Of all those souls Jesus looks for, perhaps the one most difficult to reach is the one who is lukewarm. Mass is taken for granted. He is not fervent when present and neither does his conscience bother him when he is not present. He never does anything bad enough to stir his conscience so the mercy of God is hardly sought. He never feels a vacuum in his heart that cries out to God for help. His life is full of sins of omission—the good things he never does—the faults he never overcomes. His soul is comfortable and complacent and because of this he never seeks God outside of strict obligation and that on a minimal level. Spiritual blahs are mistaken for serenity. If he were cold and hard of heart, he at least could strike a comparison between himself and God, but as it is his soul has no one to compare itself with. He has as much grace as he desires, with no care for an increase, no worry over a decrease. His prayers are without fervor, his repentance shallow. To him, one church is as good as another, all faiths the same, all doctrine true. In his mind all men worship the same God, so it matters little how, when or where. Since the concept of heaven is a little sketchy and his idea of hell unsure, he strives to be neither good nor evil. We can be sure God will seek him, pursue him and try to inspire him, but the question remains, does that soul wish to be caught by Him?
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:
"These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.' The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy."
In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:
"On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy ... On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls."
"Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm,
and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: 'Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.' For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen.
John via Flickr licensed cc