God Loves Us Because Of What HE Is, Not What WE Are!

Here are some words from St. John of Avila, Doctor of the Church. Although they are directed at scrupulous individuals in particular, they are beneficial for all.

+ Be assured that He loves you, even if He does not show it at the present moment.

+ Our love for God should not cause us excessive sadness whenever we commit some venial sin. If this were necessary, who would ever be at rest or peace, for we are all sinners?

+ How long will you continue your minute self-examinations? It is like raking up a dust heap from which nothing can come but rubbish and unpleasantness… If you look only on yourself, you will loathe yourself and your many defects will take away all your courage.

+ Feel sure of this, that it is not for your own merits, but for those of Jesus crucified, that you are loved and made whole.

+ Do not give way to such discouragement about your faults; the results will show you how displeasing it is to God. It would be far better to be courageous and strong-hearted. Meditate on the benefits you have received through Jesus Christ in the past and possess now; reflect on them in such a manner as to lead you to sorrow for your sins against Him and to avoid offending Him, without losing your peace and patience if you happen to fall.

+ Be content that His love should come from His goodness, and not from your merits. What does it matter to a bride if she is not beautiful, if the bridegroom’s affection for her makes her seem so in his eyes?

+ Be at peace: you are indeed the handmaid of the crucified Christ: forget your past misdoings as if they had never been. I tell you, in God’s name, as I have done before, that such is His holy will.

+ Run swiftly on your way with a light foot, like one who has thrown a heavy burden off his shoulders, which hindered his course. If the longed-for quiet does not come at once, do not distress yourself; sometimes one travels farther in a storm than in a calm, and war gains more merits than peace.

Key Points:

“While we were still sinners, God died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This passage is proof of the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If this were not true, we could never arise from serious sin. We do not earn God’s love. Yes; we are free to reject it, but when we experience remorse of conscience, it is God calling us back to himself, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen says.

(The following words are primarily addressed to those who become discouraged when they fall into serious sin. These words do not refer to doubtful mortal sin, or those who simply misunderstand God’s precepts and His infinite love, which “can be exhaused by no human iniquity.” – Council of Trent)

 After serious sin, rather than be discouraged, we should approach God more confidently and humbly than before. (Reflect on this) Backsliding is no small fault.** “Pride is the beginning of all sin.” Give God the joy of forgiving you.

Fr. Hamon: “Dost thou not understand that the great goodness of God is a reason for serving Him better, and that to make of it a motive for offending Him is to amass treasures of anger upon thy head?” (Rom. 2:4-5) Each sinner has two options: 1. Remain in sin and be lost. 2. Repent and be saved! The choice should be obvious!

“He has become so small —you see: a Child! — so that you can approach Him with confidence.” (St. Josemaria Escriva)

“But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall take wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “They who place their confidence in God shall renew their strength; they shall lay aside their own weakness, and shall acquire the strength of God; they shall fly like eagles in the way of the Lord, without fatigues and without ever failing. David says that, “mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord” (Ps. 31:10). He that hopes in the Lord shall be encompassed by His mercy, so that he shall never be abandoned by it.” (St. Alphonsus)

– St. Francis de Sales says, that the mere attention to distrust of oneself on account of our own weakness, would only render us pusillanimous, and expose us to great danger of abandoning ourselves to a tepid life, or even to despair. The more we distrust our own strength, the more we should confide in the divine mercy. This is a balance, says the same saint, in which the more the scale of confidence in God is raised, the more the scale of confidence in ourselves descends.” (St. Alphonsus)

God is the cause of ALL holiness. By reflecting on the graces we receive, we will grow in humility, love, gratitude and confidence. I believe this was the secret of St. Therese.

– If you fall into serious sin, ask God: How can I avoid this in the future? Avoid occasions of sin, and do not be discouraged… ever! Recall the words of Our Lord to Sr. Consolata:

“Believe Me, I am solely and always kind; I am solely an always like a parent to you! So, imitate the children who at every little scratch of the finger, run at once to mother to have it bandaged. You should always do the same and remember that I will always cancel out and repair your imperfections and faults, just as a mother will always bandage the child’s finger, whether it is really hurt or only seems so in his imagination. And if the child were to really hurt his arm, or his head, (i.e. fall into serious sin… which Our Lord will preserve us from if we sincerely desire it, just as He promised to Sr. Consolata) how tenderly and affectionately would he be cared for and bandaged by the mother! Well, I do this very same thing with regard to your soul when you fall, even though I may do so in silence. Do You understand Consolata? Therefore, never, never, never have even a shadow of doubt; a lack of confidence wounds My heart to the quick, and makes Me suffer!”
“You are to love. You are too small to climb to the summit: I will carry you on My shoulder.” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone

Christian Mysticism: The Fire of Divine Love

“For our God is a consuming fire.”

