Encouragement For Those Tried By Unwanted Thoughts.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.

– James 1:12

Thoughout the day – especially during prayer – we might encounter unwanted thoughts. It is very important for those with some form of religious OCD/scrupulosity in particular, to know that God permits everything (including our weaknesses and involuntary imperfections) for our good. It may be that God wishes us to be more humble, trusting or faithful; perhaps He wishes us to sympathise with others; perhaps He is preparing us for future combat; perhaps He is cleansing us of past faults. Whatever the reason, God always acts in our best interest i.e. He arranges everything for our salvation. We can trust Him wholeheartedly.

Even if our current state is due in part to God’s justice, we can rest assured that His loving “chastisements” are tempered with mercy, and that He can draw a greater good from our trials; furthermore, that He allows us to be tried here is evidence that He wishes us to be spared hereafter. Deo gratias!

St. Francis de Sales assures us that, even if our prayer were to consist entirely of repeated attempts to drive away distractions, that prayer is pleasing to God. Why? Because God is pleased with love, which is evident in such good-will, faith and perseverance. The same principle is revealed in the following revelations, which will be of great consolation to many.

Some Relevant Anecdotes

+ When St. Bridget was harassed by temptations in prayer, Mary the Mother of God said to her: “The devil with malicious watchfulness seeks to hinder the good from praying. But do thou, daughter, whatever temptation may assail thee in prayer, persist in thy desire or good will, and in thy holy endeavours, as best thou canst; because thy pious desires and endeavours will be reputed as effectual prayer. Even if thou art not able to cast out the base and evil thoughts that come into thy mind, yet for those endeavours thon shalt receive a crown in heaven; thus these troubles will profit thee, provided thou consentest not to the temptation, but art displeased with whatever is unbecoming.” (pp. 226 –227, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ The Lord Jesus said to St. Bridget: “Wherefore, daughter, art thou anxious and disquieted?” She answered, “Because I am afflicted with many unprofitable and evil thoughts, which I cannot drive away, and the fear of Thy judgments oppresses me.” Then the Lord said, “This is true justice [remember that God permits trials because He loves us; also, His justice is tempered with mercy: He will always give us the strength to remain faithful to Him] ; that as thou hast formerly taken delight in the vanities of the world against My will, so thou shouldst now be molested by various perverse thoughts against thy own will. Do thou, however, fear my judgments with moderation and discretion, ever firmly trusting in Me, thy God. For thou must know, for certain, that evil thoughts, which the mind resists and detests, are the purification and crown of the soul. If thou art unable to avoid them, bear it patiently, and let thy will strive against them. And, although thou consent not to them, fear lest thou take pride in that and fall; for whosoever stands, it is by the power of God alone that he stands.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ Again, the Lord said to St. Bridget, “In order that man may understand his own weakness, and the strength he receives from Me, it is necessary that he should sometimes be allowed to be attacked by evil thoughts; and if he consents not to them, they become the purification of his mind, and the safeguard of his virtues. And although they are hard to be borne, they heal the soul, and conduct it to eternal life, which cannot be gained without sufferings. The soul should, therefore, labour diligently, lest it consent to them, or take any pleasure in them.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

Why does God permit temptation?

“One can distinguish five reasons why God allows the devils to attack us:

first, so that from attack and counter-attack we may become practised in discerning good from evil;

second, so that our virtue may be maintained in the heat of the struggle and so be confirmed in an impregnable position;

third, so that as we advance in virtue we may avoid presumption and learn humility;

fourth, to inspire in us an unreserved hatred for evil through the experience we thus have of it;

fifth, and above all, that we may attain inner freedom and remain convinced both of our own weakness and of the strength of him who has come to our aid.” – St. Maximus the Confessor

In a word, God permits temptation for our greater good. The more we are tempted, the more right we have to trust in Him, without Whom it would be impossible to overcome even the slightest temptation. God rewards our efforts generously in Heaven.

To Inspire us with hope for Heaven:

“If when visions [of Heaven] are shown to thee, thou wert to see the beauty of the blessed souls or of the holy Angels as it is, thy heart would be broken with excess of joy.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden

15 Reasons To Suffer With LOVE.

“Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”
– Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

If we were more humble, we would never complain of suffering (except in the sense in which Our Lord complained in the Garden of Gethsemane). “Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction.” Furthermore, let us consider that God also uses our sufferings – if only we bear them with love – to bring down an abundance of graces for others!

