April 17, 2015

2015 Indiana Catholic Women's Conference: ‘Spread the message of the Divine Mercy for the rest of your life’

Excerpts from a talk by internationally acclaimed Catholic singer/songwriter Annie Karto.

Annie Karto“Why is it that the message of Divine Mercy is so important for our times? In my own heart, I believe it’s because it’s a message of the heart that everyone can understand. It’s a message of hope, and a message of healing. Jesus told [St.] Faustina in her diary, ‘I have opened my heart as a living fountain. From all my wounds, like streams, mercy flows. But the wound in my heart is a source of unfathomable mercy.’

“Pope Benedict warned us in 2008 at World Youth Day of a spiritual desert spreading across the world. He called it an ‘interior emptiness, an unnamed fear.’ People are empty, and they’re searching and thirsting for the words of Jesus, and for healing. It was that repentance, that mercy, that I was seeking 25 years ago.

“I was married the first time at 17 and had two small boys by the time I was 19, and divorced six years later. I remarried outside the Church to my husband Dave. We’ve been married 33 years.

“[During adoration 25 years ago], the priest talked about seeking the face of God. I really looked at the host like it was his face, and I knew that we were having a heart-to-heart encounter. I knew he could see every poor choice and sin in my life up to that time. It was as if he said, ‘Annie, I see all of your garbage. Just give it to me, and I’m going to give you my mercy in exchange.’

“The next morning, I knew I needed to go to confession. After my confession, the priest took my hands and said, ‘Annie, how many people do you think are out there just like you? For your penance, I want you to spread the message of the Divine Mercy for the rest of your life.’ I thank God I don’t have to share with you the sins that warranted such a penance! They’re forever buried in the ocean of God’s mercy.

“After that confession, we went out to breakfast with my parents, and my husband said to me, ‘I never knew your eyes were so blue.’ Isn’t that what God’s mercy does, restores us to the beauty and dignity that he intends for each one of us? Sin disfigures us and tears at us, and all he wants to do as a good Father is make us whole and happy.

“This story has a happy ending. [After my annulment,] my father [a deacon in the Catholic Church] was able to [witness] the vows to have our marriage blessed in the Church.

“Pope Benedict was asked one time if there was any end to evil. His answer was mercy. Mercy triumphs evil every single time. God’s mercy is greater.

“St. John Paul II said, ‘I plead with you—never, ever give up on hope. Never doubt, never tire and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.’ ” †


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