“I am your God… I Myself want to live in your heart.”

The following words have been compiled from the remarkable Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden. If they were read by a greater number, many more souls would be saved.

“I am your God and the Lord of the angels. I am Lord over life and death. I Myself want to live in your heart. See what a great love I have for you! The heavens and the earth and all the things in them cannot contain me, and yet I want to live in your heart, which is only a little piece of flesh. Whom could you then fear or what could you need when you have inside you God Almighty in whom all good things are?

… I created all things for the sake of mankind, and placed all things under his authority, but he loves all things except me, and hates nothing but me. I bought back the inheritance for him which he had lost because of his sin. But he is so foolish and without reason that he prefers this passing glory… instead of eternal glory in which there is everlasting good.

… The soul is indeed worthier and nobler than all the world, and more lasting than all things. The soul is more worthy, because she is a spiritual creature like the angels and made for eternal joy. She is more noble because she was made in the image of my divinity, both immortal and eternal. Because humankind is worthier and nobler than all creatures, the human race should live more nobly as having been endowed with reason beyond all the rest.

  … I desire souls in order to give them eternal joy and honor; but the devil desires to give them eternal horror and sorrow. … you should observe and take heed of the favors and good deeds which I have done for you: such as how nobly I created you by giving you a soul and body, how nobly I enriched you by giving you health and temporal things, how lovingly and sweetly I redeemed you when I died for you and restored your heavenly inheritance to you – if you want to have it. The bride should also do the will of the Bridegroom. But what is my will, except that you should want to love me above all things and not desire anything but me?

…But if you, my bride, desire nothing but me… I will give you the most precious and lovely reward! I will not give you gold or silver, but myself, to be your Bridegroom and reward – I, who am the King of Glory… consider how I, your God, walked before you, when my servants and friends abandoned Me in the world; for I was not seeking earthly friends, but heavenly friends. And if you now are troubled and afraid about the burden and difficulty of work and sickness, then consider how difficult and painful it is to burn in Hell! What would you not deserve if you had offended an earthly master as you have Me?

… Therefore, embrace and take upon yourself a little work, so that you may be made clean of sin and reach the great reward sooner. For the bride should grow tired working alongside her bridegroom so that she may all the more confidently take her rest with Him.”

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God is Patient and Rich in Mercy.

“When Sister [Saint] Mechtilde was once praying for someone who was afraid God had not forgiven a fault he had committed, the Lord told her:

‘That would be impossible. Whosoever regrets his sins receives their pardon from Me. If he continues to grieve for them, I give My grace in addition.’ (p. 47 of ‘Divine Communications’, Vol. 2, by Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

The following encouraging words are from Fr. Mueller’s book, ‘The Prodigal Son, or, the Sinner’s Return to God’:

“The Lord waits,” says Isaias, “that He may show mercy to you.” (Isaiah 30:18)… He delays His punishments as long as possible, that the poor ungrateful wretch may repent and at last return to His friendship. And, when obliged to punish, when He can delay no longer, He does it with such slowness that He discharges His anger little by little, to oblige the sinner to repent of his sins and to arrest the arm of His vengeance. God might have destroyed the city of Jericho in one instant, yet He spent seven days in destroying it. In like manner, He might have destroyed the world by water in one moment, yet He spent forty days in this work. Why? In order that those who were destroyed might have time for doing penance, and so be saved. (p. 281)

Encouragement for Those Who Wish to Abandon Sin

“… God grants the same favors to holy penitents as to innocent souls, and thereby fulfils the promise made by Him through the prophet Ezechiel: “The wickedness of the wicked shall not hurt him in what day soever he shall turn from his wickedness.”  But not only do holy penitents receive the same favors as innocent saints, many of them even seem to be more highly favored by God. Which of the apostles was made Head of the Church? Was it St. John or St. James, whose lives were always blameless? Not so; it was St. Peter, who denied his divine Master three times. And did not St. Paul, who persecuted the Christians with implacable hatred, become a vessel of election to preach the Gospel among the Gentiles? The innocent apostle St. John always remained faithful to our Lord, and stood beneath His cross at Mount Calvary. Yet it was not to him that our dear Saviour appeared first after His resurrection, but to St. Peter, His sinful apostle. It was not Martha but Magdalen, the penitent, that sat at the feet of our Lord and listened to his sacred doctrine; and it was she, too, to whom our Lord first appeared after His resurrection. How great are the graces and privileges which our Lord afterwards granted to so many holy penitents! To St. Augustine, for instance; to St. Margaret of Cortona. To this last saint, in particular, who had formerly spent several years in sin, God revealed the place prepared for her in Heaven amongst the seraphim; and even during her life He showed her many signal favors, insomuch that, beholding herself so highly favored, she one day said to God: “Lord, how is it that Thou lavishest so many graces on me? Hast Thou, then, forgotten the sins I have committed against Thee?” “And have you for gotten,” our Lord answered, “what I have told you, that when a soul repents of her faults I no longer remember the outrages of which she has been guilty towards me?”

… But will not innocent souls murmur at this love and mercy of God for sinners? … Oh! no, holy innocent souls! Show yourselves content with all this… Persevere in your piety, and your reward is most certain. “My son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.”  

But do you, wretched sinners who have hitherto been prevented from returning to the Lord by the consideration of the great number and hideousness of your sins, hearken to the words of the wise man: “Think well of the Lord. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart.” Think of the Lord in a manner worthy of His goodness and exceedingly great mercy. Should you have committed all the sins that ever were committed, should you have stayed from confession for how long soever, let all this be no reason for you to stay away any longer. God is ever ready to receive you with open arms, to embrace you as His dearly beloved children, with so much the more joy and gladness the further you have strayed away from Him. “Fear not,” said He one day to St. Margaret of Cortona “fear not to obtain the full remission of all thy sins. Thou wilt infallibly obtain it, and thou shalt inflame others colder and more coy. I have destined thee as an example to all poor sinners, in order that they may clearly understand that I am that compassionate Father who welcomes back His most rebellious and most contumacious children, and that, if they ask my pardon and prepare to receive my grace, they will ever find me ready to give it just as quickly as I have turned to thee.”  From the moment of your repentance, all the disorders, all the crimes, of your life, no matter how black, how hideous they may be, will be drowned, as it were, in the ocean of God’s mercy, and disappear as the darkest night disappears at the rising of the sun. “As far as the east is from the west,” says the Lord, “so far I will put away from me all your iniquities.” 

The Mercy of God Towards a Great Sinner

Father Patrignani (Corona d’Esempi, IV. Esemp. 13, t. iv.) relates that a certain woman had committed a great many crimes, but Jesus patiently waited for her conversion. As the woman seeks the lost penny in the sweepings, so did Jesus seek this lost soul in the very midst of her sinful career. This woman at last went so far in her wickedness as to receive Holy Communion unworthily. After having received, she drew from her mouth the sacred particle and placed it in a handkerchief. She then went to shut herself up in her room, where she threw the Blessed Sacrament on the ground, and began to trample it under her feet. But lo! she casts her eyes down, and what does she see ! She sees the Sacred Host changed into the form of a beautiful Infant, but all bruised and covered with blood; and the Infant Jesus said to her:

“What have I done to you that you treat me so ill?”

Upon which the wretched creature, full of contrition and repentance, threw herself on her knees in tears, and said to Him: “O my God, dost Thou ask me what Thou hast done to me? Thou hast loved me too much.” The vision disappeared, and the woman changed her life and became a model of penance. Oh! the great patience of God in waiting for the return of the sinner.

Trust in God’s Providence!

‘Those who hope in Me and serve Me for Myself alone feel My Providence more than those who do so for their own advantage or for the happiness they find in Me… How can they believe that I, who am eternal and supreme goodness, can desire anything but their good in the little things I allow every day for their salvation, since they know by experience that in great things My only aim is to sanctify them?’

Almighty God to St. Catherine of Siena

The following words are also believed to have been revealed to St. Catherine of Siena by God the Father. Read them slowly; they are profound. 

“In ruling you, in ruling heaven and earth and the whole universe, I can never be deceived or led astray by any mistake. If it were otherwise, I should not be God and supreme Wisdom. In order that you may understand how efficacious is My Wisdom, know that from sin and punishment I draw good greater than the evil itself.

… My love makes Me will everything that is useful and salutary for you. It is impossible that any evil should come from Me, or any hatred. It was out of goodness that I created man, and I always love him with ineffable tenderness.

When you have been convinced of these truths by profound meditation and firm and unshakeable faith, you will understand that the troubles, difficulties, temptations, illnesses and all the vexatious things of life are always sent you by My Providence for your salvation. The things that seem disagreeable ought to correct your malice and lead you to that virtue by which you attain the true and supreme good which you know not.

The light of faith ought also to teach you that I know, I will and I can bring about your happiness better than yourself. You can do, know, and will nothing without My grace. You should, therefore, try your utmost to submit your will completely to the Will of God. If you do this, your soul will remain in peace, and you will always have Me with you, for I dwell in peace.

And so, My child, if you want to live in this deceitful and perishable world by grace, and in a happy eternity by glory, you must die to yourself by renouncing yourself and giving up your own will. For blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, and blessed are the poor in spirit, because they see Me through the union of love during their pilgrimage on earth, and will afterwards see Me in glory in the splendours of the fatherland.”

