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

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

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

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

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

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

– Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

(I have inserted the numbers)

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

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

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

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

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

(4) “O My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified. The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues.”

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

 

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Keep falling into the same sins? Pray!

“He who prays most receives most.”

– St. Alphonsus

Rather than provide a theological argument for the importance of (mental) prayer, I will rely on the authority of the Church and the saints. What they say about mental prayer, quite simply, is that it is the means for obtaining all good things: confidence, peace, joy, happiness, humility, conversion, virtue, and the crowning graces, namely, divine love and final perseverance, without which no one can be saved.

What is Mental Prayer?

“… a silent elevation and application of our mind and heart to God in order to offer Him our homages and to promote His glory by our advancement in virtue.” – Tanquerey 

Some simple steps for mental prayer:

1. Ask for the grace to pray well.

2. Put ourselves in the presence of God.

3. Resolve to pray for a certain period of time, despite temptations, dryness etc.

4. Make a firm resolution to overcome a particular sin, or to practice a particular virtue.

What do the saints say about mental prayer?

One cannot fail to make a firm resolution to pray more frequently (or at least more attentively) after having read the following words:

“Short of a miracle, a man who does not practice mental prayer will end up in mortal sin…

All the saints have become saints by mental prayer.”

– St. Alphonsus

Why is this so? Here is what St. Peter of Alacantara has to say about mental prayer:

“IN MENTAL PRAYER, THE SOUL IS

purified from its sins,

nourished with charity,

confirmed in faith,

and strengthened in hope;

the mind expands,

the affections dilate,

the heart is purified,

truth becomes evident;

temptation is conquered,

sadness dispelled;

the senses are renovated;

drooping powers revive;

tepidity ceases;

the rust of vices disappears.

Out of mental prayer issues forth, like living sparks, those desires of heaven which the soul conceives when inflamed with the fire of divine love. Sublime is the excellence of mental prayer, great are its privileges; to mental prayer heaven is opened; to mental prayer heavenly secrets are manifested and the ear of God [is] ever attentive.”

“By the efficacy of mental prayer temptation is banished, sadness is driven away, lost virtue is restored, fervor which has grown cold is excited, and the lovely flame of divine love is augmented.” – St. Laurence Justinian

“When one does not love prayer, it is morally impossible for him to resist his passions.” – St. Alphonsus

Many more quotes could be added, but these are sufficient. Here are some further tips for overcoming sin, discouragement and unhappiness:

“In the spiritual life, one must always go on pushing ahead and never go backwards; if not, the same things happens to a boat which when it loses headway gets blown backwards with the wind.” – St. Padre Pio

“Impregnate yourself with humility, and you will soon find that all other virtues will follow without any effort on your part.” – Fr. Cajetan

“God requires of us only strong resolutions; he himself will do the rest.” – St. Teresa of Avila

” How much soever you have advanced here below, you err if you think your vices are not only suppressed, but dead.” – St. Bernard

“So long as we tackle all our troubles ourselves, we shall be always worried and tired, and Our Lord will leave us to our own devices; but when we leave everything to Him, He will look after all our troubles Himself. … . I am not just speaking of temporal things, but also of spiritual ones.” – St. Francis de Sales

“If you say the Holy Rosary every day, with a spirit of faith and love, our Lady will make sure she leads you very far along her Son’s path.” St. Josemaria Escriva

” A prayer in which a person is not aware of Whom he is speaking to, what he is asking, who it is who is asking and of Whom, I don’t call prayer- however much the lips may move.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“We must not be upset by our imperfections; instead, we must recognize them and learn to combat them. And it is in fighting against our imperfections without being discouraged by them that our very perfection consists.”

– St. Francis de Sales

God Loves Us Because Of What HE Is, Not What WE Are!

Here are some words from St. John of Avila, Doctor of the Church. Although they are directed at scrupulous individuals in particular, they are beneficial for all.

+ Be assured that He loves you, even if He does not show it at the present moment.

+ Our love for God should not cause us excessive sadness whenever we commit some venial sin. If this were necessary, who would ever be at rest or peace, for we are all sinners?

+ How long will you continue your minute self-examinations? It is like raking up a dust heap from which nothing can come but rubbish and unpleasantness… If you look only on yourself, you will loathe yourself and your many defects will take away all your courage.

+ Feel sure of this, that it is not for your own merits, but for those of Jesus crucified, that you are loved and made whole.

+ Do not give way to such discouragement about your faults; the results will show you how displeasing it is to God. It would be far better to be courageous and strong-hearted. Meditate on the benefits you have received through Jesus Christ in the past and possess now; reflect on them in such a manner as to lead you to sorrow for your sins against Him and to avoid offending Him, without losing your peace and patience if you happen to fall.

+ Be content that His love should come from His goodness, and not from your merits. What does it matter to a bride if she is not beautiful, if the bridegroom’s affection for her makes her seem so in his eyes?

+ Be at peace: you are indeed the handmaid of the crucified Christ: forget your past misdoings as if they had never been. I tell you, in God’s name, as I have done before, that such is His holy will.

+ Run swiftly on your way with a light foot, like one who has thrown a heavy burden off his shoulders, which hindered his course. If the longed-for quiet does not come at once, do not distress yourself; sometimes one travels farther in a storm than in a calm, and war gains more merits than peace.

Key Points:

“While we were still sinners, God died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This passage is proof of the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If this were not true, we could never arise from serious sin. We do not earn God’s love. Yes; we are free to reject it, but when we experience remorse of conscience, it is God calling us back to himself, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen says.

(The following words are primarily addressed to those who become discouraged when they fall into serious sin. These words do not refer to doubtful mortal sin, or those who simply misunderstand God’s precepts and His infinite love, which “can be exhaused by no human iniquity.” – Council of Trent)

 After serious sin, rather than be discouraged, we should approach God more confidently and humbly than before. (Reflect on this) Backsliding is no small fault.** “Pride is the beginning of all sin.” Give God the joy of forgiving you.

Fr. Hamon: “Dost thou not understand that the great goodness of God is a reason for serving Him better, and that to make of it a motive for offending Him is to amass treasures of anger upon thy head?” (Rom. 2:4-5) Each sinner has two options: 1. Remain in sin and be lost. 2. Repent and be saved! The choice should be obvious!

“He has become so small —you see: a Child! — so that you can approach Him with confidence.” (St. Josemaria Escriva)

“But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall take wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “They who place their confidence in God shall renew their strength; they shall lay aside their own weakness, and shall acquire the strength of God; they shall fly like eagles in the way of the Lord, without fatigues and without ever failing. David says that, “mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord” (Ps. 31:10). He that hopes in the Lord shall be encompassed by His mercy, so that he shall never be abandoned by it.” (St. Alphonsus)

– St. Francis de Sales says, that the mere attention to distrust of oneself on account of our own weakness, would only render us pusillanimous, and expose us to great danger of abandoning ourselves to a tepid life, or even to despair. The more we distrust our own strength, the more we should confide in the divine mercy. This is a balance, says the same saint, in which the more the scale of confidence in God is raised, the more the scale of confidence in ourselves descends.” (St. Alphonsus)

God is the cause of ALL holiness. By reflecting on the graces we receive, we will grow in humility, love, gratitude and confidence. I believe this was the secret of St. Therese.

– If you fall into serious sin, ask God: How can I avoid this in the future? Avoid occasions of sin, and do not be discouraged… ever! Recall the words of Our Lord to Sr. Consolata:

“Believe Me, I am solely and always kind; I am solely an always like a parent to you! So, imitate the children who at every little scratch of the finger, run at once to mother to have it bandaged. You should always do the same and remember that I will always cancel out and repair your imperfections and faults, just as a mother will always bandage the child’s finger, whether it is really hurt or only seems so in his imagination. And if the child were to really hurt his arm, or his head, (i.e. fall into serious sin… which Our Lord will preserve us from if we sincerely desire it, just as He promised to Sr. Consolata) how tenderly and affectionately would he be cared for and bandaged by the mother! Well, I do this very same thing with regard to your soul when you fall, even though I may do so in silence. Do You understand Consolata? Therefore, never, never, never have even a shadow of doubt; a lack of confidence wounds My heart to the quick, and makes Me suffer!”
“You are to love. You are too small to climb to the summit: I will carry you on My shoulder.” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone