Christian = Temple, Priest, Victim

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Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

In the latter part of the 19th century, a humble religious in Germany was accustomed to receiving visits from Our Lord. Like St. Lydwine of Schiedam (d. 1433), St. Marie of the Incarnation (d. 1672), Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora (d. 1925) and Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. 1868) before her – to name only a few privileged souls – Our Lord would speak with her ‘face to face, as a man is wont to speak with his friend’ (Ex. 33:11).

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Ven. Philomena of St. Columba (d. Aug 13, 1868)

The vocation of this noble soul, Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart (d. 1899), was simple: she was, in imitation of Our Lord, to offer herself as a host for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. “Why”, Our Lord would say to her (I am paraphrasing different parts of her writings), “do you not leave the path of fear? Why will you not follow the path of love, which is shorter and easier?… It is My Will to be all for you… Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” (As an aside, it is worth noting that St. Marie of the Incarnation, mentioned above, was never led by the path of fear; rather, she made giant strides along the path of Love).

Let me repeat those final words: “Your heart is an altar upon which everything must be consumed by Divine Love.” Are these words directed to a privileged few? Absolutely not. This is the sublime vocation of all souls, and it is to this that we must all aspire with all our being. We must, in a word, offer to God that sacrifice most pleasing to Him, without which all our other sacrifices are a mere farce. And what sacrifice is this? The sacrifice of our will.

It is only when God – Who is spirit (Jn. 4:24) – possess our wills, that can He act freely, thereby glorifying Himself in us: ‘For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams’ (1 Kg. 15:22). Obedience, the Saints tell us, pleases God more than great sacrifices “because obedience has no self-will” (Our Lord to St. Bridget of Sweden).

The next time you are tempted to murmur, remember that Jesus is offering Himself to the Father upon the Altars of our churches for your salvation; your vocation is to unite yourself, as did Mother Adele Garnier* (d. 1924), to this mystical immolation of Christ on the Altar of your heart; “by Him,” writes Dom Gueranger, “the Holy Ghost, Who sacred Fount He is (cf. Jn. 4:14; 7:37, 39), pours Himself out upon man, whereby to adapt him to his sublime vocation, and to consummate, in infinite love (which is Himself), that union of every creature with the divine Word.”

*An article on Mother Adele Garnier:
https://www.clairval.com/lettres/en/2015/04/12/2080415.htm

Concretely, you can unite yourself to Christ by receiving Him in Holy Communion, giving Him the key of your will. Always remember that this is the ‘one oblation’ by which ‘He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14). There is no greater aid to holiness. Pray to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament and you will see that this is true.

Mother Cécile Bruyerè‘s Masterful Explanation of the Christian Vocation

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Mother Cécile Bruyerè, 1895

‘But this, for that He continueth for ever, hath an everlasting priesthood, whereby He is able also to save for ever them that come to God by Him, always living to make intercession for us.’ (Heb. 7:24-25)

“Thus the sovereign pontificate is eternal, and it is exercised for ever; not only in the adorable Person of the Son of God, but in that priestly tribe of which He is the Head, ‘a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood’ (1 Pt. 2:9), wherein all are priests, although in different degrees, and all are called to concelebrate with the supreme Pontiff (p. 409).

A temple, a sanctuary, an altar, a victim, the very presence of the living and true God – all these are not sufficient for liturgical worship; there must moreover be a pontiff. Now man is truly a priest, truly a pontiff in the august function which is celebrated in the sanctuary of his own soul: ‘Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests’ (Apoc. 5:10). Every baptised Christian is priest and king in the secret temple of his own soul, although he is but a single living stone of the edifice built by the hand of God, of which edifice our Lord Jesus Christ is the corner-stone. Such, in his first epistle, is the teaching of the Prince of the Apostles: ‘Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (1 Pt. 2:5).

But to realise all the perfection of this priesthood, man must, freely and voluntarily, offer his sacrifice, after the example of the eternal Pontiff whom we hear insisting on the absolutely free character of His oblation: ‘No man taketh my life away from Me; but I lay it down of Myself, and I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again’ (Jn. 10:18). This liberty, which shows him truly to be a priest, was understood by Isaias, when he said: ‘He was offered because it was His own will’ (Is. 53:7) (‘The Spiritual Life and Prayer’, p. 423-424).

“In order to live in one single act of perfect Love, I OFFER MYSELF AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE, asking You to consume me incessantly…”
– From St. Therese’s Act of Oblation to Merciful Love

Wisdom from the Writings of Saintly Souls (on a Range of Topics)

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The Father’s Love for the Mystical Body, the Church

1. “The more God sees His Son in each one of us, the more abundantly He showers His gifts on us.” (p. 98, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Authentic Christianity: “For me, to live is Christ”

2. “A spiritual life which does not depend entirely on Christ is false, empty, absolutely useless; ‘Without Me you can do nothing.” (p. 54, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Without Jesus, We Cannot Bear the Cross

3. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “… at the beginning of Mass I saw our Lord stooping, as if bearing a heavy burden, and He said to me, I take upon myself the suffering of My daughter.” (p. 402, Life)

The Delight of the Elect: Perfect Union with God

4. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “One day the interior voice said to me: God renders the blessed like Himself; yes, Benigne, My elect by seeing Me are in such wise transformed in Me that they have no other will than Mine; their love springs from My Love.” (p. 341, Life)

The Alpha and the Omega

5. Our Lord to Ven. Louise Margaret: “Infinite Love envelops, penetrates, and fills all things. It is the only source of life and of all fertility; It is the eternal principle of beings and their eternal end. If you wish to possess life and not be sterile, break the bonds that bind you to yourself and to creatures and plunge into this abyss.” (p. 4, ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,’ TAN Books)

Hell Exists because God is Good

6. Ven. Louise Margaret: “No, if there were no Hell, I could not love Thee… If there were no Hell, three splendid jewels would be wanting to the crown of Thy sublime perfections; there would be wanting justice, power and dignity.” (p. 10, TLGIL)

“I desire mercy”

7. From the Life of Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora: “Another time He revealed to her and placed before her eyes the sins of His own Ministers and of the public Magistrates. Elizabeth was so much surprised that she was filled with profound indignation, and opened her lips to cry out for justice against these unknown delinquents; but Our Lord prevented her, and said in a tone of love and tenderness: “Ah! My daughter, cry for mercy, not for justice. I wish not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live.” Whilst saying these ineffable words He directed upon her from His Heart a ray of pure and living light; then he added: “May this ray of light serve you to protect men against the anger of Divine Justice.” (p. 184)

The Blood of Jesus Cries for Mercy

8. St. Gemma’s Guardian Angel: “Look at what Jesus has suffered for men. Consider one by one these Wounds. It is Love that has opened them all. See how execrable sin is, since to expiate it, so much pain and so much love have been necessary.” (p. 194, Life)

Imperfections: A Treasure for the Soul of Good-Will

9. Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “… you will commit faults, infidelities, and imperfections; and these will help you to advance, for they will cause you to make many acts of humility.” (p. 41, JATTW)

The Cross is a Gift

10. Jesus to St. Gemma (appearing to her with the Cross on His shoulders): “Gemma, wilt thou have it, My Cross? See, this is the present I have prepared for thee.” (p. 174, Life)

A Model of Patience in Suffering

11. From the Life of Sr. Gertrude Mary: “On her bed of agony, coughing incessantly, she murmurs this word of love: Every fit of coughing is a cry to Heaven.”

Heaven on Earth

12. Sr. Gertrude Mary: “The air which I breathe near the Tabernacle is not the same as elsewhere, for it is already that of Paradise. I know this by experience.”

What the Damned Would Give to See God

13. From ‘The Dogma of Hell, Illustrated by Facts Taken from Profane and Sacred History,’ by Rev. F.X. Schouppe:

“A holy priest was exorcising a demoniac, and he asked the demon what pains he was suffering in Hell.

“An eternal fire,” he answered, “an eternal malediction, an eternal rage, and a frightful despair at being never able to gaze upon Him who created me.”

“What would you do to have the happiness of seeing God?”

“To see Him but for one moment, I should willingly consent to endure my torments for 10,000 years. But vain desires! I shall suffer forever and never see Him!”

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#5)

“I desire you not to abandon these three souls, those of your husband and your two children, because I wish them to be saved by your means.”

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora

We should not be anxious over the thought of the “fate” of our loved ones. God loves them more than we do. We only love them because God gives us a share in His love for them. Rather than worry about what we cannot change, we should do what we can to obtain grace for them. The greatest means at our disposal are:

  1. Prayer
  2. Holiness (intimate union with God)
  3. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

“It is by love that one can overcome Almighty God; He is so sensitive to love that He can refuse us nothing.” (Fr. Paul of Moll). The Mass is LOVE.

‘… I am the God who becomes all for you in all things – in a word, all things that a loving soul can desire… And if she devotes herself to the good pleasure of My heart, I feel it necessary to conform Myself to the desire of hers.’

– Jesus to St. Gertrude

In Christ We Can Do All Things

“My child, I have seated Myself at the door of your heart, so as to defend it from the entrance of evil passions.” 

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora

Our Lord’s Kingdom on Earth is established in the souls of men; there He reigns; it is there that He seeks His rest.

Knowing that God is with those who call on Him with trust and purity of intention, how can we not be consoled? If we are lonely, confused or tempted, we can turn to Him; He will make up for everything we lack, if only we let Him.

If we look to Christ for help, we have nothing to fear.

Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora: A Witness to God’s Goodness and Power

“One day Elizabeth saw furious devils under the form of giants rushing towards her, and trying to deprive her of life by piercing her throat.

On seeing this great danger, she cried out, and called Our Lord to her aid. At the same moment a ray of light, like lightning, flashed in the eyes of these hideous monsters, and immediately put them to flight. Elizabeth, being freed from these horrible phantoms, was pouring forth her thanks to God, when Our Lord appeared to her, and said:

“You were already no more than a corpse without life, when I took compassion on you. If my mercy had not been so great to you, what would have become of you?”

(p. 23 of her biography)

“Once fortified by Divine Grace,” she said, “from being weak as a baby, I became terrible as a lion and full of courage. I went into the battle in the Name of the Lord.” (p. 77)

“Several devils presented themselves to her, each carrying an instrument of torture, and threatening to torment her one after the other if she did not renounce her faith in Jesus Christ, and consent to all which they required from her. The holy woman renewed her confidence in Him Who giveth the victory in battle, and boldly said to them: “Torment me as much as you wish. I hope in Jesus Christ; in Him I am assured of victory.” (p. 78)

“Another day her soul appeared to her under the appearance of a pilgrim, with a staff in her hand, the feet naked, and the head uncovered. Our Lord also came, dressed as a pilgrim, and said:

“My daughter, you must pass through this forest. I will be your guide, come and follow Me.”

The Venerable Mother, fearing that this was some diabolical illusion, hesitated to go. Our Lord said to her:

“Follow Me; do not be afraid that you will be deceived: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

At the same time He shot from His Heart a ray of light, which reassured her, and she began to follow Him resolutely.” (p. 107 – 108)

“Have confidence in Me; I promise you, as your God, that you shall gain the victory.”

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth