United States and its European allies. In a twist of irony the location was going to be Poland. In one of the dictations in The Diary Christ talks to Faustina about her native land.
I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for my final coming. -Diary entry 1732
International concerns over the nuclear issue were highlighted as of September 2006, when Russia and Iran signed a deal in Moscow envisaging the launch of Iran's nuclear reactor very soon. Fears were also heightened when Russian troops stormed into Georgia in 2008.
It is sadly true that new tensions are emerging throughout the world daily. Yet while this may bring with it a certain measure of fear, it is quite evident that Faustina's Diary and its message are perfectly suited for such a time as this, not only to give us hope, but also to confirm to us that evil will not have the last word. The messages come above all to reassure us that a merciful and just God is indeed in charge and He is watching over us all. Indeed, Pope John Paul II, was well aware of the vital importance of the messages and the Image, and was determined that everyone on earth should know about them. Yet, the question remains as to why would the most famous Pope that ever lived would stake his impeccable reputation on these messages?
Could it be that this is all part of the Divine plan unfolding according to a Divine timetable?
In fact whether you are a person of faith or not, it is certainly interesting to note that even the greatest scientist who ever lived, the man who single-handedly invented modern science, Sir Issac Newton, was certain that the entire universe and even the Bible itself, was a "cryptogram set by the Almighty"-a puzzle which God had made, meant to be solved by man. Modern science was not enough however for Newton-he also believed we needed ancient wisdom to solve the ultimate mysteries. After his death, when Newton's writings were discovered at Cambridge University, they contained millions of words about ancient civilizations, and details of a code in the Bible and the Apocalypse.
More recently newly discovered writings of Newton reveal he believed the world could end in 2060. Whether his findings are accurate remains to be seen. What we do know is that a simple nun was given instructions to prepare the world for the final coming of Christ and Pope John Paul II believed her. It is our hope that this book will demonstrate to the soul with an open mind and heart that all of the pieces of Faustina's enigmatic and puzzling life and message as well as the long process of canonization that followed, can be seen to all flow and fit together quite beautifully to form for us a picture of an infinitely merciful and loving God who is reaching out to all of mankind in the midst of a very troubled age. A time in history when Islamic fundamentalists are asking us to reconsider who the God of the Bible actually is? Maybe now is the right time to know the story of Saint Faustina and her messages.
Indeed, if Faustina's messages have been sent for global revelation to us at this time then it is indeed prophetic.
We are after all in a world turned upside down and involved in religious differences. Should we therefore consider the possibility of Divine timing, and also the most important role of Divine providence? Many in the highest echelons of the Vatican had no choice but to put the revelations of St. Faustina into the category of Divine origin, because as they investigated Faustina's revelations, they concluded mere coincidence could not provide all of the necessary answers.
Why were two people who had never met-both from Poland-one a Pope, the other a humble nun able to help bring these messages to the World? Is it part of a Divine plan or is it all a mere coincidence? Even the theological study conducted to validate or dismiss Faustina states: If the revelation didn't come from God but were the product of a morbid imagination or the result of illusion created by a malevolent Spirit, Helena Faustina would have been an unlikely person.
Now, as the story of Faustina's spiritual journey unfolds, new light can be shed on the significance of current news events and The Diary and maybe help to explain why Pope John Paul II wanted everyone to know the messages and see the Image imparted to her. For the moment however, it is important to understand who Faustina was, what drew her to Christ. Additionally we shall discover what made her open to receive these instructions and why God chose her.
It all begins with the story of a simple woman who chose a life of service to God but ultimately becomes the receiver of Divine messages and an Image sent to be shared with all mankind.
Given the mammoth task assigned to her, it is interesting that in light of her humble and poverty-stricken background, Helena Kowalska never even saw a newspaper as a child. Indeed this is quite ironic given the enormity of what she was expected to undertake for humanity and also considering that, following her death, she became not only a major story at the Vatican, but also the instrument that formed the papacy of the most famous and media friendly Pope in history.
Faustina's ultimate journey all seems a million miles away from the early years of this young woman's life. The little girl baptized Helena Kowalska would one day become known as Saint Faustina. Today Poland, a devoutly Catholic nation, is the destination for millions of pilgrims from all over the world who travel to pray at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the tomb of Saint Faustina and the childhood home of Pope John Paul II. The country is now a member of the European Community and Poles have a tremendous sense of patriotic pride and optimism about their future. It is indeed a very different landscape from the country that baby Helen Kowalska was born into on August 25, 1905.
To describe the Kowalska family as poor would be an understatement. Despite their material poverty however, they were abundantly rich in their Catholic faith. Their home-a tiny stone cottage comprised of two bedrooms-made living conditions somewhat cramped for ten children and their parents. Aside from their faith, there was nothing which set the Kowalska's apart from any other struggling family in the tiny village, unknown to the rest of the world. Even today, the obscure village of Glogoweic is of such little consequence to Poland that the birthplace of one of the country' s greatest Saints does not even feature on maps of the country but merely makes up part of the town of Swinice Warickie. Although Faustina's life would pass by without respect or recognition, from the moment she was born her mother Marianna believed she was different. This fact is confirmed by her mother's statement following Faustina's birth: That blessed Child sanctified my womb". This comment was not repeated at the births of Faustina's siblings. Clearly from the moment of her birth there was something special about her. Something, which evident by the comment she made, even her Mother believed was direct from God. This was not just an emotional response to the birth of a child. In fact, her mother was grateful for the birth of a healthy baby because prior to Faustina her mother had endured two extremely painful pregnancies and two of her other children had died in infancy. Indeed, there are no documented references which refer to the holiness of her other children.
Of course, she loved them equally, but Mrs. Kowalska clearly sensed that there was something different about young Helena. Indeed, the entire family seemed rather special, because while their life was one of constant struggle not even their extreme poverty could sway their faith and trust in God. Indeed the Kowalska's piety was quite remarkable in light of the fact that they appeared to have very little else. According to Faustina's official biographer and the woman responsible for translating The Diary into English, one of the world's foremost experts on Faustina and her messages, Sister Sophia Michalenko, the Kowalska's lived off the land but the soil was far from fertile. "In the poor soil, only potatoes and rye grew with any success. There were also pastures on which cows were allowed to graze, but only after the second haying." The backdrop of the nation did not appear to help either. Poland faced great unrest at the turn of the 20th century as a result of a poor economy and with the constant threat of revolutionary unrest and general strikes. While Faustina's father owned a number of acres of land, the income was not enough to support ten children. Industrious and devoted, Stanislaus would supplement his income by working as a carpenter. It is interesting to note that many of the Saints of the Church, especially the seers and visionaries including Bernadette at Lourdes, the Fatima children and of course Joan of Arc, would also suffer as a result of poverty in childhood. The other common denominator was their unequivocal trust in God. While young Helena's faith came from God, there can be no doubt that it was also positively reinforced by her parents, especially by her father, who despite the tremendous financial pressures he faced, could frequently be heard in the family home uttering the words, "The first duty is to God". Her Father would never miss Mass on Sunday and even in old age, when he was bedridden and his health would not allow him to attend services, he would hang his watch over the bed and participate spiritually. Her parent's piety was a trait Helena would inherit. As soon as she was able to speak, she could be heard reciting short prayers at home. The faith of Faustina's family was simply extremely strong. Life as a child was very difficult for young Helena but she was determined to battle on regardless of what obstacles came her way. This training would hold her in good stead for her mission on earth, which was to persuade the Catholic Church that Jesus had a message for all mankind, a message for believers and nonbelievers.
Excerpted from The Last Wish Of Pope John Paul II by Susan Crimp Sister Paulette Honeygosky Maxine Burton Copyright © 2009 by Susan Crimp, Sister Paulette Honeygosky, vsc., and Maxine Burton. Excerpted by permission.
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Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction: Pope John Paul II's Last Wish: The Message Of Faustina Kowalska....................xi
Part One: The Woman Who Interviewed Christ....................1
Chapter 1. Sister Faustina's Humble Beginnings....................3
Chapter 2. Unanswered Call....................15
Chapter 3. Convent Life....................23
Chapter 4. The Image....................33
Chapter 5. A Trusting Soul....................50
Chapter 6. The Messages Continue....................56
Chapter Seven. The Diary....................64
Chapter 8. Diary Destroyed....................72
Chapter 9. A Holy Death....................76
Part Two: Maria Faustina Kowalska and Karol Wojtyla - A Match Made in Heaven....................82
Chapter 10. Divine Providence....................84
Chapter 11. The Cardinal Becomes Pope....................90
Chapter 12. Miracles Can Happen....................104
Chapter 13. Misunderstood Soul Becomes a Saint....................110
Chapter 14. Papal Seal of Approval....................118
Chapter 15. Death of Pope John Paul II. Faustina's Friend Joins Her in Heaven....................126
Part Three: The True Face of the Coming Messiah....................130
16. The Image and the Shroud....................132
17. Heaven Sent?....................139
18. Faustina's Image of Christ and its Significance Today....................143
19. The Jesus of Christianity - The Jesus of Islam....................153
20. Fatima, Medjugorge, and Garabandal....................159
21. Faustina's Diary and its Message For Us Today....................171