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Did St. Faustina Teach Salvation by Grace?

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A well-meaning Roman Catholic shared the following quote from St. Faustina as evidence that his church teaches salvation by grace:

“Jesus told St. Faustina, ‘Let even the greatest sinner in the world place their trust entirely in My Mercy. I cannot punish even the greatest sinners if they place all of their trust in My Mercy. On the contrary, I justify them in My unfathomable and inscrutable Mercy. Happy is the soul who during its lifetime trusted in My Mercy, because he will not experience terror at the hour of death. But horror. Let all sinners also heed this warning: Most souls perish despite My bitter Passion. If they will not trust in My Mercy, they will perish for all eternity.’”

I had not heard of Faustina before and was not sure what this quote meant. I learned that St. Faustina (1905-38) was a Polish nun who claimed to have had many conversations with Jesus, which she recorded in her diary (the above quote being one example). Normally, I would be glad to read someone calling people to trust in Christ’s mercy but knowing that two people can use the same word and mean completely different things by it, I was not sure what Faustina meant. And I also knew that trusting in Christ to be merciful is not the same thing as believing in Him as your Savior.

Jesus made clear promises such as this:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

Likewise, the apostle Peter preached:

“God raised up this man on the third day and caused him to be seen, not by all the people, but by us whom God appointed as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that through his name everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:40-43).

This is clear. Jesus and Peter warned that a day of judgment was coming, and that Jesus is the judge. If you believe in Him, there’s nothing to worry about. You will have eternal life and the forgiveness of sins and not come under judgment. As Paul emphasized elsewhere, we’re justified by faith apart from works (Gal 2:16). The believer’s verdict is already in: “Justified!”

Is that what the quote from Faustina’s diary means?

In short, no.

Curious, I looked for the source of the quote and came to this page (see here), which has several other alleged “revelations” from Christ to Faustina. When you read all the quotes together, it becomes clear that Faustina was not calling people to believe in Jesus alone for their salvation. Instead, the call to depend on Christ’s “mercy” was really a call to engage in the veneration of a feast day called Divine Mercy Sunday, to go to confession on that day, and worship a new image of Christ that Faustina had made. I emphasized those conditions in bold:

(1) “I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.” —St. Faustina’s Diary 699

(11) “I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy.” —Diary 1109

(13) “I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works.” —Diary 742

(15) “I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: ‘Jesus, I trust in You.’” —Diary 327

(16) “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory.” —Diary 48

According to Faustina, how many things must you do to get Jesus’ mercy? You must celebrate the feast day, go to confession, take communion, and venerate a special image (see it here). Under the guise of salvation by “mercy,” Faustina really presents a false gospel of salvation by superstitious and idolatrous works.

This is not salvation by grace through faith apart from works.

The gospel truth is you don’t have to wait for a special day, confess to a Catholic priest, take a Roman Catholic sacrament, or venerate a modern painting to receive Christ’s mercy and be eternally saved. That is a false gospel—as false as when the Judaizers required circumcision for salvation.

The truth is so much better than what Faustina presents.

I would like to share this good news with people who venerate St. Faustina. We are saved by faith in Jesus, apart from all works, including ones that were recently invented by Polish nun (cf. Eph 2:8-9). Thanks to the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross, all that is required is to believe in Him, and only in Him, and when you do—whenever and wherever you do it (i.e., it doesn’t have to be on a special feast day or in front of a particular painting)—you have eternal life and will never perish (cf. John 3:15-18). That’s how good Jesus’ mercy truly is.

Send your questions or comments to Shawn.

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