The Growing in Holiness article series shares the stories of Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta who are striving to grow in holiness through the means provided by the heritage of the Catholic Church.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 2013: “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” (LG 40 § 2) All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48)
Jazz Chalouhi, 24, formerly a youth minister at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, now ministers in the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn. In 2014 she learnt the Divine Mercy Chaplet, a prayer that has changed her life.
The Divine Mercy devotion invokes the power of the Lord’s mercy on humanity, the most powerful love, for which He suffered greatly in His Passion and crucifixion.
“What made it so powerful and real is that I got experience going to the Divine Mercy Shrine and to pray at the tomb of St Faustina,” Jazz told Catholic Outlook.
St Faustina Kowalska was the Polish religious nun and mystic who inspired the Divine Mercy devotion.
“Through her love and mercy she showed me to embrace suffering because you grow into more of what God is calling you to be,” she said.
2014 was a year Jazz could not find peace because of busy ministry commitments.
“I was serving with NET ministries, travelling around the country and I was struggling to settle with the busy lifestyle.”
A friend’s caring advice became a turning point for Jazz.
“One of my closest friends was telling me about St Faustina and her story about suffering,” she said.
“I decided to read the short version of her diary.”
St Faustina’s diary is a sophisticated and sensitive description of the Lord’s mercy. The more than 700-page book reveals the necessity of accepting God’s mercy in contemporary times.
“Then leading up to Holy Week in 2014 we travelled up to Darwin and as a team we prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.”
They sang along to Fr Rob Galea’s powerful musical version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
“It was really catchy so I bought it off iTunes,” Jazz said.
Jazz knows striving for holiness is hard but the benefits are transformative.
“When you want to be an example of Christ and just step out of your comfort zone and answer God’s call, you grow more into the person God wants you to be, not what you want to be.”
True friendships with good people have sparked inspiration in Jazz’s soul and helped her persevere on the journey of becoming a young woman of God.
“Having people keeping you accountable to be the best version of yourself will encourage you to grow and one day be saints together,” she said.
“The modern saints St John Paul II and St Mother Teresa were good friends and praying for us and inspiring us so that we can encourage our friends towards saintliness.”
‘Surrender to God’s all powerful will’ is Jazz’s inspiring message to the Diocese of Parramatta.
“If God is doing something in your life, just allow him to because he can do anything, whether you’re young or old. God is calling us to be a witness for his Church,” she said.
Divine Mercy Chaplet
The Divine Mercy Chaplet uses ordinary rosary beads and is often prayed at 3pm, the hour of Our Lord’s Passion.
A sign of the cross is prayed on the crucifix, then on the successive beads, an Our Father, Hail Mary, the Apostle’s Creed.
Then, on the usual ‘Our Father’ beads, the ‘Eternal Father’ is prayed.
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”
Then, on the usual ‘Hail Mary’ beads, the following prayer is said:
“For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
After five decades of the above prayers, conclude with:
“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”