Listen also to the words of Our Lord to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos:

“… if you will give up the forethought for yourself, My Providence will take good care of you, because above all things I love abandonment and dependence in the hearts that are Mine; I enjoy working miracles for them and in their favour; I provide them with everything, like a town that is My abode.”

An Amazing Story of God’s Mercy Towards a Blasphemer!

 (Words taken from p. 294-296 of ‘The Sinner’s Return to God’ by Fr. Mueller): 

“Father Lireus relates the following story: A certain young nobleman gave himself up to gambling. In one afternoon he lost all his money, and contracted a great debt besides.

Enraged at this loss, he commenced to utter the most frightful blasphemies. “Now, Jesus Chris!” said he blasphemously, “I am done with Thee; I no longer care for Thee nor for Thy threats; Thou canst not make me suffer a greater loss than I have sustained to-day.” What happened? In the afternoon of that very day he met with an accident. The carriage in which he was riding home was upset and he broke his leg. The fracture was very bad and brought on a dangerous fever, so much so, that the physicians entertained serious doubts about his recovery. The young man now understood that God was able to make him undergo a still greater loss than that of his money, to wit, his health and even his life probably. But instead of entering into himself and asking God’s pardon, this great sinner blasphemed God more than ever. “God,” said he, “Thou rejoicest in showing how it is in Thy power to punish me still more severely. Very well, show me now that Thou canst inflict on me the greatest punishment possible. And since, after the loss of my money, health, and life, there is no greater misfortune than that of eternal damnation, show me how it is in Thy power to cast me into hell. If I were Thy God” horrible to relate, horrible to hear “if I were Thy God, I would do this to Thee also!” most horrible blasphemy! Why was it that hell did not open that very instant to devour so execrable a blasphemer? But God is merciful. As the impious young man in his despair and rage refused to listen to any good advice, God inspired His servant to enter his room and whisper into his ear the following words: “My lord, there is a good friend of yours here who wishes to take leave of you.” “Who is it?” asked the dying sinner; “let him come in.” At these words the good servant showed him a crucifix, saying: “Behold, my lord, this is your best friend, who wishes to say a word to you.” At that very moment the grace of God touched the heart of the blasphemer, and enlightened him to see his miserable state. He raised his eyes and fixed them on the crucifix. The eyes of the crucifix seemed to become alive, and to cast looks of mercy upon the dying man, and he beard a voice coming forth from the crucifix saying unto him: “My child, I will show you that it is in my power to do to you what is best and not what is worst. Had I wished to cast you into hell, I could have done so long ago. But no, my child, I will do to you not what is worst, but what is best. You say that were you my God, you would cast me into hell for ever. Now, I am your God – well, I will make you happy with me in Heaven for all eternity, although you have not deserved such a mercy.” At this voice of mercy the dying sinner took the crucifix into his hands, pressed it to his lips, and shed a torrent of tears; he made a general confession with such contrition of heart that even his confessor could not help weeping. After having received the last Sacraments, he continued to shed bitter tears of sorrow and true love for God, and soon after died in this happy state.

How true are those words that the Lord spoke one day to Blessed Henry Suso. “Imagine,” said He to His great servant, “that the whole world was on fire, and then see how quickly a handful of straw cast into it is consumed. But I forgive a repentant sinner a thousand times quicker than a handful of straw can be burned up in the largest fire.”

 ____________

The book from which these beautiful words come, can be found online here: https://archive.org/stream/theprodigalsonor00mulluoft#page/n7/mode/2up

 

Our Lord’s Tender Love, as Revealed to Sr. Gertrude Mary.

Our Lord’s Tender Love, as Revealed to Sr. Gertrude Mary.

“When anyone comes to Me to console Me, then our two souls melt into one; for by this Divine kiss they pass one into the other.” – Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary The following words are taken from the writings … Continue reading

God, In His Love, Would Close Hell If It Were Possible!

(The revelation at the bottom of this post is worth pondering!)

“Those who are lost are lost because they willed it, because to arrive at damnation they must have refused thousands of graces and good inspirations that God gave them, hence it is their own fault.”

– Revelation of a soul to Sister M. de L. C. 

A Dominican nun (a saint) one day begged of God that He would close the entrance to Hell, so as to hinder souls from falling there. God replied that He is unable to do so. Why? Because Love is not unjust. If a king, for example, destroyed all prisons, evil would multiply without measure. God sets a limit to evil, not only for the sake of the sinners, but for the sake of the innocent. Consider the sin of scandal, which prevents so many souls from entering the Church and being saved! Our Lord speaks very strongly about scandal in the Bible.

God loves souls tremendously. He is infinitely merciful to the repentant and to those who fear Him ie. who keep His commandments. Many fail to realise that those who abuse God’s mercy will receive His justice. God’s great love is a reason to obey Him and seek to please Him.

It is evident from the Holy Scriptures that God desires the salvation of all men. Does it follow, then, that all will be saved? No, unfortunately. How much charity, then, must we show towards those who live sinful lives or who do not know God! This charity is merely a participation in the Divine Charity ie. in the love of God for souls. This love becomes operant in us to the extent that we unite our will with God’s will. To gain a better appreciation of God’s love for souls (which we are called to imitate as far as is possible), we should consider the following truths:

1. God loves us because He is good. Everything good we have comes from God. We can reject His love, but we can never, ever earn it. That is a consoling and humbling truth.

2. God desires our love for Our sake. God does not need our love; our love adds nothing to God’s infinite goodness. He abases Himself to ask for our love, because He created us out of love, to love, and for love (ie. for Himself).

3. God loves His enemies. Jesus died for even the worst criminals, and He has drawn many great sinners to repentance and salvation. The grace of repentance is a more valuable treasure than any earthly gift, because grace is a participation in the divine nature; grace unites us to God, our final end.

4. God punishes the guilty with reluctance. Jesus came to save sinners, not to condemn them. He would not undergo such excruciating torments if He was unwilling to apply the fruits of His redemption to souls. Christians have a crucial role to play here: evangelisation, prayer and holiness are our privilege and duty! A sinful soul impedes the redemption of others.

 “For although the gift of being God’s belongs to God, yet this is a gift which God denies to no one, but offers to
all, and gives to those who freely consent to receive it.”

– St. Francis de Sales

The following revelation is quoted for the purpose of reinforcing the four aforementioned ideas. God loves all souls, including the most sinful. “Come to Me,” He says. “Keep the commandments,” He adds. There is nothing more to it. Salvation is ours if we die with humble and contrite hearts, even if we had lived like St. Dismas, the Good Thief. God asks us to obey Him, not because He places conditions on His love, but because our hearts wither and die when they turn away from God, Who is love itself; He is our final end, and the commandments tend towards that sublime end!   

Jesus, speaking of those who die in unrepented mortal sin, revealed to Blessed Battista Varani that His love for all sinners – even those with whom He is justly “angry” (God does not get angry as such; His love never changes) – is infinite:

In the overwhelming sorrow produced by the thought of this fatal for ever,

I would willingly have consented to suffer, not once, but an infinite number of times, these cruel separations, with their different lacerations, to recover but one of these souls,

and see it again united to My living members, that is, to My elect who live eternally in the Holy Spirit, by the life which comes from Me, Who am the living life, that is, the life of all living creatures.

You may judge by all that I have said, how inexpressibly dear a human soul is to Me.

– 

Amend Your Life and You Will Be Saved!

“… know for a certainty that if anyone of you wills to correct himself, amend his life, and humbly turn back to Me, then like a loving shepherd, I shall joyfully run out to meet him, lifting him onto My shoulders and personally carrying him back to My sheep. For by My shoulders I mean that if anyone amends his life, he will share in the benefit of My passion and death, which I endured in my body and shoulders; and he will receive with Me eternal consolation in the kingdom of Heaven.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden

“Who can be mad enough,” says Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius) “not to wish to be saved? What can be easier than to obey a most loving Father, commanding nothing except what promotes our happiness?” (p. 160 of ‘Comfort for the Faint-Hearted’)

“Mercy is, accordingly, pronounced to anyone who repents of his sins and resolves to sin no more, for My Spirit shall inspire him to perform good works. Whoever freely desires to be separated from the vanities of this world is made more fervent by My Spirit.
The person who is even ready to die for me will be so inflamed by My Spirit that he will be wholly in Me and I in him.” (Our Lord to St. Bridget) 

“Likewise, if any sinner were so rooted in diabolical deeds that he was standing at the very brink of destruction, he could still obtain forgiveness and mercy, if he called upon God with contrition and a will to improve.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget

***
“Peace to men of good-will!”

***

Encouragement For Those Tried By Unwanted Thoughts.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.

– James 1:12

Thoughout the day – especially during prayer – we might encounter unwanted thoughts. It is very important for those with some form of religious OCD/scrupulosity in particular, to know that God permits everything (including our weaknesses and involuntary imperfections) for our good. It may be that God wishes us to be more humble, trusting or faithful; perhaps He wishes us to sympathise with others; perhaps He is preparing us for future combat; perhaps He is cleansing us of past faults. Whatever the reason, God always acts in our best interest i.e. He arranges everything for our salvation. We can trust Him wholeheartedly.

Even if our current state is due in part to God’s justice, we can rest assured that His loving “chastisements” are tempered with mercy, and that He can draw a greater good from our trials; furthermore, that He allows us to be tried here is evidence that He wishes us to be spared hereafter. Deo gratias!

St. Francis de Sales assures us that, even if our prayer were to consist entirely of repeated attempts to drive away distractions, that prayer is pleasing to God. Why? Because God is pleased with love, which is evident in such good-will, faith and perseverance. The same principle is revealed in the following revelations, which will be of great consolation to many.

Some Relevant Anecdotes

+ When St. Bridget was harassed by temptations in prayer, Mary the Mother of God said to her: “The devil with malicious watchfulness seeks to hinder the good from praying. But do thou, daughter, whatever temptation may assail thee in prayer, persist in thy desire or good will, and in thy holy endeavours, as best thou canst; because thy pious desires and endeavours will be reputed as effectual prayer. Even if thou art not able to cast out the base and evil thoughts that come into thy mind, yet for those endeavours thon shalt receive a crown in heaven; thus these troubles will profit thee, provided thou consentest not to the temptation, but art displeased with whatever is unbecoming.” (pp. 226 –227, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ The Lord Jesus said to St. Bridget: “Wherefore, daughter, art thou anxious and disquieted?” She answered, “Because I am afflicted with many unprofitable and evil thoughts, which I cannot drive away, and the fear of Thy judgments oppresses me.” Then the Lord said, “This is true justice [remember that God permits trials because He loves us; also, His justice is tempered with mercy: He will always give us the strength to remain faithful to Him] ; that as thou hast formerly taken delight in the vanities of the world against My will, so thou shouldst now be molested by various perverse thoughts against thy own will. Do thou, however, fear my judgments with moderation and discretion, ever firmly trusting in Me, thy God. For thou must know, for certain, that evil thoughts, which the mind resists and detests, are the purification and crown of the soul. If thou art unable to avoid them, bear it patiently, and let thy will strive against them. And, although thou consent not to them, fear lest thou take pride in that and fall; for whosoever stands, it is by the power of God alone that he stands.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

+ Again, the Lord said to St. Bridget, “In order that man may understand his own weakness, and the strength he receives from Me, it is necessary that he should sometimes be allowed to be attacked by evil thoughts; and if he consents not to them, they become the purification of his mind, and the safeguard of his virtues. And although they are hard to be borne, they heal the soul, and conduct it to eternal life, which cannot be gained without sufferings. The soul should, therefore, labour diligently, lest it consent to them, or take any pleasure in them.” (p. 237, ‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois’)

Why does God permit temptation?

“One can distinguish five reasons why God allows the devils to attack us:

first, so that from attack and counter-attack we may become practised in discerning good from evil;

second, so that our virtue may be maintained in the heat of the struggle and so be confirmed in an impregnable position;

third, so that as we advance in virtue we may avoid presumption and learn humility;

fourth, to inspire in us an unreserved hatred for evil through the experience we thus have of it;

fifth, and above all, that we may attain inner freedom and remain convinced both of our own weakness and of the strength of him who has come to our aid.” – St. Maximus the Confessor

In a word, God permits temptation for our greater good. The more we are tempted, the more right we have to trust in Him, without Whom it would be impossible to overcome even the slightest temptation. God rewards our efforts generously in Heaven.

To Inspire us with hope for Heaven:

“If when visions [of Heaven] are shown to thee, thou wert to see the beauty of the blessed souls or of the holy Angels as it is, thy heart would be broken with excess of joy.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden

Some More Help For Overcoming Scruples.

Although I have only read a part of the book from which the following excerpt is taken, what I have read is excellent!

(Taken from: ‘HOLY ABANDONMENT’ by Dom Vitalis Lehodey, O.C.R.) — The last paragraph is particularly good!

Third Part: ON THE OBJECT OF HOLY ABANDONMENT; Chapter 8 – ON ABANDONMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL VARIETIES OF THE COMMON WAY: FAILURES AND FAULTS; Article 4 – SCRUPULOSITY

Scrupulosity is not delicacy of conscience, but only its counterfeit. A delicate and rightly formed conscience does not confound imperfection with sin, or venial sin with mortal. It passes a sound judgment on all things. But it loves God so much that it fears to displease Him in anything. It has so much zeal for perfection that it wants to avoid even the shadow of evil. It is therefore full of light, love, and generosity. Scrupulosity, on the contrary, is founded on ignorance, error, or defective judgment. It is the fruit of a troubled mind. It exaggerates its obligations and its faults, and even sees them where they do not exist. On the other hand, it may often enough fail to recognise faults and obligations that are very real. One can be scrupulous on certain points to a ridiculous degree, and at the same time be scandalously lax on others.

Scrupulosity is the pest of interior peace. The soul affected by this evil is the slave of a tyrannical master: there can be no longer any question of tranquillity for her. “Her slightest faults,” says De Lombez, “will be magnified to crimes. Her best actions will appear full of evil. She can never validly fulfill her duties: the cruel enemy of her peace will be as much dissatisfied with the hundredth attempt as with the first.” It will pursue her relentlessly in her prayers with the fear of bad thoughts, in her Communions with the aridities inseparable from her violent combats, in her confessions with the fears regarding the integrity or the contrition, in all her spiritual exercises with the fear of performing them badly, in her conversations with the fear of uncharitable remarks, and especially in solitude where she is without counselor support, alone with her thoughts, alone with the tyrant. “Scrupulous persons fear God, but they make of their fear a torment. They love God, but in their love they can find no consolation. They serve Him, too, but in the manner of slaves: they feel themselves crushed under the weight of His yoke which gives comfort and joy to the rest of His children.” In short, they are good souls, often to be envied for their virtues, always to be compassionated for their sufferings.

Scrupulosity is one of the worst plagues of the spiritual life, but it has varying degrees of evil. First of all, it is an obstacle to prayer. The soul enslaved to it turns her attention upon herself; she examines, examines again, is never done examining. And all this time she elicits no acts of adoration or thanksgiving. Does she even think of making an act of contrition or of imploring the grace of amendment? Not she. Too busily occupied with herself, she has no time to speak to God. Consequently, she does not pray at all; or if she does, it is only in a very imperfect manner. For her scrupulosity excites a commotion prejudicial to interior silence and to the attention demanded by prayer. It plunges her in sadness and fear, and thus destroys her love and confidence. It would even induce her to avoid God. At least it prevents all heart-to-heart colloquies with Him and the joys of intimate intercourse. It will go so far as to render painful, and perhaps insupportable, confession, Holy Communion, and prayer: the strength and consolation of pious souls. Outside of prayer, the interior life demands that we should be watchful over ourselves and constantly attentive to suppress the movements of nature and to foster the inspirations of grace. For the accomplishments of this double task, so difficult and delicate, scrupulosity puts us in a very unfavorable position, because it agitates and depresses us. The troubled mind can no longer see its way clearly. Too preoccupied with certain duties, it will perhaps allow itself to be wholly absorbed by them and forget others. The will, exhausted after so many struggles, may relax, lose courage, and even abandon its resolution in order, more’s the pity! to seek rest and consolation amongst creatures. At any rate, if scrupulosity does not quite put a stop to the work of our sanctification, it often retards and always injures it. Is that perfect faith, which shuts its eyes to the mercy of God and wants to see only His justice, and distorts even that? Is that perfect hope, which, in spite of the most sincere good-will, hardly dares aspire to heaven and grace, is always trembling with fear, and has never any confidence? Is that perfect charity, which, although loving God, yet dreads to appear in His presence, never pours out its heart to Him, and feels nothing but terror for a Lord infinitely good? Is that contrition well ordered, which confuses the intelligence, depresses the courage, and unsettles a soul of good-will? Is that true humility, true virtue, which banishes filial trust and degenerates into cowardice?

No, no! Scrupulosity is not a proof of ardent love, or a sign of a sensitive conscience. Is it a subtle form of self-love, a spiritual egoism, too much preoccupied with self, and not enough with God? Or is it a sincerely good will that has wandered out of the way? At all events, it is a real malady of the soul which threatens the spiritual life in its very existence, and seriously interferes with its functions. Thus, whilst others march forward, run, fly, in the paths of perfection, their hearts dilated with confidence and their souls rejoicing in peace; the poor victim of scruples, though possessing perhaps not less generosity but ill-regulated, wearies himself in vain, makes hardly any progress, if indeed he does not go back, and suffers agonies, because “he wastes his precious time tormenting himself about his duties, weighing atoms, and making mountains of mole-hills.” He persecutes his confessors, saddens the Holy Spirit, ruins his health, and wearies his brain. He dares not undertake anything for himself, and can be of hardly any use to others. Indeed, he might only injure those with whom he comes into contact, by communicating his malady, or by rendering piety repulsive and ridiculous. Scrupulosity, if yielded to, is therefore, in varying degrees, a real pest of the spiritual life.

It is assuredly the signified will of God that we should combat it on account of its disastrous effects. On this point all theologians and masters of the spiritual life are in perfect accord. They mark out in detail the course we should follow. Let it suffice for us to say here that, in order to conquer this terrible enemy, we must pray much, suppress voluntary causes, and above all practise blind obedience. The scrupulous person may be well instructed, very experienced, and even very prudent in all other matters: but in what concerns his scruples, his malady deranges his mind. It would therefore be folly to attempt to guide himself. Childlike obedience to his confessor, who diagnoses the disease and prescribes the remedy, is his best wisdom and his only hope of relief. This, nevertheless, is no easy matter. He must pray, therefore, with all instance, and implore the grace to renounce his own ideas, and to practise obedience even against his own inclinations. For his conscience being false, he has to rectify it by conforming to the judgment of his spiritual guide.

It is also the good-Pleasure of God that we should patiently support the affliction of scrupulosity so long as it pleases Him. We can always combat the evil. Sometimes times we shall succeed in banishing it altogether; sometimes only in lessening it; and sometimes, by the permission of Providence, it will persist in full vigour despite our best efforts. For it can come from very different causes, of which some depend upon our own wills, but many may be beyond our control.

The malady may owe its origin to excess in work or austerities, to the reading of books that are over-severe, to intercourse with scrupulous persons, or to the habit of seeing in God the terrible Judge rather than the Father of infinite goodness. Or it may have originated in the ignorance which exaggerates our obligations, or confounds temptation with sin, the sensation with the consent. In these, and such-like cases, it depends upon ourselves to remove the causes. Then, the source being suppressed, we shall soon see the end of our troubles.

But it often arises from a melancholy disposition, from a fearful and suspicious character, weakness of the head, or certain conditions of health. All these causes depend more upon the Divine good-pleasure than upon our wills. And in such cases, the scrupulosity usually lasts a long time and manifests itself even in profane employments.

The demon is not seldom the author of the evil. He avails himself of our imprudences, he exploits our predispositions, he works on our senses and imagination, in order to excite or intensify scrupulosity. If he sees a soul inclined to be somewhat lax, he pushes her on to greater laxity. But when he encounters one that is timid, his endeavour is to make her extravagantly fearful, to fill her with trouble and anxiety, in the hope that she will end by abandoning God, prayer, and the Sacraments. His purpose is to render virtue insupportable, to engender weariness, discouragement, and despair.

God will never be directly the author of scrupulosity. It can only come from our fallen nature or from the demon, since it is founded on error and is a real malady of the soul. But He permits it; He even employs it occasionally as a transient means of sanctification; and in this case, He controls and directs it with His infinite wisdom, in such a manner as to make us derive from it the spiritual advantage which He has in view. He inspires the soul with a great fear of sin, in order that she may rid herself more completely of her past transgressions, and by redoubling her zeal prevent a relapse. He humbles her so that she may no longer venture to rely on her own judgment, but submit herself entirely to her spiritual father. If there is question of a soul already well advanced, He uses scrupulosity to complete her purification, her detachment, her annihilation, so as to prepare her for, the reception of very special graces. It is thus the Saints have been put through this trial, some of them, as St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the time of their conversion; others, like St. Alphonsus de’ Liguori, when they had attained to the consummation of their sanctity. There may, then, be many immediate causes of scrupulosity. But there is only one supreme Cause, without Whom nature and the demon can do nothing. Even if we ourselves have been the authors of our malady, we required at least the permissive will of God. Consequently, we must recognise here, as elsewhere, the hand of Divine Providence. God does not love the disorder of scrupulosity, but He may will that we should support it as a cross. His signified will calls upon us to struggle against the evil, and His good-pleasure to endure the trial. So long as it continues we must struggle and endure. God grant we may be able to do so with an abandonment full of confidence!

“In conclusion,” says St. Alphonsus, “I repeat: Obey, obey! And I beg of you: cease to regard God as a cruel tyrant. No doubt, He hates sin. But He cannot hate a soul that sincerely detests and laments her faults.”

‘You seek Me, indeed,’ He once said to St. Margaret of Cortona, ‘but know that, however ardently you seek Me, I seek you more ardently still. And it is your fears that prevent your progress in Divine love.’ Tormented with scruples, but always submissive, St. Catherine of Bologna feared to approach the Holy Table. A sign from her confessor was enough. Immediately she vanquished her fears and calmly communicated. In order to encourage her to the constant practice of obedience in this matter, Our Lord appeared to her one day and said: ‘Rejoice, My daughter, because your obedience is very pleasing to Me.’ He likewise appeared to the Dominicaness, Blessed Stephanie of Soncino, and addressed these words to her: ‘Because you have placed your will in the hands of your confessor, as if in My Own: ask of Me whatever you please, and you shall have it.’ ‘Lord,’ she replied, ‘I want nothing but Thyself.’ At the beginning of his conversion, St. Ignatius of Loyola was so continually troubled with doubts and disquietudes that he could not enjoy a moment’s repose. But being a man of faith, full of confidence in the words of the Divine Master: ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me,’* he cried out: ‘Lord, show me the way I ought to follow. Although I should have only a dog to guide me, I promise to obey faithfully.’ And in fact he showed such obedience to his directors that he was soon freed from his scruples and became an admirable master of the spiritual life. . . . Once again I repeat: be obedient to your confessor in everything, have faith in obedience. ‘This,’ said St. Philip, ‘is the surest way to escape from the toils of the demon; as, on the other hand, there is nothing more dangerous than to desire to conduct oneself according to one’s own judgment.’ In all your prayers, implore this grace, the great grace of obedience, and be sure that in obeying you will infallibly save and sanctify yourself.”

* St. Francis de Sales and St. Faustina remind us that God is very pleased with those who place their trust in their confessor; God rewards our humble faith and obedience with spiritual insights that He will communicate to us through the priest. In the Old Testament, God spoke to Balaam through an ass (Numbers 22:28); how much more, then, can we hope for God to speak to us through the mouth of one of his ministers! 

Our Lord Weeps More for Sinners Than for His Own Passion and Death.

Our Lord revealed to Bl. Dina Belanger that if all religious souls would let Him act through them as He desires, all would be saved!

Jesus has an insatiable desire for our love.

But our love is merely a participation in God’s love.

It follows, then, that God desires to love us first, so that we may love Him!

Banish from your heart and mind any illusion that you can earn God’s love, or that you have nothing to offer Him – perhaps on account of your past sinfulness. This is surely a temptation. Whenever God asks for love, He first offers us His love! He redeemed even the most wretched sinners, because He desires our happiness. “The greatest gift you can make Me is to receive Me,” said Our Lord to Sr. Mary of the Trinity.

With such unspeakable love in mind, let us reflect on the touching words of Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani:

‘”Another sorrow, which pierced My Heart continually, like a three-edged and poisoned blade, was the impiety and ingratitude of Judas, first My beloved disciple, then My wicked betrayer… Consider first the ingratitude of Judas, whom I chose for one of My apostles, whose sins I forgave, upon whom I conferred the power of working miracles, and whom I made the dispenser of the offerings made to Me. When I saw the design of betraying Me forming in his heart, I redoubled the proofs of My tenderness, to turn him from his criminal thoughts, but it was of no avail; nothing would touch his wicked heart. On the contrary, the more affection I showed him, the more he was hardened in his perfidious resolution. When, at the Last Supper, I performed the humble and touching ceremony of washing My disciples’ feet, My Heart could not contain itself; but I wept bitterly, and watered his polluted feet with My tears, for I said within Myself: “O Judas! what have I then done to you, that you should betray Me thus? O unhappy disciple! is this to be the last proof I shall ever be able to give of My love for you? O son of perdition! why dost thou leave Thy Father and Master? O Judas, if you would have thirty pieces of silver, why not go and ask them from My Mother thine; she would sell herself to free thee and Me from danger and death. Ah! ungrateful disciple, today I wash thy feet, and kiss them with so much love, and in a few hours thou wilt kiss My Face, to deliver Me up to My enemies. O dear and beloved son, what a return thou makest to One who weeps the loss of thee more than His own Passion and death, because for this He came into this world.

While My Heart was speaking thus, My tears watered his feet, but he saw them not, because I was kneeling before him, My Head bent down, and My long hair falling about My Face, so that he could not see My tearful countenance. But John, my beloved disciple, to whom I had revealed all the mysteries of My Passion during this sad Supper, observed My every action, saw My tears flow on the feet of the traitor, and understood that they proceeded from the tenderness of My love. When a father sees his only son about to die, he is eager to serve him, and says in his heart, “Farewell, my son, this is the last service I shall be able to render you.” Thus did I act towards Judas, when I washed and kissed his feet.

When I caressed and kissed them with tender compassion, John, perceiving with his eager heart My gestures and actions, was more dead than alive with wonder and admiration. When at length I approached to wash his feet, for his humility had made him take the last place, on seeing me stoop he could no longer contain himself, but as I knelt he threw his arms round My neck, and held me fast in a long embrace as if fainting, weeping and sobbing and saying in his heart, without uttering a sound, “O my dear Master! My Brother, my Lord and my God! how hast Thou had the courage to wash and kiss with Thy sacred Mouth the cursed feet of this infamous traitor…”

Let us humbly consider the truth that for the entirety of our lives, God has been in search of us. What He asks of us – that we keep His commandments and love Him above all else – is such a small thing in comparison with what He offers us. God is all-deserving of our love, our compassion, our talents, our will, our mind, because they are His gifts.

“Know, My daughter, that the pains I bore in My Heart were innumerable and infinite; for innumerable and infinite are the souls, my members, who tear themselves from Me by mortal sin, for each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and source of life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Blessed Battista Varani

“Do not offend Me any more. Love Me as I have always loved you. Love Me.

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani