How to Pass the Days in Peace and Joy: Advice from a Saintly Cardinal

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Mary Magdalene at Christ’s Feet (Tissot)

[Various quotations interspersed]

“The grace of prayer is one of the highest favours that God imparts to the human soul. Prayer is indeed the atmosphere in which holiness develops and flourishes; it enables the Holy Ghost to communicate Himself with the bonds of love.

+ ‘With me is prayer to the God of my life.’ (Ps. 41:9)

The whole essence of asceticism is contained in this one word: “prayer.” We first pray in order to obtain the help of God’s grace in our struggles in the path of purification; and, when we are engaged in the path of meditation, again we have recourse to prayer.

+ “Only a mortified heart is free.” (Bl. Edward Poppe)

In Heaven itself we shall do nothing else but pray, so we may consider prayer as the beginning of our future state of blessedness.

+ ‘Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens’ (Lam. 3:41)

… We can always remain present in spirit before the Eucharistic Tabernacle, even when the material duties of our state necessitate our being absent in the body. Such was the practice of the saintly mother [St. Monica] of him [St. Augustine] who wrote in the ninth book of his “Confessions”: Ad pretii nostri sacramentum ligavit ancilla tua animam suam vinculo fidei (“To this Sacrament of our redemption Thy handmaid had bound her soul by the bond of faith.” – Sheed translation).

+ ‘But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection.’ (Col. 3:14)

… in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus gives us His own Spirit, so that the multitude of those who receive Him may, through His grace, Who is their life, truly form cor unum et anima (‘one heart and one soul’ – Acts 4:32).

+ ‘They shall be converted that sit under His shadow.’ (Os. 14:8)

… In Heaven, besides the realization of the Beatific Vision, we shall derive special joy from the companionship of the Saints. The reason for this is that, as all the blessed are united among themselves by the most perfect bond of love, the happiness of each one will be infinitely multiplied by the happiness of the entire court of Heaven.”
– Bl. Cardinal Schuster (‘The Sacramentary’)

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“Child, life and death consist in loving God.”
– A revelation to Bl. Ossana of Mantua (aged 5)
‘to live is Christ; and to die is gain’
– Phil. 1:21

Easter, 2020: The Centenary of Death of St. Teresa of the Andes

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“Christ is risen!”

Today – Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 – marks the centenary of the death of an extraordinary little soul: Teresa of the Andes (d. April 12, 1920).

[Further down the page, you will find some selections of her beautiful letters, taken from ‘Letters of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes’.]

A Quick Snapshot of Her Life
Known in the world as Juanita, as a young woman, this social, intelligent, playful, and devout “Child of Mary,” like St. Therese before her (one of her favourite Saints), followed the call to the cloister of Carmel. Inflamed with love for Jesus, the Spouse of Souls, she felt powerfully drawn to a certain little convent that, while poor and humble from a material point of view, was nonetheless a house permeated by the richness of Divine charity.

In any case, it was not comfort she was looking for, but ‘the God of all comfort’ (2 Cor. 1:3), Who “seeks solace from His little creature” (Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, another inspiration to St. Teresa of the Andes). It was while visiting the aforesaid convent that Our Lord was pleased, on at least one occasion, to manifest Himself from the Tabernacle, not with an expression of sorrow – as was often His wont – but with a joyful countenance. By this, Our Lord would have His daughter know that she had found the paradise of delights to which He was calling her. He was consoled here, and it is here she would flourish.

During her brief time in the cloister, she led a life of great, albeit hidden virtue in the cloister, paying close attention to the inspirations of Divine grace. Our Lord made it known to her that she would die young, and for this reason she must practice great fidelity to the counsels of perfection given to her by our Blessed Mother, but more so to holy obedience, and to the holy Rule handed down by St. Teresa of Avila, her Patron in religion. Obedience was ever her guide. “A host, Eli,” she wrote to a friend, “has no will of her own.” “I want,” she wrote in another letter, “to be a host through the Host.”

Ever spurred on by her desire for God, Who often flooded the soul of His little spouse to the point of ecstasy, she did not always succeed in mortifying herself (in the world she had a weakness for her favourite caramels!), as she lamented on more than one occasion; nevertheless, she knew how to draw profit from all things, knowing well that humility (which cannot be separated from confidence in God) is the key to Charity. Like St. Therese, she knew how to take herself lightly and in the spirit of childlike liberty, without which perfection – that is to say, the flowering of God’s love in the soul – is utterly impossible.

After only 11 months in the convent, Sr. Teresa (affectionately known as “Teresita”) was consumed by love, ending her short life at 7:15pm on Friday, April 12, 1920.

Ora pro nobis!

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+ SOME SAMPLES OF HER LETTERS

Beautiful Apparitions of Our Lord
“Sometimes He appears to me so filled with beauty and tenderness that I can’t describe it. Believe me, it all causes me dissatisfaction with everything [that is less than God]…”

Real Friendship
“… real friendship consists of perfecting one another and of coming closer to God.”

Apostles of God’s Mercy
“We must, dear Isabel, be apostles of that Heart’s mercy. We must dissolve the wall of coldness with which they keep Him isolated. On the Altar, we must caress and console Him in His mystical agony.”

At the Foot of the Tabernacle
“… let us live forever at the foot of the Tabernacle, be it only in spirit, consoling Our Lord in His agony.”

With the Divine Prisoner
“… I’d like to live till the end of the world, suffering with the Divine Prisoner.”

Mary: Her “Priest”
“I’ve made an agreement with the Most Holy Virgin that she may be my priest who will offer me at every moment for sinners and priests, but bathed in the Blood of the Heart of Jesus.”

God’s Will: Our Only Good
“How shall we become more like Him except by doing His Divine Will? In loving and embracing It, we love and embrace a good that is infinitely pleasing to God; a good that contains within Itself eternal reason…”

Prayer: A Loving Gaze
“My prayer, for the most part, is a kind of gazing at God without using any reasoning… Interiorly, I feel a consuming fire completely consuming me.” (“Love, invade me!” – A Prayer she was fond of)

God Does Not Reject Sinners
“As for what you say about believing that Jesus looks at you in anger and not wanting to pardon you, that is a temptation… Why fear that Jesus will reject you? Would a mother reject a daughter, who, after failing in obedience, goes to beg her forgiveness? No, she would hug her daughter tightly to her heart. Why not believe that Jesus does this to us, His sinful creatures, since He possesses not only the tenderness of a mother, but a tenderness which knows no bounds, for it is infinite.”

Jesus Lives On in the Church (Pt. 1): The Theological Tradition

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St. Peter of Alcantara, in ecstasy, being drawn to Christ, the ‘Sun of Justice’ (Mal. 4:2)


The Church: An Infinite Treasure to Men

The Catholic Church, cleansed and adorned with ‘the Precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb unspotted and undefiled’ (1 Pt. 1:19), is ‘an infinite treasure to men’ (Wis. 7:14); she is ‘the body of Christ’ (1 Cor. 12:27), redeemed out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation’ (Apoc. 5:9). United to Jesus Christ, the ‘Head over all the Church’ (Eph. 1:22), ‘we are members of His body, of his flesh, and of his bones’ (Eph. 5:30). He is ‘our Everlasting Saviour’ (Bar. 4:22), Who, having loved us ‘with an everlasting love’ (Jer. 31:3), is ‘always living to make intercession for us’ (Heb. 7:25).

Christ: The Life of the Church
If we seek to be saved; if we seek the grace of God in abundance, we have but one thing to do: we have but to cling to the Church, our Mother. We must understand that the prayer of Christ, Who ardently prayed ‘that they may be ONE’ (Jn. 17:11), is not something vague or remote; on the contrary, Jesus continues to live in and through His Church; He continues to offer Himself on its Altars, drawing all men to Himself (Jn. 12:32).

The Eucharist: The Sacrament of Love and Union
In His “unwearying, unconquerable love” (St. John Henry Newman), Christ ‘loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it’ (Eph. 5:25). And why? To the end that He might espouse Himself to the Church in the eternal nuptials of Paradise, of which the Holy Eucharist is both a sign and a pledge: ‘THIS IS MY BODY (Mt. 26:26)… I WILL ESPOUSE THEE TO ME FOR EVER’ (Osee 2:19).

The Prayer of the Bride
We cannot measure His love for His Bride, which lives by His very life (cf. 1 Jn. 4:9). The more intimately we are united with the Church, which is animated by His Spirit, the more surely will our prayers be heard. “The Prayer of the Church,” writes Dom Gueranger, on account of its intimate union with Jesus Christ, is “… the most pleasing to the ear and heart of God, and therefore the most efficacious of all prayers. Happy, then, is he who prays with the Church, and unites his own petitions with those of this Spouse, who is so dear to her Lord, that he gives her all she asks…

‘… shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely.’
– Cant. 2:14

It is… Jesus Christ himself who is the source as well as the object of the Liturgy; and hence the Ecclesiastical Year… is neither more nor less than the manifestation of Jesus Christ, and his Mysteries, in the Church and the faithful soul.

“Indeed, although Christ is no longer upon earth, although the historical reality of His mysteries has gone by, He ever remains our Head and the virtue of His actions and of His life is ever fruitful.”
– Bl. Columba Marmion

It is the divine Cycle, in which appear all the works of God, each in its turn; the Seven Days of the Creation; the Pasch and Pentecost of the Jewish people; the ineffable Visit of the Incarnate Word; His Sacrifice and His Victory; the Descent of the Holy Ghost; the Holy Eucharist*; the surpassing glories of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin; the magnificence of the Angels; the merits and triumphs of the Saints.

*“This Sacrament embraces the entire mystery of our salvation.”
St. Thomas Aquinas

… Happy indeed should we deem ourselves, if we could make the faithful understand the grand glory which is given to the Blessed Trinity, to our Saviour, to Mary, to the Angels, and to the Saints, by this annual commemoration of the wondrous works of our God!

‘He hath made a remembrance of His wonderful works, being a merciful and gracious Lord.’ (Ps. 110:4)

If, every year, the Church renews her youth as that of the eagle, she does so because, by means of the Cycle of the Liturgy, she is visited by her divine Spouse, who supplies all her wants. Each year she again sees him an Infant in the manger, fasting in the desert, offering himself on the Cross, rising from the grave, founding his Church, instituting the Sacraments, ascending to the right hand of his Father, and sending the Holy Ghost upon men. The graces of all these divine mysteries are renewed in her; so that, being made fruitful in every good thing, the mystic Garden yields to the Spouse, in every season, under the influence of the spirit he breathes into her, the sweet perfume of aromatic spices.

“… Jesus lives the reality of His mysteries in us, and when we have faith, and rest lovingly united to Him, He draws us with Him, making us partakers of the virtue proper to each of these states. Each year, as the soul follows the Liturgical cycle, it shares ever more intimately in these mysteries, and is identified more and more with Christ, with His thoughts, His feelings, His life.”
– Bl. Columba Marmion (p. 319, ‘Christ the Ideal of the Monk’)

… Now, what the Liturgical Year does for the Church at large, it does also for the soul of each one of the faithful that is careful to receive the gift of God. This succession of mystic seasons imparts to the Christian the elements of that supernatural life, without which every other life is but a sort of death, more or less disguised.” (Dom Gueranger, ‘The Liturgical Year,’ vol. I)

 

The Devil’s Greatest Enemy (Pt. 3): Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces

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PHOTO: An edited copy of a painting belonging to Ven. Marthe Robin (d. 1981). The words, ‘Marie Mediatrice’ (Mary, Mediatrix), interestingly, were the last intelligible words of the great Cardinal Mercier (d. 1926), who died shortly after offering the Mass of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. There is much more to the story…

The Enemy of the Woman: A Roaring Lion
Lucifer is a ‘murderer from the beginning’ (Jn. 8:44), the Father of Lies, who, full of malice and hatred, ‘as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour’ (1 Pt. 5:8). “I am a wretched creature,” he said to a Saint, “who cannot love.”

