Blessed Is She Who Believed

Josephine had plans for her life: she was working and getting ready to go back to school; she even had a ‘vision board’ with all of her goals for the future. Getting pregnant before marriage was not one of them. When she found out that she was pregnant, one of the first things she did was find a priest to go to Confession. But the pressure from everyone around her was too strong and she made an appointment for an abortion. At the clinic, she saw a sonogram of her baby and received the grace to walk out. Then she remembered that the priest had given her our number and she called us. Now, just 24 hours later, she was kneeling in our chapel and praying this prayer:

“Lord, I do believe that you have a great plan for me and this baby. I know that you will take care of me like you have always taken care of me.  I’m sorry for all of my sins; please forgive me. You know that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. It’s scary, but I believe everything will be okay.  I thank You, Lord, for all the many blessings of my life, and I thank You for the gift of this baby.”

As she prayed this prayer, I was deeply touched by her courage and her extraordinary faith. It struck me that this simple yet profound prayer could teach all of us so much about the mercy of God and how to receive that mercy.

The first thing we can learn from Josephine and her prayer is faith and trust. She is afraid, but she believes in her heavenly Father’s goodness and trusts in His providential care. Jesus told St. Faustina: “The graces of My mercy are drawn by one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” Josephine’s ‘yes’ to this child was and will continue to be an act of pure faith and trust in God. Even though she will be able to continue with many of her plans, her life will nonetheless change dramatically: she now has a little soul entrusted by God to her care. All of her family and friends are telling her she can’t do this, that it will ruin her life, yet by the grace of God, like Our Lady, she has the courage to say ‘yes’. She believes in God’s love and mercy and she trusts in His plan for her life. “Yes, blessed is she who believed, that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:45)

It is this great faith and trust that Josephine has in the Lord that enables her to pray the second part of her prayer: “I’m sorry Lord for all my sins, please forgive me. You know this is the hardest thing I’ve had to face ….I know that You will take care of me.” In humility, she knows that she has done wrong, that she has many faults and failings, that she is a sinner. Yet she doesn’t let this discourage her or turn her away from God – rather by acknowledging her weakness, she also acknowledges her need for Him. Once again she trusts enough in the heavenly Father’s goodness and mercy that she knows He will lift her up. St. Peter Julian Eymard says “If you fall, raise yourself up again by humble trust and repentance. Self-abasement that is content to remain in its abjection is the same as pride humiliated and in defiance. Sincere humility flies to God on wings of faith.

Josephine’s true humility leads her, and us, to the final and possibly most striking and admirable element of Josephine’s prayer, which is praise and thanksgiving – “ … and I thank You Lord for all the many blessings of my life and I thank You for the gift of this baby.” She is not only grateful to God for the mercy He has shown her by forgiving her failings, she also recognizes the blessings of her life as mercy received from Him. With the eyes of faith and living in a spirit of gratitude, Josephine is able to praise and thank God in this situation of trial and uncertainty. This truly is the greatest and most beautiful expression of her trust in Him.

Blessed Mother, we continue to celebrate in a special way in this Easter season the Passion, Death and Resurrection of your Son, in which He reveals to us the depths of the Father’s love and mercy. Please, journey with us and help us to open our eyes to see and our hearts to receive His fathomless mercy. With great trust, humility and gratitude we join with the whole church in proclaiming that “His mercy endures forever!” (Psalm 88)