33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Mary

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‘Thy face is full of graces.’  Esther 15:17

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PART I:

  • ‘And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)
  • ‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!
  • ‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord
  • Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High
  • Mary: Terror of Demons
  • ‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)
  • The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion
  • A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary
  • A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

PART II:

  • 33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Jesus, Through Mary
  • Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

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PART I

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And Her Riches I Hide Not’ (Wis. 7:13)

In 17th century France, a holy Visitandine, Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692), was to echo the teaching of so many Saints, Doctors, mystics and theologians who had preceded her; and a prodigious number, in turn, would echo the sentiments of this little-known Servant of God. Speaking of a vision in which she was privileged to behold the august Queen of Heaven, she declares:

“O God! who can relate the beauty and the grandeur of that incomparable Queen!… I am not afraid of asserting that nothing that has ever been said of the glory enjoyed by that sovereign Queen of Heaven comes even near to what I have seen of it; so that the little sight of it which was granted me took away all the pleasure I used to have before in hearing her praises proclaimed, so low and unworthy has the human expression of them seemed to me since then.”

Upon hearing such words, it might seem somewhat presumptuous to attempt to speak of the dignity and beauty of Our Lady – but this is certainly not the case. St. Alphonsus did not write ‘The Glories of Mary’ for nothing, and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not put the following words on the lips of the Mother of God without just cause: ‘They that explain me shall have life everlasting’ (Ecclus. 24:31). Let us proceed, then, to reflect a little upon the unique prerogatives of the Mother of God.

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‘De Maria Numquam Satis’ – Of Mary, Never Enough!

One must always bear in mind that, however much we honour Our Lady, we will never be able to honour her as much as God Himself, Who, through ‘the angel Gabriel’ (Lk. 1:26), was the first to call her ‘blessed’:

‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ (Lk. 1:28)

Yes, blessed, truly blessed is Mary, ‘fairest among women’ (Cant. 1:7), for even prior to the Incarnation she was ‘full of grace’ and the Lord was with her! “So full of grace” is she, that St. Thomas, Doctor of the Church, does not hesitate to say that “… it overflows onto all mankind.” “She is so filled with dilection,” said Our Lord to Bl. Agnes de Langeac (d. 1634), “that it is she who gives love to the Cherubim and Seraphim.”

But of course, for Our Lady is “the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself” (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church) – that is, He of Whose ‘fulness we all have received’ (Jn. 1:16). She is “the Mother of the Lord, the temple of the living God, the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit” (St. Isidore, Doctor of the Church); she is the Immaculate Conception, of whom it is said: ‘Wisdom hath built herself a house’ (Prov. 9:1) – and, more emphatically still: ‘NOW ALL GOOD THINGS CAME TO ME TOGETHER WITH HER, AND INNUMERABLE RICHES THROUGH HER HANDS.’ (Wis. 7:11).

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‘Who is she,’ we ask, ‘that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?’ (Cant. 6:9) Do these words not constitute an apt description of the Immaculate Virgin? Undoubtedly. “She is,” said Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac, “the true unchanging moon that has banished darkness by her virtues… She is the most beautiful and the most perfect of all creatures.” “Because she was humblest among angels and men,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden (whose revelations were approved by the Ecumenical Council of Constance), “she has been raised up highest over all creation, the most beautiful creature of all and the one most like to God Himself.” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20)

“It is not possible for the Mother of God not to be heard, according to that which Solomon spoke to his mother by way of a figure:

MY MOTHER, ASK: FOR I MUST NOT TURN AWAY THY FACE (3 Kings 2:20).

– St. Antoninus

‘Oculi Mei Semper Ad Dominum’ (Ps. 24:15) – My Eyes are Ever Towards the Lord

In the book of Ezekiel we read: ‘And he brought me back toward the outer gate of the sanctuary which looked toward the east; and it was shut. And the Lord said to me: This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it: because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it, and it shall be shut’ (Ezek. 44:1-2). What is this mysterious east gate of which the Scriptures speak? “The east gate,” writes St. Aelred of Rievaulx, “is Mary most holy. For the gate which faces east generally receives the brightness of the sun first. So, Mary most blessed, who always looked to the east, to the brightness of God, first received within herself the ray, indeed, the whole fulness of the brightness of the true sun – the Son of God, of whom Zachary said: The rising sun visited us from on high (Lk. 1:78).”

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If only souls knew what a treasure they possess in Mary! What dignity belongs to our dearest Mother, ‘exceedingly beautiful’ (Jud. 8:7) and ‘to all men’s eyes incomparably lovely’ (Jud. 10:4)! ‘There is not such another woman upon earth in look, in beauty, and in sense of words’ (Jud. 11:19).

With St. Ephraem (d. 373), Doctor of the Church, let us proclaim unhesitatingly: “With the Mediator, you [Mary] are the Mediatrix of the entire world.” The priest, acting ‘in persona Christi,’ often imparts a blessing to souls in the following words: “Dominus vobiscum” (“The Lord be with you”); but only of our Blessed Mother, the resting-place of the Most-High (cf. Ecclus. 24:12), could it be said, even while still dwelling in this ‘vale of tears’ (Ps. 83:7): “Dominus tecum” (“The Lord is with you”).

Yes, dear Queen of Heaven, Jesus is and ever will be the Blessed Fruit of your womb; nourish us, then, with ‘the Bread of Life’ (Jn. 6:48) ‘[in] whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3). “Show thyself a mother,” for you are ‘the mother of all the living’ (Gen. 3:20). ‘And do thou call upon the Lord, and speak to the king for us, and deliver us from death’ (Esther 15:3). ‘Blessed art thou, by thy God, in every tabernacle of Jacob, for in every nation which shall hear thy name, the God of Israel shall be magnified on occasion of thee’ (Jud. 13:31).

Mary Magnifies the Lord; She Leads Souls to the Most-High

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‘And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord’ (Lk. 1:46). Yes, Mary ‘doth magnify the Lord’ – these words are, in some sense, a distillation of all Marian theology. Why did the Eternal Father entrust Mary with His only-begotten Son, if not because, in the words of Almighty God to St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church, she is the “sweet bait” of Heaven, whose raison d’être is to conquer Satan and lead souls to intimate union with Jesus? ‘Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight’ (Mt. 11:26). ‘For this will be a glorious monument for Thy name, when he shall fall by the hand of a woman’ (Jud. 9:15).

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Ask yourself: Do the Saints detract from the glory of God? Certainly not; for God is ‘glorified in His saints’ (2 Thess. 1:10); the ‘brightness of the saints’ (Ps. 109:3) reflects His infinite, Uncreated Glory. How, then, can one argue that Mary detracts from the glory of God, when history and Scripture reveal that ‘she maketh the friends of God and prophets’ (Wis. 7:27)?

Read the following, slowly: ‘And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb’ (Lk. 1:41-42). Do not fear that Mary could lead you from the Way, for He is always with her: ‘I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him: and I will not let Him go’ (Cant. 3:4). Mary was and, in some sense will forever be, ‘found with child, of the Holy Ghost’ (Mt. 1:18). “The two,” says St. Bernadette Soubirous, “cannot be separated. Jesus and Mary always go together.” One who blesses Mary will, without fail, bless God and draw down His favours! ‘Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord, the most high God, above all women upon the earth’ (Jud. 13:23).