Suffering is a small price to pay considering that one serious sin merits eternal suffering. “They do not consider,” said Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden, “that the least little sin a man finds delight in is enough to damn him to an eternal torment [if he does not repent].” (We must not forget that Hell is only for those who die in unrepented mortal sin.) This consideration is mentioned so that we may humbly thank God in particular for the priceless grace of repentance, and for the grace of knowing the value – at least to a greater degree than many others – of suffering. God desires that we be happy with Him both here and hereafter. The cross is the means by which God purifies souls and leads them to Himself.

It is a great act of charity to console the suffering. Perhaps the following words will be of profit to someone you know who is suffering:

1. “When suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but it is changed into joy.” – St. Therese

2. “… when suffering is joined to love, the proofs of love given through suffering are a true reparation [i.e. for sin] offered to God.” – Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

3. “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.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

4. “Be not afflicted if I begin to abandon thee. Do not think it chastisement. It is truly My own Will in order to detach thee from
creatures and unite thee to Myself.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

5. “No sin of yours will come under my judgment if it has been expiated in this life through your penance.” – Jesus to St. Bridget

6. “The best penance is to have patience with the sorrows God permits.” – St. Peter Damian

7. “The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly.” – St. Paul of the Cross

8. “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.” – Jesus to St. Faustina

9.  “Affliction is always accompanied by Grace; Grace is proportionate to Suffering. The measure of My gifts is increased with the measure of trials.” – Jesus to St. Rose of Lima

10. ”O My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

11. “Let us tell ourselves that every day, every hour, every instant of suffering borne with Jesus and for love of Him will be a new heaven [reward in Heaven] for all eternity, and a new glory given God for ever.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

12. “My child, you canst do nothing more gratifying to Me than to submit patiently to all the tribulations that befall you.” – Jesus to St. Gertrude

13. “The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

14. “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13

15. “O what inspiration there is in the Crucifix! … God … never commands us to do anything which he has not first practiced Himself…” – St. John Vianney

+++

… should I then have deserved to go to hell in punishment of my sins, I entreat you, O my Lord to pardon me, and to be pleased to lead me to enjoy you eternally in heaven.”

– Venerable Fabrizio Dall’ Aste

Some More Help For Overcoming Scruples.

Although I have only read a part of the book from which the following excerpt is taken, what I have read is excellent!

(Taken from: ‘HOLY ABANDONMENT’ by Dom Vitalis Lehodey, O.C.R.) — The last paragraph is particularly good!

Third Part: ON THE OBJECT OF HOLY ABANDONMENT; Chapter 8 – ON ABANDONMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL VARIETIES OF THE COMMON WAY: FAILURES AND FAULTS; Article 4 – SCRUPULOSITY

Scrupulosity is not delicacy of conscience, but only its counterfeit. A delicate and rightly formed conscience does not confound imperfection with sin, or venial sin with mortal. It passes a sound judgment on all things. But it loves God so much that it fears to displease Him in anything. It has so much zeal for perfection that it wants to avoid even the shadow of evil. It is therefore full of light, love, and generosity. Scrupulosity, on the contrary, is founded on ignorance, error, or defective judgment. It is the fruit of a troubled mind. It exaggerates its obligations and its faults, and even sees them where they do not exist. On the other hand, it may often enough fail to recognise faults and obligations that are very real. One can be scrupulous on certain points to a ridiculous degree, and at the same time be scandalously lax on others.

Scrupulosity is the pest of interior peace. The soul affected by this evil is the slave of a tyrannical master: there can be no longer any question of tranquillity for her. “Her slightest faults,” says De Lombez, “will be magnified to crimes. Her best actions will appear full of evil. She can never validly fulfill her duties: the cruel enemy of her peace will be as much dissatisfied with the hundredth attempt as with the first.” It will pursue her relentlessly in her prayers with the fear of bad thoughts, in her Communions with the aridities inseparable from her violent combats, in her confessions with the fears regarding the integrity or the contrition, in all her spiritual exercises with the fear of performing them badly, in her conversations with the fear of uncharitable remarks, and especially in solitude where she is without counselor support, alone with her thoughts, alone with the tyrant. “Scrupulous persons fear God, but they make of their fear a torment. They love God, but in their love they can find no consolation. They serve Him, too, but in the manner of slaves: they feel themselves crushed under the weight of His yoke which gives comfort and joy to the rest of His children.” In short, they are good souls, often to be envied for their virtues, always to be compassionated for their sufferings.

Scrupulosity is one of the worst plagues of the spiritual life, but it has varying degrees of evil. First of all, it is an obstacle to prayer. The soul enslaved to it turns her attention upon herself; she examines, examines again, is never done examining. And all this time she elicits no acts of adoration or thanksgiving. Does she even think of making an act of contrition or of imploring the grace of amendment? Not she. Too busily occupied with herself, she has no time to speak to God. Consequently, she does not pray at all; or if she does, it is only in a very imperfect manner. For her scrupulosity excites a commotion prejudicial to interior silence and to the attention demanded by prayer. It plunges her in sadness and fear, and thus destroys her love and confidence. It would even induce her to avoid God. At least it prevents all heart-to-heart colloquies with Him and the joys of intimate intercourse. It will go so far as to render painful, and perhaps insupportable, confession, Holy Communion, and prayer: the strength and consolation of pious souls. Outside of prayer, the interior life demands that we should be watchful over ourselves and constantly attentive to suppress the movements of nature and to foster the inspirations of grace. For the accomplishments of this double task, so difficult and delicate, scrupulosity puts us in a very unfavorable position, because it agitates and depresses us. The troubled mind can no longer see its way clearly. Too preoccupied with certain duties, it will perhaps allow itself to be wholly absorbed by them and forget others. The will, exhausted after so many struggles, may relax, lose courage, and even abandon its resolution in order, more’s the pity! to seek rest and consolation amongst creatures. At any rate, if scrupulosity does not quite put a stop to the work of our sanctification, it often retards and always injures it. Is that perfect faith, which shuts its eyes to the mercy of God and wants to see only His justice, and distorts even that? Is that perfect hope, which, in spite of the most sincere good-will, hardly dares aspire to heaven and grace, is always trembling with fear, and has never any confidence? Is that perfect charity, which, although loving God, yet dreads to appear in His presence, never pours out its heart to Him, and feels nothing but terror for a Lord infinitely good? Is that contrition well ordered, which confuses the intelligence, depresses the courage, and unsettles a soul of good-will? Is that true humility, true virtue, which banishes filial trust and degenerates into cowardice?

No, no! Scrupulosity is not a proof of ardent love, or a sign of a sensitive conscience. Is it a subtle form of self-love, a spiritual egoism, too much preoccupied with self, and not enough with God? Or is it a sincerely good will that has wandered out of the way? At all events, it is a real malady of the soul which threatens the spiritual life in its very existence, and seriously interferes with its functions. Thus, whilst others march forward, run, fly, in the paths of perfection, their hearts dilated with confidence and their souls rejoicing in peace; the poor victim of scruples, though possessing perhaps not less generosity but ill-regulated, wearies himself in vain, makes hardly any progress, if indeed he does not go back, and suffers agonies, because “he wastes his precious time tormenting himself about his duties, weighing atoms, and making mountains of mole-hills.” He persecutes his confessors, saddens the Holy Spirit, ruins his health, and wearies his brain. He dares not undertake anything for himself, and can be of hardly any use to others. Indeed, he might only injure those with whom he comes into contact, by communicating his malady, or by rendering piety repulsive and ridiculous. Scrupulosity, if yielded to, is therefore, in varying degrees, a real pest of the spiritual life.

It is assuredly the signified will of God that we should combat it on account of its disastrous effects. On this point all theologians and masters of the spiritual life are in perfect accord. They mark out in detail the course we should follow. Let it suffice for us to say here that, in order to conquer this terrible enemy, we must pray much, suppress voluntary causes, and above all practise blind obedience. The scrupulous person may be well instructed, very experienced, and even very prudent in all other matters: but in what concerns his scruples, his malady deranges his mind. It would therefore be folly to attempt to guide himself. Childlike obedience to his confessor, who diagnoses the disease and prescribes the remedy, is his best wisdom and his only hope of relief. This, nevertheless, is no easy matter. He must pray, therefore, with all instance, and implore the grace to renounce his own ideas, and to practise obedience even against his own inclinations. For his conscience being false, he has to rectify it by conforming to the judgment of his spiritual guide.

It is also the good-Pleasure of God that we should patiently support the affliction of scrupulosity so long as it pleases Him. We can always combat the evil. Sometimes times we shall succeed in banishing it altogether; sometimes only in lessening it; and sometimes, by the permission of Providence, it will persist in full vigour despite our best efforts. For it can come from very different causes, of which some depend upon our own wills, but many may be beyond our control.

The malady may owe its origin to excess in work or austerities, to the reading of books that are over-severe, to intercourse with scrupulous persons, or to the habit of seeing in God the terrible Judge rather than the Father of infinite goodness. Or it may have originated in the ignorance which exaggerates our obligations, or confounds temptation with sin, the sensation with the consent. In these, and such-like cases, it depends upon ourselves to remove the causes. Then, the source being suppressed, we shall soon see the end of our troubles.

But it often arises from a melancholy disposition, from a fearful and suspicious character, weakness of the head, or certain conditions of health. All these causes depend more upon the Divine good-pleasure than upon our wills. And in such cases, the scrupulosity usually lasts a long time and manifests itself even in profane employments.

The demon is not seldom the author of the evil. He avails himself of our imprudences, he exploits our predispositions, he works on our senses and imagination, in order to excite or intensify scrupulosity. If he sees a soul inclined to be somewhat lax, he pushes her on to greater laxity. But when he encounters one that is timid, his endeavour is to make her extravagantly fearful, to fill her with trouble and anxiety, in the hope that she will end by abandoning God, prayer, and the Sacraments. His purpose is to render virtue insupportable, to engender weariness, discouragement, and despair.

God will never be directly the author of scrupulosity. It can only come from our fallen nature or from the demon, since it is founded on error and is a real malady of the soul. But He permits it; He even employs it occasionally as a transient means of sanctification; and in this case, He controls and directs it with His infinite wisdom, in such a manner as to make us derive from it the spiritual advantage which He has in view. He inspires the soul with a great fear of sin, in order that she may rid herself more completely of her past transgressions, and by redoubling her zeal prevent a relapse. He humbles her so that she may no longer venture to rely on her own judgment, but submit herself entirely to her spiritual father. If there is question of a soul already well advanced, He uses scrupulosity to complete her purification, her detachment, her annihilation, so as to prepare her for, the reception of very special graces. It is thus the Saints have been put through this trial, some of them, as St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the time of their conversion; others, like St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori, when they had attained to the consummation of their sanctity. There may, then, be many immediate causes of scrupulosity. But there is only one supreme Cause, without Whom nature and the demon can do nothing. Even if we ourselves have been the authors of our malady, we required at least the permissive will of God. Consequently, we must recognise here, as elsewhere, the hand of Divine Providence. God does not love the disorder of scrupulosity, but He may will that we should support it as a cross. His signified will calls upon us to struggle against the evil, and His good-pleasure to endure the trial. So long as it continues we must struggle and endure. God grant we may be able to do so with an abandonment full of confidence!

“In conclusion,” says St. Alphonsus, “I repeat: Obey, obey! And I beg of you: cease to regard God as a cruel tyrant. No doubt, He hates sin. But He cannot hate a soul that sincerely detests and laments her faults.”

‘You seek Me, indeed,’ He once said to St. Margaret of Cortona, ‘but know that, however ardently you seek Me, I seek you more ardently still. And it is your fears that prevent your progress in Divine love.’ Tormented with scruples, but always submissive, St. Catherine of Bologna feared to approach the Holy Table. A sign from her confessor was enough. Immediately she vanquished her fears and calmly communicated. In order to encourage her to the constant practice of obedience in this matter, Our Lord appeared to her one day and said: ‘Rejoice, My daughter, because your obedience is very pleasing to Me.’ He likewise appeared to the Dominicaness, Blessed Stephanie of Soncino, and addressed these words to her: ‘Because you have placed your will in the hands of your confessor, as if in My Own: ask of Me whatever you please, and you shall have it.’ ‘Lord,’ she replied, ‘I want nothing but Thyself.’ At the beginning of his conversion, St. Ignatius of Loyola was so continually troubled with doubts and disquietudes that he could not enjoy a moment’s repose. But being a man of faith, full of confidence in the words of the Divine Master: ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me,’* he cried out: ‘Lord, show me the way I ought to follow. Although I should have only a dog to guide me, I promise to obey faithfully.’ And in fact he showed such obedience to his directors that he was soon freed from his scruples and became an admirable master of the spiritual life. . . . Once again I repeat: be obedient to your confessor in everything, have faith in obedience. ‘This,’ said St. Philip, ‘is the surest way to escape from the toils of the demon; as, on the other hand, there is nothing more dangerous than to desire to conduct oneself according to one’s own judgment.’ In all your prayers, implore this grace, the great grace of obedience, and be sure that in obeying you will infallibly save and sanctify yourself.”

* St. Francis de Sales and St. Faustina remind us that God is very pleased with those who place their trust in their confessor; God rewards our humble faith and obedience with spiritual insights that He will communicate to us through the priest. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Balaam through an ass (Numbers 22:28); how much more, then, can we hope for God to speak to us through the mouth of one of his ministers! 

Our Lord Weeps More for Sinners Than for His Own Passion and Death.

Our Lord revealed to Bl. Dina Belanger that if all religious souls would let Him act through them as He desires, all would be saved!

Jesus has an insatiable desire for our love.

But our love is merely a participation in God’s love.

It follows, then, that God desires to love us first, so that we may love Him!

Banish from your heart and mind any illusion that you can earn God’s love, or that you have nothing to offer Him – perhaps on account of your past sinfulness. This is surely a temptation. Whenever God asks for love, He first offers us His love! He redeemed even the most wretched sinners, because He desires our happiness. “The greatest gift you can make Me is to receive Me,” said Our Lord to Sr. Mary of the Trinity.

With such unspeakable love in mind, let us reflect on the touching words of Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani:

‘”Another sorrow, which pierced My Heart continually, like a three-edged and poisoned blade, was the impiety and ingratitude of Judas, first My beloved disciple, then My wicked betrayer… Consider first the ingratitude of Judas, whom I chose for one of My apostles, whose sins I forgave, upon whom I conferred the power of working miracles, and whom I made the dispenser of the offerings made to Me. When I saw the design of betraying Me forming in his heart, I redoubled the proofs of My tenderness, to turn him from his criminal thoughts, but it was of no avail; nothing would touch his wicked heart. On the contrary, the more affection I showed him, the more he was hardened in his perfidious resolution. When, at the Last Supper, I performed the humble and touching ceremony of washing My disciples’ feet, My Heart could not contain itself; but I wept bitterly, and watered his polluted feet with My tears, for I said within Myself: “O Judas! what have I then done to you, that you should betray Me thus? O unhappy disciple! is this to be the last proof I shall ever be able to give of My love for you? O son of perdition! why dost thou leave Thy Father and Master? O Judas, if you would have thirty pieces of silver, why not go and ask them from My Mother thine; she would sell herself to free thee and Me from danger and death. Ah! ungrateful disciple, today I wash thy feet, and kiss them with so much love, and in a few hours thou wilt kiss My Face, to deliver Me up to My enemies. O dear and beloved son, what a return thou makest to One who weeps the loss of thee more than His own Passion and death, because for this He came into this world.

While My Heart was speaking thus, My tears watered his feet, but he saw them not, because I was kneeling before him, My Head bent down, and My long hair falling about My Face, so that he could not see My tearful countenance. But John, my beloved disciple, to whom I had revealed all the mysteries of My Passion during this sad Supper, observed My every action, saw My tears flow on the feet of the traitor, and understood that they proceeded from the tenderness of My love. When a father sees his only son about to die, he is eager to serve him, and says in his heart, “Farewell, my son, this is the last service I shall be able to render you.” Thus did I act towards Judas, when I washed and kissed his feet.

When I caressed and kissed them with tender compassion, John, perceiving with his eager heart My gestures and actions, was more dead than alive with wonder and admiration. When at length I approached to wash his feet, for his humility had made him take the last place, on seeing me stoop he could no longer contain himself, but as I knelt he threw his arms round My neck, and held me fast in a long embrace as if fainting, weeping and sobbing and saying in his heart, without uttering a sound, “O my dear Master! My Brother, my Lord and my God! how hast Thou had the courage to wash and kiss with Thy sacred Mouth the cursed feet of this infamous traitor…”

Let us humbly consider the truth that for the entirety of our lives, God has been in search of us. What He asks of us – that we keep His commandments and love Him above all else – is such a small thing in comparison with what He offers us. God is all-deserving of our love, our compassion, our talents, our will, our mind, because they are His gifts.

“Know, My daughter, that the pains I bore in My Heart were innumerable and infinite; for innumerable and infinite are the souls, my members, who tear themselves from Me by mortal sin, for each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and source of life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Blessed Battista Varani

“Do not offend Me any more. Love Me as I have always loved you. Love Me.

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

 

 

Those We Will Be Surprised To See In Heaven…

How much does God desire to save us? We can form no idea. The love that every soul of good-will possesses is but a mere atom compared to the limitless ocean of God’s love. God’s love cannot be divided. According to St. Padre Pio, St. Margaret of Cortona, and others, there will be a number of souls in Heaven that we would not expect to see there. Alas! The opposite is also true. God alone knows how faithfully each soul has corresponded to grace. In Heaven, some souls will glorify the omnipotent mercy of God to a great degree!

May the following beautiful words (taken from ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’) strengthen our hope in God’s mercy, and may they deter us from judging others. God asks us to be merciful to others because He wants to be merciful to us!

“The blessed Mechtildis [St. Mechtilde] was once considering how immense was the loving-kindness of God, when our Lord said to her: “Come, and contemplate the least of all the blessed who are in heaven; for in him thou wilt be able to understand My loving kindness.”

And while Mechtildis was considering attentively, and longing to know who it was of whom the Lord was speaking; behold there appeared to her a man of royal aspect and dignity, in the flower of his age, with a beautiful, resplendent, and most amiable countenance; to whom she said, “Who art thou? And how didst thou attain to so great happiness and glory?”

He answered,

“On the earth I was a robber and a malefactor; but, because my evil deeds were done rather from ignorance and the habits in which I was trained by my parents, than out of wickedness, I at last through repentance obtained mercy…”

In this manner St. Mechtildis learnt the loving-kindness of God towards him who was the least of all the blessed*. And if our most merciful Lord granted so much to one who had led so bad a life, what will He give to those who live in justice and holiness?” (pp. 211-212)

*This does not mean that he is the greatest converted sinner.

Our Lord addressed St. Bridget (d. 1373) thus:

“No one is so great a sinner that I would refuse him mercy, if he sought it with a humble and perfect heart. Therefore, let sinners who wish to be reconciled to Me, and to obtain My grace and friendship, first, grieve with their whole hearts that they have offended Me, their Creator and Redeemer; then, let them purify themselves before the priest by a sincere and humble confession, and amend their lives, and perform satisfaction according to the advice and discretion of the priest. If they have done this, I will draw near to them, and the devil will be kept at a distance from them. Afterwards, it will be fitting that they should receive My Body with devotion and true love, resolving never more to fall into their former sins, and purposing to persevere to the end in well-doing. These I will run to meet as a mother runs to meet her erring children, and will most gladly receive them. I will be in them, and they shall be in Me, and shall live and rejoice with Me to all eternity.” (p. 213)

This revelation, though beautiful, cannot fail to arouse Protestant Christians to consider the validity of the Catholic Church and its Sacraments, which were ordained, and have been preserved by Almighty God. This is not an apologetics website, but suffice it to say that the Church is necessary for salvation insofar as it is God’s will that those who know this truth submit to “the pillar and ground of the truth”, of which our Lord is the Head and the Heart, which throbs incessantly with love for us in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something For Christians To Meditate Upon Daily.

“Accept lovingly all the trials which are sent you, as if they were the most precious gifts God could confer upon you. Do not think it possible that anything could happen to you outside the economy of divine Providence, because unless our Lord permitted it, you would never have to suffer. Never entertain any feelings of contempt against people who clash with you; look upon them as instruments made use of by God for the accomplishment of His designs, love them, and give thanks to Providence. The present life is the path which leads us to our country, and thus we are often exposed to tribulations here below, in order that we may not prefer the path to our true country. God scatters obstacles on the road of His elect for fear that, abandoning themselves to repose in this life on a path strewn with flowers, they should wish to prolong their journey instead of hastening on, for fear also that the pleasures of the journey should make them lose the desire for their own country.”

