Is Jesus the Only Savior?May 10, 2018
Founder’s QuoteMay 11, 2018
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. ” Matt. 5:7
By Betty Parquette, Catholic Stand, April 26, 2018
Over the years I have experienced God’s Divine Mercy and protection in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. Having grown up Baptist, I knew we served a merciful God, but I never realized the depths of His mercy or how it would penetrate my life over and over again. Having no idea just how deep the abyss is or how He would begin to use me as a conduit of mercy, I was about to step out into the shallows and have a class on Mercy 101.
Back in my Baptist days, I was hauling my one ton Percheron draft horse to a riding lesson. My three-year-old son was with me in the truck and I was pregnant with my second son. As I drove down the country lane, a car was driving toward us at a pretty quick speed and as the gap was quickly closing I thought for sure we were in for a fatal collision. Here I was with nowhere to pull over on the narrow road with a very heavy horse and trailer that just can’t come to a full stop without my boys and I becoming sandwiched in between.
Experiencing God’s Mercy
Suddenly the car coming at us took a hard right turn into the ditch and flew into the air, flipping a few times before landing on its roof. Running out into the field towards the wreck I saw the image of a body lying in the field. I ran over and found it was a woman of about 70, and she was clearly dying. Another car behind us drove to get help and as I waited, I held the hand of this dear woman and prayed. There were no clear prayers coming to mind and all I could do was to call on the Lord’s name for her. Help came but sadly it was too late and the woman passed. Days later it seemed appropriate that I should go to her wake and assure the family that she had not been alone in the field as she lay dying and I had prayed with her. They seemed comforted and asked, “Are you Catholic?” I wish I could have replied in the affirmative but I hadn’t begun the journey quite yet. Or had I? I didn’t know it at the time, but God was about to take me bit by bit down that road.
My next brush with God’s mercy came when my Dear Uncle Max was dying. He had a stroke and was unresponsive. As I walked into his hospital room and called his name, I was certain he heard me as a few tears pooled in his eyes. For the next couple of days, I sang and prayed with all I had at his bedside, asking God to protect him while He had a long overdue conversation with my uncle. Uncle Max grew up Mennonite but for all the years that I knew him, he had not professed any faith. I tried to share my faith with him at times but he would never open up. So, as he lay there unable to respond, bodily, I prayed that he would respond in his soul where I was certain he could hear the gentle proddings of Jesus. By the end of the week, as his time was coming near, I held his hand and prayed. From somewhere deep within I heard the words, “You can let him go now. He’s with me.” A bit startled and thinking that it was just wishful thinking I looked up at my uncle. No, he was still hanging on. Again I prayed, and again, I heard the same words. Entrusting him to God, I opened my eyes, and I watched as he breathed his last breath.
Praying My Way Into the Church
These two incidents certainly had my attention. For the next couple of years, I had begun to research, study, and pray my way into the Catholic Church. Having to choose a confirmation saint, Mother Theresa seemed a logical choice. Having had the opportunity, the blessing to be with two people as they died, to hold their hands and pray had a very profound effect on me. It seemed my mind was made up until I began reading about St. Maria Faustina. Jesus message of mercy to her was His message of mercy to me. Years before I had been the ‘black sheep’ of the family. God’s mercy had been showered onto me over and over again and I just knew that St. Faustina had been praying for me for over 25 years and I needed those prayers for another 25. Exploring this message of mercy I learned to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Our Lord wants this prayed for the souls of the dying. Everything began to clarify in my mind. Even though I had no name for it or even the words of the prayer, this is what I had been praying for the woman in the accident and for my uncle. The chaplet became a beautiful source of comfort to me and something which I desired to share with others.
Soon after coming home to Mother Church, we moved into town to be closer to our parish. An elderly couple lived next door, and the woman was a convert, herself having been raised as a Baptist. She was a daily Mass-goer who loved the Blessed Mother and the rosary, but most of her children had left the church. Over the years, her health failed and her last days were spent in hospice. Visiting her I asked if I could pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to which she agreed though she didn’t know it. She prayed along the best that she could. Days later, my husband went to visit her. He called later to let me know I should probably come soon if I wanted to see her. She would not last much longer.
Praying the Chaplet
Working at the time I felt a strong urge that I needed to leave early and get there as soon as possible. Upon arrival at the hospital, three of her daughters were with her and it was clear she wouldn’t last the day. Asking them if it would be okay if I prayed with their mom they said, “Oh please…we don’t know what to pray!” Taking my neighbor’s hand, I began to pray the chaplet. By the last decade, her breath had come slower and as I prayed the last bead, the exact moment of the ‘amen’, she peacefully died. As I gave up my place next to her for the daughters and stepped aside, I looked up at the clock. It was 3:10 pm. I had started the chaplet at three, the hour of mercy. Later after the funeral, all of her daughters wanted to know more about the prayer I had prayed.
Again and again, Our Lord comes to us, asking us to trust in His Mercy. The greatest sinner, the dying, our own struggling souls, He wants to take into His most merciful heart. We could never exhaust His Mercy and we can never reach the bottom of the abyss of mercy. Are you struggling to know what it means to you, a loved one, or even what it means for those we struggle with or our enemies? With the Feast of Divine Mercy fresh in our minds, free yourself to wade into the ocean. and let Him teach you. With all of your heart and soul, throw your cares on Him and say, “Jesus, I trust in You”. You’ll never regret you did.
“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace with timely help.” Hebrews 4: 16
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Betty Parquette is a convert to the Catholic Church from the Baptist tradition. She is a deacon’s wife, enjoys serving as a cantor, and is a home schooling mom. Favorite Catholic authors include Caryll Houselander and Lucile Hasley. Drinking good coffee from vintage percolators and going on trail rides with her horse and dog are at the top of her favorites list. She often thinks of herself as a reluctant hobbit being drawn into some unknown adventure.