On the 17th of September 1937, Saint Faustina Kowalska wrote in her diary of a feeling that had come upon her that day. First there is the announcement of her intense appreciation for the beauty in the world and the graces that are given us (the extent of which we will only be known to us when ‘the veil is lifted’, at which point we will be staggered by how much we missed), but also of sorrow for the souls who are blind both to the beauty of creation and the graces offered – those who are ‘like stone’ and who ‘see nothing but themselves’. After this short declaration, Saint Faustina composed a series of meditations on God’s gifts to us – a litany of thanksgivings for the means of grace made possible through the Incarnation and its continuation in the Catholic Church.
These meditations (section 1286 in the diary) can be read as a devotional poem, but would also work well as a canticle or hymn, such is the cyclic character of the verses, the persistence of the theme that they speak of, and the joyous, uplifting feeling that characterises thanksgiving in general and is expressed by Saint Faustina’s vivid and impassioned words in particular. Furthermore, the recounting of the benefits that the individual sacraments have on the soul actually provides a very useful (and very concise) catechism on the means of grace, showing yet another mark of a good hymn – the ability to teach the one who praises in the very act of praising.
I have also included two stanzas that express gratitude for a religious vocation, as the sentiments expressed therein can still be applied to lay people; nevertheless, these could easily be omitted if one were to use Saint Faustina’s words for private meditation or reflection. At any rate, if, as in the words of G. K. Chesterton, ‘thanks are the highest form of thought and…gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder’, then the following lines should hopefully provide any one who reads them with a superb springboard for a day filled with contemplation and joy – they are filled with delight in the gifts of God and overflow with an irresistible sense of a life lived in true harmony with His love:
Thank You, O God, for all the graces
Which unceasingly You lavish upon me,
Graces which enlighten me with the brilliance of the sun,
For by them You show me the sure way.
Thank You, O Lord, for creating me,
For calling me into being from nothingness,
For imprinting Your divinity on my soul,
The work of sheer merciful love.
Thank You, O God, for Holy Baptism
Which engrafted me into Your family,
A gift great beyond all thought or expression
Which transforms my soul.
Thank You, O Lord, for Holy Confession,
For that inexhaustible spring of great mercy,
For that inconceivable fountain of graces
In which sin-tainted souls become purified.
Thank You, O Jesus, for Holy Communion
In which You give us Yourself.
I feel your Heart beating within my breast
As You cause Your divine life to unfold within me.
Thank You, O Holy Spirit, for the Sacrament of
Which dubs me Your knight
And gives strength to my soul at each moment,
Protecting me from evil.
Thank You, O God, for the grace of a vocation
For being called to serve You alone,
Leading me to make You my sole love,
An unequal honour for my soul.
Thank You, O Lord, for perpetual vows,
For that union of pure love,
For having deigned to unite Your pure heart with
And uniting my heart to Yours in the purest of bonds.
Thank You, O Lord, for the Sacrament of Anointing
Which, in my final moments, will give me strength;
My help in battle, my guide to salvation,
Fortifying my soul till we rejoice forever.
Thank You, O God, for all the inspirations
That Your goodness lavishes upon me,
For the interior lights given my soul,
Which the heart senses, but words cannot express.
Thank You, O Holy Trinity, for the vastness of the graces
Which You have lavished on me unceasingly through
My gratitude will intensify as the eternal dawn rises,
When, for the first time, I sing to Your glory.
taken from Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (2014), pp.462-464, Marian Press.