– Louis de Blois (Blosius), a devout monk and mystical writer

Encouragement For Those Tempted To Despair…

“I have no resource against this temptation to despair, but to throw myself before the Tabernacle, like a little dog at his master’s feet.”

– St. John Vianney

The Devil tempts many to despair; he often reserves this tempation for those who serve God, or who wish to serve Him. Impenitent sinners and the lukewarm are more likely to be tempted to presumption.

The temptation to despair takes different forms. Some believe that they will not persevere; others believe that they have managed to exhaust the infinite mercy of God. For this latter temptation, it will be profitable to consider the words of God to St. Hildegard.

God made known to her His great mercy for souls. He assured her – and He assures us –  that a sinner is only ‘beyond’ help if they obstinately refuse it; even those who have terribly blasphemed God can be pardoned, provided that they repent of their malice, recognising that God’s mercy is infinitely greater than all their sins. As long as a breath of life remains to us, we may hope for pardon. Speaking of those who have committed various grave sins, God says that they will be forgiven if they return to Him…

 “But if they persevere in their infidelity… [If they] remain impenitent…  And if they persist in this, they cannot receive pardon because of… their obduracy [hardness of heart or final impenitence], for they so stifle the understanding of their hearts that they cannot aspire upwards.”

And yet, God continues:

 “… But if any of these [ie. those who have blasphemed God’s love] is led by penitence and truly seeks Me, he shall find Me, for I reject no one who comes to Me with a sincere heart.”  

What, then, do we fear? God is always ready to embrace us! God continued to tell St. Hildegard that those who confide in Him when tempted to despair or blasphemy, can be assured of His assistance, as He has great compassion for those who are tormented by these grave temptations. Many of the saints were tempted thus. We can be consoled by the thought that our infinitely loving and wise Saviour permits these trials for our merit, for the salvation of souls, for His glory, and so that we may grow in humility, faith, hope, love, and thereby be purified through the crucible of suffering that renders us like Jesus. God loves all souls, but most especially those who bear sufferings for His sake; their reward will be great in Heaven.

Touching briefly on the tempation that we will not persevere – rest assured that the desire to do God’s will (which is an effect of His grace) is always accompanied by the grace to actually do God’s will. Our Lord said to Sr. Benigna Consolata that those who seek to please God in all things, become His “Benjamin” –  that is, His favourite!

It is also a useful practice, when tempted to despair, to flee to Our Lady, Hope of the Despairing. She cannot fail to succour us, but we must have great confidence in her.

Peace to men of good-will!

A Beautiful Revelation For Every Christian (Pt. 2)

“I am perfect love, for all the things which I have done from eternity, I did out of love; and, whatsoever I do or shall do in the future, likewise proceeds and will proceed from My love. My love for man is now as great and incomprehensible as it was at the time of My Passion, when, out of exceeding love, I delivered all the elect by My death. And, if it were possible for Me to die as many times as there are souls in Hell, I would with most prompt will and most perfect charity give up My Body, and would endure for each soul the same Passion and Death that I endured for all.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget

The holy Benedictine, Fr. Paul of Moll, was often lost in ecstasy when he spoke about the love of God, to the extent that he would sometimes be raised off the ground for ten minutes or so; his face often radiated with an indescribable brightness, and an aureole surrounded his head. This holy priest knew well the love of God, which can bestow on us no greater blessing than transforming us into saints; the saints are partakers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) to a remarkable degree, and for all eternity the Heavenly Father will be glorified by them to the degree that they resemble His Son. If we were to consider, even infrequently, the infinite desire that God has for our salvation, we would better be able to appreciate the value and purpose of trials, sufferings and temptations of all sorts. The cross is truly a blessing beyond compare. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, the holy lay-sister of the Visitation Order, was accustomed to adoring the holy will of God in all things. With God’s grace, we can do the same. 

If we truly desire to please Jesus and to save our souls, as well as many others, we must ask daily for the gift of divine love. This is a treasure beyond compare; It alone can transform this fallen world.

Deo Gratias!