– Hebrews 12:29

Many of the Saints experienced an inexplicable mystical phenomenon; their love for God was so vehement that, at times, their heart would burn with divine love. The sweetness that often accompanies this delightful fire is expressed by St. Gemma Galgani:

“For the last eight days I have felt something mysterious in the area of my heart that I cannot understand. The first couple of days I disregarded it, because it gave me only a little trouble. But today is the third day, and this fire has increased, oh so much, as to be almost unbearable. I should need ice to put it out, and it hinders my eating and sleeping. It is a mysterious fire that comes from within, then goes to the outside. It is, however, a fire that does not torment me, rather it delights me, but it also exhausts and consumes me.

Many Saints experienced these flames of divine love, including St. Padre Pio, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Therese, St. Mary Magdalene dei Pazzi, and many others. They are a gratuitous gift from God. According to the Saints, we should never ask for such graces. If we do receive them, we should thank God, whilst remembering that the gift is not greater than the Giver! We must also stay humble; Our Lord warned Sr. Josefa of a nun whose soul was in great danger because she took credit for the graces she had received (1 Corinthians 4:7). God warns us about pride because He loves us.

Remember that the Holy Spirit appeared as “tongues of fire” at Pentecost. The more time we spend with Jesus in prayer, and the more we accept everything as coming from His merciful Providence, the more we will grow in divine love.

“Love is not an effect of headwork, not a pushing forward of will to give to it greater force. It is the result of accepting generously all sacrifices, in accepting with a loving heart all trials.” – Saudreau

God’s love for us is so ardent that Our Lord said to Bl. Alexandrina:

“If you knew how much I love you, you would die of joy.”

Love does not require “nice feelings.” Even Jesus suffered desolation, yet His love is unchanging! No, a lover is someone who seeks to please their Beloved, regardless of feelings. If we live lives of prayer and sacrifice, we can be sure that we love God. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive God Himself! Bl. Imelda was so inflamed with love of God that she died of love when making her first communion!

What hinders our love of God?

– Deliberate sin (including venial sin)

– Excessive indulgence of the senses (overeating, sloth etc.)

– Infrequent prayer

– Lack of spiritual reading

Avoid these things, and recall the words of Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez:

“Behold the Heart that gives life to souls; the fire of this love is stronger than the indifference and ingratitude of men.”

… And to St. Faustina:

“Let the sinner not be afraid to approach Me. The flames of mercy are burning Me – clamouring to be spent; I want to pour them out upon these souls. Gather all sinners from the entire word and immense them in the abyss of My mercy. I want to give Myself to souls; I yearn for the souls.”

”Oh what precious moments these are! It is a delight that can only be compared to the heavenly joy of the Angels and Saints. Yes, I am happy, because I possess You, oh Jesus. Oh Jesus, with what joy it fills me to know that I possess You! But, my God, if You deal so with us on earth, what must it be like in heaven!”

– St. Gemma Galgani

 

The “First Nine Fridays” Devotion

“You will win many souls through your devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Little Flower (St. Therese of Lisieux).”

– Our Lord Jesus to mystic, Rhoda Wise, on December 29, 1939

The First Nine Fridays devotion was revealed to St. Margaret Mary in the 17th century. Here are the words of Our Lord:

In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.”

The immensity of this privilege cannot be underestimated. Those who die repentant (loving God) will live with God forever. We all desire to be saved, but unfortunately the majority of humans are ignorant of the great truths necessary for our salvation. The belief that we are saved by “faith alone” prevails, but Scripture condemns this belief: http://scripturecatholic.com/justification.html

Knowing human frailty, ignorance, and apathy, Our Lord offers us strength, light, love and encouragement. He alone knows how many will persevere until the end. He cares for one soul more than the universe itself. He desires the salvation of each soul; nay, He burns with love for each soul, and suffers indescribably when they reject Him: this is Our Lord’s “great sorrow”, His “torment”, a cause of “mortal sorrow” (Words of Jesus to Sr. Josefa, St. Margaret, St. Faustina). Indeed, the number of obstinate sinners is “very numerous” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa). Let us consider this great mercy that Our Lord wishes to grant us. The authenticity of this promise is evident in the fact that it has been approved by Popes, the Church, Saints, and eminent theologians. To further encourage you to make the “Nine First Fridays”, I will share a story taken from the writings of Fr. William Most:

