Wednesday 22 November 2023

Jesus I Trust in You: A 30-Day Personal Retreat with the Litany of Trust - Sr. Faustina Maria Pia

Jesus I Trust in You: 
A 30-Day Personal Retreat with the Litany of Trust
Sr. Faustina Maria Pia
ISBN 9781645851448
eISBN 9781645851455

This first time I saw the cover of this volume I wanted to read this book. I did not know anything about it or the author. But I knew it was a book I wanted to read and one that I needed to read. It was really hard to read this over the set days. Often I wanted to just keep reading. The description of this book is:

“We were made for love, and love requires trust. In Jesus I Trust in A 30-Day Personal Retreat with the Litany of Trust , Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, S.V., learn what it means to place our trust in Jesus—no matter the circumstances. 

In this powerful invitation to a loving, trusting relationship with our Lord, you will pray with the Litany of Trust to overcome every obstacle to peace.”

About the Sisters of Life at the end of the volume we are informed that:

“Founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor, the Sisters of Life are Catholic religious women who are captivated by the truth of the beauty of every human person, created in God’s image and likeness. Immersed in Eucharistic prayer within a vibrant community life, the Sisters seek to help each person experience themselves as sacred, valuable, and worthy of love.”

About the author on the publisher’s site we are informed:

“Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, S.V. was raised in Somers, Connecticut and studied Human Services and Nursing, desiring to serve those who are suffering. After experiencing a call from Jesus, she entered the Sisters of Life in 2009 and professed her final vows in 2018. The Sisters of Life are a community of religious women who vow to protect the sacred dignity of every human life; their missions include serving women in crisis pregnancies and women who have suffered the wound of abortion. Sr. Faustina currently resides in New York and serves as the local superior of the Sacred Heart Convent.”

The chapters in the volume are:

1. From the belief that I have to earn Your love, deliver me, Jesus.
2. From the fear that I am unlovable, deliver me, Jesus.
3. From the false security that I have what it takes, deliver me, Jesus.
4. From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute, deliver me, Jesus.
5. From all suspicion of Your words and promises, deliver me, Jesus.
6. From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You, deliver me, Jesus.
7. From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will, deliver me, Jesus.
8. From anxiety about the future, deliver me, Jesus.
9. From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past, deliver me, Jesus.
10. From restless self-seeking in the present moment, deliver me, Jesus.
11. From disbelief in Your love and presence, deliver me, Jesus.
12. From the fear of being asked to give more than I have, deliver me, Jesus.
13. From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth, deliver me, Jesus.
14. From the fear of what love demands, deliver me, Jesus.
15. From discouragement, deliver me, Jesus.
16. That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me, Jesus, I trust in You.
17. That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings and transforms me, Jesus, I trust in You.
18. That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You, Jesus, I trust in You.
19. That You are with me in my suffering, Jesus, I trust in You.
20. That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next, Jesus, I trust in You.
21. That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church, Jesus, I trust in You.
22. That Your plan is better than anything else, Jesus, I trust in You.
23. That You always hear me and in Your goodness always respond to me, Jesus, I trust in You.
24. That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others, Jesus, I trust in You.
25. That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked, Jesus, I trust in You.
26. That my life is a gift, Jesus, I trust in You.
27. That You will teach me to trust You, Jesus, I trust in You.
28. That You are my Lord and my God, Jesus, I trust in You.
29. That I am Your beloved one, Jesus, I trust in You.
30. Jesus, I Trust in You: The Blessing of Openness
Appendix: Litany of Trust

The preface opens with these words:

“I heard—not with my ears but in the silence of my heart—three words: “Litany of Trust.” Taking out my journal without much thought, dozens of petitions flowed out from my heart.

It would seem that a prayer like the Litany of Trust would come from someone who perfectly trusted in the Lord. But the truth is, it was given to me because I needed trust. And somehow I sensed that others needed it too.”

A sample reflection is:

DAY 16
That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me, Jesus, I trust in You.

How is it that the force of gravity is pulling matter together, while at the same time energy is causing the universe to expand … yet all is held in the proper balance? Stars and galaxies can form and develop, but the universe is protected from collapsing in on itself. Even on a smaller scale, the ornate designs on seahorses, the jagged structure of lightning, and the self-replicating patterns in everyday frost are beautifully ordered. Things seemingly un-orchestrated are gems of precision.

If this is true on the level of a fern leaf and the tip of a snowflake, what about for us? We have a capacity that science cannot explain, one that extends beyond our cellular function with the ability to wonder at the “whys” of life. We’re in the realm of someone who left His imprint everywhere. The more we know Him, the easier it is to recognize that a flood of thoughtfulness envelopes me at every moment, healthy or sick, for I am a living, breathing masterpiece of God.

We are not mass produced but are crafted one by one. Our lip prints and toe prints, ear shapes and tongues, are totally unique, yet each of us senses our individuality beyond the anatomical. As hard as we try, we are unable to experience life, or any single event, exactly as another does, or to completely feel what another feels, or share everything we think. We connect with others, but our souls are ever distinct. Does anyone know the whole of me? Can anyone ever hold the fullness of who I am? The psalmist writes, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me. . . . even the darkness is not dark to you, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with you” (Ps 139:7–10, 12).

Although he had been fairly pious as a child growing up in a Jewish family, Roy lost his belief in God when he went off to university to study science. A few years later, despite the worldly success of being a professor at Harvard Business School, he despaired because, with no God, there still was no real meaning or purpose to life. In this despondency, he was walking early one morning alone in a nature preserve on Cape Cod, having long since given up any hope in the existence of God, when he found himself suddenly very immediately aware of God’s presence, and in an intimate state of communication with Him. Roy saw his life as though he had died and was looking over his life in the presence of God after death. He saw how deeply he would regret “all of the time and energy which I had wasted worrying about not being loved, when every moment of my existence I was held in the sea of God’s unimaginably great love.”1

Roy saw that not only did God know him by name, but He had watched over him every moment since conception and had arranged absolutely everything that had ever happened to him. God cared so deeply about him that, in a very real way, everything that made Roy happy made Him happy, and everything that made Roy sad made Him sad, as though Roy was the only person God had ever created. Coming into this realization of God’s very personal love for him resulted in a total redirection of his life. He now knew that the purpose of his life was to worship and serve this God. Once he realized that the Catholic Church was the truest way to do this, he dedicated his life to sharing the truths of the faith as a speaker and an author. The despair he had suffered prior to his rediscovery of God had been the echo of God in his heart calling him home.2
Trust has the courage to follow the heart’s own depths, knowing God is waiting there.

Jesus’ love for each person is unique. He healed individuals, called His disciples by name, and spent time listening to the plight of person after person. His encounter with the woman at the well (John 4:1–42) offers us a glimpse of how tailored His heart is to each of us. Although she likely is not aware of her search for God at the moment, Jesus initiates the conversation by asking her for a drink. Shocked that He would be interested in associating with her, for she was a Samaritan woman, she is further surprised by His offer to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10), referring to the grace of Baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit. She responds as we often do. Doubting the Lord’s capacity to really meet us in the depths, she says that the cistern is deep and He has nothing to lower into it. However, she confesses that she desires this living water to satiate her thirst and so that she does not have to keep coming back to the well.

Little does she know that Jesus is already in the depths of her heart’s cistern. The conversation continues as He reveals to her the number of false lovers she has had, which convinces her He is at least some type of prophet, able to read her soul. Jesus indeed is in this cavernous place of her longing, of her search for love that not one of these “husbands” could satisfy. Realizing that her soul is exposed to Him, with its extensive thirst to be known and loved, why did she not excuse herself and walk away at that point, feeling judged? Afterward she even proclaimed publicly, with joy, that someone had told her all she had done. This was the content of her message and what brought all the people of her town out to see Jesus (John 4:29–30). She wasn’t slighted; rather, this experience of being deeply known prompted her to ask Jesus about where one should worship God. This inner place of thirst she has now accessed is where the longing to worship God is.

Knowing that she is not a Jew like Jesus is, she might have, for the first time, been pained by the sharp thought that she was excluded from what could satisfy her. Jesus spoke right to this deep place of her longing, saying that although salvation is from the Jews, true worship is not reserved for them alone. True worship is found in Jesus, who is the Truth, revealed by the Spirit. Trusting His love, through which she knows she is known and now is invited to belong, she can rest in this right worship of the one who alone holds all of her.

• There is a space within where no one but God has access. It is here I encounter Him, who knows the ways I have looked for love. The regrets, heartaches, betrayals, and humiliations, as well as the joys and desires. Experiencing this personal knowledge opens our hearts in trust to worship the one who continues to love us as He holds the whole of our lives. When I don’t feel understood or supported, can I take a few minutes to share that with Christ, making this an opportunity for belonging rather than isolation? “You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One who loves you.”3

• Whether we realize it or not, we worship whomever we look at to fill that deep space within—maybe another, myself, an ideology, or God. Yet God alone is deserving of our worship, as our Creator. He who holds us in existence shows us that the very depth of our hearts points us to loving an eternal, personal God. Worshipping God is an expression of trust, a response to His continual attentiveness to me in sustaining my life. When I go to Mass, can I pray by consciously opening my heart to receive God and to give my love to God, through this communal and individual worship of Him?

• We can connect with friends or catch up with a spouse about our day, and still feel unmet. In this, God is inviting us to become aware of the sacredness of this space and thus reverence it not only in our own heart but in those around us. Am I expecting my friends to fill me or trying to consume my spouse? Alternatively, we’ll never be able to meet the infinite needs of another person; so, likewise, we can begin to recognize when to point them toward the Lord, who is awaiting a more personal encounter with them.”

I added this prayer to ‘My Prayer Notebook’ in 2021 on April 26th. I am not sure where I first encountered it. But I have tried to pray it daily since then. But reading through this volume over a month has brought the prayer to life in a new way for me. 

This is an excellent volume I can recommend to any Catholic. It is a great resource to use for a personal retreat. To help you grow in this devotion and prayer. I can easily state it would be an excellent addition to any home, church or school library!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Faustina Maria Pia:
Deliver Me Jesus: A Contemplative Approach to Labor and Delivery

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