Jesus said to Sr. Mary of the Trinity: “The greatest gift you can make Me is to receive Me.”
In order to understand the immensely consoling, encouraging and important implications of this statement, we must first understand a few theological principles:
– God’s nature/essence is love. “His mercy endureth forever.” (Psalm 100:5). He therefore has an infinite desire to love (to will the good of the other) and be loved; His Sacred Heart beats with tender compassion and pity for His poor creatures (who He created out of and for love) who He always desires to help.
– As the perfect lover, God always desires our ultimate good; God orients everything in our lives towards this good, which is our salvation. Furthermore, God desires the ultimate good of every individual (“… that all men be saved”), which means that God requires saints (souls aren’t converted without the sacrifice, humility and holiness of “chosen souls”).
– Our sanctity is God’s delight (as He said to both Bl. Dina and St. Faustina). Simply put, isn’t sainthood about accepting God’s merciful love and letting it transform us? (Temptation is certainly necessary for reaching the heights of sanctity).
– Repentance, the desire to love God (which is love), and every other virtue are all graces from God (“Everything is grace” – Little Therese of Lisieux).
– We cannot create love; we can only transmit it. So, in order to love God, we must first receive His love.
– We can do nothing without God (except sin, ultimately).
– God works all things to good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28), and He uses everything for our salvation; such as “sickness, scruples and contradictions” – St. Alphonsus (who was no stranger to these things). There is nothing that God cannot draw good from, provided that we submit it to His omnipotent love with humility, confidence and love. Surely there can be no greater evil than putting Jesus (God) to death, yet from this act God brought our salvation. In fact, Our Lord revealed to Sr. Josefa Menendez and Sr. Benigna Consolata that He can draw an immense good from sin when we repent of it with the right dispositions (for more on this topic- and others- I STRONGLY recommend the book ‘Words of Love’ by Bartholomew Gottemoller, as well as ‘The life of Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero’).
When we consider these principles it becomes clear that we please God most when we love Him, and when we let Him love us. This requires that we come to God humbly- as empty vessels- ready to be filled with His love, which is inexhaustible and open to all. Any barrier to receiving God’s love is always on our side. God’s love and mercy flow forth endlessly from His Sacred Heart as from a fountain (cf. St. Cyprian and St. Faustina), and “… the Door of [God’s] mercy is NEVER closed.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero).
When we consider that “God’s mercy is as boundless as His power” (St. Frances of Rome), we begin to see that every fall, every sin, and every weakness contains a remedy, because God’s love and power never change; they will always remain infinite!
Now, reconsider the words of Our Lord to Sr. Mary of the Trinity: “The greatest gift you can make Me is to receive Me.” These words are immensely (and particularly) helpful against any temptation to discouragement or distrust, which always involve some degree of turning “inwards” or away from God’s love.