There is an account of a very special instance of the working out of this promise (Jesus’ promise of final repentance/perseverance). On April 12, 1947 a fallen away Catholic, Bruno Cornacchiola who had become bitter against the Church, and even carried a dagger inscribed, “Death to the Pope” tried to take his children for an outing at Ostia. He missed the train, and so went instead to a grotto called TreFontane. While there his four year old boy, Gianfranco, was playing ball, and the ball rolled into the grotto. The child went into it, but did not come out. Bruno found him kneeling there, and the boy kept saying: “Beautiful Lady.” Then his ten year old, Isola, came in, and began to say the same thing. Bruno called his seven year old Carlo to come. He too began to say: “Beautiful Lady.” Bruno of course was furious, [and] tried to pick up the smallest child. It felt like marble, he could not lift him. Bruno screamed: “You who are hiding there, come out.” Then he became afraid, and called out: “God save us.” Just then two white transparent hands came from behind him, covered his eyes, and removed a film. So he too saw the beautiful Lady, barefoot, in a green mantle and white dress. She held a gray book and said: “I am the Virgin of the Apocalypse. You are persecuting me… The nine First Fridays which you made before entering on the way of evil have saved you, for my Son always keeps His promises.” Of course, Bruno was converted on the spot.

Do not doubt this amazing promise! Similar promises have been made in relation to: the first five Saturdays devotion, those who persevere in praying the Rosary, those who make the Way of the Cross frequently, and the three Hail Marys. Other devotions could also be included.

“This devotion to the divine Heart of Christ will with draw a great number of souls from perdition and put them on the way to salvation. That is why HE HAS SUCH AN ARDENT DESIRE to be known, loved and honoured by men. He wants by this devotion to establish in their hearts the reign of his pure love.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Perfect Contrition: “The Golden Key of Paradise”

“If I could wander through the country preaching the Word of God, my favourite theme would be perfect contrition.”

– Cardinal Franzehin

(Quotes taken largely from ‘Perfect Contrition’ by Fr. Rev. J. Von Den Driesch)

If there existed a cure to cancer, who among us would not be thankful?! Well, Perfect Contrition provides us with much more than that; it frees us from eternal death and opens to us eternal life and joy!

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Before explaining this beautiful gift of God, it must be known that we can only profit from it if we are sincerely sorrow for all mortal sins, such as those listed by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10. Other sins could be added to this list, such as those found in this online Catechism: http://archive.org/stream/catechismexplain00spiruoft#page/n5/mode/2up

Reading this Catechism makes one more aware of sin, which is deadly. And how can we avoid sin if we are unaware of it! Believe the saints: something as simple as spiritual reading could save your soul. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14) Do you know God’s commandments? Read the Catechism, dear friend!

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Now, back to Perfect Contrition!

What is Perfect Contrition?

“It is perfect when we are sorry through love of Him… we are sorry because sin offends God, Who is so good and infinitely loveable… It is like a child repenting of a fault because it has grieved its parents, who are so good and loving, and have done so much for it.”

What is the fruit of Perfect Contrition?

“In the Council of Trent, the Church, under the assistance of the Holy Ghost, declared ‘that Perfect Contrition — that is, that which proceeds from the love of God — justifies man and reconciles him with God even before the reception of the Sacrament of Penance.’ Of course, it is understood that such a person, if a Catholic, has at least the implicit intention of going to Confession.”

Who can make an act of Perfect Contrition? 

“… there is no one who, if he sincerely wishes it, cannot, with the grace of God, make an act of Perfect Contrition. Sorrow is in the will, not in the senses or feelings. All that is needed is that we repent because we love God above everything else; that is all. True it is that perfect contrition has its degrees, but it is none the less perfect because it does not reach the intensity and the sublimity of the sorrow of St. Peter, of St. Mary Magdalene, or of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Such a degree is desirable, but it is by no means necessary. A lesser degree, but, provided it proceeds from the love of God, and not through fear of His punishments is quite sufficient.”

How to Obtain Perfect Contrition.

“First of all we must bear in mind that perfect contrition is a grace- a great grace- from God. We should therefore constantly pray for it. Ask for it, not only when you wish to make an Act of Contrition, but often during the day. It should be the object of your most ardent desires. Repeat often, “My God! give me perfect sorrow for my sins!” And if you sincerely mean what you say, Our Lord will hear your prayer.”

“Remain there at the foot of the Cross while the Blood of your Saviour falls drop by drop upon your soul. Ask yourself how you have corresponded with these proofs of love. Call to mind your past sins, and forgetting for a moment both Heaven and Hell, repent because your sins have reduced your Saviour to so pitiable a state. Promise Him that you will not crucify Him again, and then slowly and fervently repeat the Act of Contrition. Better still, repeat those wards of sorrow that will spontaneously rise up in your heart, now softened by grace and filled with a holy bitterness.”

“Do you wish to know an easy way of exciting yourselves to true sorrow for your sins? Make three little visits- the first above (Heaven), the second below (Hell), the third in the middle (Calvary).” – St Charles Borromeo

Perfect Contrition is not uncommon.

“Often, very often, without even thinking of it, you have Perfect Contrition for your sins. For example, when you hear Mass devoutly or make the Stations of the Cross properly; when you reflect before your crucifix or an image of the Sacred Heart. What is more, every time you say the ‘Our Father’, in the first three petitions you make three acts of perfect charity, each of which is sufficient to cancel every sin from your soul.

Perfect Contrition could save our soul!

“Suppose, which God forbid, that someday you have the misfortune of committing a mortal sin. After the distractions of the day, when you are at home in the quiet of the evening, your conscience will begin to trouble you, you will begin to feel ill at ease, and perhaps frightened, and with very good reason, too. What are you to do? God places in your hands the golden key that will reopen for you the Gates of Heaven that you closed during the day. Make an act of contrition from the motive of the love of God: resolve to sin no more, and go to Confession when you can; then go peacefully to bed. You are at peace with God, and if you die during the night you will be saved.”

Perfect Contrition weakens scrupulosity.

“Again, if often happens that we are in doubt as to whether we have given consent to a temptation or not. What are we to do? Examine our conscience? This is useless for it will only bring the temptation back again, especially if against holy purity; and, moreover, we will never decide whether we have consented or not. No; make an Act of Perfect Contrition, as St. Francis de Sales was accustomed to do, and worry no more… Finally, every act of contrition strengthens our souls, and so increases our confidence of obtaining the greatest of all graces- final perseverance.”

A formula for Perfect Contrition.

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, because Thou art so very good, and I firmly purpose by the help of Thy grace not to offend Thee again.”

Perfect Contrition helps us to achieve great Holiness. 

“The English spiritual writer, Fr. Faber, narrates how for a long time he was puzzled by the fact that so many persons have lofty and sincere aspirations after high perfection, and so few reach it. . . . This must have a common cause. What is it? After long years of inquiries, reflection, and hesitations he came to the persuasion that the common cause of all failure in perfection is the Want of Abiding Sorrow for Sin. He adds, “All holiness has lost its principle of growth if it is separated from abiding sorrow for sin,” while on the contrary, “No vocation will he frustrated by a soul in which there is this abiding sorrow for sin.”

Encouraging examples of Perfect Contrition.

+ It is related in the life of the Curé d’Ars that on one occasion, a lady, a perfect stranger to him, asked him to pray for her husband, a careless Catholic, who had just died suddenly and without receiving the Sacraments. “He was so careless, Father,” she said, weeping; “he did not go to his duties, and whatever will become of him?” “Madam,” replied the saintly priest, “do you not remember the bouquet of flowers he picked every Saturday to decorate Our Lady’s altar? In return Our Blessed Lady obtained for him the grace to make an act of Perfect Contrition before dying, and he is saved.”

+ Take, again, the case of Mary Magdalen — a public sinner. She did not even say one word, but simply wept at the Feet of Jesus. Jesus saw the sorrow in her heart, and, turning to her, said: “Woman! because you have loved much your sins are forgiven you.” See, then, how little is needed — only to love God above everything. And love demands neither time nor trouble; it suffices to think of Jesus crucified, for it is impossible then not to love Him, and to be sorry for the sins by which we have crucified Him.

+ Remember the good thief — a robber condemned to death — and yet for those few words spoken from his heart, “Lord, remember me when You shall come into Your Kingdom,” he was immediately promised Heaven by Christ Himself: “Today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

+ Visiting a criminal condemned to death, St. Michael Garicoits insisted: “My friend, you are in a good situation. Cast yourself upon the bosom of Divine Mercy with utter confidence. Say, ‘My God, have pity on me!’ and you will be saved!”

+ Lastly, look at Saint Peter, who denied his Master three times. Jesus looked at him; Peter said not a single word, but, “going out, wept bitterly.” He was forgiven; he was chosen by Christ to be His first successor on earth — the Prince of the Apostles — and today is one of the most glorious saints in Heaven.

“God leaves no living man without furnishing him abundantly with all the means required. He gives us not a bare sufficiency of means to love Him and in loving Him to save ourselves, but also a rich, ample and magnificent sufficiency—such as ought to be expected from so great a bounty as His.”

– St. Francis de Sales

“Dear readers, should we ever have the misfortune to offend God, let us give a look at the tabernacle where Jesus is palpitating with love for us, or let us think of Calvary. Our hearts will be touched. We will repent. We shall be forgiven and saved.”

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

The Power Of St. Therese’s “little way”

St. Therese of Lisieux has revealed to us an extremely powerful and simple way of holiness, which will be particularly appreciated by those who struggle with discouragement and mental anguish. Her “little way” has already helped to form many great saints, such as St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, Sr. Consolata Betrone, Bl. Mother Teresa, and Bl. Pope John Paul II.

Jesus tells us that only those who accept the Kingdom of God as little children will enter it. St. Therese’s helps us to put into practice these words of Our Lord.

The “little way” consists in seeking to please God, Our Father, by CONFIDENCE AND LOVE, which are inseparable.

Jesus wishes to make known that “CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY WHICH OPENS THE TREASURE OF MY MERCY.”

(Revelation to Sr. Benigna Consolata)

… Because who can love God without first humbly and CONFIDENTLY receiving the infinite gift of His love and MERCY? No one. And who can PLEASE GOD without LOVING HIM? No one.* Therefore confidence and love are inseparable!

It follows, then, (and this was clear as crystal to St. Therese!) that in order to please God, we must open our hearts to Him and confidently accept His graces. No matter how weak or sinful we are, God wants to save us. 

Our sanctity is God’s glory!

A lack of confidence causes Jesus “great suffering” (words to Sr. Consolata). Jesus came to save even the worst of sinners. He has saved (and even raised to great holiness) those who were previously murderers, Satanists, prostitutes, despairing, alcoholics, thieves, presumptuous, apostates, heretics, the crucifiers of Jesus (which is what all sinners really are), idolaters, lukewarm, abortionists, persecutors of Christians, betrayers… God seeks out all sinners, and it offends Him greatly when we doubt His goodness. Why else did Jesus die for us but to save us from sin, death and the Devil? And what better way to overcome these things can by striving courageously for holiness?!

“And why should you become a saint except to please your Jesus ever more and more.”

(Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)

“… even sinners can love me and become saints.”

– Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina

Jesus came that “they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  Jesus said to St. Catherine of Genoa, “You cannot live without love, because I, your God, am Love.” This means that Jesus desires to give Himself to us, because He is life itself (John 14:6)! How consoling! The Blessed Sacrament confirms this truth, as do the words of Our Lord, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” (John 6:53)

With all this in mind, we can be assured that God always desires our love, and for us to love Him, we must receive Him humbly; and the more we trust, the more we will receive! By seeking to please God through love and confidence, the “little way” will simplify our lives, fill our hearts with love, dissipate our fears, and make holiness a joyful thing! Ask for the simplicity of a child, for God asks for one thing of us only: love (which is always preceded by confidence).

“Finally, to attain more speedily to perfection, she should have God alone in view in all things, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this, she will always be at peace.”

(Jesus to Sr. Beninga Consolata)

*Obviously small infants, amongst others, are not capable of loving God in the sense we typically understand it, but they love God by receiving His gifts. The way of spiritual childhood is a reminder that we are all like infants in one way: we cannot love God until we receive Him, for “God is love” and without God we can do nothing (John 15:5).

“Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me?”

Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me? I desire to possess their souls, entirely, and for this I surround them with crosses, and I enclose them in sufferings and tribulation, that they may not escape from my hands; and for this I scatter thorns, that souls may fasten their affections upon no one, but find all con­tent in Me alone. My daughter, if you do not feel the cross it cannot be called a cross. Be sure that under the cross you will not be lost. The demon has no strength against those souls who for My love groan under the cross. 0 My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified. The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues.”

“Oh soul dear to me, if you truly love Me, behold My chalice; you can drink it to the last drop. On this chalice I have placed My lips, and I want you to drink it…  I have sent this cross to you, you do not appreciate it; rather it is contrary to your desire, but the more it is contrary, the more it is like Mine. Would it not seem to you a dreadful thing to see a father in the midst of sorrow and the children enjoying them­selves? When I shall be your Spouse of blood, I will come to you, but crucified; show your love to me as I have shown it toward you, and do you know how? By suffering, pains, and crosses without number. You ought, therefore, to consider yourself honored, if I lead you on paths hard and painful; if I permit that you be tor­mented by the demon, that the world despise you, that persons most dear to you afflict you, and with daily martyrdom, I permit your soul to be purified and tested. And you, daughter, think only of practicing great virtue; run in the path of the Divine Will, humbled, assured, that if I hold you to the cross, I love you.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

Considering St. Gemma’s immense sufferings, I would like to make a brief comment on “karma.” Many, not understanding the fruit or value of St. Gemma’s sufferings, nor her desire to suffer for love of God and neighbour, would consider her very unfortunate. She was bedridden; she endured agonising pains; she was mocked. “What has she done wrong?” some might ask. “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

If you desire the answer, my friends, look at a Crucifix.

“Take the holy crucifix in your hands, kiss its wounds with great love, and ask Him to preach you a sermon. Listen to what the thorns, the nails, and that Divine Blood say to you. Oh! What a sermon.” (St. Paul of the Cross)

“O what inspiration there is in the Crucifix! Who could find it hard to persevere
at the sight of a God who never commands us to do anything which he has not
first practiced himself?” – St. John Vianney

Suffering, borne with love, likens us to Jesus Himself.

According to the saints, all the sufferings of the world cannot compare to the malice of one deliberate sin. And yet, rather than punish us in the way we deserve, God allows us to undergo relatively small sufferings, which, when offered humbly to God, become a means of redemption, atonement, sanctification, humility, growth in love etc. By bearing our crosses patiently- no matter how small they are- we are participating in God’s work of redemption (https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/consoling-revelations-about-suffering/). As members of the Mystical Body of Christ, may God give us the grace to imitiate His actions. “Through suffering, the soul comes to know what it is.”

God bless you! 

 

Incredible Revelations On ‘The Way Of The Cross’

The following revelations are very moving, and they should be a gentle wake-up call to many of us, reminding us- amongst other things- to bear our trials patiently. Before reading these revelations, please say a prayer to the Holy Spirit (Many do not derive much profit from prayer and spiritual reading because they do not ask for God’s assistance).

These beautiful words were revealed by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero, the “Apostle of Mercy.” The Way/Stations of the Cross is a powerful means for growing in holiness. The Servant of God Sr. Josefa Menendez, for example, made the Stations of the Cross of every day. For those who make them frequently (and reverently, of course), Our Lord promises the following: “They’ll never be able to separate themselves from Me, for I’ll give them the grace never again to commit a mortal sin.” (Taken from ‘Prayers and Heavenly Promises’).

*** THE HOLY EXERCISE OF THE WAY OF THE CROSS ***

(NOVEMBER 7-12, 1915)

FIRST STATION

Jesus is Condemned to Death

O my sweet Jesus, my only God, Love of my heart, condemned to death for me! O my soul, consider who He is that receives this sentence and for whom He receives it. Wilt thou still dread humiliations and fly from mortifications? No, good Jesus, with thy divine assistance, I will love Thee more and more and never again offend Thee!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

SECOND STATION

Jesus is Laden with the Cross

My Divine Spouse runs to the Cross as to a nuptial feast. O infinite love of my God! And I have such a dread of every suffering; only to behold it from afar terrifies me, and I try to escape it. And why, my Jesus, but because I am wanting in love? My Jesus, my sweet Jesus, give me a love of the Cross!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

THIRD STATION

Jesus Falls for the First Time under the Cross

My Divine King, the Love of my heart, lies stretched under the Cross; its weight oppresses Him. O most lovable Jesus, in this enormous and most heavy Cross how clearly I behold the fruit of my sins! O my dear and good Jesus, grant that I may weep over those sins of mine that are the cause of such great pain to Thee, and grant that I may nevermore return to them!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

FOURTH STATION

Jesus Meets His Holy Mother

O tenderly loving Jesus, in thy meeting with Thy most Blessed and Holy Mother, how deeply I am touched, and what lessons it breathes to my heart! It is the revelation of Thy most loving Heart. O Jesus, grant that I also while bearing the Cross after Thee, may meet Thy most tender Mother and receive from her a word of comfort, so that I may follow Thee faithfully until death!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

FIFTH STATION

Jesus is Aided by the Cyrenean

Religious Soul, says Jesus, thou art my Cyrenean whom, in My infinite love, I have chosen that I may lay upon thee the burden which oppresses Me, the burden of My love, of My Mercy, which is unknown to the world. It will be thy mission to console the infinite love of God, which seeks solace from its little creature. My Jesus, I come to Thee because Thou hast called me. What a sublime mission Thou offerest me to fulfill! O Jesus, O Love, O Sanctity, teach me Thyself to do that which Thou hast willed for me!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

