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By Fr. Edward Looney, Catholic Exchange, March 21, 2018
Susan Tassone’s latest book has arrived just in time for Holy Thursday and Divine Mercy Sunday. The St. Faustina Prayer Book for Adoration is her third in a trilogy of prayer books using St. Faustina’s Diary as an source text. Her two previous prayer books in the series were St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and St. Faustina Prayer Book for the Conversion of Sinners.
I prayed with the St. Faustina Prayer Book for Adoration during my daily holy hours. As I progressed through the book, my mind was blown away with the beautiful prayers of St. Faustina. Through her prayerful witness, St. Faustina became a teacher to me of how to engage the interior life and enter into prayer and adoration.
As we prepare for Holy Thursday adoration before the reposed Blessed Sacrament, and then begin the Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday, why not let this Prayer Book be your guide and companion.
Susan Tassone shares more with us in this exclusive interview.
Why did you write this book?
Reading Saint Faustina’s diary touched me deeply and made me realize how adoration helps us to become closer to God. Promoting prayers for the holy souls has long been a personal mission dear to my heart, but it was Father Dan Cambra of the Marian Helpers who suggested writing about that in relation to St. Faustina’s diary. Once I began that first book, he also recommended a similar one on conversion and then one of adoration. Each of those three topics play prominent roles in St. Faustina’s writing and, he pointed out, no one had written books focused on them.
What’s the purpose of your latest book?
To help readers pray and adore with St. Faustina in union with Our Lady, the saints, angels, and the holy souls in purgatory. To encourage them to intercede for others and in a special way for priests and religious. And to better enable them to obtain self- knowledge, ask for healing, and offer their love. To give them ways to listen to, thank, and rest in Jesus.
How is St. Faustina a model for Eucharistic Adoration?
To highlight the direction of her spirituality she named herself “St. Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.” Jesus confirmed her choice. Adoration wasn’t just central to her life as a religious. It was her life. Period.
Among the fruits of her adoration were the image of and message of Divine Mercy. Her time with Our Lord gave her the spiritual nourishment to confront her many challenges of daily life and from that sprang a fountain of love for all.
With St. Faustina as our guide, we can learn more about the graces God offers us, ways to pray with and without words, and the unique and amazing relationship God shares with each one of us alone.
Why do we go to adoration?
Maybe better put, why do we adore God? The simple and obvious answer it’s because he is God and we’re his creations. It’s a unique and basic form of prayer.
Not that God needs our adoration. We’re the one who need to be doing that because it sets that relationship in its proper order and, at the same time, deepens the personal relationship we can have with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There’s a Polish saying that goes: You become the one you befriend. St. Faustina immersed herself in the fire of his love and the abyss of his mercy, and she came to know herself and her God. It was adoration that called her forth to go out and help others, and adoration empowered her to share Jesus’ compassion to everyone she encountered. This is how she became holy, how she became a saint.
Just as she grew more like him so can you. You can come to better know yourself and our God and apply that truth in all aspects of your life. You become the compassionate person that God wants you to be.
What is unique about this book?
This is the first book to take advantage of St. Faustina’s incredible writings about adoration. Not just how she prayed this way but why she prayed this way and what the fruits of it were for her and others. The book describes how from these prayers and sitting before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Faustina’s compassion blossomed.
This isn’t just a book of excerpts. There are many traditional and original prayers. It is, at its heart, a prayer book. A book not just to be read, but truly to be prayed. The book guides us to become who God wants us to be.
What if I can’t make it to a church or chapel for adoration?
Follow St. Faustina’s example and make a “Spiritual Adoration.” St. Faustina would take “spiritual flights” of adoration.
What a discovery I found in her diary! Her times of adoration were both in the convent chapel before Our Lord in the Eucharist and “in private,” in her room and even on her sick bed.
God knows we can have very good reasons for not visiting him a church or chapel. Family responsibilities, job, health, distance from the church, and so on. But … we can do “spiritual adoration”—anywhere, anytime. (Including setting up our own “adoration chapel” — if only a designated corner or chair — at home!
It’s good to remember the saints were no strangers to “spiritual adoration.” In fact, many would request a cell (bedroom) that would face the chapel or a nearby church. From their window they would kneel and bow down in adoration toward the Eucharistic Lord.
What if I can’t spend an hour at adoration?
St. Faustina shows us that there’s no mandatory amount of time required. As she wrote of her own praying, sometimes she would just swing past the chapel on her way to somewhere else and offer an oh-so brief prayer or two.
The book has a very special section with her beautiful small tender prayers of adoration. If only for a moment, you can join St. Faustina by doing this before the tabernacle or monstrance—and at other times wherever you may be.
What did St. Faustina say about silence?
In modern terms: two big thumbs up! But to quote the diary: “I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence.” (73) “I will sing of my pain to You by my silence, and You will understand me beyond any utterance.” (1490)
The value and blessing of silence is a common theme in her writing. It was a lesson she continued to learn as she strove to become better at it. To be still. To listen. To just be with.
That’s a message three endorsers of the book (Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Conley, and Father Chris Alar, MIC) heartily agree with and were pleased to see “Silent Adoration” in my book.
What is the spiritual benefit for someone who regularly goes to adoration?
There are so many! Getting closer to God, abundant graces, moving toward becoming the person he created you to be by becoming more like Him. Offering you inner peace as you become more compassionate with others. An increase in vocations. Increase Mass attendance and confessions. Peace in the world.
Why is adoration important today?
Prayer is critical today. Adoration is a unique form that — centuries of saints have attested — helps not just them individually but those around them and throughout the world. It’s an important part of our spiritual life. You were created by God for Adoration. In your heart and in your soul. And God — infinite, eternal, all-loving — is calling you, inviting you to spend time with him. The Creator and the being he chose to create. The one he had in mind, not just since you were conceived, but forever.
St. Faustina said every Holy Hour or moment or minutes we make so pleases the Heart of Jesus that every man, woman, and child living on earth received a new effect of God’s grace. You alone affect the lives of every person on earth. That is the power of Adoration.
St. Faustina talks about offering up her Adoration for intentions. How did she do that?
Faustina prayed for many people and those dear to her heart. She asked graces for them and as a group. Jesus gave her to know how much this pleased Him. God loves in a special way those whom we love. She also prayed for her country, the Church and Missions.
How many times have you read the St. Faustina’s Diary?
I have researched sections of Faustina’s diary that applied to the themes of the holy souls, conversion and adoration. And, of course, I’ve used the diary for my personal prayers and meditation.
How do you envision people using your book?
They’ll learn more about adoration, give it a try or increase what they’ve already been doing, and keep the book handy as they come to a greater love of this form of prayer. This book gives us a path to adore both in Church and home. Making it more likely readers will increase their adoration. Hopefully, readers will enjoy as I did the beautiful prayers. They’ll pray with it as they read. And pause to read it as they pray.
Like Faustina, readers can do “Moments of Adoration.” These moments are particularly helpful when we like St. Faustina are experiencing sufferings and “dark nights” of the soul. I want people to know they have an adoration book that can be used anytime anywhere for all occasions. And for all time. Next to the Mass, it is one of the most powerful forms of prayer. It is one of the greatest works I have done.
Each chapter focuses on a verse from Scripture followed by a quote from the Diary. They are beautiful. What inspired you to use that format?
Mother Angelica. She made Scripture come alive. When you read Scripture it speaks to your heart. It fosters knowledge and dialogue with God through prayer. With God speaking to each of us personally. Scripture helps me communicate my faith and bring the Good News to my readers. I feel a strong presence of God especially when I’m using Scripture for my work.
What role does adoration play in your life?
A bigger and deeper one since I began writing this book. It’s a part of my day that I look forward to and truly cherish. During my visits, the beauty, power, and grace of adoration became clearer to me. With that, a deeper realization that God is truly there in the Eucharist! Where I live, the steeple of St. Michael’s Church is right outside my window at home. Because of this book, I now do “spiritual adoration” facing the church’s tabernacle.
Everyone is wounded. How can adoration help to heal our wounds?
The host that’s adored in the monstrance, the host that’s received in Holy Communion, is the body of a wounded Christ. A Christ marked and marred in his side, in each hand, in each foot. It was this Christ who told St. Faustina not to look away but to look more closely at His five wounds. To know that from them, “like from streams, mercy flows.”
Jesus knows our problems. Jesus feels our scars, wounds, our sufferings. He sees the pain in our hearts. He offers us healing and asks us to and invite him into our lives. Jesus told Faustina how to invite Him into our lives. He told Faustina about the immense value of meditating on His sacred wounds. Jesus said it is of great profit to us and brings Him great joy. Faustina worshipped His wounds. She said: “I must take refuge in the wounds of Jesus; I must seek consolation, comfort, light and affirmation in the wounds of Jesus.” Like St. Faustina, we can flee to his wounds of mercy and healing. Adoration does this!
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