Something to Consider When You Suffer…

One day Our Lord appeared to Bl. Catherine of Racconigi, a stigmatic nun, who, like St. Catherine of Siena and several other saints, was mystically espoused to Jesus. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09703a.htm (‘Mystical Marriage’)
He showed Catherine an exceedingly beautiful crown of roses, saying: “All afflictions will appear as roses to you if you bear them with good will.”

When we accept any cross, however small, for the love of God, we bring Him immense glory and consolation. Listen to what Our Lord said to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero:

“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.”

In relation to one of the elect, Jesus spoke these beautiful words to St. Gertrude: “Because her most intense suffering was in her arm she holds Me embraced with a glory of beatitude so great that she would wish to have suffered a hundred times more.”

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My Favourite Scripture Verse.

‘Yea I have loved thee with everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.’ (Jeremiah 31:3)

This scripture verse is profoundly beautiful. Books could be written on this brief passage. But we will only focus (briefly) on 9 truths that relate to this passage.

“Yea I have loved thee with everlasting love…”

1. Before we were created, God loved us – each of us, without exception. His love is the cause of our existence. We are no accident; we are extremely precious to God. “I loved you all before you were born.” (Our Lord to one of His chosen souls)

2. The infinite love of God for souls is manifested to us through His Providence. It is for this reason that God wants us to abandon ourselves to Him without reserve, like a child in its mother’s arms. He does not want us to turn aside from His love, as so many poor souls do! “You have but one thing to do: love Me and abandon yourself to My will.” (Our Lord to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez)

3. Though He finds infinite satisfaction in Himself, due to His infinite perfections, He desired (and desires) nevertheless to share His gifts – to share Himself! – with us, His dear creatures. There is no purer love than God’s love! “Love is essentially communicative.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)

4. God’s love is eternal; it is immutable. We cannot exhaust His love. We can expel Divine Love from our souls through mortal sin; but this does not change God’s love for us. So long as we desire to seek God and turn from sin, He will welcome us back with intense pleasure, the sight of which fills Heaven with raptures of love and joy! Our Lord revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden that He would happily suffer to save the damned and even the fallen angels if it were possible! (St. Alphonsus and many others confirm the orthodoxy of St. Bridget’s revelations.)

“… therefore have I drawn thee…”

5. St. Thomas says that the nature of love is to will the good of the beloved. As God contains all Goodness within Himself, it follows that in His love, He necessarily seeks to unite us to Himself. This helps us to see why the Cross is a gift: it is permitted or sent in order to detach us from this earth and from sin. “O My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified.” (Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani, an extraordinary mystic)

6. Without actual grace, we cannot approach God. No one reaches God by their own efforts. The saints are simply those who cooperated with God’s grace, and who let themselves be led by infinite love, which wills only what is best for us. God’s will is Love. Those who trust in God alone and seek Him with pure hearts will soon experience the joy of their Master. “If you surrender all, you will find everything in My Heart.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)

“… taking pity on thee…”

7. Jesus laboured for 33 years for our salvation. His Interior Cross never left Him. The sufferings He endured for us are infinitely greater than we can imagine. And to think that He endured it all for you! For me! (Gal. 2:20). “The least sins wound Me more than all the ills in the world can wound you; you only feel what touches yourself, whereas I feel all the sins of mankind.” (Jesus to Venerable Anne of St. Bartholomew)

8. Jesus offers Himself for us daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (as often as Mass is said)! What unspeakable love! “In the Mass is perpetuated the same immolation of the same Victim, Me, on Calvary. It is not a prolongation or a repetition of My sacrifice, but the same sacrifice though unbloody, the same living crucifixion with the same and only loving will of the Father to give His own Son, His only Son, for the salvation of the world.” (Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida)
The following book (which can be read legally and freely online) is essential reading (I do not use this expression lightly) for all Christians: https://archive.org/stream/cochemsexplanat01martgoog#page/n18/mode/2up (‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Explained’ by Ven. Martin von Cochem)

9. Even if we have been the worst sinner in the world, God will pardon us if we return to Him. In Heaven there are many who have been terrible sinners; but they all share this in common: they humbled themselves. Those who are proud will never be happy. Pride is to union with God what oil is to water.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us all in such moving words as these: “Come to repent, come to be reconciled, come to be consoled, come to receive a blessing. Come, My friend, take everything which a friend can give to his friend. Come, My sister, possess the eternal inheritance which I acquired for you by My Precious Blood. Come, My spouse, enjoy My Divinity.” (Jesus to St. Mechtilde)

How to Attain Lasting Peace

“It is impossible to explain the abundance of this peace in the soul altogether given to God and seeking Him alone.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

“Souls that do not wish to give all to Our Lord,” writes Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, “and to bring all their desires to unity by this total donation, cannot taste this true peace. They are divided, tossed to and fro between themselves and God, between the satisfaction of their self–love and obedience; they are the prey of trouble and disquiet. (Like St. Augustine, we should cleave to God, the immutable good).”

If we desire true peace, we must seek God with a pure heart. He has loved us first; let us love Him in return.

“One night while I was praying,” writes St. Veronica Giuliani, “I beheld issuing from the side of Our Saviour a liquid which exhaled a heavenly perfume, and it filled up a kind of fountain which stood before the Lord. I saw many souls plunge into it. The Lord gave me to understand that these were the pure souls who had given themselves absolutely to Him.”

“The more I am faithful to this little way of love,” writes Sr. Consolata Betrone, “the more is my soul flooded with joy and true peace that nothing is able to disturb, not even my continual falls. For, when I bring these to Jesus, He makes me remedy them through acts of humility, and these in turn increase the peace and joy in my heart.”

Ponder in your heart the profound truth of these words: “Our souls are made for God; unless they are set towards this end they are perpetually in agitation and trouble. Now St. Benedict wishes that we should have but this one and universal intention: That we should seek God… By the unity of this end, he brings unity to the manifold actions of our life, and especially into the desires of our being; and this is, according to St. Thomas one of the essential elements of peace… Our souls are troubled when they are torn by desires that bear upon a thousand different objects… when we seek God alone by an obedience full of abandonment and love, we sum up all things in the one thing necessary; and it is this that establishes strength and peace within us.” Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

If we simply do our duties for the love of God, seeking always to purify our intentions, then we will surely taste the sweetness of Our Lord’s yoke. He is the Way: let us follow Him; He is the Truth: let us trust Him; He is the Life: let us unite ourselves to Him, Who will lead us safely to Paradise. The more sinful we have been in the past, the greater right we have to trust in His infinite love, which is the source of all our good desires. If we desire Him, He desires us still more (as He revealed to St. Margaret of Cortona).

In 1809, the Divine Precursor [St. John the Baptist] appeared to His humble servant, Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora. Showing her the Promised Land, He said: “Look! There the Divine Paraclete awaits you, to celebrate with you celestial espousals. I will be your guide and conductor. O fortunate soul, what a happy fate is yours!” At these words, the Angels introduced her into the kingdom of Glory, and the Saint pointed out to her the Heavenly Palace, and began to describe its magnificence. Then he added: “But the door of this Palace is narrow: those who enter must be humble and lowly.” (p. 116 of her biography)

Jesus to Marie–Dominique Moes (on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1859): “O blinded men, what has become of you? Have I not shed all My Blood for you, and given Myself to you for food? And all that was not enough to awaken a return of love in you? Ah, what sorrow for My loving Heart!”

A Helpful Tip for Overcoming Temptation.

One day St. Rose of Lima complained to Our Lord that He let her be exposed to a great danger of falling into sin. Perhaps we have been in this position before. Perhaps we have even fallen into mortal sin many times, despite what we thought to be our best efforts. Maybe we have become so discouraged that we almost expect to fall again…

Whatever the case may be, the good news is that God has not given up on us: if we desire Him, He desires us far more; for we cannot seek God without His grace.

“As soon as your soul is touched by grace, and before the struggle has even begun, hasten to My Heart; beg of Me to let a drop of My Blood fall on your soul. . . . Ah! hasten to My Heart . . . and be without fear for the past; all has been swallowed up in the abyss of My mercy, and My love is preparing new graces for you. The memory of your lapses will be an incentive to humility and a source of merit, and you cannot give Me a greater proof of affection than to count on My full pardon and to believe that your sins will never be as great as My mercy, which is infinite.” (Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez)

If we etch the following truths deep in our hearts and minds, we will be preserved from many sins (provided that we persevere in prayer).

1. Grace is all–powerful. Grace is a participation in the Divine Nature; it is invincible, like God Himself. There is no sinner, however hardened, who cannot abandon his sins and be saved, provided that he calls on Almighty God with confidence and a will to turn from his wickedness. “Ask and you shall receive.”

2. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. We must not blame God for our falls. Deliberate sin, especially mortal sin, can always be avoided. If we fall, we can turn to God in humility, saying: “My Jesus, mercy! Help me to love You more! Please increase my humility. Help me to trust in you. Without You I am nothing and can do nothing.” And so forth. By our confidence we honour the infinite goodness of God. This is a sure way of obtaining great graces.

3. Without Grace we can do nothing. Everyone receives actual grace – absolutely everyone. Were God to withdraw His grace from us, we would not so much as be able to think a good thought. All life, all holiness, all wisdom, all intelligence, all goodness comes from Him. Pride is a perversion, a lie, spiritual theft, insanity (to a greater or lesser extent).

4. With God we can do all things. Every temptation we have overcome, any good we have ever done, any prayer we have made, any good we possess, is a gift from God. Why, then, do we not trust in Him?

Applying this knowledge to the pursuit of perfection – to which we are all called – it becomes evident that if we are to grow in love/holiness, we must place all our confidence in Almighty God, knowing that we can never place too much trust in Him, just as we can never place too little trust in ourselves!

St. Crescentia certainly distrusted herself, and she was profoundly humble and loving. It is written of her that if she heard of someone committing a mortal sin, she would say: “I should have fallen much lower than this unfortunate man, if Almighty God had not so powerfully upheld me; had the man, on the other hand, had the grace I possess, he would live a thousand times more piously than I do. He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.” Reflect seriously on these words, dear reader. We can never be too humble.

If we do fall into sin, we must not think: “But my spiritual life was going so well… I had avoided sin for so long… I was soaring with the saints!” No. We must attribute all our former success to God. Likewise, we must only expect to overcome sin with God’s help. Unless we trust in Our Lord, our efforts will be in vain.

“Let Me do it!” This is what Our Lord used to say to St. Veronica Giuliani. He says the same to us. If we are tempted, let Him do it: He will be our strength. If we desire holiness, let Him do it: He will sanctify us. Provided that we follow His inspirations and do not give in to a state of presumptuous passivity, He will lead us into His Sacred Heart.

I said earlier that St. Rose of Lima once complained to Our Lord that He allowed her to come close to falling into sin (or so she thought). This was Our Lord’s reply:

“Would you have conquered if I had not been in your heart? I am always with you and My grace forsakes you not; therefore weep no more.”

On another occasion, He said to her:

“They must no longer be deluded as to the meaning of pain; trial is the path to perfection; by it they attain beauty of soul and the summit of grace, and the glory of the Children of God. The Cross is the true and only ladder to reach Heaven. Without the Cross this ascent is impossible.”

Next time you are tempted, recall these words:

“Would you have conquered if I had not been in your heart? I am always with you and My grace forsakes you not.”