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Mary: Terror of Demons

Satan hates nothing more than when a soul draws nigh to the Mother of God. “God gave her such power over the evil spirits,” said an Angel to St. Bridget of Sweden, “that whenever they attack anyone devoutly imploring her aid, they scatter right off in fear and flee far away at her merest nod” (The Angel’s Discourse, Ch. 20). The demons are terrified of the Immaculate; they are powerless against her. God has never permitted, nor will He ever permit, the demons to speak ill of Mary. “She is the most powerful,” declared Satan during an exorcism. ‘And she was greatly renowned among all, because she feared the Lord very much, neither was there any one that spoke an ill word of her’ (Jud 8:8). ‘The Lord hath blessed thee,’ O powerful Virgin, ‘by His power, because by thee He hath brought our enemies to nought’ (Jud. 13:22).

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‘Her Children Rose Up, and Called Her Blessed’ (Prov. 31:28)

In imitation of so many great Saints, whose divine Election has been confirmed by extraordinary charity and countless miracles, let us make the words of the Almighty Father, of St. Gabriel and of St. Elizabeth our own – especially by means of praying the Holy Rosary. “The recitation of the Rosary – that is what Lucifer hates” (Père Lamy). There is nothing to fear. “He who loves Jesus,” says St. Crescentia, “will also love His Mother. He who loves the Mother will likewise love the Son.” The Saints bear witness to this. The words of St. Maximilian Kolbe are being confirmed every day: “It can be said that all the Saints are the work of the Blessed Virgin, and that a special devotion to her is their common characteristic.” ‘Her children rose up, and called her blessed’ (Prov. 31:28). ‘And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up a treasure’ (Ecclus. 3:5).

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If we wish to have God as our Father, we must take for our Mother her who said: ‘from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed’ (Lk. 1:48). So be prudent: ‘Receive the words of thy handmaid, for if thou wilt follow the words of thy handmaid, the Lord will do with thee a perfect thing’ (Jud. 11:4). And what does ‘the handmaid of the Lord’ (Lk. 1:38) say to us? ‘Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.’ (Jn. 2:5). ‘All that shall be good and best before His eyes, I will do. And whatsoever shall please Him, that shall be best to me all the days of my life’ (Jud. 12:14).

Imitate St. John, the “Disciple whom Jesus Loved” and “the Guardian of the Virgin”*: ‘Behold thy mother’ (Jn. 19:27). ‘But the Mother of the child said: As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. He arose, therefore, and followed her’ (2 Kings 4:30). ‘And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own’ (Jn. 19:27).

*St. Gertrude the Great had a vision which she beheld these words inscribed on golden lilies that were attached to the shoulders of St. John.

“Consider, Bernard, my son, that he [St. John] is the first-born of my adopted sons and the model of my cherished ones: aspire to imitate his love for me and for my most holy Son.”

– Our Lady to Bl. Bernard Francis de Hoyos

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“Know that the distance from Heaven to Earth is not so great as from my love to thine.” – Our Lady to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez (d. 1617) “Give up thy devotion to Mary, and I will cease to tempt thee.” – Satan to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

The Ave Maria: A Simple Key to Understanding Marian Devotion

Take note of the structure of the ‘Hail Mary.’ If one looks at this powerful little prayer in Latin – the Church’s “mother-tongue,” and that language so feared by the demons – they will discover that it consists of 31 words. Now, pay close attention to the middle-word of the Ave Maria, the first word of which (‘Ave’) ought to remind us that it was subsequent to Gabriel’s ‘Ave’ that Eva’s knot of disobedience was untied (‘Ave’ is ‘Eva’ backwards):

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, IESUS. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Let this simple observation be for us a reminder that the Rosary – as with all authentic Marian devotion –is Christo-centric, and that if we wish to seek Jesus, Who is an infinite ‘treasure hidden in a field’ (Mt. 13:44), we must seek Him in and with Mary, who is that ‘plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed’ (Gen. 27:27).

A Simple Yet Infallible Means for Coming to Know Mary

The purpose of this article is to lead us to Jesus, through Mary; this is the end of all authentic Marian devotion. If you the thought of asking for Mary’s intercession leaves you feeling a bit perplexed, begin by praying the following Scriptures, and, provided that you are seeking God, you will find that, in time, God will reward you with a sincere affection for she who is the sweetest, dearest, purest Queen of Hearts:

‘Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women’ (Lk. 1:28) ‘and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb [Jesus]’ (Lk. 1:41-42). ‘[Jesus,] I am Thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94). ‘I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 115:16). ‘O look upon me, and have mercy on me: give Thy command to Thy servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid’ (Ps. 85:16).

A Final Word for the Centenary of Fatima

This year (2017) is not only the centenary of Mary’s apparitions at Fatima, Portugal; it also marks the 175th anniversary of the discovery (in 1842) of St. Louis de Montfort’s masterful work, ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.’ This book is a classic: it is prophetic, inspiring and altogether life-changing if one takes time with it. Why else would Our Lady herself have left a copy of ‘The Secret of Mary’ (which is essentially a distillation of ‘True Devotion’) on Ven. Marthe Robin’s divan bed, saying that she desired this book to be spread across the globe? (While bedridden and too weak to make the Sign of the Cross, Ven. Marthe Robin was assisted by the guiding hand of her Blessed Mother – so solicitous is Mary for the welfare of her children!)

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It is my hope that this humble article will contribute in some way to fulfilling Our Lord’s desire that souls entrust themselves without reserve to their Blessed Mother. The fruits of this devotion are eternal.

This article henceforth follows a very simple structure:

  1. A quote from ‘True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  2. An accompanying quotation

If you want to know more about how and when to consecrate yourself to Mary, according to the recommendations of St. Louis de Montfort, you will find the following link useful:

https://www.fisheaters.com/totalconsecrationmontfort.html

Also, ‘The Secret of Mary’: http://www.ewtn.com/library/montfort/secret.htm

At the end of the article you will find a beautiful little formula for consecrating yourself to Mary. This prayer was dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. 1916).

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PART II

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33 REASONS TO CONSECRATE YOURSELF TO JESUS, THROUGH MARY

WEEK 1

-1- Mary is Mediatrix of All Graces

‘The Holy Ghost gives no heavenly gift to men which He does not pass through her virginal hands.’

“I am the mediatrix between God and men; all graces pass through my hands.” – Our Lady to St. Veronica Giuliani

-2- Mary’s Will is Perfectly Aligned with God’s Will

‘Mary, being altogether transformed into God by grace [so to speak], and by the glory which transforms all the Saints into Him, asks nothing, wishes nothing, does nothing which is contrary to the Eternal and Immutable Will of God.’

“Mother, when thou wast on earth, there was nothing thou didst refuse to do for love of Me; now that I am in Heaven, it is just that I refuse nothing which thou dost ask of Me.” – Jesus to Our Lady (From ‘The Revelations of St. Bridget’ as quoted in ‘The Glories of Mary’)

-3- Mary’s Intercession is All-Powerful with God

‘To Mary, His faithful Spouse, God the Holy Ghost has communicated His unspeakable gifts; and He has chosen her to be the dispensatrix of all He possesses, in such sort that she distributes to whom she wills, as much as she wills, as she wills, and when she wills, all His gifts and graces.’

“To increase my confidence, my Divine Spouse made me aware most convincingly of the great power over His Heart which He has given to His mother holy Mother; and He assured me that in her intercession she is all–powerful with Him.” – Ven. Maria Dominica Clara Moes

-4- Jesus is Perfectly Obedient to His Blessed Mother

‘Inasmuch as grace perfects nature, and glory perfects grace, it is certain that Our Lord is still, in Heaven, as much the Son of Mary as He was on earth; and that, consequently, He has preserved the most perfect obedience and submission of all children towards the best of all mothers.’

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‘And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them.’ (Lk. 3:51)

-5- Jesus Willed to Begin His Miracles by Mary

‘He sanctified St. John in the womb of St. Elizabeth his mother; but it was by Mary’s word. No sooner had she spoken than John was sanctified; and this was His first and greatest miracle of grace. At the marriage at Cana He changed the water into wine; but it was at Mary’s humble prayer; and this was His first miracle of nature.’

‘And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.’ (Jn. 2:3)

-6- Jesus Wills to Continue His Miracles by Mary

‘He has begun and continued His miracles by Mary, and He will continue them to the end of ages by Mary also… Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been, or ever will be, which is a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest things that there will be in the latter times. The formation and education of the great Saints, who shall come at the end of the world, are reserved for her. For it is only that singular and miraculous Virgin who can produce, in union with the Holy Ghost, singular and extraordinary things.’

‘He that shall find me, shall find Life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.’ (Prov. 8:35)

 -7- Mary is the Forma Dei, the “Mould of God”

‘He who is cast in this mould is presently formed and moulded in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ in him. At a slight expense and in a short time he will become God [in a manner of speaking], because he has been cast in the same mould which has formed a God.’

“This tender Mother has a particular care for souls who abandon themselves to divine Providence; she exhorts me to give myself up to her Son, to keep myself, by fidelity to the presence of God, susceptible to the touches of grace;

‘and then,’ she adds, ‘all will be easy to thee, and the Will of God will be the desire of thy heart’;

she will have me free from fear and under the reign of pure love. Once, though I saw her not, I heard her sweet voice say to me:

‘My daughter, thou shalt participate in some of my loving sufferings; but I promise thee my assistance.’” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 2

-8- To be Moulded in Mary is the Shortest Path to Sanctity

‘Mary is a holy place, and the holy of holies where Saints are formed and moulded. Take notice, if you please, that I say the Saints are moulded in Mary. There is a great difference between making a figure in relief by blows of hammer and chisel, and making a figure by throwing it into a mould. Statuaries and sculptors labour much to make figures in the first manner; but to make them in the second manner, they work little, and do their work quickly.’

“One day the saint [St. Francis of Assisi] saw his sons trying to reach our Lord by a ladder that was red and very steep; after climbing a few rungs, they would fall back. Our Lord then showed St. Francis another ladder, white and much less steep, at whose summit appeared the Blessed Virgin, and He said to Francis:

‘Advise your sons to go by the ladder of My Mother.’” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

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-9- The Path of Mary is Short, Sweet, Secure, Meritorious

‘… doing your actions by our Blessed Lady, as this practice teaches you, you abandon your own intentions and operations, although good and known, to lose yourself, so to speak, in the intentions of the Blessed Virgin, although they are unknown*. Thus you enter by participation into the sublimity of her intentions, which are so pure, that she gives more glory to God by the least of her actions — for example, in twirling her distaff or pointing her needle – than St. Lawrence by his cruel martyrdom on his gridiron, or even all the Saints by all their heroic actions put together. It was thus that, during her sojourn here below, she acquired such an unspeakable aggregate of graces and merits, that it were easier to count the stars of the firmament, the drops of water in the sea, or the grains of sand upon its shore, than her merits and graces. Thus it was that she gave more glory to God than all the Angels and Saints have given Him, or ever will give Him. O prodigy of a Mary! thou canst not help but do prodigies of grace in souls that wish to lose themselves altogether in thee!’

*An act which can easily be renewed, e.g. by the simple prayer: “I renounce myself; I give myself to you, my Blessed Mother!”

“By way of Mary the road is easier because the Blessed Virgin supports us by her gentleness; nevertheless, it is a more meritorious road because Mary obtains for us a greater charity, which is the principle of merit. The difficulties to be overcome are certainly an occasion of merit, but the principle of merit is charity, the love of God, by which we triumph over these difficulties. We should remember that Mary merited more by her easiest acts, such as a simple prayer, than did the martyrs in their torments, for she put more love of God into these easy acts than the saints did in heroic acts. Since the road by way of Mary is easier and more meritorious, it is shorter, surer, and more perfect; more easily travelled, progress on it is more rapid. By submission to the Mother of God, a person makes greater progress in a short time than he would make in many years relying excessively on his own personal prudence. Under the direction of her whom the Incarnate Word obeyed, he walks with giant steps.” – Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange

-10- With Mary’s Intercession, We Need Not Fear the Enemy

‘… God has given Mary such a great power against the devils, that, as they have often been obliged to confess, in spite of themselves, by the mouths of the possessed, they fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the Saints, and one of her menaces against them more than all other torments.’

“In the instruction of the beatification of St. Francis de Sales, one of the witnesses was a female religious who knew him in the first monastery of the Visitation in Annecy. She referred that on one occasion a young man, who had been possessed by the devil for the last five years, was brought before the Bishop of Genevre (Msgr. Charles Auguste de Sales, St. Francis’ nephew and successor in the bishop’s seat) to be exorcized. The interrogations of the devil were carried out next to the mortal remains of St. Francis. During one of these sessions, the devil cried out, full of fury:

‘Why should I have to leave?’

A religious of the Sisters of the Visitation was present, who, when she heard this, invoked the Blessed Virgin: ‘Holy Mother of God, pray for…’. When the devil heard these words – as the nun explained in her declaration – the devil cried out even louder:

‘Mary, Mary! For me there is no Mary! Don’t pronounce that name, which makes me shudder! If there were a Mary for me, like there is for you, I would not be what I am! But there is no Mary for me.’

Shaken by this scene, some of the people present began to cry. The devil continued:

‘If I had just an instant of the many that you people lose…! One lone instant and one Mary, I would not be a devil!’

-11- Satan is Supremely Humiliated by Our Lady

‘… Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the Divine power…’

“… I am more humiliated to be defeated by a human creature than being defeated by Him.” – Satan (during an exorcism performed by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, d. 2016)

-12- Mary is The Treasury of God

‘God the Father made an assemblage of all the waters, and He named it the sea (mare). He has made an assemblage of all His graces, and He has called it Mary (Maria). This great God has a most rich treasury in which He has laid up all that He has of beauty, of splendour, of rarity, and of preciousness, even to His Own Son; and this immense treasury is none other than Mary, whom the Saints have named the Treasure of the Lord, out of whose plenitude all men are made rich.’

‘Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 26-27)

-13- Mary Presents Us to Jesus

‘The Most High God came down to us in a perfect way through the humble Virgin Mary, without losing anything of His divinity or holiness. It is likewise through Mary that we poor creatures must ascend to almighty God in a perfect manner without having anything to fear.’

“If you are willing to be my daughter, pupil, and handmaid, I shall be your mother, mistress, and teacher. And when you have been sufficiently instructed and educated by me, I shall lead you to your dear spouse, my Son, who will receive you into His Hands, as I have just now received you.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (d. 1231)

-14- Mary, by God’s Design, Presents Our Gifts to God

‘Mary presents our good works to Jesus. She does not keep anything we offer for herself, as if she were our last end, but unfailingly gives everything to Jesus. So by the very fact we give anything to her, we are giving it to Jesus. Whenever we praise and glorify her, she sings today as she did on the day Elizabeth praised her, “My soul glorifies the Lord.”’

“During this beautiful month [May, the Month of Mary] live as closely united in spirit with your celestial Mother as possible, and give her all that you do, so that she can present it to Me. This divine Mother will sweetly take your part, and before consigning to Me what you have offered her, she will give it a finishing touch. This ought to inspire you to place your filial confidence in her…” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

WEEK 3

-15- Mary Makes of Us and Our Gifts a Pleasing Offering to God

‘Rebecca made Jacob approach the bed of his father. His father touched him, embraced him and even joyfully kissed him after having satisfied his hunger with the well-prepared dishes which Jacob had brought him. Then inhaling most joyfully the exquisite perfume of his garments, he cried: “Behold the fragrance of my son is as the fragrance of a field of plenty which the Lord has blessed.” The fragrance of this rich field which so captivated the heart of the father, is none other than the fragrance of the merits and virtues of Mary who is the plentiful field of grace in which God the Father has sown the grain of wheat of the elect, his only Son. How welcome to Jesus Christ, the Father of the world to come, is a child perfumed with the fragrance of Mary! How readily and how intimately does he unite himself to that child!’

“Our Lady offers our prayers to God; she beautifies them; she makes them pleasing in His sight.” – Père Lamy

-16- Submission to Mary Brings Great Glory to God

‘He gave more glory to God, His Father, during all those years of submission and dependence than he would have given by spending them working miracles, preaching far and wide, and converting all mankind. Otherwise he would have done all these things.’

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“Blessed are they who serve her, who love and imitate her.”

– Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac

-17- Mary Obtains Liberty of Spirit for Her Children

‘One day the Blessed Virgin appeared to Mother Agnes and put a gold chain around her neck to show her how happy she was that Mother Agnes had become the slave of both her and her Son. And St. Cecilia, who accompanied our Lady, said to her, “Happy are the faithful slaves of the Queen of heaven, for they will enjoy true freedom.” Tibi servire libertas.’

‘I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope… He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin.’ (Ecclesiasticus 24: 24, 30)

-18- Mary Delivers her Children from Scruples and Fear

‘The Mother of fair love will rid your heart of all scruples and inordinate servile fear. She will open and enlarge it to obey the commandments of her Son with alacrity and with the holy freedom of the children of God. She will fill your heart with pure love of which she is the treasury. You will then cease to act as you did before, out of fear of the God who is love, but rather out of pure love. You will look upon him as a loving Father and endeavour to please him at all times. You will speak trustfully to him as a child does to its father. If you should have the misfortune to offend him you will abase yourself before him and humbly beg his pardon. You will offer your hand to him with simplicity and lovingly rise from your sin. Then, peaceful and relaxed and buoyed up with hope you will continue on your way to him.’

“I am the Mother of fair love, of fear, of knowledge, and of hope; I will always remain your Mother.” – Our Lady to St. Crescentia

-19- Mary is Our Mother of Perpetual Help

‘It is true that on our way we have hard battles to fight and serious obstacles to overcome, but Mary, our Mother and Queen, stays close to her faithful servants. She is always at hand to brighten their darkness, clear away their doubts, strengthen them in their fears, sustain them in their combats and trials. Truly, in comparison with other ways, this virgin road to Jesus is a path of roses and sweet delights. There have been some saints, not very many, such as St. Ephrem, St. John Damascene, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Bonaventure, and St. Francis de Sales, who have taken this smooth path to Jesus Christ, because the Holy Spirit, the faithful Spouse of Mary, made it known to them by a special grace. The other saints, who are the greater number, while having a devotion to Mary, either did not enter or did not go very far along this path. That is why they had to undergo harder and more dangerous trials.’

“My daughter, be submissive to my Son, and I will ever be thy Mother.” – Our Lady to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

-20- Mary is our Mother of Mercy

‘She is so full of love that no one who asks for her intercession is rejected, no matter how sinful he may be. The saints say that it has never been known since the world began that anyone had recourse to our Blessed Lady, with trust and perseverance, and was rejected. Her power is so great that her prayers are never refused. She has but to appear in prayer before her Son and he at once welcomes her and grants her requests. He is always lovingly conquered by the prayers of the dear Mother who bore him and nourished him.’

“No one is so cold in his love of God (unless he is damned) that he will not experience the devil releasing him from his habitual sins if only he invokes my name with the true intention of never returning to his evil deeds… And there is none who is so great a sinner, but I am ready to help him; and my Son to give him grace, if he ask mercy with charity.” – Our Lady to St. Bridget (Bk 6, Ch 52; Bk 1, Chapter 9)

-21- Mary is “More Mother than Queen”

‘She is kind, she is tender, and there is nothing harsh or forbidding about her, nothing too sublime or too brilliant. When we see her, we see our own human nature at its purest. She is not the sun, dazzling our weak sight by the brightness of its rays. Rather, she is fair and gentle as the moon, which receives its light from the sun and softens it and adapts it to our limited perception.’

“… when I was seeking how best to invoke and honour her, my good Angel said to me:

‘She will be pleased if thou salutest her in these few words: Ave Mater Dei carissima, dulcissima, refugium meum, ora pro me’ [Hail dearest, most sweet Mother of God – my refuge; pray for me].” – Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

WEEK 4

-22- Mary Clothes Us with Her Own Merits and Virtues

‘She imparts new perfume and fresh grace to those garments and adornments [of her children] by adding to them the garments of her own wardrobe of merits and virtues. She bequeathed these to them before her departure for Heaven, as was revealed by a holy nun of the last century, who died a holy death. Thus all her domestics, that is, all her servants and slaves, are clothed with double garments (cf. Prov. 31:21), her own and those of her Son. Now they have nothing to fear from that cold which sinners, naked and stripped as they are of the merits of Jesus and Mary, will be unable to endure.’

“It was also in her Communions that our Benigne learnt to deck herself, so to speak, with the virtues of her beloved Mother, praying her to purify her by her purity, to sanctify her by her sanctity, and to make her perfect by her perfection. ‘Remember, O Mother of God,’ she said, ‘that thy Divine Son has committed to thee the care of making me agreeable in His eyes.’” (p. 374 ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ 1878)

-23- Submission to Mary is the Shortcut to Perfection

‘We advance more in a brief period of submission to Mary and dependence on her than in whole years of self-will and self- reliance. A man who is obedient and submissive to Mary will sing of glorious victories over his enemies. It is true, his enemies will try to impede his progress, force him to retreat or try to make him fall. But with Mary’s help, support and guidance, he will go forward towards our Lord. Without falling, retreating and even without being delayed, he will advance with giant strides towards Jesus along the same road which, as it is written, Jesus took to come to us with giant strides and in a short time…

Why do you think our Lord spent only a few years here on earth and nearly all of them in submission and obedience to his Mother? The reason is that ‘attaining perfection in a short time, he lived a long time,’ even longer than Adam, whose losses he had come to make good. Yet Adam lived more than nine hundred years!

Jesus lived a long time, because he lived in complete submission to his Mother and in union with her, which obedience to his Father required. The Holy Spirit tells us that the man who honours his mother is like a man who stores up a treasure. In other words, the man who honours Mary, his Mother, to the extent of subjecting himself to her and obeying her in all things will soon become very rich, because he is amassing riches every day through Mary who has become his secret philosopher’s stone.’

V0035640 Christ appears to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

“I then confided thee to the care of My Holy Mother, that she might fashion thee according to My designs.”

– Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

-24- He Who Seeks Jesus, Must Love Mary

‘He who wishes to have the fruit well ripened and well-formed must have the tree that produces it; he who wishes to have the fruit of life, Jesus Christ, must have the tree of life, which is Mary; he who wishes to have in himself the operation of the Holy Ghost must have His faithful and indissoluble Spouse…’

“For anyone who wants to follow me and yield to my advice will find grace at my hands and salvation. And you should know for certain, daughter, that anyone who does not love me will not be able to find grace from my Son or, consequently, from the Holy Spirit.” – Our Lady to St. Elizabeth of Hungary

-25- Mary is Queen of Hearts

‘Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth by grace, as Jesus is the King of them by nature and by conquest. Now, as the kingdom of Jesus Christ consists principally in the heart and interior of a man – according to that word, ‘The kingdom of God is within you,’ – in like manner the kingdom of our Blessed Lady is principally in the interior of a man, that is to say, his soul; and it is principally in souls that she is more glorified with her Son than in all visible creatures, and that we can call her, as the Saints do, the Queen of hearts.’

“Through the love which you have for my blessed Mother, tell your spiritual director that as I asked Margaret Mary for devotion to my divine Heart, so I ask you to urge the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of my Mother…” – Our Lord to Bl. Alexandrina da Costa (d. October 13, 1955)

-26- Mary Glorifies God in Us

‘The soul of Mary will be communicated to you to glorify the Lord. Her spirit will take the place of yours to rejoice in God, her Saviour, but only if you are faithful to the practices of this devotion… ‘When will that happy day come,’ asks a saintly man of our own day whose life was completely wrapped up in Mary, ‘when God’s Mother is enthroned in men’s hearts as Queen, subjecting them to the dominion of her great and princely Son? When will souls breathe Mary as the body breathes air?’ When that time comes wonderful things will happen on earth. The Holy Spirit, finding his dear Spouse present again in souls, will come down into them with great power. He will fill them with his gifts, especially wisdom, by which they will produce wonders of grace. My dear friend, when will that happy time come, that age of Mary, when many souls, chosen by Mary and given her by the most High God, will hide themselves completely in the depths of her soul, becoming living copies of her, loving and glorifying Jesus?’

‘O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol His name together.’ (Ps. 33:4)

-27- The Immense Value of Consecrating Oneself to Mary

‘Other congregations, associations, and confraternities set up in honour of our Lord and our Blessed Lady, which do so much good in the Church, do not require their members to give up absolutely everything… But this devotion makes us give Jesus and Mary all our thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings and every moment of our lives without exception. Thus, whatever we do, whether we are awake or asleep, whether we eat or drink, whether we do important or unimportant work, it will always be true to say that everything is done for Jesus and Mary. Our offering always holds good, whether we think of it or not, unless we explicitly retract it.  How consoling this is!’

Josefa_Menendez

“If only you knew how many souls can be saved by those little acts!”

– Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez

-28- The Holy Spirit Bears Fruit in Mary

‘God the Holy Ghost being barren in God — that is to say, not producing another Divine Person — is become fruitful by Mary, whom He has espoused. It is with her, in her, and of her, that He has produced His Masterpiece, which is a God made Man, and whom He goes on producing in the persons of His members daily to the end of the world.’

“… And this explains what is said of Mary in the holy Canticles: ‘Thy belly is as a heap of wheat, set about with lilies (Cant. of Cant. 7:2).’ St. Ambrose explains this and says: Although in the pure womb of Mary there was only one grain of wheat, which was Jesus Christ, yet it is called a heap of grain, because in that one grain were contained all the elect, of whom Mary was to be the mother. Hence, William the Abbot wrote: Mary, in bringing forth Jesus, who is our Saviour and our life, brought forth all of us to life and salvation.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

WEEK 5 (5 days)

-29- Mary a Right and Power Over the Souls of the Elect

‘… Mary has received from God a great domination over the souls of the elect; for she cannot make her residence in them, as God the Father ordered her to do (c.f. Ecclus. 24:13), and form them in Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ in them, and strike the roots of her virtues in their hearts, and be the indissoluble companion of the Holy Ghost in all His works of grace—she cannot, I say, do all these things unless she has a right and domination over their souls by a singular grace of the Most High, who, having given her power over His only and Natural Son, has given it also to her over His adopted children, not only as to their bodies, which would be but little matter, but also as to their souls.’

‘Arise, O Lord, into Thy resting place: Thou and the ark, which Thou hast sanctified.’ (Ps. 131:8) [‘resting place’ – i.e. Heaven/the soul; ‘the ark’ – i.e. Our Lady, the New Ark of the Covenant]

-30- Devotion to Mary is a Sign of Predestination

‘God the Father wishes to have children by Mary till the consummation of the world; and He has said to her these words: In Jacob inhabita — “Dwell in Jacob,” — that is to say, Make your dwelling and residence in My predestinated children, figured by Jacob, and not in the reprobate children of the devil, figured by Esau.’

“Christ in His agony on the Cross had said to her: ‘Behold thy son.’ For centuries now she has been faithful to this commission, never allowing anyone finally to perish—provided he also has been mindful of those other words spoken to him by the Saviour: ‘Behold thy Mother.’” – St. Robert Bellarmine (‘De Gemitu Columae,’ lib. 2, cap. 9.)

-31- Mary is the Way unto The Way

‘The Church, with the Holy Ghost, blesses our Lady first, and our Lord second, — Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesus. It is not that Mary is more than Jesus, or even equal to Him – that would be an intolerable heresy; but it is that, in order to bless Jesus more perfectly, we must begin by blessing Mary. Let us, then, say with all the true clients of our Lady against these false scrupulous devotees: Mary, thou art blessed amongst all women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus… Indeed we only honour Mary that we may the more perfectly honour Jesus, inasmuch as we only go to her as to the way in which we are to find the end we are seeking, which is Jesus.’

‘In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue.’ (Ecclus. 24:25)

-32- Love of Mary Cannot but Lead to Love of Jesus

‘It would be easier to separate light from the sun than Mary from Jesus. So united are they that our Lord may be called, “Jesus of Mary”, and his Mother “Mary of Jesus.”’

“The souls who love her most and who are most like to her, are the souls who are most like to Me most perfectly.” – Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida (Diary, Feb. 18, 1917)

-33- The Purpose of Devotion to Our Blessed Mother is to Adore the Fruit of Her Womb 

‘In Fr. Boudon’s book [‘The Holy Slavery of the Admirable Mother of God’] we read of different popes who gave their approval to this devotion, the theologians who examined it, the hostility it encountered and overcame, the thousands who made it their own without censure from any pope. Indeed it could not be condemned without overthrowing the foundations of Christianity. It is obvious then that this devotion is not new. If it is not commonly practised, the reason is that it is too sublime to be appreciated and undertaken by everyone… If, then, we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to our Lord more perfectly, by providing a smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ. If devotion to our Lady distracted us from our Lord, we would have to reject it as an illusion of the devil. But this is far from being the case.’

“You must be devoted above all to doing His Will…” – Our Lady to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi

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Act of Consecration to the Most Holy and Immaculate Virgin

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“O most sweet and amiable Virgin Mary, most beloved Daughter of the Eternal Divine Father, most tender Mother of the Eternal Divine Son, most holy Spouse of the Eternal Divine Spirit, I come to thee, O most loving Mother, to consecrate myself entirely to thee.

Thou art all pure, all beautiful; thou art the Immaculate, and I, O most benign Mother, am only misery, only sin, only prone to evil. Thou, O Mary, art the Immaculate, and hast always been the delight of the most Holy Trinity; thou hast ravished the Heart of God thy Father, thy Son, thy Spouse, with the immaculate whiteness of thy holy Soul.

O most compassionate Mother, cast a glance of pity on this poor soul, made the target of so many fierce temptations; and by thy power, put to flight the infernal enemy. In these tremendous assaults, O most pitiful Mother, I come to take refuge in thy Immaculate Heart; and do thou, O most merciful Queen of Virgins, preserve my Lily pure and present it thyself to Jesus.

My most tender Mother, I expect thee at the hour of my death; and until that hour I shall thank thee and implore thee to watch over me that I may please Jesus in all things. Grazie, O Maria!”

++ References ++

A list of some the works quoted in this article:

  • True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,’ by St. Louis de Montfort
  • ‘The Life of Sister Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay–Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary,’ by Mother Marie Geltrude Provane de Leyni
  • ‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life,’ by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, TAN Books
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Birgitta of Sweden’
  • ‘The Revelations of St. Elizabeth’
  • ‘The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Federico Suárez
  • ‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Soul,’ by “A Pious Author” (i.e. Our Lord)
  • ‘The Life of Ven. Maria Crescentia Hoess,’ New York, Cincinnati, and St. Louis: Benziger Brothers
  • ‘Divine Communications (vol. I and II),’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau
  • ‘Wife, Mother and Mystic,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Conchita: A Mother’s Spiritual Diary,’ by Marie-Michel Philipon
  • ‘The Glories of Mary,’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori
  • ‘The Way of Divine Love,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Agony and The Glory,’ TAN Books
  • ‘The Autobiography of St. Margaret Mary,’ TAN Books
  • ‘Père Lamy,’ by Biver

Galg_gem

“You love to call me Mamma, but I love to call thee child.”

– Our Lady to St. Gemma Galgani (‘Blessed Gemma Galgani,’ by Father Amedeo, C.P.)

Words from Jesus for the New Year

From ‘The Life of Ven. Mary Crescentia Hoss’:

“On New Year’s day, [Saint] Crescentia had, according to her wont, made a New Year’s gift of herself to the Lord, offering herself with extraordinary fervor as a holocaust, to be immolated according to the divine will, and consumed in the holy fire of suffering, of crosses, and of love. She fell into an ecstasy, and heard from the lips of Christ these words:

“This thine offering pleases Me; but thou must know that

I do not allow Myself to be surpassed in love.”

Then showing her His opened heart, He said:

“Behold My heart, laid open by love;

I give it thee as a habitation, a security,and an asylum against all thine enemies.”

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Happy New Year, dear reader! And happy 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance at FATIMA!

Pray much for the Church and the world. The message of Fatima has not been heeded.

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Update: I am currently working on an article about consecration to Our Lady. Due to a want of time, this might take a while to complete.

For now, let these words suffice:

“How can the world be saved, from the disaster that is about to crash down upon the misleading nations, if man does not repent of his errors and failings? The only salvation is a complete repentance and return to God, and a true devotion to my Immaculate Heart, particularly in the daily recitation of my Rosary.”

– Our Lady to Bl. Elena Aiello (d. 1961)

6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love (Pt. 2)

(6) Praise God in ALL THINGS and for ALL THINGS

What is it that attracts God to our souls? Is it our virtue? Our strength? Our talents?

Certainly not.

St. Augustine says that we cannot give what we don’t have. Well, okay – what do we have? “I am good at maths,” one will say; “I am a professional athlete,” another will say; “Yeah, well, I can bench 120!”

Yes, okay – but what do you have of yourself? What do you have that you have not received? (Bear in mind that we do not have existence of or from ourselves; our essence is distinct from our existence).

The answer? Nothing. Nada.

[Actually, there is an exception. Although we have neither existence from ourselves, nor talents, nor grace, we do have a unique claim to our sufferings and our sins].

This might seem all a bit depressing, a bit of a guilt-trip. But it isn’t. Rather, it is the foundation of happiness; it is the bedrock of the spiritual life, of a genuine relationship between the creature and the Creator; it is the key to holiness and, subsequently, to happiness.

It is humility that attracts God to our souls. [Humility and charity grow together.]

Let me attempt to explain.

Because God’s essence is Love, He is always seeking our good; He longs to communicate His Divine Life – which is nothing other than Love Itself – to us, His dear children, for whom He has paid so great a price! Whether we are the greatest sinner in the universe or not, matters little; the only impediment to God’s action in us… is us. If we are full of pride, of self-sufficiency, then God has no room to act (pride and God are like oil and water); but if we are humble, acknowledging our frailty and leaning on God alone, He will supply for our deficiencies, He will fill our empty vessels, bit by bit (“… fill the hearts of Thy faithful… “). And the greater our need, the more God is glorified in helping us!

Let Love be Love. Don’t try to give yourself to God; this is beyond your strength. Rather, ask God to take you to Himself. ‘I am thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94).

“God alone is capable, properly speaking, of giving – he to Whom ALL THINGS belong.”

– Louis Bouyer (p. 80, ‘The Meaning of the Monastic Life’)

God is more glorified by the feeble works of an imperfect soul who recognises her absolute dependence on God, and who trusts audaciously in His goodness, than He is by the most heroic acts of a soul who believes that, by their works, they are somehow giving God something that wasn’t already His to begin with; for ‘to Him nothing may be added’ (Eccles. 42:21).

God alone communicates life and goodness to His creatures. Until we grasp this truth, our relationship with God will suffer. There is nothing quite like knowing that God’s love for us is perfectly pure; that He seeks us, not because of what we are, but because of what He is. In ALL THINGS, then, let us rely on Him, let us glorify Him, let us thank Him. This is the key to great holiness. A grateful soul is necessarily a humble soul, and a humble soul is necessarily a loving soul, being inundated, as it were, with the graces of God.

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ALL THINGS IN GOD, ALL THINGS BY GOD,

ALL THINGS WITH GOD, ALL THINGS FOR GOD

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“Thou art my Treasure: be Thou my All!”

– Dom Pius de Hemptinne

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Everything is Grace

‘Giving thanks always for ALL THINGS, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father…’ (Eph. 5:20)

Those Who Possess God are Truly Rich (Even the Poor and Afflicted)

‘… as having nothing, and possessing ALL THINGS.’ (2 Cor. 6:10)

God Seeks Only to Give

‘He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill ALL THINGS.’ (Eph. 4:10)

God Changes Everything we Give Him into Gold

‘And we know that to them that love God, ALL THINGS work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.’ (Rom 8:28)

 ‘… if we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?’ (Job 2:20)

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+ Some Revelations to the Same Effect

(1) “Religious Soul, let thyself be guided in ALL THINGS by Love.

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

(2) “… she [the soul] should have God alone in view in ALL THINGS, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this she will always be at peace.”

– Our Lady to Sr. Benigna Consolata

(3) “A soul who does the Will of God in ALL THINGS, not only accomplishing His Will but studying even His least desires in order to fulfill them, who is, so to say, ever on the alert, is a soul always in prayer.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

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‘Furthermore 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)

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“I WILL LOVE HIM IN ALL THINGS;

I will love Him in Himself and out of Himself, in His creatures, in His severity,

in His sweetness, in His magnificence, in my privations, contradictions, censures,

in oppression of heart and joy of  soul, in His abundance as well as in my poverty…”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692)

[The next post will provide us with the easiest means for finding God, loving God and pleasing God in all things. I have never been so eager to share something.]



 

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!”

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+

 

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? …”

 

 

Liberty of Spirit: The End of Scrupulosity

Our_Mother_of_Perpetual_Help

Mother of Perpetual Succour, whose Feast Day is celebrated today (June 27)

Mother of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!

“Walk simply in the way of the Lord, and do not torment your mind.”

– St. Francis de Sales

It was one day revealed to Bl. Bernard Francis de Hoyos that a “holy liberty of spirit” is essential to holiness. Jesus wants our hearts to be dilated, full of trust in His merciful goodness. Think of a little child in the presence of its loving father. Even when the child is not looking at its father, it is nevertheless aware of his loving gaze, his power, and his protection. Supposing that the child were to walk towards the edge of a precipice, the father will warn the child; he is always looking out for his little one. Can we doubt that God would do likewise?

Self-Centredness: An Obstacle to Holiness

It often happens that a soul who is advancing towards God, becomes increasingly aware of the many dangers and obstacles that surround us. If the soul possesses good-will, she will strive to avoid sin and its near occasions. So far so good. But the Devil, seeing that he will not win such a soul by the allurement of mortal sin, resorts to more insidious means. If only he can divert the soul’s attention away from God, his job will be that much easier. Why? Because the soul that is preoccupied with self, remains there, instead of going to God (as Our Lord said to St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified). Instead of taking the “elevator of love” (St. Therese), she remains on the earth; her thoughts dwell there, and her heart, of necessity, follows suit.

It is a great shame when a soul turns in on itself; it is deprived of many lights and merits that it would otherwise have received, and God is deprived of the glory of seeing His beloved child happy and holy. ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.’ (Jn. 10:10)

The Remedy / The Key to Liberty of Spirit

Go to Jesus.

“By His continual contact with you He will free you from your weakness and your faults and from all that troubles you. Nothing ought to prevent our going to Him.”

– Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity (who will be canonized on 16 October, 2016)

We ought to imitate King David, who, after having committed adultery and murder (I don’t say we should imitate him in that), immediately beseeched the Father of all Mercies, of Whom King David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks thus:

‘For thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild: and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.’

(Ps. 86:5)

Commenting on this passage, St. Alphonsus writes: “David declares that God shows not only mercy, but great mercy, to those who invoke Him…” In the same text (‘How to Pray at All Times’), the saint shares with us these consoling words:

“Consider that God is so willing to pardon sinners that He laments their perdition, when they depart far from Him and live dead to His grace. Therefore, does he lovingly call them, saying: Why will you die, O house of Israel? Return ye, and live (Ezek. 18-31). He promises to receive a soul that has forsaken Him, if only it returns to His arms: Turn to Me . . . and I will turn to you (Zach. 1-3). Would that sinners only knew how mercifully our Saviour awaits them in order to pardon them: The Lord waiteth that He may have mercy upon you (Isa. 30-18). Would that sinners realised the desire on the part of God, not, indeed, to chastise them, but to see them converted and to embrace and press them to His Heart: As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ezek. 33-11). He has even still more consoling words: Come and accuse Me, saith the Lord; if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1-18). In other words, He says: Sinners, repent of having offended Me and then come to Me. If I do not pardon you, accuse Me of being unfaithful to My promises; but, no, I will keep My word.”

Source: http://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-211.shtml

What a great pity it would have been if St. Dismas (the Good Thief), instead of turning his attention to the merciful gaze of our Saviour, chose instead to contemplate the fruit of his own iniquity? Perhaps he would have remained with his sins and been damned. But no; Dismas looked to Jesus, Who is “plenteous in mercy” to all those who invoke Him with even the slightest desire to avail themselves of God’s mercy; and in looking upon the wounds and the gentle Countenance of our Divine Redeemer, his heart was moved to repentance, and he was saved.

What good can possibly come from fixating on our weakness and misery?

When Going to Jesus Appears Fruitless

Our Lord often said to St. Margaret Mary that she would only be lacking in help when His Divine Heart was lacking in power. He meant by this that, if we succumb to distrust – by which we doubt God’s infinite love and power (which is principally manifested in showing mercy to His creatures, as the Collect for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost attests) – we deprive ourselves, to some extent, of God’s assistance. ‘And He wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief.‘ (Mt. 13:58)

If we are making little progress in Divine Love, it is because we lack confidence in God. Our prayers should be bold, persevering, even audacious. God knows that we have nothing and can do nothing without His grace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the right and even the obligation to rely on God for everything. “My God and my All!” Every movement towards God, however slight, is the work of God. We cannot merit anything; we are neither good, nor learned, nor holy. ‘Tu solus sanctus.‘ God alone is holy (Rev. 15:4). We are only good to the extent that God acts within us. And God only acts within us to the extent that we rely on Him or let Him.

How often did Our Lord addressed these words to chosen souls:

“LET ME ACT.”

It is as if He said to us: “My little child; you are so weak that you do not know it. You can do nothing without me; you cannot so much as think a good thought without my grace. Come to Me, then, with great confidence; give yourself to Me. I will take care of you. I already am taking care of you. How else can you explain the desire that you have to possess Me? Was it not I Who put this desire in your heart?”

If we lack confidence, we should frequently beg God for this grace; He will give it, gladly. We must “not fear to be importunate” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez). God wants to teach us all a valuable lesson: all good comes from Him, and it is only when we truly seek Him and the Kingdom first, that we can absolutely rely on His infallible assistance. ‘You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:13)

St. Alphonsus says that certain pusillanimous souls do not perceive that their lack of confidence is a consequence of their lack of generosity towards God; because they will not abandon themselves to God without reserve, He cannot give Himself without reserve to the soul.

“Is this a sin?”

One of the greatest obstacles to liberty of spirit is habitual analysis of the sinfulness of particular scenarios, hypothetical events, and so on. In a word, if we are fixated on sin, we are not free to love. God never intended things to be this way. “Love and do what you will,” says St. Augustine. Our Lord wants us to be as ‘simple as doves‘ (Mt. 10:16).

It must be known that, although there is a great need for vigilance, the best form of vigilance is to frequently converse with Jesus, Whose very name means “Saviour.” By speaking to Him frequently and with simplicity, invoking His aid, He will guide our feet, just as a father guides his little infant. If it should happen that we commit some fault, it will not be a great one, because our will was more or less focussed on God.

“Do not give a thought to your involuntary imperfections!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 36, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World’)

By means of frequent prayer (e.g. the aspiration, “My Jesus, mercy!”) the soul is liberated from a great deal of trouble; she is free to love. Such souls might happen to commit many imperfections, but God always sustains them; He redirects their attention to Him the moment they perceive their misery.

“If you should happen to commit some fault, do not grieve over it, but come and place it quickly within My Heart; then strengthen your determination to strive for the opposite virtue, but with great calmness. In that manner your every fault will become a step in advance.”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 34, JATTW)

St. Therese perfectly exemplifies this perseverance in going to Jesus, Who seeks to purify us at every moment:

“O my good Jesus, who so benignly dost use our continual miseries to feed the fire of Thy divine Mercy, look with pitying eyes upon Thy solicitous purveyor, who lets not a moment pass without giving Thee something to burn!”

– From ‘The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul,’ taken from a prayer given by Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

Jesus asks one thing of us: LOVE. But first, He asks that we go to Him – the emptier our hearts, the better. How else are we to receive LOVE?

Doubts may arise from time to time to confuse our conscience, to distract us from loving; but we should know that we are always safe when we turn to Jesus and Mary, and when we obey our confessor (unless we receive patently evil advice – God forbid!). Good-will, according to the saints, is the perfection that God requires of us.

Some Examples of Liberty of Spirit

+ “I was very much pleased to read,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “in the Life of St. Charles Borromeo, how he yielded to the Swiss incertain things, in which otherwise he was very strict…”

+ “… and that St. Ignatius of Loyola, being invited to play, did not refuse.”

+ “… As to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, she played and danced sometimes, when she was present at assemblies of recreation, without any prejudice to her devotion; for devotion was so deep in her soul, that her devotion increased amongst the pomps and vanities to which her condition exposed her.” (‘Introduction to the Devout Life’)

+ “Saint Spiridion, a bishop of olden times, once gave shelter to a pilgrim who was almost dying of hunger. It was the season of Lent and in a place where nothing was to be had but salt meat. This Spiridion ordered to be cooked and then gave it to the pilgrim. Seeing that the latter, notwithstanding his great need, hesitated to eat it, the Saint, although he did not require it, ate some first in order to remove the poor man’s scruples. That was a true spirit of liberty born of charity.” (Saint Francis de Sales, quoted in Rev. Quadrupani’s brilliant chapter on ‘Liberty of Spirit’: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/quadrupani/light.v.ch_16.html )

+ For the sake of charity, some of the Desert Fathers would eat as often as they had guests, even if they themselves were already sufficiently fed. They would not have eaten until they were absolutely glutted; but they knew charity is primary, and that one can always fast later, or delay the next meal.

[In the Conferences of St. John Cassian, we are given this sage advice: if we have taken on certain spiritual practices, in self-will, that are impeding our peace and spiritual growth, we should give them up. Ideally, we should submit these concerns to our confessor; that way, we avoid self-deception.]

+ St. Teresa Margaret (d. 1770), a Carmelite nun, upon seeing the sufferings of Sr. Mary Victoria at meal-time, leaned over and gave her a kiss. By this simple act of affection, St. Teresa Margaret liberated her from her violent toothache. “The Carmelite rule,” writes Berth Ghezzi (p. 12, ‘Mystics and Miracles’), “forbade one sister to kiss another, but Theresa Margaret wasn’t thinking about rules that day. She was thinking about love, and that led to a small gesture of kindness, and that led to a miracle.” ‘The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mk. 2:27).

Like St. Teresa Margaret, St. Therese, St. Francis de Sales, and so many others, we should not be so calculating. It is God, after all, Who is our guide, our protector and our Counsellor. Rather than studying ourselves, then, as if we were some kind of characters in a play, we should prefer to study God, to love Him, to speak to Him with simplicity, and thereby to forget self. “Forgetfulness of self is the tomb of scruples.” Let us turn to our Mother of Perpetual Succour/Help, and let us avoid being children of perpetual worry; we must stop analysing our first movements, involuntary imperfections, venial sins, falls, intentions, words and the like. Go to Jesus, Go to Mary, Go to Joseph (Ite ad Joseph); enjoy their company; do not become the sport of demons by listening to their vile suggestions, which can easily be detected by the effect they have on the soul, and by the fact that they keep the soul from God.

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi

St. Teresa Margaret, Carmelite nun (d. 7 March, 1770)

Some Advice Given to Sr. Consolata Betrone

“Think no longer about yourself, about your perfection, on how to attain sanctity, or about your defects, your present and future troubles. No, I will see to your sanctification, to your sanctity. You must henceforth think only of Me and of souls; of Me to love, and of souls to save them!” (p. 131, JATTW)

Some Final Advice

If you want to acquire liberty of spirt, get to know the following holy souls and their writings:

– St. Therese

– St. Francis de Sales

– St. Gertrude

– Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius)

– Sr. Benigna Consolata

– Sr. Gertrude Mary

In time, one will imbibe their spirit.

+++++

‘Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who sheweth us good things?’
(Ps. 4:5)

+++++

“Jesus, be to me a Jesus [i.e. a Saviour]!”

– Part of a prayer given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata (The same prayer – minus the word “a” – was recommended by a Visitandine to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos)

+++++

“My Jesus, my only God, my All, I conjure Thee to bury me so deeply in Thy Sacred Heart that I may never be able to come forth.”

– Part of a prayer given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

[This post is dedicated to my Superior and spiritual Father, who gave me permission to spend a greater length of time completing this article.]

+BENEDICTUS DEUS+

Consoling Revelations

[I was hoping to publish something else today, but was prevented from doing so due to time constraints. Not to worry: I will complete the post next week.]

“Paternal help shall never be wanting to those who place themselves in My hands.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

(p. 43, ‘The Life of St. Gemma Galgani’ by Her Spiritual Director Venerable Fr. Germanus, C.P.)

“Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I Love you all.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“Fear nothing, for the Heart of Jesus is the throne of Mercy, where the miserable are the most readily received.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani (p. 54–55, Ibid.)

“I will be a mother to thee. Wilt thou be a true child?”

– Our Lady to St. Gemma Galgani (after saying this, Our Lady opened her mantle and covered her with it)

+++

‘The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.’

– Psalm 34:1

+++

“Virtue consists above all in…”

jesus-1248835_960_720

“… the mortification of one’s own will [Sir. 18:30].

It consists of concealing, as far as possible, from the eyes of men, the works that you do [Mt. 6:4].

The true servant of God is content to know that his services are known to the Heavenly Father.

You must prepare yourselves to receive all things, evil as well as good, with an equal resignation and even with gaiety of heart [Deut. 30:15; Phil. 4:4].

Be good, therefore, and charitable to your neighbour [Mk. 12:31];

be humble and patient in yourselves [Lk. 21:19].”

– Jesus to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi (p. 52, ‘Wife, Mother and Mystic,’ by Albert Bessieres, S.J., TAN Books)

+PAX+