Mary’s Appeal to the Worst of Sinners

Our Lady spoke these words to St. Bridget of Sweden:

“I tell you so now: Nobody in the world is so great a sinner – provided he says in his heart that my Son is the Creator and Redeemer of the universe and dear to him in his inmost heart – that I am not prepared to come to him immediately, like a loving mother to her son, and hug him and say: ‘What would you like, my son?’ Even if he had deserved the lowest punishment in Hell, nevertheless, if only he has the intention of not caring for worldly honours or greed or carnal lust, such as the church condemns, and desires nothing but his own sustenance, then he and I will right away get along quite well together.” (Bk IV, Ch 32)

Sadly, this appeal of Our Lady will not be heeded by many. The atheist will deny it; the agnostic will view it with a pitiable indifference and skepticism; and the sinner and lukewarm Christian alike will scarcely perceive that it is addressed to him just as much – if not more – than it is addressed to other ‘greater’ sinners, who have perhaps received far fewer graces.

Please pray, dear reader, that neither you nor I will be lukewarm; pray, rather, that we might become Saints. This is the surest way to please, to console, and to thank Our Lady and Our Lord for all they have done for us, and for all they desire to do for us!

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Sr. Benigna Consolata: Friend of “little souls”

Dear reader, I have written an article about Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero, the great spouse of Jesus. Please find the article at the following address:

http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2013/10/sister-benigna-consolata-ferrero.html

Sr. Benigna Consolata is a Heavenly advocate and friend worth having!

Here is a brief sample:

Here are but a few examples of the similarities between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s writings and those of the aforementioned saints and mystics:

1. + “Thou art the Apostle of My Love.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Apostle of My mercy.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
+ “Apostle of Love.” (Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger)
+ “Apostle of My love.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
 
2. + “Thou shalt make thy Purgatory in the flames of My pure love-” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna, July 14, 1903)
+ “… the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the fire of Purgatory.” (St. Therese)
 
3. + “Even the single little prayer,‘I trust in Thee’, ravishes My Heart, because Faith, Love and Humility are comprised in this short prayer.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Words repeated throughout Sr. Consolata Betrone’s diary)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Prayer dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina)
+ “How easy it is to please Jesus, to ravish His Heart. We have merely to love Him, while, at the same time, forgetting ourselves.” (St. Therese)

The Joy of Pain.

A conversation between St. Gertrude the Great and Our Lord (taken from her ‘Revelations’):

Christ: Tell Me, My beloved, is it not with love for Me that you languish?

Gertrude: How could I, dear Lord, wretched sinner that I am, dare to say that I languish with love of Thee?

Christ: Whoever renounces his own will to suffer anything for love of Me, can glory in his infirmity; and in thus glorying he will tell Me that he languishes with love of Me, provided only that he suffers with patience and keeps his mind perseveringly fixed on Me.

Gertrude: And what canst Thou gain, dearest Lord, from this assurance?

Christ: Such a sentiment will rejoice My Divinity and give glory to My Humanity. It is pleasing in My sight and a hymn of praise to delight Me. This practice will be a consolation to all who use it; and it touches Me so much that it constrains Me to give grace to the contrite, to convert sinners and to release souls from purgatory.

Gertrude: And wilt Thou, dear Lord, after this, my seventh illness, give me back my former health?

Christ: If, the first time you were ill, I had told you that you had yet to suffer seven different times, you would, perhaps, through human weakness have been afraid, and you might have given way to some im patience. So now, if I promised you health, the hope of coming to the end of your sufferings might diminish your merit. That is why, in My wisdom and care for you, I have left you in ignorance of one and the other in order that you may daily sigh after Me with your whole heart, offering to Me continually all your pains of mind and body.

While you do this, I, on my part, will watch over you with such faithful and tender care as never to permit you to be tried beyond your strength, for I know perfectly both your patience and your weakness. Consider, in proof of this, how you are actually less feeble now than you were after your first illness. Take courage then and trust to My goodness.

“Why do you fear death?” – Jesus to Sr. Mary

“Why do you fear death? Do you doubt Me?

(1) For your sins: see here is My mercy.

(2)For your cares, your anxieties, your desires: here is My Providence.

(3) For your weakness: here is My Omnipotence.

(4) It is My joy to give you hour by hour sufficient strength, to have you entirely dependent on My love.”

– Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

(I have inserted the numbers)

(1) St. John Vianney (Taken from his Catechism): “Some say, ‘I have done too much evil; the good God cannot pardon me.’ My children, this is a great blasphemy; it is putting a limit to the mercy of God, which has no limit – it is infinite. You may have done evil enough to lose the souls of a whole parish, and if you confess, if you are sorry for having done this evil, and resolve not to do it again, the good God will have pardoned you.”

“My mercy for fallen souls is limitless.” – Jesus to Sr. Josefa

(2) Garrigou-Lagrange (Taken from ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life’): “We read of the just in the Book of Wisdom: ‘Though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of Himself. As gold in the furnace He hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust He hath received them.’ Thus trial causes hope to grow, and hope does not deceive us, for God does not abandon those who trust Him. ‘No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded.’ It is evident that the Lord will not refuse Himself to those who love Him, to those to whom He has already given His Son. . . . He has prepared eternal beatitude for those who love Him above all else.”

(3) “And when the enemy represents to us our weakness, let us say with the Apostle, ‘I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me’ (Phil. 4:13). Of myself I can do nothing; but I trust in God, that, by His grace, I shall be able to do all things…” – St. Alphonsus

 “The only way to make rapid progress along the path of divine love is to remain very little and put all our trust in almighty God.” -St. Therese

(4) “O 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.”

Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani (Born: March 12, 1878; Died: April 11, 1903)

 

Fear Of Hell? … Consolation For The Doubtful

“Perfect charity casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18).

When Our Lord asked Sr. Benigna Consolata, a “little soul”, to meditate on Hell, He assured her that they would do so in an atmosphere of love. We will do the same (very briefly), though we will not go into specifics about that dreadful place. (Many would profit, however, by considering their last end, as the saints did so regularly).

 “I counsel you to have always two thoughts in your heart; first, the remembrance of what I have done for you in suffering and dying; this thought will excite love of God; secondly, the consideration of My justice, and the future judgment; this will strike fear* into your soul.”

Our Lord to St. Bridget

*A confident fear i.e. a fear of offending God’s love, whereby we run the risk of losing that immense privilege. “Confidence and fear of God go together like two sisters.” (St. Padre Pio)

God is infinite love; His goodness never changes. Hell is the necessary consequence of a rejection of infinite love. Certainly sin is to be feared (because sin alone sends one to Hell), and there is a natural horror that arises when we reflect on the sufferings of the damned. But we must remember, first and foremost, that God is goodness itself, and all His judgements are true, loving and just:

“The works of God are perfect, and all his ways are judgments: God is faithful and without any iniquity, he is just and right.”

– Deuteronomy 42:4 

God does not demand the impossible (i.e. that we feel a certain way about His judgements), but 

HE DOES ASK THAT WE ACKNOWLEDGE HIS GOODNESS IN ALL THINGS. 

This pleases Him greatly. From my own experience I can say confidently- though without certainty- that He will reward you with a greater peace and confidence if you leave your fears and doubts to Him (despite your feelings), acknowleding His sovereign, unchanging goodness. St. Gertrude was wont to do this, and she was very pleasing to Our Lord, Who often filled her soul with immense consolations, which are but a foretaste of Heaven.

Mary: A Perfect Role Model

Consider the faith and love of Mary, the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother. According to many saints and mystics, Mary frequently experienced profound raptures of love, in which she was at times lifted from the ground (a phenomenon that can be found in the lives of the saints e.g. St. Joseph Cupertino, St. Padre Pio, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Gerard Majella, Bl. Mariam etc.). Mary also knew the justice of God well; the number of the saved was even revealed to her (though we are not given to know this number). Although Mary was well aware of the justice of God, she did not doubt God’s goodness. She did not waste time trying to reconcile God’s judgements with His acts of mercy. What profit is there in this? We are assured that (perfect) “charity casteth out fear”; knowledge does not cast out fear. We are incapable of conceiving even a faint notion of God’s infinite goodness. The prison of Hell that God has reserved for those who persevere in sin, is far more perfect than the justice exercised in our earthly prisons. It is humility to believe this, because “humility is truth” (St. Padre Pio).

Let us humbly accept all trials, including those that confuse and unsettle us, as coming from the hands of Our Heavenly Father. The love and wisdom of God directs all things to good., Who knows better than we do what will be most conducive to our eternal welfare and ultimate happiness!

A relevant anecdote

(Taken from ‘All For Jesus’ by Fr. Faber, a great spiritual writer)

When our Lord showed Sister Francesca of the Blessed Sacrament, a Spanish Carmelitess, the loss of a soul, and several times in a vision compelled her positively to study the separate tortures of that place*, He upbraided her for weeping: “Francesca! why weepest thou?” She fell prostrate at His sacred feet, and said, “Lord! for the damnation of that soul, and the manner in which it has been damned.” He vouchsafed to reply, “Daughter! it hath chosen to damn itself; I have given it many helps of grace that it might be saved, but it would not profit by them. I am pleased with your compassion, but I would have you rather love My justice.” (*We are not all called to do the same; this was not the way of St. Therese, for example).

What must we do to be saved?

“Do the will of God in the present moment.” – Mother Angelica

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“I love souls madly; they must not be lost.”

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– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

What Gives God “Infinite Pleasure”?

The following words of Our Lord to two chosen souls are remarkable! Every Christian (nay, all people) should know them!

“I, the Creator and Framer of the universe, take infinitely more pleasure in loving souls, than in any labours and corporal exercises performed without love and without a pure intention.”

– Jesus to St. Gertrude

 “I do not look at the act itself, I look at the intention. The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation…I want only love, I ask for nothing else.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez (September 8, 1922)

“I prefer an act of love and Communion of love to any other gift – an act of love is better than the discipline, for I thirst for love. Poor souls! They think that in order to reach Me it is necessary to live an austere, penitential life. See how they misrepresent Me. They make Me out as one to be feared, whereas I am kindness itself! They forget the precept which I have given them, the very essence of the entire Law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

Our Lord also revealed to Sr. Consolata Betrone that an act of love is so great that the only fitting reward is for God to give us Himself! How humbled we should be, remembering that we cannot love without God. St. Padre Pio said the same thing. The more we have sinned, the more thankful we should be when God inspires us to love Him. What an infinite, and completely unmerited treasure! Thanks be to God!

 

A Beautiful (And Extremely Encouraging) Revelation From Our Lord, Jesus, To Sr. Benigna!

(I have divided the words up for the sake of contemplation):

“Do not be so avid of conversation with creatures: here is the Creator who speaks to you: am I not sufficient for you?

Nigna, where can you find a heart that loves you more? Where, Nigna, where?

My Heart is an abyss of Mercy, and you know it not already? Have I not given you many times this happy experience? Yes, Nigna, give Me this consolation give Me your miseries. I wish to be your Rag-gatherer, that is one who buys rags, that even pays for those offered him. Give Me your miseries and I will pay you: I will draw you from an imbroglio [a complicated situation] and it will give Me pleasure.

But you must sell them to Me by an act of profound humility, not spiteful, but fervent and affectionate. And then, My Benigna, give Me those things which you know not what to do with, and I will fashion of them something useful for souls. Allow My Love to act. Call Me what you please, either the Raggatherer of Love or that of Mercy; both titles please me.

Love and Mercy are, as it were, the breath of My most meek Heart. I inspire, that is, I draw into Myself the miseries of My poor, weak creatures to consume them in the fire of My Divine Charity; and then I respire, that is, I breathe forth from My most Loving Heart that fire which devours It and is capable of inflaming many hearts. I must needs consume the miseries of My poor, weak creatures, and I never tire of cleansing souls again and again, because I cleanse them in My most Precious Blood.

Thou canst not believe, O Benigna, the pleasure I experience in the office of Saviour; it is My happiness; and I make the most beautiful masterpieces precisely from souls that I have drawn from the lowest things, from the mud, because I have more material to work upon.”

Taken from (perhaps) my favourite book on the spiritual life, ever: ‘Vademecum Proposed To Religious Souls’, which can be read for free: http://archive.org/details/vademecumpropose00ferruoft

 

Lacking Confidence In God?

How do we grow in confidence? Let’s keep things simple. God desires our salvation incomparably more than we do. Those who offer their lives and wills to God have nothing to fear; they have every reason to be confident in- and to love- the incomprehensibly good God who inspired them to make this generous offering!

“Some complain of their want of confidence in God; but they do not perceive that their lack of confidence arises from the weakness of their resolution to serve God.” – St. Alphonsus

Most of us probably hold something back from God. Why? There are many reasons. Rather than analyse them, let us resolve to give everything to God, or at least, to serve God more faithfully each day. A vague resolution will not suffice; we must make concrete resolutions. For example: this week, I will ask God for the grace to remain silent when I am tempted to gossip. 

God longs to grant us His grace! Blessed Dina Belanger reminds us that “To give God a chance to exercise His mercy by our repentance and confidence causes Him joy.”

“Most dear to me is the soul that strongly believes in my goodness and has complete trust in me. I heap my confidence upon it, and give it all it asks.”

– Jesus to St. Faustina (453)

Perhaps we are familiar with some of the more challenging writings of the Saints, and we feel that salvation is almost unattainable. Dear friend, even if a handful of souls were saved, this does not reflect the infinite longing of God to save sinners. The sufferings of Blessed Alexandrina were said to have saved thousands of sinners; the sacrifices of St. John Vianney were said to have saved 80,000 sinners; St. Gertrude was encouraged by Our Lord to pray for the salvation of a “prodigious number” of sinners; the sacrifices of St. Faustina converted thousands… how much confidence, then, should we have in Our Lord, who created us solely to love Him (and our neighbour) and be loved by Him!

God is always good in all His dealings with us. It is not for us to question God. Let us follow the example of the Blessed Mother who never doubted God’s goodness, but rather, faithfully followed God’s inspirations, and was inflamed with love for God at every moment of her existence.

Those who genuinely devote themselves to God’s service will be rewarded with great love, joy, confidence and peace. We read in the lives of many Saints that, at the hour of death, they were greeted by Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints.

Some examples (from St. Alphonsus):

+ Leonard the Dominican, as we read in the chronicles of his order, who was accustomed to recommend himself two hundred times a day to this mother of mercy, when he was on his death-bed, saw one beautiful as a queen by his side, who said to him: “Leonard, do you wish to die and come to my Son and me?” “Who are you?” answered the religious. “I am the mother of mercy,” replied the Virgin; “you have many times invoked me, and now I come to take you: let us go to paradise.”

+ A pupil had been instructed by his master to salute the most holy Virgin in these words: “Hail, oh mother of mercy.” When he was at the point of death Mary appeared to him, and said: “My son, do you not know me ? I am that mother of mercy whom you have saluted so many times.” Then this servant of the Virgin extended his arms as if to follow her, and gently breathed his last.

Every desire of our hearts is found in the Heart of God. He will bring us safely to our eternal Home if we let Him.

 “Prayer to Obtain the Grace of Boundless Confidence”

“My sweetest Jesus, God infinitely merciful, Most tender Father of souls, especially of the weakest, the most miserable, the most infirm, whom Thou bearest with singular tenderness in Thy divine arms, I come to beg of Thee through the love and the merits of Thy Sacred Heart, the grace to confide in Thee, the grace to confide more and more in Thy merciful goodness, the grace to repose securely for time and eternity in Thy divine and loving Arms.”

– Given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

 

To Inspire You With Love: “For THEE I was made man…” (Jesus to St. Mechtilde)

“His Heart is simple as that of a dove. It never changes in its feelings of goodness for man, even though he is so often unfaithful.”

– St. Mechtilde

(Taken from ‘The Love of the Sacred Heart’, p. 131):

Too often those who profess piety are lukewarm and feel no love; but the love of the divine Heart is always unchangeable and burning for us. To inspire us with an absolute confidence in His Sacred Heart, Jesus gives us through Mechtilde this admirable lesson:

“I will teach thee three things on which thou mayst meditate each day. Thou shalt gain great profit from them;

(i) In returning thanks to Me, remember the graces prepared for thee in the Creation and Redemption. I created thee to My own image and likeness. For thee I was made man, and after countless torments for the love of thee suffered a most bitter death.

(2) Remember with gratitude the benefits I have bestowed on thee, from thy birth to this present moment. By a choice grace I called thee from the world; many times I have lowered Myself to thy soul; I have filled and inebriated it with My grace; I have enlightened it with knowledge and inflamed it with love; every day I come to thee ready to fulfil thy desires and will.

(3) Remember with praise and thanksgiving the great gifts I am prepared to bestow on thee in heaven; the greatest riches, far beyond what thou canst believe or realize, all that thou desirest shall be there.”

“Have an ardent desire to be a child of the love of Jesus. The love of Jesus is a great treasure beyond comparison.” – Fr. Paul of Moll (Benedictine “wonderworker” and “incorruptible”)

A Revelation From God To All: Atheists, Christians…

Words of Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez:

My appeal is addressed to all: to those consecrated in religion and those living in the world, to the good and to sinners, to the learned and the illiterate, to those in authority and to those who obey. To each of them I come to say: if you seek happiness you will
find it in Me. If riches, I am infinite wealth. If you desire peace, in Me alone is peace found. I am Mercy and Love! and I must be sovereign King…

I am your God and your Father, your Creator and your Saviour. You are My creatures, My sons, bought at the price of My life and Heart’s Blood, which I shed to free you from slavery and the tyranny of sin… All you, whose craving for affection is unsatisfied, remember that you were made to love that which is eternal, not that which passes with time… Perhaps you will answer Me, ‘I have no faith, nor do I believe in a future happiness.’ Have you no faith?  Then how is it that you persecute Me? … Why do you rebel against My laws, and war against those who love Me?  And since you desire freedom for yourselves, why not grant it to others? You say you do not believe in a future life? … Tell Me: are you perfectly contented here and do you never feel a yearning for that which it is not possible to obtain here below? If after seeking for enjoyment, you succeed in obtaining it, does it satisfy your cravings? If after pursuing riches, you at last possess them, have you ever enough? … If you feel the need of affection, and one day find it, are you not soon tired of it? … None of these things is what you long for, and here below you will never obtain all that your heart desires. Your craving is peace; not the peace of this world, but that of the children of God; and how do you expect to find it in the midst of rebellion? That is why I have come to show you where true peace and happiness are to be found, and where you can slake the thirst that for so long has consumed you. Do not rebel when I tell you that all these things are to be found in accomplishing My law.  Do not fear this word law, for My law is no tyranny but a law of love, because I am your God and your Father. You know that in a well-regulated army, discipline must be maintained, just as in a household there must be established customs. So in the great family of Jesus Christ there must be law, albeit a law of love… I realize that you do not know Me or love Me, but rather detest and persecute Me.  On My part, I love you with an infinite tenderness, and I want you to know this heritage which is yours by right, and know also the means to acquire it: Believe in My love and My mercy… Do not imagine that I am ignorant of your state of soul.  I know that you have despised my grace, perhaps even profaned My Sacraments.  Yet you have from Me a full pardon. If then you would be happy in this world and at the same time secure your eternal salvation, do as I tell you: … Both employer and employed must accept the law of labour with submission, acknowledging a Supreme Being over all created things, who is both your God and your Father. As God, He demands of you the accomplishment of His divine law. As your Father, He asks you to accept His commandments in a spirit of filial piety. Thus, when you have spent a week in the pursuit of work, business or sport, He claims but one half-hour, that you may fulfil your Sunday duty. Is this excessive? Go then to your Father’s House, where day and night He awaits your coming, and as Sundays and Holidays recur, give Him the homage of this half hour by assisting at the Mystery of Love and Mercy, that is, Holy Mass. Tell Him about everything: about your families, your children, your business, your desires… Lay at His feet your sorrows, difficulties and sufferings… believe in the interest and love with which He listens to your prayer. You may perhaps say to Me: ‘I have not entered a church for so many years that I have forgotten how to hear Mass.’ Do not be afraid on that account … Come, spend this half-hour with Me; your conscience will tell you what to do, and be docile to its voice… Open your soul wide to grace, and it will inspire you… Youth, wealth, wisdom, human glory, all that is nothing; it will all end with this life; God only will endure forever.”

Personally, I believe that Christianity best makes sense of human suffering, love, intentionality, beauty, morality, guilt, pride, and a host of other things that reason unaided is at a loss to explain (convincingly).

I would be happy to discuss anything with you. 

All the best.  

 

 

 “The lives of the Saints are nothing but the Gospel put into practice.”