The Church sings in an ancient hymn, “Lord, You have worn Yourself out looking for me. O that Your labors will not have been in vain.” The words from this hymn rang true for me in my journey back to the full embrace of Mother Church.
Raised in a good Catholic family of eight children, I was the fourth child, and my father fondly nicknamed me “Puddle Jumper.” I left home at 17 to marry my high school sweetheart. With much heartache, six years later I found myself divorced with two small boys. Almost immediately, I began searching for someone to fill the deep void in my soul to be loved — a need that only God can ultimately fulfill. In haste, I remarried outside the Church, much to the dismay of my parents.
In 1989, my mother invited me to their home in the Ozark Mountains. They had become retreat directors. At that time, my present marriage was in serious trouble, and I felt like a failure in so many areas in my life. I remember sitting in the chapel in front of Jesus exposed in the monstrance. A storm had rolled in, and thunder was echoing off the mountains. I could not take my eyes off of Jesus in the monstrance. I felt “paralyzed” before Him, and I realized with a new awareness, He could see every sin and defect in my character. All was exposed before Him, and I felt ashamed and broken.
I cried many tears that night. But, instead of feeling condemned, I felt a river of mercy flood my soul, as if washing it clean. I experienced such a tender love and forgiveness for all my sins and poor choices.
The next day, I knew I must go to confession, and as I walked in, I noticed The Divine Mercy image on the wall. Father Martin Wolter, OFM, a family friend, looked at me with tenderness. I remember him saying, “How many people do you think are out there like you, Annie? God’s people who are broken, sinful, in need of healing?”
He said, “For your penance, you are to spread the message of Divine Mercy the rest of your life!”
Great miracles of healing have followed. I was able to have my marriage blessed in the Church. My father, Deacon Bill Reuter, lived to see me walk down the aisle in a beautiful wedding dress. As I came through the receiving line, he embraced me with the words, “Well, you finally made it, little Puddle Jumper! You finally made it!”
At present, I am striving to fulfill my “penance” given to me years ago. I have been blessed to use my voice and songwriting skills to glorify His Mercy singing at conferences and parish missions across the country. The Lord blessed me with a song about my encounter with His Mercy, Divine Mercy Flood My Soul. I am a member of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy, a lay outreach of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception. Together, we work to promote Divine Mercy through prayer cenacles, promoting Eucharistic adoration, and praying the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy for the sick and dying.
In conclusion, I echo St. Faustina’s, words, “The Mercy of The Lord I will sing forever. Before all the people will I sing it. For it is God’s greatest attribute. And for us an unending miracle” (Diary of St. Faustina, 522).
Annie Karto, a member of Eucharistic Apostles of The Divine Mercy (EADM), lives in Treasure Island, Fla. Her musical CDs feature songs that promote love for God, Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacraments, Mary, religious vocations, and respect for the sanctity of life. For more information about her music, log on to www.anniekarto.com.
Divine Mercy Flood My Soul