The words “Lord, I need to know!” once again entered my mind and immediately my eyes raised and found themselves face to face with the face of Divine Mercy. Below Him read the words: Jezu ufam Tobie. (In English, Jesus I Trust in You.)
With what felt like a blow to the stomach with humility my ignorant and selfish prayer ceased and I found myself unable to pray anything but the words “Jezu ufam Tobie. Jezu ufam Tobie. Jezu ufam Tobie.” (This of course was to the tune of the antiphon arranged by Pawel Bębenek, which was one of the songs our choir sang.)
Who was I to “need to know”, I didn’t need to know anything, I just needed to trust in Jesus and his boundless mercy. So, just as they do in the greater scheme of my life, during WYD plans constantly went awry without fail. Yet also without fail, there would be a reason things went “wrong”. Perhaps there was someone we needed to encounter, a place we needed to stumble upon, or an unexpected opportunity of prayer or fellowship needed to occur. In fact, “wrong” is not the appropriate term, hence the quotation marks. More often than not things would turn out far better than our own plans ever could have accounted for.
Eventually I learned it was better to begin the day without a plan at all, and to allow myself to be open to whatever would unfold. If I had to pick one day that served as an example of this, it would have to be the day a group of us from the choir went to the John Paul II Sanctuary and the neighboring Divine Mercy Shrine. Unlike the day before it was a beautiful day with clear blue skies, and as young Latin Catholics with devotions to John Paul II and St. Faustina, we were so excited to visit and pray at these sites. One could have felt our enthusiasm as we made the long, winding way up Totus Tuus Street to the John Paul II Sanctuary. However, this would soon be somewhat deflated when we discovered that the place was closed due to the Pope’s visit the following day. The only places we could go in at both the John Paul II Sanctuary and the Divine Mercy Shrine were some gift shops packed like sardine cans and a single chapel dedicated to St. Faustina where we had a chance to pray and venerate her relics. Our original vision for the day was shattered.
Nevertheless, there was nothing to do but to let it go. Yes, it was disappointing but walking the grounds and being together was beautiful enough. This far enough into our pilgrimage I think the lesson that everything happens for a reason was starting to become increasingly clear. Outside of the John Paul II Sanctuary building we gathered and sang “Totus Tuus” (the one written for JPII himself by Marco Frisina) underneath a plaque bearing the same motto.
Later we sat in the grass in front of the Divine Mercy sanctuary and prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet. Being us, this prayer organically turned into a song. We lifted up each other’s intentions in prayer, and closed our prayer with Bębenek’s “Jezu ufam Tobie”. Afterwards, the peace and joy that filled our hearts was tangible as our faces were glowing with this peace, and perhaps the Holy Spirit’s Uncreated Light. Yes, the Divine Mercy chaplet, while being a Latin devotion, surely has (I’d claim from experience) hesychastic elements to it. As we learned from our polyphonic music, the syllables are not empty but full of meaning, yet somehow the beauty allows us to transcend even the meaning mere human language can convey.