6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love

god-rays-in-vernazza

Jesus Christ, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 18:19), is infinitely rich and generous; nothing and no one can exhaust the treasures of His Sacred Heart. But we must avail ourselves of these precious graces.

“My Heart is overflowing on all sides. It can no longer contain all the graces that souls unceasingly repel. Take them, My child, take them.”

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary (Dec. 26, 1906, from ‘Divine Communications,’ vol. I, Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

God always makes the first move; we never seek Him without the previous inspiration of grace. ‘You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you.’ (John 15:16) “There,” writes G.K. Chesterton, “is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ‘Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

He wishes to establish His most gentle reign in each and every one of our hearts, which are infinitely precious to Him, more precious than any earthly kingdom – not because there is a deficiency in God, but because of His pure love, a love that seeks only to communicate goodness and joy to the beloved.

Apart from Divine Love, all is vanity; God alone is; He is the Beginning and the End of all the deepest yearnings of the human heart; outside of Him there is nothing but vexation and want.

Almighty God, Who is the Divine Husbandmen, reveals His love for us by stripping us of all that could be an impediment to His Divine action within us. Because of our frailty, our sinful attachments, and our wavering faith, this is often a painful process. But God is all-wise, all-good and all-powerful; He knows what He is doing, and He alone can bring it about. It is only reasonable, then, to practice abandonment. To offer ourselves to One so good is an incalculable gain – even when, or especially when, we feel the sting. ‘As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ (Job 1:21)

Here, then, are some simple, albeit powerful, ways to grow in love:

(1) Draw Riches from the Treasury of the Sacred Heart

Imitate St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude and many others, by offering to God His own love and merits to supply for what was is wanting to you.

The same goes for offering God the love and merits of the saints and angels, all of which can be drawn from the Saviour’s Adorable Heart. ‘And all My things are thine, and thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them’ (John. 17:10).

If we are all His, He is all ours. ‘I to my Beloved, and my Beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies’ (Cant. of Cant. 6:3).

+ Examples:

    1. Offer the Rosary in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, by uniting it to all the Masses said throughout the world, to the Angelic Salutation of St. Gabriel, to the greeting of St. Elizabeth, and to the perfect love that drew God from Heaven to Earth.
    2. Unite your every action, thought, heartbeat, breath etc., to the Sacred Heart and to all the love that animated Our Lady and the Saints.
    3. In preparation for receiving the Adorable Eucharist, offer God the fervent love with which the Saints received Him, as well as His own perfect love in giving Himself to us.
    4. Offer the infinite love and perfect obedience of Jesus to God the Father, in thanksgiving for every grace that He has ever given any of His creatures, or that He has ever desired to give (but has been impeded from doing so due to our obstinacy). Does a parent not deserve to be thanked for the gifts that they desire to bestow on their children, even when the children do not accept them? [The fruits of this practice are immense]

“When thou shalt offer Me to God the Father for the joy and glory of the Saints, their happiness and recompense shall be increased, as though they had received Me corporally on the earth.” (A beautiful and extremely powerful way to honour the Saints, and to honour God in His Saints!)

– Jesus to St. Mechtilde (‘The Love of the Sacred Heart’)

(2) Aspirations

Love alone gives our actions value; souls are not saved and God is not glorified, save by charity. Aspirations are an easy way to keep the fire of love burning in our hearts. We were created to love God; all else is false, empty, vain, a precious waste of precious time.

I have written about aspirations before:

https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/aspirations-an-easy-way-to-attain-holiness-and-joy/

“If I knew I should receive £1 for each one [aspiration] I made, I would not waste a spare moment. And yet I get infinitely more than this, though I often fail to realise it.”

“This morning I lay awake powerless to over come myself and to make my promised visit to the chapel. Then I felt prompted to pray; I said five aspirations and rose without difficulty. How many victories I could win by this easy and powerful weapon!”

– Fr. William Doyle (d. 1917)

(3) Spiritual Communions

Many Saints highly recommend this practice. St. Francis de Sales made a spiritual Communion every fifteen minutes or so; Sr. Benigna Consolata, a spiritual daughter of St. Francis de Sales, was told by Our Lord to make them even more frequently.

St. Alphonsus tells us that Jesus appeared to a certain pious soul, showing her two precious vases, one gold, the other silver. “In the golden vessel,” He said, “I keep sacramental Communion, and in the silver vessel spiritual Communion.” (‘Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,’ TAN)

And to Blessed Jane of the Cross, our Saviour spoke these enlightening words: “As often as you make a spiritual Communion I send you a grace which is in a measure similar to the grace which I grant you in sacramental Communion.”

St. Teresa of Avila writes: “When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.]

“If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed.”

– St. Leonard of Port Maurice

(4) Meditation on the Last Things

Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell – also known as the four last things… that most people care to think about. Which is a great tragedy, because the truth is eternal and does not change to suit our fancy.
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was once asked how he could possibly bear to spend his days as a religious. Time flies, he replied, when one is thinking about Heaven! If only we had the faintest notion of what awaits those who love God! Mother Agnes (Pauline), the sister of St. Therese (and my dear little sister), shared with her a beautiful story in which a religious appeared to her sister (also a religious) shortly after her death, saying: “I am going to God; oh! I am not sorry for having humbled and annihilated myself for Jesus on earth. If you only knew what glory I am going to have, but God has not permitted me to reveal it to you because you would experience too great a joy and your way is the way of suffering.” (p. 582, ‘Letters of St. Therese,’ ICS Publications)
44. “To fear the days of judgment.
45. To be in dread of hell.
46. To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing.
47. To keep death daily before one’s eyes.”

– From the ‘Instruments of Good Works,‘ from the Rule of St. Benedict

(5) Lectio Divina

St. Jerome, writing about a holy man of his time, says that he made his heart “a library for Christ.” So often it is the case that individuals fill their hearts and minds with present troubles, with worldly things and with innumerable other sources of distraction or anxiety, ranging from mere trifles to great evils. Let us have none of this. Let us meditate often on the life-giving words of God; ‘lay up His words in thy heart‘ (Job 22:22), and draw upon them day and night; they will purify you, they will inflame you, and they will set your heart on things eternal. Without this, there can be no joy; our heart longs for the infinity of the horizon; what we truly desire – whether or not we realise it – lies beyond this crumbling world.

To truly profit from spiritual reading and meditation, the end must always be that we come to know and love God more – and this, principally, by means of prayer, without which there can be no lasting growth in wisdom and charity. ‘The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom’ (Ps. 38:30).

“At the Last Judgment I shall not  ask souls if they have read much, but what fruit  they have drawn from their reading.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

(6) …

The final means for growing in Divine Love deserves/requires a post of its own. Also, I have run out of time (even with a generous extension). Hopefully it will be ready by next Sunday.

+ PAX +

A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved (Pt. 2)

St. Mechtilde believed that Our Lord said to her that the number of Catholics who go to Heaven when they die, exceeds the number of those who go to Hell (Liber specialis gratiae. In Sanctae Mechtildis, virginis ordinis sancti Benedicti, Liber specialis gratiae accedit sororis Mechtildis ejusdem ordinis Lux divinitatis. Book 6, Chapter 15. Ed. Monks of Solesmes. Paris: Oudin, 1877). Nevertheless, Our Lord assured her that His justice will claim its due; many souls will go to Purgatory before they are pure enough to enter the Kingdom of God.

Whether or not we can apply this revelation to every generation is not certain (private revelations, in themselves, are uncertain*). It may be the case that the majority of Catholics will, in the end, be saved.

Either way, let us thank God for His mercy! And let us not be presumptuous! We will be saved if we seek God with all our heart. If we are tepid in our faith, there is a danger that we will fall from sin to sin, without even realising how far we have fallen. We must imitate the holy monk that St. Leonard tells us about, who said that, even if one soul were damned, he would do absolutely everything in his power not to be that soul.

*Still, if they are consistent with Church teaching, and if they have been given to a humble and obedient soul, such as St. Mechtilde, then we are safe in believing them, so long as we subordinate them to the Magisterium… This site only quotes from the revelations of those whose virtue has been recognised by reputable authorities.

