Hidden Treasures of the Spiritual Life

“When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez (‘The Way of Divine Love,’ TAN Books)

Shortly after Jesus expired upon the Altar of the Cross on Calvary, His Sacred Heart was pierced with a lance. By allowing this to happen, Our Lord has revealed to us the infinite, tender and impenetrable depths of His vulnerable love; He has opened to us the infinite treasury of His graces, His mercy and His merits. And He desires to share these riches with us! What a shame for them to go to waste, for they were purchased with so much love and so much suffering!

‘Come to Me,’ He says, ‘all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you’ (Mt. 11:28. ‘And he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely’ (Rev. 22:17).

The water of life that gushes forth from the pierced Side of Christ is the life of grace, which is of greater worth than the created universe. Grace transforms even the most mundane, seemingly trivial actions, into everlasting rewards; grace “divinizes” our gifts by mingling them, so to speak, with the treasures found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Everything we offer Him turns to gold. Ultimately, Jesus wants our hearts: ‘My son, give Me thy heart’ (Prov. 23:26).

“I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My Heart.

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menenedez (‘The Way of Divine Love’)

“When I think that if God were to give us the entire universe with all its treasures that this would not be comparable to the lightest suffering.”

– St. Therese to her sister Celine (Carmel, October 20, 1888)

Suppose you are at home and someone leaves their dirty dishes in the sink. “Argh! What a grub!” This might be your first reaction. But look with the eyes of the faith. Our Lord has permitted this small inconvenience; and by accepting it for the love of Him Who suffered so much for you, you will be consoling Him for so much ingratitude that He meets with today, and you will be storing up for yourself an eternal reward. ‘If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water’ (Jn. 4:10).

“Above all, try and do ordinary things well. The opportunity to do great things comes rarely and you are quite capable of doing them when it does come. Just concentrate on doing the little things really well.”

– Jesus to Yvonee-Aimee

Every day, there are countless opportunites to love God; but how many look upon these occasions as gifts from God? If God aks much of us, it is because He desires to give much; a gift given to God is a gift received. This idea is found all throughout the writings of St. Therese, who, referring to the wisdom of P. Pichon, says that the greatest gift God can give us is not to give much, but to ask much.

In imitation of St. Therese, Sr. Gertrude Mary, Sr. Yvonne-Aimee, Sr. Josefa Menendez, and so many other little souls, let us strive for fidelity in little things, like Jesus, of Whom it is written: “HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL” (Mk. 7:37).

Resolution:

Offer everything you do and everything you suffer to God, praising Him all the while. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ (Phil. 4:4). Remember that holiness is the flowering of God’s love in the soul; it is not the result of our efforts, but of our humble, confident acceptance of God’s love that seeks to transform our souls into Himself. (This requires effort; but it is not effort itself that sanctifies. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier, Who alone is competent to recreate within us the image of the Son of God.)

This was the practice of Sr. Gertrude Mary [d. May 24, 1908], who loved her God before all else. J.B. Lemius, the former Superior of Montematre, writes this: “The Sacred Heart has willed that this book* should be written; and will bless it… This little soul, so well beloved of Jesus, fascinates other souls. . . . She is worthy to rank beside little Teresa of Lisieux, and other flowers which our Lord has made to blossom in these days. I am convinced that we are face to face with an extraordinarily privileged soul.”

* https://archive.org/details/sistergertrudema00leguuoft

Our Lord said to her:

“My daughter, you have given Me everything. You have sacrificed the whole of your life to Me. In return I give you all the treasures of My Heart. They are at your disposal, for yourself, and for all the souls you love, and for whom you desire great things. Henceforth you can say to Me: Jesus, I have nothing more to offer Thee, but I love this soul, these souls, I owe them gratitude, and I address myself to Thy Divine Heart, for Thou Thyself hast told me to do so.”

She herself writes these incredible words:

“The Infinite seems to forget what He is and what I am.

He forgets His greatness and
dignity, in order to stoop to my nothingness.

O God, what art Thou doing? Thou dost
unite two contraries; for, if I seek what Thou art, and what I am, I reply:

Thou art the
Eternal, and I am a poor creature, a mere
nothing, which passes away.

Thou, my God, art
Infinite Sanctity, and I am only imperfection
and sin.

Thou art Infinite Power, and I am
weakness itself.

Thou art Uncreated Light,
and I am but darkness. . .

This is what Thou
art, and what I am.”

+BENEDICTUS DEUS+

 

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Our Friends, the Saints

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St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

‘And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head…’

– Hebrews 12:1

The doctrine of the Communion of Saints is a most consoling one. At any time, and in any place, we may address any of the saints as if they were right beside us. They are not indifferent to our sufferings, our needs, our requests, our desire for friendship. On the contrary, they are ever attentive to our needs; like iron cast into the fire, the Elect burn with the same love that constitutes the very essence of God; and like Him, Who seeks to draw all souls to Himself, the saints are always looking for chances to help us, ‘not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance’ (2 Peter 3:9).

Some – usually citing 1 Tim. 2:5 – say that it is useless or even blasphemous to seek the saints’ intercession. This is a sad error. To pray “to” the saints, as St. Alphonsus assures us, “is not derogatory to the honour due to God, but it is doubling it; for it is honouring the king not only in His Person but in His servants.

“It is good and useful to invoke them by supplication, and to fly to their aid and assistance to obtain benefits from God through his Son Jesus Christ.”

– The Council of Trent, Sess. 25, De. inv. Sanct

Much more could be said.

An Easy Way to Meet the Saints

The Church teaches that the entire Heavenly Court is present at every Mass. All those saints you love to read about; all those relatives of yours’ who have died (in God’s grace) throughout the centuries; those loved ones who have gone before you… all of these, plus many more, are present at every Mass. They love you; talk to them. Offer the Mass for them! This was the practice of St. Gertrude, and the saints let her know how pleasing this offering was to them!

The Saints Participate in Every Mass

In the Revelations of St. Gertrude, we find many remarkable visions of the Mass. Here is but one of these gems (quoted in ‘The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure,’ by Fr. Michael Muller, C.S.S.P.):

“The Son of God then rose from His royal throne, and, turning towards God the Father, entoned the Gloria in excelsis, in a clear and sonorous voice. At the word gloria, He extolled the immense and incomprehensible omnipotence of God the Father; at the words in excelsis, He praised His profound wisdom; at Deo, He honored the inestimable and indescribable sweetness of the Holy Ghost. The whole celestial court then continued in a most harmonious voice, Et in terra pax hominibus bonai voluntatis.”

If only we could see what marvels take place at every Holy Sacrifice of the Mass! … Still, we can see these things with the eyes of faith.

In Heaven, You Will be Known and Loved by the Entire Heavenly Court

“You will know my Saints, and each of them in particular.

You will have special relations with each, according to the measure in which you have contributed to increase their [accidental] glory.”

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary

[Much, much more could be said; but that is all I have time for. Please reflect upon these consoling truths, and your life will be forever changed.]

 

 

An Image of the Faithful Soul

 

burning-candle

“Just as the perpetual lamp in the sanctuary

is burning only for My glory and

consumes itself for My sake,

so must you consume yourself through love for Me

and have in view Me alone…

it is My Will to be all for you.”

– Jesus to Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

‘I am come,’ says the Lord, ‘to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?’
(Lk. 12:49) What powerful words! Our God, Who is a ‘consuming fire’ (Heb. 12:29), wants to communicate Himself to us, along with the delights of His Divinity, in which we are made partakers by sanctifying grace; He wants to consume us, to immolate us in the Fire of His Divine Charity, so that, like so many lambs, we might offer ourselves as living hosts to be consumed by and for God alone. That is sanctity. ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (Jn. 3:30). The world desperately needs such souls.

If you want an easy way to remember this all-important spiritual principle, namely, that holiness consists in being consumed by and for God alone, you simply have to remember these 33 words, which Our Lord addressed to Mother Anne Margaret Clement:

“Everything I did and everything I suffered was the result

of My love for your soul; is it not just

that the some love should induce you to undertake all

for My sake?”

[Not only do these 33 words correspond to the 33 years in which Our Lord laboured to win our love, friendship and eternal happiness, but they also remind us of John 3:30, quoted above.]

At times, the work of our sanctification is, no doubt, a painful operation; but this is all the more reason to give thanks to God, Who, from all eternity, has foreseen our sufferings, temptations and difficulties, and has ensured, in His merciful Providence, that everything will be to our profit… if only we submit to His loving designs, surrendering to Him our sins, our difficulties, our weaknesses, and ultimately, our wills. We can make no better use of our will than to constantly hand ourselves over to God. “Take me from myself and give me all to You!”

Remember: suffering lasts but a short moment; but the glory given to God lasts for eternity. Everything we do for love – or, rather, everything we let Love do in us – will be as a beautiful melody resounding throughout the courts of Heaven for all eternity.

The Love that Burns Within the Hearts of Generous Souls

“By it [a special grace of ineffable union, which was given to Sr. Jeanne Benigne] she understood that these words were spoken to her in the secret of her heart: —
by the Father: “My daughter, I receive thee;” by the Son: “My spouse, I give myself to Thee;” by the Divine Spirit: “Dear soul, I inflame thee with my love.” These words produced their effect in her soul at the same time, by a kind of globe radiant and all
on fire which was placed in the middle of her bosom, where she afterwards felt a devouring heat, which produced in her an impression of admirable purity of body, of heart, of spirit, love, and intention.” (‘The Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos’)

A Sublime Lesson Regarding the Sanctification of Souls (Given by Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)

“My Benigna, in what consists the martyrdom of love?

It consists in surrendering oneself to love as wood to the fire, or gold in the crucible; fire consumes the wood and reduces it to ashes; fire purifies the gold and makes it resplendent.

A soul surrendered to Love can no longer interrupt the operations of Love unless by her infidelity she deprives herself of its action. As fire consumes the wood entirely, so Love continues to work until the soul has arrived at the degree of perfection which God requires of it. It suffices to surrender wholly to Love, then Love will do the rest. But remark this well: when the wood is green the fire must first consume its humidity, and this takes more time: but if the wood be dry, it is immediately consumed, and the more rapidly according as the wood is more dry. So it is with souls: those who are still full of themselves find great difficulty in yielding to the action of Love; but souls dead to themselves are quickly consumed.”

“… My Benigna, I will tell thee yet more of the martyrdom of Love. The soul must let itself be consumed by Love Love is ingenious enough to know how to take everything away from the soul, without appearing to take away anything.

Let it act, and it will despoil thee. It will commence by the exterior, as the fire first consumes the bark; then it will penetrate into the interior. Benigna, give to Love all that it asks, and never say: It is enough. The more thou givest, the more it will demand, but
always with great sweetness. Love will augment in thee the desire of giving. I have very few souls surrendered so wholly to Love, because it is painful. Certain souls commence well, but turn back; they are afraid of sacrifice; I compare them to those persons who will not pluck a rose for fear they will be pricked. True love does not act so; wherever it sees a sacrifice, it darts upon it as its prey; it folds and embraces it; and the more hidden the sacrifice, the more interior and known to God alone, the more willingly is it performed. Courage, then. Tell Me thou givest Me thy will forever because thou wilt have no other movement than that of Love; then remain firm, and know that when a soul commences generously, she is always well received by My Heart. Thou mayst repair lost time by a
greater fideHty in the present and especially by using the treasures of My most sweet Heart.”

“It is so wonderful to unite oneself, poor, unworthy little victim that one is, to the Great Victim Himself.”

– Yvonne-Aimee

Man’s Only Good

“My God, my Sovereign Love, my All… My Jesus, my only Love, my God, my All... My Jesus, my only God, my All…”

– Words taken from various prayers given by Our Lord to SG. Sr. Benigna Consolata

He who possesses God, possess all. “Sanctifying grace,” writes Reginal Garrigou-Lagrange, “which makes us begin to live in this higher, supra-angelic order of the intimate life of God, is like a divine graft received in the very essence of the soul to elevate its vitality and to make it bear no longer merely natural fruits but supernatural ones, meritorious acts that merit eternal life for us.” (‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life’)

‘Furthermore,’ exclaimed St. Paul,  ‘I count all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ‘ (Phil. 3:8).

“That I may gain Christ.” That we may gain Christ. Is this not the reason for the Incarnation? Is this not the reason behind Our Lord’s cruel passion and death? Is this not the sublime end for which we were created? What more can we desire? What else can slake our thirst for limitless Good? ‘A man cannot receive any thing, unless it be given him from Heaven.’ (John 3:27) ‘I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.’ (John 16:28)

“This,” writes Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, “is what our Lord Himself said to a Benedictine nun, Mother Deleloe, whose wonderful inner life has but recently been revealed:

“What more can you desire than to have within you the true source of all good, My Divine Heart?… All these great things are yours, all these treasures and riches are for the heart that I have chosen… Draw as much as you desire of these infinite delights and riches.” (‘Christ, the Ideal of the Monk’)

+++

“Maria,” said Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, “no longer go begging the love of creatures; were they to give themselves entirely to thee thou wouldst not be satisfied. GOD ALONE CAN SUFFICE FOR THEE. Maria, thou hast need of a heart which loves thee, which understands thee; it is the Heart of God thou needest.” (‘The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul’)

Happy are those who can say with St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my All!” What a beautiful, powerful and succint prayer. To go to God; to hope for everything from Him, to desire nothing but Him, is the very reason for which we were created; there is no other means by which we can find true, lasting fulfilment. This truth is beautifully illustrated in the writings of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (‘The Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay-Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary’). The words speak for themselves:

“Once, on the Feast of the great St. Ambrose, I was in an extreme weakness, without devotion or application in God or to the merits of that Saint, my great protector, so that I said to our Lord:

‘Alas! my sweet Love, since I am so weak that I cannot further the interests of Thy glory as much as Thy goodness desires and signifies to me, I would punish myself for my fault by depriving myself this morning of approaching the holy Table. It is indeed the hardest penance I can impose on myself; yes, my Jesus, it is carrying my chastisement to the highest point thus to deprive myself of union with Thee by the reception of that Bread of Life.’

He made answer with a graciousness and love which penetrated my inmost soul and passed into the marrow of my bones:

‘Benigne, since when hast thou found that thou dost increase My glory, promote My interests, and make reparation for thy faults BY KEEPING AWAY FROM ME? …”