SIXTH STATION

Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

The religious soul, My spouse, says the Lord, is the little Veronica, who wipes My face every time that she mortifies herself: the veil with which she wipes it, is her soul in which I leave My divine Features portrayed. The more pure and spotless the soul is, the more capable is she of receiving My divine Lineaments. If thou wouldst arrive near to Me thou must pass across My enemies, who are thine also, and from whom thou wilt have much to suffer; but the consolation which a single one of My divine Looks will impart, will repay thee with usury. Pause, O good Jesus! I am very small, but I will rise on tiptoe to wipe Thy Face. I will use the very finest linen, the whitest and most delicate; and I will prepare this linen for Thee by my fidelity in three things: purity of intention, charity toward my neighbor, and the most ardent love possible toward Thee ; and do Thou, O Jesus, celestial Beauty, give me a perpetual remembrance of Thee!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

SEVENTH STATION

Jesus Falls the Second Time under the Cross

Why did Jesus fall during His journey to Calvary unless to merit for souls the grace to rise from their falls and to teach them the means of doing so? The infernal enemy conquers religious souls more easily by discouragement than by any other temptation. And it is of supreme importance to know how to triumph over him. He is overcome by unlimited confidence in Jesus; the more frequent the falls, the more should confidence grow in the divine Mercy. O my good Jesus, who so benignly dost use our continual miseries to feed the fire of Thy divine Mercy, look with pitying eyes upon Thy solicitous purveyor, who lets not a moment pass without giving Thee something to burn!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

EIGHTH STATION

Jesus Consoles the Pious Women

The attraction of the most sweet Heart of Jesus is to console those who suffer, to compassionate the miseries of His poor creatures, and ever to show them mercy. Let him who wishes to prove it, come to Me, He says. Let him who would purchase relief and mercy, go to Jesus and present for payment his very miseries; and the merciful Jesus will accept them provided they are offered with humility, confidence and love. O my Jesus, I will console Thy Heart, so desirous of consuming our miseries, and do Thou console mine by giving me Thy holy peace.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

NINTH STATION

Jesus Falls the Third Time under the Cross

Jesus wills to bear the torture of this third fall so that he may suffer the more; for the more one loves, the more he desires to suffer; but what the creature could never have attained, the love of Jesus has accomplished. When eternity shall reveal to every soul how I have loved her, says Jesus, the soul will be transported with love for Me. O dear Jesus, O most sweet Jesus, O most lovable Jesus, when I shall experience some pain which, like a thorn shall pierce my heart, I will rejoice to be able to suffer a little for Thee. Do Thou, O Jesus, give me grace to suffer willingly for Thy greater glory.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

TENTH STATION

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

What are the garments, says Jesus, of which I, Love, strip my dear spouses when they have arrived at the summit of Calvary? Calvary, in Religion, is holy Perfection; it is a mountain because souls ascend it with pain. And when the soul has arrived there, Love despoils it, (1) Of all self-will, that it may no longer will aught but what God wills; (2) Of every desire which has not God for its end; (3) Of every longing for natural satisfactions. All this makes the soul suffer much; but she suffers with joy because she is the prey of Love. If she did not love she would suffer all the more, would be more weighed down; but because she loves, Love renders her trials sweet. O Jesus, Thou who art sweetness itself, and who hast power to sweeten the most bitter bitterness, I will drink the Chalice of Detachments after Thou hast blessed it; and I shall find it, with Thy grace, more sweet than every other sweetness.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

ELEVENTH STATION

Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

O my good Jesus, who didst not withdraw Thy hands and Thy feet when they came to nail Thee to the Cross, give me strength never to draw back from the loving operations of Thy grace, which nails me to the Cross, that is to Thy Love, with the hammer of Thy divine Will and the nails of the trials that Thou presentest me. Grant me the grace to second these operations as much as I can by my faithful correspondence.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

TWELFTH STATION

Jesus Dies on the Cross

The Cross, says Jesus, is the throne of My Love, of My Mercy, of My compassionate Bounty. When a King has a reception in his palace, he receives in the throne-hall and seated on his throne. In all thy sufferings rejoice, for thou hast a sign most clear and manifest of My Presence in Thee. If souls knew what it means to suffer, and suffer for God, not a soul would be found who would not be willing to suffer for Him. My dear Jesus, behold a soul who does not esteem suffering at its real value. My good Jesus, enlighten my mind that I may know its true worth; and move my heart to love that which nature so much abhors.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

THIRTEENTH STATION

Jesus is Taken down from the Cross

Jesus says to the Religious Soul: Whenever a soul receives with faith and love any occasion of suffering, it is as if she received Me in her arms when taken down from the Cross; the two arms with which the soul receives Me are resignation and love for My divine Will. O Jesus, Infinite Charity, who hast suffered so much for My love, grant to this poor little heart the grace to suffer through love all that Thy love reserves for me.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

FOURTEENTH STATION

Jesus is Placed in the Sepulchre

Religious Soul, says Jesus, soul of my spouse. I come to beg of thee in alms a place in thy heart where I may shelter My Love, not dead, but all inflamed. Thou shalt be to Me My solace, and I shall be to thee thy All. O Jesus, this poor little nothing which has no existence except by Thy Bounty, comes to give Thee with all her heart that which Thy love asks of me. Jesus, my sweet Jesus, sweetest and most benign Jesus, close the door of this new sepulchre which Thou hast chosen; seal it, that no one may enter there, and that my heart may beat only and ever with love for Thee.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Dio sui benedetto! (I believe this is Italian for ‘The Blessed God!)

“The way to Heaven is straight and narrow…  because few are willing to use violence [fasting, avoiding occasions of sin etc.] to themselves in resisting temptations. ‘The kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away’ (Matt. 11:12).”

– St. Alphonsus

Be sure that under the cross you will not be lost.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

Why Are Some Prayers Not Answered? (Revelation to St. Gertrude)

“If I, the unsearchable Wisdom, do not always grant thy petitions according to thy desire, I give thee something more profitable, for by reason of human frailty thou art unable to tell what is best for thee.”

– Jesus to St. Gertrude  

Our Lord is all-wise, all-loving and all-powerful; if He does not answer our prayers, it is for our greater good, or because we do not ask rightly (James 4:3).

Our prayer must be persevering, humble and confident. God is Our Father and He alone knows what is best for us. Considering God’s goodness, let us abandon ourselves to God’s will, whether He permits suffering, temptations, depression, the death of a loved one, or anything else for that matter. Each of these things play a crucial role in God’s work of redemption. 

Ideally, we should accept the difficulties of life out of love for God, but it is not wrong to consider the immense benefit that we derive from lovingly accepting these sufferings (which will never come close to the sufferings of Our Lord and Our Lady). In an earlier post about the Rosary, I mentioned the following: St. Louis de Montfort tells us a story about a nun (who had a great devotion to the Rosary) who appeared to a fellow religious sister after death. She said: “If I were able to return in my body to have the chance of saying just a single Hail Mary, even without great fervour, I would gladly go through the sufferings that I had during my last illness all over again, in order to gain the merit of this prayer.” It is to be noted that she had been bed-ridden and suffered agonizing pains for several years before she died.

Now, consider that if this blessed soul was willing to undergo such great suffering again for the merit of one Hail Mary, how generously must patient, prayerful suffering be rewarded by God?! What incomprehensible goodness on God’s part! And what an incentive to combat sin- which requires constant prayer- for these merits will be only be experienced by those who persevere until the end in prayer and God’s grace. 

… Back to why God does not answer some prayers. Here is a relevant anecdote taken from ‘The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude’:

As another person complained that she did not receive the fruit of the prayers which were offered for her, the Saint laid the matter before God, and received this reply: “Ask this person what she would think most advantageous to a cousin or any other relative for whom she ardently desired a benefice, whether the right to it should be conferred on him as a child, or whether he should be allowed the revenues also, and permitted to use them as he pleased. According to human prudence, she could only reply that it would be more advantageous to confer on him the right to the benefice, and the revenue when he could use it properly, than when he might squander it wastefully. Let her, then, confide in My wisdom and My Divine mercy, since I am her Father, her Brother, and her Spouse, and I will obtain what will be advantageous for her body and soul with far more care and fidelity than she would for any relative; and let her believe that I preserve carefully the fruit of all the prayers and desires which are addressed to Me for her, until a suitable time comes to permit her the enjoyment of them; then I will commit them to her entirely, when no one will be able to corrupt them, or to deprive her of them by their importunities. And let her be persuaded that this is far more useful to her than to pour into her soul some sweetness which might, perhaps, be an occasion of vain glory to her, or become tarnished by her pride; or than to grant her some temporal prosperity, which might prove an occasion of sin.”

If God answered all our prayers, and in the manner we expected, we might become proud. Discouragement is a sign of pride, but do not worry: God possesses the remedy for all our ills.

Whether or not our prayers are answered, let us act as the saints did by humbly entrusting ourselves to God’s Providence; to His Fatherly compassion, power and wisdom!  Also, let us praise these Divine attributes, regardless of whether or not our prayers are answered in the way we expect. By acting in this manner,  we will grow in virtue, which God rewards very generously. Patience, for example, is the most necessary virtue if we wish to become saints (according to St. Frances de Sales), and we are all called to be saints!

“Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little
child, shall not enter into it.”

– Mark 10:15

(Likewise, let us pray like little children, who are entirely dependent on their parents. We are no less dependent on God.)

“Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own
prudence (understanding).”

– Proverbs 3:5