The Eternal Father to St. Hildegard:

“Does anyone think it possible to see into the deep wisdom of the Most High and into the discernment of His knowledge, and count the number of those who are to be saved? His judgements are incomprehensible to all people. Your task is to run; for the kingdom of God is prepared for you.” (p. 315, Scivias)

Some Remarkable Revelations About Heaven

St.Gertude.Heaven

Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem (‘The Last Things’):

“On one occasion, when the devil was speaking by the mouth of a person who was possessed, he said :

‘If the whole heavens were a sheet of parchment, if the whole ocean were ink, if every blade of grass were pen, and every man on earth a scribe, it would not suffice to describe the intense, immeasurable delight which the vision of God affords to the blessed.’

And at another time he said that if God would but vouchsafe to grant him the privilege of beholding His divine countenance for a few moments, he would, if it were possible, gladly bear in his own person all the torments of hell until the Day of Judgement. This teaches us that if a man spent his whole life in works of most severe penance, and after his death were permitted only for one instant to gaze on the face of God, he would have received an ample recompense for all his mortifications.”

Rev. Martin von Cochem is right. In fact, the truth of his words are confirmed by a revelation given to a holy Visitation nun, Sr. Marie–Catherine Putigny, to whom a deceased sister appeared, saying:

 “What are all the sorrows of earth compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!” 

“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.”

Something to Consider When You Suffer…

One day Our Lord appeared to Bl. Catherine of Racconigi, a stigmatic nun, who, like St. Catherine of Siena and several other saints, was mystically espoused to Jesus. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09703a.htm (‘Mystical Marriage’)
He showed Catherine an exceedingly beautiful crown of roses, saying: “All afflictions will appear as roses to you if you bear them with good will.”

When we accept any cross, however small, for the love of God, we bring Him immense glory and consolation. Listen to what Our Lord said to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero:

“Whenever a soul receives with faith and love any occasion of suffering, it is as if she received Me in her arms when taken down from the Cross; the two arms with which the soul receives Me are resignation and love for My divine Will.”

In relation to one of the elect, Jesus spoke these beautiful words to St. Gertrude: “Because her most intense suffering was in her arm she holds Me embraced with a glory of beatitude so great that she would wish to have suffered a hundred times more.”

How to Attain Lasting Peace

“It is impossible to explain the abundance of this peace in the soul altogether given to God and seeking Him alone.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

“Souls that do not wish to give all to Our Lord,” writes Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, “and to bring all their desires to unity by this total donation, cannot taste this true peace. They are divided, tossed to and fro between themselves and God, between the satisfaction of their self–love and obedience; they are the prey of trouble and disquiet. (Like St. Augustine, we should cleave to God, the immutable good).”

If we desire true peace, we must seek God with a pure heart. He has loved us first; let us love Him in return.

“One night while I was praying,” writes St. Veronica Giuliani, “I beheld issuing from the side of Our Saviour a liquid which exhaled a heavenly perfume, and it filled up a kind of fountain which stood before the Lord. I saw many souls plunge into it. The Lord gave me to understand that these were the pure souls who had given themselves absolutely to Him.”

“The more I am faithful to this little way of love,” writes Sr. Consolata Betrone, “the more is my soul flooded with joy and true peace that nothing is able to disturb, not even my continual falls. For, when I bring these to Jesus, He makes me remedy them through acts of humility, and these in turn increase the peace and joy in my heart.”

Ponder in your heart the profound truth of these words: “Our souls are made for God; unless they are set towards this end they are perpetually in agitation and trouble. Now St. Benedict wishes that we should have but this one and universal intention: That we should seek God… By the unity of this end, he brings unity to the manifold actions of our life, and especially into the desires of our being; and this is, according to St. Thomas one of the essential elements of peace… Our souls are troubled when they are torn by desires that bear upon a thousand different objects… when we seek God alone by an obedience full of abandonment and love, we sum up all things in the one thing necessary; and it is this that establishes strength and peace within us.” Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

If we simply do our duties for the love of God, seeking always to purify our intentions, then we will surely taste the sweetness of Our Lord’s yoke. He is the Way: let us follow Him; He is the Truth: let us trust Him; He is the Life: let us unite ourselves to Him, Who will lead us safely to Paradise. The more sinful we have been in the past, the greater right we have to trust in His infinite love, which is the source of all our good desires. If we desire Him, He desires us still more (as He revealed to St. Margaret of Cortona).