The Son of the Woman: A Consuming Fire
The Son of God and of Mary, on the other hand, seeks only to give Himself to souls, to consume us in that same Fire of infinite Love with which the Father loves Him – hence the Sacrament of His Love. His greatest sorrow is when we hinder His Divine action, when we place obstacles before ‘the perfect Will of God’ (Rom. 12:2), which seeks only to gather up souls and ‘take them up in His Bosom’ (Is. 40:11).

The Handmaid That Is All-Powerful Over Hell
Lucifer is bent on destruction; seething with hatred for all that he has lost, he turns his hatred against the souls created in God’s image. But he is no match for God, ‘for all things are possible with God’ (Mk. 10:27). ‘Who,’ says St. Michael the Archangel, ‘is like God?’

Nor is he a match for Mary, who, as we have seen in the two previous posts, has been chosen by God to crush the head of the ancient Serpent. She is the New Eve; she is the helper of Christ, the New Adam.

We cannot fathom the power of Mary’s intercession. Would you like, nevertheless, to know something of it? Then consider the following: Mary is the instrument of “the instrument of the Divinity” (St. John Damascene).

What does this mean? It means that Jesus took His Sacred Humanity (the instrument of the Divinity) from Mary – namely, that immaculate Flesh and Blood which He gave ‘for the life of the world’ (Jn. 6:51). What dignity, what sublime prerogatives must then belong to Mary, if, as St. Leonard of Port Maurice writes, “our good and loving Master promised us in the Gospel that for a cup of cold water, given in His Name, He will bestow the Kingdom of Heaven” (cf. Mk 9:40; Mt. 10:42)! It is one thing to give a cup of water in His Name; it is quite another to give Him that Immaculate Body by which He would work all His miracles, and through which all grace descends to man! This is that Divine Masterpiece that was fitted for Him (cf. Heb. 10:5) and fashioned by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin (cf. Lk. 1:35; Ps. 18:6) ‘in the day of His espousals, and in the day of the joy of His Heart’ (Cant. 3:11).

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Mary: Mediatrix of All Graces
“Every grace,” writes St. Bernardine of Siena, “that is communicated to this world has a threefold course. For by excellent order, it is dispensed
(1) from God to Christ,
(2) from Christ to the Virgin,
(3) from the Virgin to us.”

The dignity of Mary is truly impenetrable to our limited minds; her greatness is, to quote St. Thomas, “quasi-infinite.” No, He is not exaggerating. Just ask yourself: What greater dignity could God bestow on Mary than that which He has already been pleased to bestow?

It is because Mary is Mother of God, and, by extension, the true ‘Mother of all the Living’ (Gen. 3:20) – that is, in the spiritual order – that she is necessarily the Mediatrix of All Graces. Were this not the case, she would not truly be ‘full of grace’ (Lk. 1:28), nor would the Church, which exists mystically in her virginal womb (cf. Cant. 7:2; Jn. 16:21; Ps. 86:5, etc.), have access to ‘every best gift, and every perfect gift’ (James 1:17) from on high.

In a word, if Mary is not Mediatrix of All Graces, how shall Christ be begotten in souls? How shall we attain to ‘the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13)? Do we not know that Jesus has but one Mother, not only physically but also mystically? One is my dove, my perfect one is but one, she is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her’ (Cant. 6:8).

The Testimony of Saints, Mystics, Scholars
Suffice to say, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Veronica Giuliani, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, Bl. Dina Belanger, Ven. Marthe Robin, Mother Magdalene of Jesus (Palmyre Ryckaert), Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity, among many other mystics, did not invent this doctrine, nor did St. Alphonsus, St. Bernard, St. Ildeponsus or anyone else. Conversely, it is all there in the Scriptures, if only one is willing to receive the Word from her who gave Him to us – namely, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who says to us: 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).

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Ven. Marthe Robin

The Devil’s Most Hated Books
This all brings us to an interesting question: What books does Satan hate most? Generally speaking, he despises all that is holy, all that leads us to ‘the Way, and the Truth, and the Life’ (Jn. 14:6). It is precisely for this reason that he hates books that give praise to our Blessed Mother, for she, more than all the other Saints combined, draws us to the Blessed Fruit of her womb. This is the teaching of St. Bonaventure, among others.

Now, it is obvious enough that the Devil hates the Scriptures; but, more specifically, which Scriptures does he particularly detest? How about John, Chapter 6, which speaks of the Sacrament of Love and Unity? Absolutely. The Psalms? No doubt. But the Devil has a unique hatred for the following books of the Bible (among others):
+ Esther
+ Judith
+ Ecclesiasticus
+ Wisdom.

Why is this? It is because these inspired Books speak so forcefully, so highly, and so frequently of his sworn enemy – that is, ‘the Woman’ (Gen. 3:15; Jn. 2:4; Jn. 16:21; Jn. 19:26 Apoc. 12:1), who will crush his head! Do not be fooled: the Reformation did not give us the complete set of inspired texts; on the contrary, it presented us with an incomplete revelation of God and of the Divine Plan. No Bible is complete without the aforementioned Books (or, in the case of Esther, the complete Book).

Two other books that are much hated by Hell are St. Louis de Montfort’s classic, ‘True Devotion to Mary,’ as well as the abridged version of this book, ‘The Secret of Mary.’ The demons tried to destroy the former, as St. Louis de Montfort prophesied; the latter was brought by Our Lady herself to Ven. Marthe Robin, to whom she communicated her desire that this book spread across the globe. Indeed it has. But not enough.

Concluding Words…
Listen to Our Lord’s words from the Cross: ‘BEHOLD THY MOTHER’ (Mt. 12:47). Take note that these words are not qualified by any further statement. Why? Because we are always to keep our eyes on Mary. She has only Love for her children. To give us her Son is her sole purpose and joy. She it is, above all others, who will help us to taste and see that the Lord is sweet’ (Ps. 33:9); her ‘spirit is sweet above honey and her ‘inheritance above honey and the honeycomb’ (Ecclus. 24:27). Do not hesitate to give yourself to her without reserve: ‘Her ways are beautiful ways, and all her paths are peaceable’ (Prov. 3:17).

[N.B. This year, Pentecost Sunday happens to fall on May 31, which is the traditional date for the Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. It is also the 99th anniversary of said Feast being established.]

A Quick Anecdote
About 2 months ago, it occurred to me that Romans 8:32 could reasonably be applied to Mary. Later that evening, I opened a Marian devotional work from the 19th century and found the very text applied to Mary by St. Albert the Great. Coincidence? Somehow I think not.

‘SHE that spared not even HER own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath SHE not also, with Him, given us all things?’
– Rom. 8:32

 

 

Mary: Mother of the Eucharist

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‘With the Bread of Life and understanding, she shall feed him…’
– Ecclus. 15:3

Mary Invites us to Holy Communion
“Among the Biblical figures of Mary,” writes St. Peter Julian Eymard, “there are several which represent her inviting us to Holy Communion. Such is the table of the Temple upon which rested the loaves consecrated to the Lord. ‘Hail, Mary,’ says St. Ephraim, ‘spiritual table of faith, who dost offer the true Bread to the famished world!’

‘Why [asks Pinna] does this holy Doctor [St. Ephraim] give to Mary the title of table instead of ark, since the Ark contained the miraculous manna? Ah! it is because the Ark hid what it held; whilst the table exposed to view the food that was laid on it, and seemed to invite the guests to partake of it… It is because the Ark contained only manna, while the table holds not only bread, but all kinds of savory food and delicious drinks, also. Now, Mary, in offering Jesus to us in Holy Communion, gives us a Bread which has in Itself all flavors, and which satisfies every desire.'” ‘Instead of which things thou didst feed thy people with the food of angels, and gavest them bread from heaven prepared without labour; having in it all that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste’ (Wis. 16:20; Cf. Communion Antiphon for XIII Sunday after Pentecost, usus antiquior).

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In another place,” continues St. Peter Julian, “Mary is compared to the [sanctuary] lamp which ought, according to the Law, to be placed very near the table of the sanctuary. ‘What means this prescription?’ asks Conti. ‘Without doubt, to light up that holy table and the sacred loaves that it holds. It is thus that Mary attracts us by the light of her inspirations, in order to show us the Eucharistic Bread which will make our delight.'”

“But a still more striking indication of Mary’s power over the dispensing of this ineffable grace of Communion, is the word of St. Peter: ‘As new-born babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation…’ (1 Pt. 2:2)

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Cornelius a Lapide says that many interpreters understand by this spiritual milk the Eucharist, which in the early Church was given immediately after Baptism, and even to infants. The Eucharist has, indeed, the color of milk. Like milk, It is sweet to the taste, and like It, again, It marvelously nourishes the soul.

St. Peter’s expression, Concupiscite, “Desire ardently,” shows us with what eagerness we ought to desire this spiritual milk. ‘Do you not see,’ says St. Chrysostom, ‘with what haste little infants seize the mother’s breast? Ah! with still greater eagerness let us run to the source of this Blessed Beverage! Let us, like new-born babes, suck in the grace of the Holy Spirit.’ ‘Come over to me, all ye that desire (concupiscitis) me,’ says our Blessed Mother, ‘and be filled with my fruits’ (Ecclus. 24:26; Epistle for Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).

The Eucharist is, then, the milk of our soul. But how suggestive of Mary is this word “milk”! Who gives the milk to the babe but the mother? All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price’ (Is. 55:1; Epistle for Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, May 31).

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Who shall give thee to me for my Brother, sucking the breasts of my Mother, that I may find Thee without, and kiss Thee, and now no man may despise me?’ (Cant. 8:1)

Mary, give us that substantial Milk of our soul!… Thou dost give us in Communion a Divine Milk, God Himself changed into milk for our weakness, for our infancy, for, as St. John Damascene declares: ‘The Virgin’s milk is changed into the Flesh of the Saviour, and it is that Milk – that Milk, itself, without doubt – that we receive at the Holy Altar…” ‘Out of the mouth of infants (infantium) and of sucklings (lactentium) thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger.’ (Ps. 8:3)

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St. Augustine, glancing from the Cross to the Altar, knew not by which God testified the more love for him, and he exclaimed: ‘… UPON THE CROSS HE OPENS TO ME HIS HEART; AT THE ALTAR, HE PRESENTS TO ME THE BREAST, AND FEEDS ME WITH DIVINE MILK!’ ‘He hath filled the hungry with good things…’ (Mary, Mother of all the Living, Lk. 1:53, echoing Ps. 106:9)

(From ‘Month of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,’ The Sentinel Press, 1903, by Father Eymard [St. Peter Julian]; Scriptures in italics have been added)

+ Happy Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Mother of God, and our dearest Mother!
+ And happy “feast of the Littlest Souls”
!

Some Consoling Biblical Titles for Christ

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FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS
My Mercy (Ps. 58:18)
My Saviour (Ps. 26:9)
My Helper (Ps. 18:5)
My Redeemer (Ps. 18:5)
My Patience (Ps. 70:5)
My Protector (Ps. 3:4)
My Joy (Ps. 31:7)
My Hope (Ps. 70:5)

FROM ELSEWHERE
‘My Beloved’ (Cant. 2:16)
‘Our Everlasting Saviour’ (Bar. 4:22)
‘Saint of Saints’ (Dan. 9:24)

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A Prayer Inspired by Some of the Aforementioned Titles
My Mercy (Ps. 58:18), have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy (Ps. 50:3).
My Saviour (Ps. 26:9), save me for Thy mercy’s sake (Ps. 6:5).
My Helper (Ps. 18:5), make haste to help me (Ps. 69:2).
My Redeemer (Ps. 18:5), redeem me and have mercy on me (Ps. 25:11).
My Patience (Ps. 70:5), give me constancy in my mind (Jud. 9:14).
My Protector (Ps. 3:4), protect me under the shadow of Thy Wings. (Ps. 16:8).
My Joy (Ps. 31:7), give joy to the soul of Thy servant (Ps. 85:4).
My Hope (Ps. 70:5), I believe to see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 26:13).

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An Important Spiritual Lesson
All that you seek can be found in Christ. Do you desire mercy? He is mercy. Are you in need of joy? He is joy. Are you wanting in patience? He is your patience. Go to Him for everything.

God Loves Nothingness
Believe and know that He draws you by His love alone. Give Him the consent of your faith. Give Him your poverty, your misery, your sins. God does not disdain nothingness; this is His vast domain of activity. “My child,” said Our Lord to Armella Nicolas, “make room for Me.”

‘To Live is Christ’
Know that God is the sanctity of the soul. Your wretchedness is no obstacle to His goodness; the only hindrance is your lack of faith and abandonment. Be little in His arms! He is your Abba, your ALL!

You will learn this littleness by gazing at your Mother, the littlest of all of His ‘most dear children’ (Eph. 5:1): ‘BEHOLD THY MOTHER’ (Mt. 12:47).

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The Value of a Fervent Communion

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‘Miraculous communion du Saint Teresa of Jesus’ by Niccolò Bambini.

‘Deus Cordis Mei: Thou art the God of my heart’
The graces of a fervent Communion are incalculable. One Communion was sufficient to cause Bl. Imelda (d. May 12, 1333) to die of love, so great was her longing for the God of her heart (Ps. 72:26).  “Tell me,” she would sometimes say, “can anyone receive Jesus into his heart and not die?” ‘My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!’ (Ps. 41:3; Ps. 107:2).

“No tongue can express,” writes the Venerable Abbot Blosius, “no heart can comprehend how boundless are the spiritual goods which come to the soul from the devout reception of this sweet Sacrament of the Eucharist.” (‘A Spiritual Mirror’) ‘He that spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?’ (Rom. 8:32)

Four Fruits of a Fervent Communion
Listen to the words of “the devout Blosius” (St. Alphonsus), “a great Benedictine mystic” (Bl. Columba Marmion). The following words are from his work, ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’:

“O most worthy and most sweet Sacrament, in which, under the species of bread and wine, we receive the whole Christ, namely, the Body, the Blood, the Soul and the Godhead of Christ; we receive the whole Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. For the three Persons of one Godhead and essence cannot be separated from one another. The whole Trinity, therefore, dwells in the Body of Christ, because the whole Godhead is in It. The fruits, therefore, of the most Blessed Sacrament are many and precious.

(1) He who receives the Lord’s Body with due devotion is cleansed from all sins, even from those mortal sins of which he is not conscious or does not remember to have committed, provided only that he is in the disposition of mind to confess and do penance for them if he did know that he had fallen into them.

(2) He is made partaker of all those good things which Christ has merited for us in His Life, Passion and Death.

(3) Yea, also, he becomes a sharer in all the good things that have been done since the time of Adam, and will be done until the end of the world.

(4) Lastly, he is united to Christ and incorporated with Him, and therefore receives force and power to resist vice and to persevere in good works; and now, adorned with a more pure and excellent life, he is transformed and changed into God, and filled with all the grace of the most glorious Trinity.”

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‘Elevation of the Host’ by Wenceslaus Hollar

‘Thou hast prepared a Table before me against them that afflict me.’
– Psalm 22:5

7 Years a Slave

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‘The Ascent of the Blessed’ by Hieronymous Bosch (edited)

MAY 14  – Blessed Egidius (or Giles) of Portugal, Confessor (A.D. 1183-1265)

“EGIDIUS (or GILES) RODRIGUEZ was born of noble parents at Vouzella in Portugal about A.D. 1183. His family destined him for the ecclesiastical state and sent him for his education to Coimbra, where he became eminent as a philosopher and devoted himself to the study of medicine. Several rich benefices had been obtained for him; but the young man entirely neglected his sacred obligations and even entered into an unholy compact with Satan, which he signed with his own blood.

For seven years he is said to have studied magic in the caves of Toledo under his infernal master. When he reappeared amongst men, he was found to be endowed with a marvellous power over the elements and able to cure the most inveterate diseases. He took his degree at Paris as doctor in medicine and established his reputation by numerous and striking cures, evidently surpassing human power, whilst his life was one of unbridled iniquity.

But God in His infinite mercy had decreed to change this unhappy slave of the devil into one of His own most faithful and loving servants. One night, as Egidius was pursuing his unholy studies with the doors locked upon him, an armed horseman of gigantic stature suddenly appeared before him, and, shaking his lance, exclaimed in terrific accents, “Change thy life! Change thy life, I tell thee.” The vision disappeared and the trembling Egidius cast a remorseful glance on the miserable past. But his bad habits soon regained the mastery. Then the fearful apparition came a second time, charged full upon the unhappy sinner, and hurled him to the ground, exclaiming thrice, “Change thy life or I will slay thee.” “I will change, Lord, I will change; pardon my delay,” faltered the miserable man. He rose an altered being.

His first act was to consign all his books of magic to the flames. He then set out for Spain, took the habit of a Friar Preacher in the newly founded Convent of Palencia about A.D. 1220, and fervently entered upon a course of penance and devotion.

But for seven years (the same term as that of his unholy apprenticeship to Satan) no comfort came to his anguished soul. Terrifying visions of demons continually assailed him and the thought of the contract signed with his own blood and binding him to the Evil One filled him with fear and remorse. Yet he persevered in prayer and penance, continually commending himself to her who is the Refuge of sinners and who is never invoked in vain. One night, when he was exposed to the most terrible assaults of the demons, the paper of his contract was suddenly and violently thrown on the ground before him, and an infernal voice cried aloud that Mary had conquered. Egidius took the bond, felt himself freed from his sufferings, and for the first time tasted the consolations of a soul perfectly at rest.

From that time, he became as distinguished for his holiness and his seraphic love of God as he had formerly been for his apostasy and rebellion. He bore in particular a most tender devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, the mere casual utterance of which often had the power to cast him into ecstasy. He became one of the most celebrated religious of his time, and was more than once Provincial of the Order in Spain. His miracles were very numerous, and his power over the evil spirits who had so long and so cruelly tyrannised over him was exhibited in many wonderful ways. One of his favourite maxims was that we must forget ourselves in the service of our neighbour, and that the salvation of souls must take precedence of all private devotions.

There is something singularly attractive in the picture which is left us of the life and practices of this wonderful man. He would take advantage of the time when the Brethren were in the schools to clean and tidy their cells for them and would render the lowliest services to the sick. Being naturally of a cheerful and loquacious disposition, he found extreme difficulty in practising the rule of silence; but, understanding this to be a temptation of the devil, he resolved to live in strict retirement in his cell; and so generously did he overcome himself in this matter, that thenceforth he was hardly ever heard to utter a useless word. If anyone needed his help, he would at once lay aside his own occupation and hasten with a joyful countenance to render the desired service. His whole bearing attracted souls to the love of the Order and to the practice of poverty and obedience. He was ever ready to console the tempted and to render the humblest services to the sick Brethren.

When the hour of his death drew nigh, he caused a hair-cloth to be stretched upon the ground, and, extending himself upon it, received the Last Sacraments and spoke words of consolation to his weeping Brethren. Then he raised his hands to heaven, saying, “Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit;” after which, stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, without agony, he happily departed this life on the Feast of the Ascension, A.D. 1265.”*

Benedict XIV. approved the veneration which had always been paid to Blessed Egidius in the Dominican Order and the kingdom of Portugal.

Source: ‘Short Lives of the Dominican Saints,’ Paternoster House, 1901

*Some Dominican historians have cast doubt on certain elements of this story. Are these doubts justified? That question, unfortunately, is beyond my competence. But I can say this much: Bl. Bartolo Longo is surely not the only former slave of Satan who now dwells in the courts of Paradise!

[Update: I don’t always have much time on a Sunday to work on the blog, but I certainly plan to continue with it. There is plenty of material in the pipeline.]

Meet the Littlest Souls…

The LITTLEST SOUL that loves Me,
becomes a Paradise for Me.”
The Child Jesus (from St. Therese’s Christmas play, 1894)

Meet the Littlest Souls: 
[i.e. Some of the “littlest souls.” For a brief explanation of this term, see the tab at the top of the page, titled ‘A Call to All Souls.’]

**Some links have been provided throughout this blog post for those who wish to learn more about some of these holy souls.

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Mary, Mother of God
and Mother of the Church
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‘For whatsoever he commanded, Esther [a figure/type of Mary] observed: and she did all things in the same manner as she was wont at that time when he brought her up, a LITTLE ONE.’ (Est. 2:20)
33 Reasons to Consecrate Yourself to Mary: 
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/33-reasons-to-consecrate-yourself-to-mary/

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St. Joseph, Foster-Father of Jesus Christ
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May Your almighty arm uphold me! I place myself entirely into Your loving, Fatherly arms.”
– St. Joseph (p. 47, ‘The Life of Saint Joseph…’, Ven. Maria Cecilia Baij, O.S.B.’)
Why You Should Love St. Joseph:
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/why-you-should-love-st-joseph/

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St. Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face
Born: January 2, 1873
Died: September 30, 1897
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It is needful to remain little before God and to remain little is to recognize one’s nothingness, expect all things from the good God just as a little child expects all things from its father…”
‘St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus’:
https://archive.org/details/saintthaeraeseof00thaeuoft

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Sister Françoise-Thérèse (i.e. Léonie Martin, sister of St. Therese)
Born: June 3, 1863
Died: June 17, 1941
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“I wish to stay small, so that I can have the audacity to believe that I will not go to Purgatory.”

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Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero
Born: August 6, 1885
Died: September 1, 1916
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“Souls the most miserable, the most weak, the most infirm, are the best clients of Love, the most desired by the Divine Mercy.”
– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata
‘The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul’:
https://archive.org/details/sisterbenignacon00como
‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Souls’ (a favourite of St. Faustina):
https://archive.org/details/vademecumpropose00ferruoftfaustyna2
St. Faustina Kowalska
Born: August 25, 1905
Died: October 5, 1938
+

“O my Jesus, You yourself must help me in everything, because You see how very little I am, and so I depend solely on Your goodness, O God.”
‘Divine Mercy in My Soul – The Diary of St. Faustina’:
https://archive.org/details/St.FaustinaKowalskaDiary

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St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Born: July 18, 1880
Died: November 9, 1906
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“Perhaps we may know of faults and infidelities on our part; let us abandon them to love which is a consuming fire, and thus we shall have our Purgatory.”
‘The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity’:
https://archive.org/details/praiseofgloryrem00eliziala

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Ven. Mother Anne-Margaret Clement
Born: May 7, 1593
Died: January 3, 1661
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“For I love little ones, I communicate Myself to them, and My pleasure on earth is to be with the humble.”
– Jesus to Mother Anne-Margaret Clement

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Bl. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus
Born: December 2, 1894
Died: March 27, 1967
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“It seems to me that the mission of the little Blessed [now St. Therese] is to spread divine love in souls in the form which God wills for our times.”

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Ven. Mária Margit Bogner
Born: December 15, 1905
Died: May 13, 1933
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“I am so small that the good God will not have the heart to throw me into the fire.”
‘The Life of the Venerable Maria Margit Bogner’:
http://visitationspirit.org/2013/11/a-life-of-venerable-sister-maria-margit-bogner-vhm/

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Mother Marie Therese Desandais
Born: 1876
Died: January 1, 1943
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“Give to God the joy of your confidence; cry out to your Merciful Love. You can never see in this life what an act of faith and trust is worth in Heaven.”
– Jesus to Mother Marie Therese Desandais

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Marcel Van
Born: March 15, 1928
Died: July 10, 1959
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“God wants the lessons of love that He taught me before in the secret of my soul to live on in this world, and He has deigned to choose you as a little secretary to carry out His work, which He wishes to entrust to you.”
– St. Therese to Marcel Van
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/08/brother-marcel-van-spirtual-brother-of.html

DomPie

Dom Pius de Hemptinne
Born: April 21, 1879
Died: January 27, 1907
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“God is love. The love which our heavenly Father bears to us is the primary cause of our sanctification.”

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St. Gemma Galgani
Born: March 12, 1878
Died: April 11, 1903
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“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
A Website Devoted to St. Gemma:
http://www.stgemmagalgani.com/

Pere_Lamy_John_Edward_Lamy

Père Lamy
Born: June 23, 1853
Died: December 1, 1931
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“I have only to ask; I hear the humble and trustful prayer of little ones.”
– Our Lady to Père Lamy
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2009/11/pere-lamy-father-john-edward-lamy.html

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Mother Marie Madeleine Ponnet
Born: November 7, 1858
Died: January 16, 1914
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“Heaven, Heaven’s glory, is measured by love, according to the annihilation, according to the confidence that expects everything and receives everything.”
– Our Lord to Mother Marie Madeleine Ponnet
A Few Samples of Her Writings, etc.:
http://visitationspirit.org/?s=marie+madeleine+ponnet

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Fr. Paul of Moll
Born: March 7, 1824
Died: February 24, 1896
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“God does not demand of you, in order to be a child of love, that you should do more than you are able to do, but all He says to you is, “My child give me your heart!” And I add thereto, “Do everything for love of Jesus.”
‘The Very Rev. Fr. Paul of Moll: A Flemish Benedictine and Wonder-Worker of the 19th Century’:
https://archive.org/details/veryrevfatherpa00speygoog

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Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius)
Born: October, 1506
Died: January 7, 1566
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“He intimately knows thy weakness, and mercifully consoles thee in the Gospel, where the holy Angels are related to have sung at the Birth of Christ those words most ardently longed for: ‘Peace to men of good will’ (St. Luke, ii. 14). They said not, Peace to men of great or of perfect holiness… but in order that the weak and the little ones who are of good will might receive consolation, they joyfully said, ‘Peace to men of good will.'”
‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’:
https://archive.org/details/bookofspirituali00bloi

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Sr. Josefa Menendez
Born: February 4, 1890
Died: December 29, 1923
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Do not forget that it is your nothingness and littleness that act as magnets to attract Me to you.”
– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez
‘Beautiful Words of Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez’:
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/beautiful-words-of-our-lord-to-sr-josefa-menendez/

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Fr. Lukas Etlin
Born: February 25, 1864
Died: December 16, 1927
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“Often during your work raise your heart to God with an act of love.”

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Rhoda Wise
Born: February 22, 1888
Died: July 7, 1948
+
“You will win many souls through your devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Little Flower.”
– Jesus to Rhoda Wise
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/03/rhoda-wise-american-mystic-stigmatic.html

St Mechtilde Hackeborn

St. Mechtilde
Born: 1241
Died: November 19, 1298
+
“Every desire that a soul has ever had to possess Me is inspired by Me…”
– Jesus to St. Mechtilde
‘The Life of St. Mechtildis’:
https://archive.org/details/lifeofstmechtild00rome
‘Tender Words of Our Lord to St. Mechtilde’:
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/tender-words-of-our-lord-to-st-mechtilde/

Miguel_Cabrera,_Santa_Gertrudis,_1763_Mexico

St. Gertrude the Great
Born: January 6, 1256
Died: November 17, 1302
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“As a tender mother soothes the troubles of her little one by her kisses and embraces, so do I desire to soothe all your pain and grief by the sweet murmur of My loving words.”
– Jesus to St. Gertrude
‘The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude’:
https://archive.org/details/thelifeandrevela00gertuoft

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St. Francis de Sales
Born: August 21, 1567
Died: December 28, 1622
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“Little children live in great confidence; they never think that their father either wishes to beat them, or is preparing an inheritance for them; but only think of loving him, because they are carried in his arms, and are cherished and provided for in every way by the care of their good father.”
‘The Consoling Thoughts of St. Francis de Sales’:
https://archive.org/details/TheConsolingThoughtsOfStFrancisDeSales

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Ven. Louise Margaret de la Touche
Born: March 15, 1868
Died: May 14, 1915
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“… offer yourselves as holocausts to be consumed in the fire of Love, in order that this Love may be diffused throughout the world and inflame souls.”
– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret

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Bl. Dina Belanger
Born: April 30, 1897
Died: September 4, 1929
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“My Heart so loves souls that to obtain the affection of a single one, though it were the most miserable, the least worthy, I would have suffered infinitely more than I did during My whole mortal life, had it been possible.”
– Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/09/blessed-dina-belanger-mother-ste-cecile.html

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Mother Yvonne-Aimée of Jesus
Born: July 16, 1901
Died: February 3, 1951
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“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 Yvonne-Aimee
‘Merciful Revelations to Sr. Yvonne-Aimee’:
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/merciful-revelations-to-sr-yvonne-aimee-d-1951/

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St. Teresa of the Andes
Born: July 13, 1900
Died: April 12, 1920
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“In the end, I offer myself entirely to Jesus. I want to lose my nothingness in the abyss of His infinite love and power.”

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Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos
Born: July 20, 1615
Died: November 5, 1692
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“Thou only failest, dear soul, in being too fearful. Why dost thou doubt, and what canst thou fear when thou art protected by the Most High, who can do and does all for thee? Thou canst not fail in hope in Him without wronging His love; that love which banishes all distrust between true lovers.” 

– An angelic revelation to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos
The Life and Revelations of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos:
https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/the-life-and-revelations-of-sister-jeanne-benigne-gojos/

Consolata_Betrone

Sr. Consolata Betrone
Born: April 6, 1903
Died: July 18, 1946
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“Tell the world how good I am, how like a parent, and how in return I desire only love from My creatures.”
– Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone
Short Bio and Some Revelations:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2010/02/servant-of-god-sr-consolata-betrone.html

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Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity
Born:
Died: June 25, 1942
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“I love you because you cannot do without me, and because I long to see you happy; I love you because I have given my life for you.”
– Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Holy Trinity
Short Bio and Some Revelations:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2009/11/sister-mary-of-holy-trinity-poor-clare.html

Marthe_Robin

 Ven. Marthe Robin
Born: March 13, 1902
Died: February 6, 1981
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“I often talk about her [St. Therese]. She is such a ‘big sister’ to me, so close, whose doctrine based entirely on love was so beneficial to my soul during the time of great darkness and no less great solitude, in which I found myself.”
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2009/11/marthe-robin-mystic-stigmatic-victim.html

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Bl. Alexandrina da Costa
Born: March 30, 1904
Died: October 13, 1955
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I want you in My Arms with the same simplicity of a baby in those of its mother. Give Me your heart to place in Mine in order that you will have no other love but for Me and for the things that are Mine.”
Short Bio:
http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2009/11/blessed-alexandrina-da-costa-mystic-and.html

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Sr. Gertrude Mary
Born: October 28, 1870
Died: May 24, 1908
+
‘You do not believe firmly enough that I love you with most tender affection. You are not sufficiently penetrated with the thought that you must be like a child with Me. There is in you too strong a feeling of fear and I wish you to exchange it for a feeling of filial love.’
– Jesus to Sister Gertrude Mary
‘Sister Gertrude Mary: A Mystic of Our Own Days’:
https://archive.org/details/sistergertrudema00leguuoft

willie_doyle_sj-21
Fr. Willie Doyle
Born: March 3, 1873
Died: August 16, 1917
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“Kneeling at the grave of the Little Flower I gave myself into her hands to guide and to make me a saint.”
‘Father William Doyle, S.J.:
https://archive.org/details/fatherwilliamdoy00orahuoft
‘Scruples and Their Treatment’:
https://fatherdoyle.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/scruples-and-their-treatment.pdf

marie_aimee_de_jesus_45_02

Sr. Marie-Aimee de Jesus
Born: January 14, 1839
Died: May 4, 1874
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And I for My part have given you a fear, but it should make you overcome all others; it is the fear of mistrusting Me.”
– Jesus to Sr. Marie-Aimee de Jesus

Abate-Marmion
Bl. Dom Columba Marmion
Born: April 1, 1858
Died: January 30, 1923
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“Saint = Child of God.”
‘Christ, the Ideal of the Monk’ (a useful book for all Christians):
https://archive.org/details/ChristTheIdealOfTheMonk

THerese-Neumann
Therese Neumann
Born: April 8, 1898
Died: September 18, 1962
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Die to yourself more and more, but keep always the simplicity of a little child.”
– St. Therese to Therese Neumann (Sept 30, 1925)
‘Konnersreuth, A Medical and Psychological Study of the Case of Teresa Neumann’:
https://archive.org/details/konnersreuthmedi00rwhy

Fulton-Sheen

Ven. Fulton Sheen
Born: May 8, 1895
Died: December 9, 1979
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“It does not require much time to make us saints; it requires only much love.”
‘The World’s First Love’:
https://archive.org/details/worldsfirstlove013240mbp

Maria_Droste_zu_Vischering_Münster
Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart
Born: September 8, 1863
Died: June 8, 1899
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“Is not My strength superior to every weakness?”
– Jesus to Bl. Mother Mary of the Divine Heart
Short Bio (c.f pp. 245-249, ‘Maria of the Sacred Heart):
https://archive.org/details/holinesschurch00kempuoft

padre pio_pecorella

St. Padre Pio
Born: May 25, 1887
Died: September 23, 1968
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“Charity is the greatest gift: it is in this virtue that the soul is sanctified.”
A Website Devoted to St. Padre Pio:
http://padrepiodevotions.org/

Bernadette_Soubirous_en_1861_photo_Bernadou_3

St. Bernadette Soubirous
Born: January 7, 1844
Died: April 16, 1879
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“… bring virtue out of my weakness and glorify yourself in my misery, O my Jesus, the only refuge of my soul.”
‘Our Lady of Lourdes: Lourdes, its Grotto, Apparitions and Cures’:
https://archive.org/details/ourladyoflourdes00walsuoft

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St. Mary Magdalene
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“Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet.”
– Jesus (Lk. 7:45)

 

 

 

 

 

Ven. Maria Giuseppina Teresa Marcucci (d. February 10, 1960)

 
 Let us give our soul to Him, telling Him that we long to love but Him alone ; let Him do all, for we are
feeble and childish, and it is such joy to be the little
babe of the good God !” (St. Eliz)
 

Jesus to Mother Anne Margaret Clement: ‘I offered Myself to death through obedience and because I loved you. If you love Me you will sacrifice yourself as I did, being obedient in little things as in great. That is the martyrdom of the soul that loves Me perfectly.’ (p. 259–260, Vol. 2)

Jesus to Mother Clement: ‘I am your certain hope. You must never begin to be mistrustful. The souls that love Me are always full of hope, and their trust in expecting everything from My love prevents them from ever being confounded.’ (p. 213, Vol. 1)

 

 

St. Michael: “Make known to men the great power which I have with the Most High. Tell them,” he says, ” to ask of me
all they wish. Tell them that my power in favour
of those devoted to me is without limit. Make
known my greatness.” ^ Several times, now, on
different days, our Lord reveals to her that ” He
would add two precious jewels to His Heart for its
perpetual glory ; ” — by which she understands (i)

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.]