In 1809, the Divine Precursor [St. John the Baptist] appeared to His humble servant, Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora. Showing her the Promised Land, He said: “Look! There the Divine Paraclete awaits you, to celebrate with you celestial espousals. I will be your guide and conductor. O fortunate soul, what a happy fate is yours!” At these words, the Angels introduced her into the kingdom of Glory, and the Saint pointed out to her the Heavenly Palace, and began to describe its magnificence. Then he added: “But the door of this Palace is narrow: those who enter must be humble and lowly.” (p. 116 of her biography)

Jesus to Marie–Dominique Moes (on the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1859): “O blinded men, what has become of you? Have I not shed all My Blood for you, and given Myself to you for food? And all that was not enough to awaken a return of love in you? Ah, what sorrow for My loving Heart!”

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.”

Why Holiness Brings Unspeakable Joy to the Soul!

“It is certain that your happiness consists in perfect renunciation of yourself. I will fill you with My grace in the same degree as you empty yourself of your will.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena

I die daily, says St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31).  The death of which he speaks is the death of self-will and self-love. 

Self-will is a form of pride; it elevates our own will above God’s will (which is love, mercy, truth and wisdom itself). By self-will we frustrate (to some extent) God’s almighty plans. We hinder our own happiness. 

Self-love refers to our self-seeking or selfishness, which often taints our actions. A true lover of God seeks God’s glory in all things; she accepts everything as coming from God’s loving Providence, which wills only her sanctification and happiness. Subsequently, the humble soul (one who truly loves God is necessarily humble) bears everything with patience, serernity and love. God is the sole object of her desires.

I die daily. If we are empty of self, God will fill us with Himself. A soul full of selfishness and sinful attachments cannot fully appreciate the joys of union with God, Who is the Source of all joy, all life, all happiness. The saints, who were united intimately with Jesus, experienced His joy as if it were their own. This is a forestaste of Heaven, in which the soul will be united with God like a drop in the ocean.

One day, Mary, the Mother of God, revealed to St. Bridget these beautiful words with which Our Lord addressed a faithful servant of His, upon entering Paradise:  

‘O My friend, you have come to present to Me the vessel of your heart empty of yourself, and you have desired to fill it with Me. Come then and I will fill it with Myself. Be in Me and I shall be in you and your glory and joy will have no end.’

When we seek God above all things, He fills our hearts with peace and joy!

The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of perfect souls): ‘Observe that these souls always possess Me in a sensible manner; the more they have rejected pleasures and desired to suffer, the more they have lost sufferings and found joy.’

Jesus said to St. Jane de Chantal: ‘In all this [humiliations, mortifications and rebuffs] My great design is to make them [souls] progress in My love; and if they did this they would infinitely please Me, and I should always be working to please them. My Heart is filled with sweetness and kindness for the souls that love Me and sincerely give themselves to Me; and I give Myself to them with the abundance of My favours; for they are My spouses whom I love tenderly.’ (p. 235)

The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi: ‘Suppose, My child, a man to possess every imaginable riches and to be the idol of every creature. If he does not possess Me who alone am true peace, his heart will never be at rest, for I alone can fill the heart of man, because I am Who am, and I fill up the void of whatever is not, and I fill it all the more when the void is greater and creatures better realise their nothingness.’

The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (speaking of those who live by and for God’s will):

‘Even in her mortal life she tastes the delights of immortality, and in spite of her mortal body she becomes as light as spirit… it is a greater miracle for the soul not to leave the body in this union that it is for several dead bodies to be raised to life.’

(This seems to explain why some of the saints levitated during prayer e.g. St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Padre Pio, St. Gemma Galgani etc.)

I could add many similar revelations, but these few are sufficient.

Pax Christi!

 

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

Powerful Reflections on Eternity.

Powerful Reflections on Eternity.

The purpose of this post is threefold: 1. To increase our desire for Heaven; 2. To increase our fear and hatred of sin; 3. To increase our love of God; (and thereby to save our souls) “In whatever you do, … Continue reading