Wisdom from the Writings of Saintly Souls (on a Range of Topics)

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The Father’s Love for the Mystical Body, the Church

1. “The more God sees His Son in each one of us, the more abundantly He showers His gifts on us.” (p. 98, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Authentic Christianity: “For me, to live is Christ”

2. “A spiritual life which does not depend entirely on Christ is false, empty, absolutely useless; ‘Without Me you can do nothing.” (p. 54, ‘The Spiritual Doctrine of Dom Marmion’)

Without Jesus, We Cannot Bear the Cross

3. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “… at the beginning of Mass I saw our Lord stooping, as if bearing a heavy burden, and He said to me, I take upon myself the suffering of My daughter.” (p. 402, Life)

The Delight of the Elect: Perfect Union with God

4. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: “One day the interior voice said to me: God renders the blessed like Himself; yes, Benigne, My elect by seeing Me are in such wise transformed in Me that they have no other will than Mine; their love springs from My Love.” (p. 341, Life)

The Alpha and the Omega

5. Our Lord to Ven. Louise Margaret: “Infinite Love envelops, penetrates, and fills all things. It is the only source of life and of all fertility; It is the eternal principle of beings and their eternal end. If you wish to possess life and not be sterile, break the bonds that bind you to yourself and to creatures and plunge into this abyss.” (p. 4, ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love,’ TAN Books)

Hell Exists because God is Good

6. Ven. Louise Margaret: “No, if there were no Hell, I could not love Thee… If there were no Hell, three splendid jewels would be wanting to the crown of Thy sublime perfections; there would be wanting justice, power and dignity.” (p. 10, TLGIL)

“I desire mercy”

7. From the Life of Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora: “Another time He revealed to her and placed before her eyes the sins of His own Ministers and of the public Magistrates. Elizabeth was so much surprised that she was filled with profound indignation, and opened her lips to cry out for justice against these unknown delinquents; but Our Lord prevented her, and said in a tone of love and tenderness: “Ah! My daughter, cry for mercy, not for justice. I wish not the death of the sinner, but that he should be converted and live.” Whilst saying these ineffable words He directed upon her from His Heart a ray of pure and living light; then he added: “May this ray of light serve you to protect men against the anger of Divine Justice.” (p. 184)

The Blood of Jesus Cries for Mercy

8. St. Gemma’s Guardian Angel: “Look at what Jesus has suffered for men. Consider one by one these Wounds. It is Love that has opened them all. See how execrable sin is, since to expiate it, so much pain and so much love have been necessary.” (p. 194, Life)

Imperfections: A Treasure for the Soul of Good-Will

9. Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “… you will commit faults, infidelities, and imperfections; and these will help you to advance, for they will cause you to make many acts of humility.” (p. 41, JATTW)

The Cross is a Gift

10. Jesus to St. Gemma (appearing to her with the Cross on His shoulders): “Gemma, wilt thou have it, My Cross? See, this is the present I have prepared for thee.” (p. 174, Life)

A Model of Patience in Suffering

11. From the Life of Sr. Gertrude Mary: “On her bed of agony, coughing incessantly, she murmurs this word of love: Every fit of coughing is a cry to Heaven.”

Heaven on Earth

12. Sr. Gertrude Mary: “The air which I breathe near the Tabernacle is not the same as elsewhere, for it is already that of Paradise. I know this by experience.”

What the Damned Would Give to See God

13. From ‘The Dogma of Hell, Illustrated by Facts Taken from Profane and Sacred History,’ by Rev. F.X. Schouppe:

“A holy priest was exorcising a demoniac, and he asked the demon what pains he was suffering in Hell.

“An eternal fire,” he answered, “an eternal malediction, an eternal rage, and a frightful despair at being never able to gaze upon Him who created me.”

“What would you do to have the happiness of seeing God?”

“To see Him but for one moment, I should willingly consent to endure my torments for 10,000 years. But vain desires! I shall suffer forever and never see Him!”

‘Devotion for the Dying’: The Most Pleasing Devotion to Jesus and Mary

‘He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:20)

In her absolutely remarkable work, ‘Devotion for the Dying: Mary’s Call to Her Loving Children,’ Ven. Mother Mary Potter (d. April 9, 1913) demonstrates, beyond question, that we can and must pray for the salvation of dying sinners. (*Chapter 10 alone is worth the price of the book*).

How pleasing this devotion is to Our Lord, Who is Love Incarnate, and to Our Lady, who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit! The Saints tell us that we can do nothing more charitable than pray and offer sacrifices for the dying. Who are in greater need than the dying? They are on the threshold of eternity; the state in which they die will determine their eternity; for ‘in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.’ (Eccles. 11:3)

An All-Important Task

Make no mistake: if we neglect this all-important work, many unfortunate souls, who need our prayers, will be damned. “Francisco,” said Bl. Jacinta Marto to her older brother; “are you praying with me? We must pray very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!” This need not be the case!

“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

– Our Lady of Fatima

‘Do unto others…’

Put yourself in the place of the dying sinner, and ask yourself this simple question: “If we traded places, would I hope that they would pray and make sacrifices for my eternal salvation?” If your answer is “yes”, as I’m sure it is, then you are bound to do the same for dying sinners. ‘All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them.’ (Mt. 7:12)

The Smallest Acts Suffice to Save Souls

We must not underestimate God’s mercy. Even the smallest acts, offered with a pure intention to Love, can be of great benefit to souls. “To pick up a pin for love,” exclaims St. Therese, “can convert a soul.” Glorious words.

“We of ourselves, it is true,” writes Ven. Mother Mary Potter, “could not by the offering of our whole lives make satisfaction to God for even one of the venial sins we think so lightly of when we commit them, but God views our good actions as the fruit of the Passion of His Beloved Son; and thus it is that a good action is more pleasing, necessarily so, to Him than a bad action is displeasing.” (p. 157–158)

“This is the consideration of God’s fairness, for, though my justice is so great that I leave nothing unexamined or unpunished, yet I am also so merciful and fair that I demand nothing beyond what nature can bear. Moreover, I forgive great punishment for the sake of a good intention and great sin in return for a little reparation.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden (Book 4, Ch 89)

Some Sage Advice from Ven. Mother Mary Potter

Each day, offer everything you do in reparation for dying sinners. If you read the Bible, for example, offer it for those who have spent their time reading ungodly literature; if you eat, offer this act for those who have been given in to sins of gluttony; and so on. Renew this intention frequently; you will save many souls thereby. This is an extremely powerful means of sanctifying our every act. The treasury of merits and graces that we amass by acting thus is incomprehensible. ‘And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.’ (Mt. 10:42)

The Two Thieves

Jesus, King of Love, was crucified between two thieves. One, it seems, was damned; the other responded to God’s call and was saved. He is now known as St. Dismas.

Perhaps we have not considered this before – but the thieves represent us. How often have we robbed God of glory by squandering the unfathomable gift of Divine Grace, which He purchased with the price of His Precious Blood? How often have we proudly attributed to ourselves the good that is within us? How often have we, like Judas, delivered Jesus over to the hands of His crucifiers, so that we might indulge in some carnal sin? Alas, I am guilty of this myself! “My Jesus, mercy! The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember. According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.” (Ps. 25:7)

Ultimately, our death will resemble one of the two thieves. It is for us to ensure that we die like St. Dismas. Furthermore, we must do what we can do ensure that others are converted, especially those “in most need of [God’s] mercy,” namely, dying sinners. St. Dismas, pray for us!

An Invitation from Jesus and Mary

Jesus tells us: ‘love one another, as I have loved you.’ (Jn. 13:34) These are the words of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, ‘Who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present wicked world, according to the will of God and our Father.’ (Gal. 1:4) In imitation of our Lord, we too must lay down our lives for our brethren – especially our dying brethren.

Look at our sweet Mother, Mary, at the foot of the Cross; look at her whose soul was pierced with a sword for the sake of her Son, and for that great multitude who will be forever separated from His loving embrace (Lk. 2:35). What a perfect example she is for us all! There she prayers for her Son’s crucifiers, for us; there she offers her own sufferings for the salvation of a prodigious number of sinners. If thousands were saved by Bl. Alexandrina’s sufferings (united to the sufferings and merits of Jesus) – as Our Lord confided to her – then think of how many souls were, and are, saved through the prayers and sufferings of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God!

“Our Blessed Lady told me that many souls escape Hell through her intercession. She often obtains the grace of repentance for a soul when it is just leaving the body. In that moment of extremity she obtains for the soul a feeling of love of God, a feeling of repentance.”

-SG. Père Lamy (p. 141 of his biography)

In thanksgiving to Jesus and Mary, let us firmly resolve, from this day forward, to cultivate a tender devotion to the dying; let us entrust this intention to our Blessed Mother, to our patrons Saints, and to our Guardian Angel. Let us have recourse to Mary, the Mother of Mercy; let us pray her Rosary; let us offer her our indulgences at the beginning of each day; let us offer her our merits, and she will see to it that we stay close to her Son; she will see to it that our prayers and sufferings are not wasted; she herself will offer them to God, bathed in the Precious Blood of Jesus, and united to her own merits. Do this and many, very many souls will be saved!

“Our Lady offers our prayers to God; she beautifies them; she makes them [more] pleasing in His sight… The recitation of the Rosary – that is what Lucifer hates.”

– SG. Père Lamy (p. 140, p. 157)

“… the imitation of both of our lives [Jesus and Mary] must be simultaneous on earth; Mary’s life was modeled on Mine… The souls who love her most and who are most like to her, are the souls who are most like to Me most perfectly. You must imitate her in the practice of virtues, I always told you, especially in her humility and her purity of heart. Observe the virtues she practiced in her solitude, in the last stage of her life, her outlook, and her soul wholly turned toward heaven, and her self effacement, glorifying Me on earth.”

(Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, Diary, Feb. 18, 1917 – a few months before Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima)

The Power of Prayer

The following anecdote beautifully captures the essence of this “devotion for the dying.” It is taken from p. 294 of ‘St. Vincent Ferrer, His Life, Spiritual Teaching, and Practical Devotion.’

“The Saint passing to Pampeluna, and his sanctity being well known to all the inhabitants, they besought him to interest himself in behalf of the spiritual needs and conversion of a person of notoriously bad character, who would continue impenitent to the last day of her life. The charity of St. Vincent, which desired nothing so much as the salvation of souls, drew him promptly and with joy into the presence of this poor sinner. He unhappily found her completely hardened. She was obstinate and so despairing of her salvation that she exclaimed, blaspheming:

“It is impossible for me to be saved; God cannot pardon either the multitude or the enormity of my sins.”

The Saint began, then, with all the energy of his soul to offer her powerful reasons which might encourage her to hope for a generous pardon from God. But it was useless, that soul was hardened in evil. Seeing this, St. Vincent raised up his heart to God, made a short prayer, and led by a divine inspiration, he promised the sinner that her absolution should come in writing from heaven, if she would promise to make her confession. The wretched woman began to ridicule a pledge so extraordinary and which appeared to her impossible; yet she said to the Saint:

“If it be so, I am very willing to (p. 293) confess.”

Then, the Saint procured pen and paper, and wrote these words:

“Brother Vincent Ferrer beseeches the most Holy Trinity to grant the sinner here present the absolution of her sins.”

He then folded the paper, and cast it into the air; the document flew out of the house; but some minutes afterwards it returned folded and closed. Wonderful to relate, on opening it, St. Vincent found the following promise written in letters of gold:

“We, the most Holy Trinity, at the request of our Vincent, grant the sinner of whom he speaks, the pardon of her faults; We dispense her from all the punishment which she ought to undergo; and if she confesses, she shall be carried to heaven in half an hour, where she shall reign eternally with us… From heaven… We, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

St. Vincent read the answer, and without delay the happy woman made her confession; in half an hour afterwards her soul took its flight to heaven. Oh! happy sinner! If so extraordinary a favour was obtained for this great sinner at the prayer of our Saint, while he was yet living, what ought not we to expect from him – great sinners as we are, but who are devoted to him – now that, consumed with charity, he rejoices in God Whom he beholds face to face, and who being near to Him, continually intercedes for those who have recourse to his prayers!” (p. 294)

‘God is wonderful in his saints: the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people. Blessed be God.’

(Ps. 69:35)

My Own Experience of Fatima

On May 13, 2012, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (and the anniversary of the First Apparition), I received a strong inspiration to start this blog. It was only after I started writing that I realised it was May 13.

This, I believe, was no coincidence. I believe Our Lord was effectively telling me this: “My son, I have suffered much on your account; so, too, has my Mother. But do not despair. I have given her to be your Mother, a most merciful Mother. In gratitude for so much love, of which you have been the object, entrust yourself to her, love her; rest in her arms like a little child, and teach others to do the same.”

I am not claiming that I had a locution or anything of the kind. I did not. But I did receive an impression that, in response to so much love from Jesus and Mary, I must share at least a little of that immeasurable love with others – many, if not all, of whom have abused fewer graces than I have.

Over the years, the truth of Mary’s love for me has only increased, and she has helped me on countless occasions to renew my trust in the infinite love of her Divine Son. On one such occasion, I was in Church, praying, but with great difficulty (I think it was the year 2013). I was quite discouraged at the time. As I had my head down, a young man came up to me. I had never seen him before; I have never seen him since. “Here,” he said, handing me some Rosary beads; “these are for you.” How kind, I thought! I looked carefully at these beautiful Rosary beads, which were marked with a single word: FATIMA.

Our Lady has been very good to me.

On December 3, 2015, I had an opportunity to visit Fatima. It was incredible. I cannot attempt to describe it. One truly feels her presence there, just like at Lourdes.

Please join me, dear friend, in honouring Jesus and Mary by making our lives a constant sacrifice of praise and love.

“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners? … Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.”

– Our Lady of Fatima (May 13, 1917)

“Do not be afraid to love the Immaculata (Mary) too much because we could never equal the love that Jesus has for Her, and His imitation is our sanctification.”

– St. Maximilian Kolbe

A Final Word

Stay close to Mary, Help of Christians, and you will be saved; not only that: you will become a Saint; you will save many souls, and your death will be a most glorious one, a cause of delight to the Courts of Heaven!

‘… precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.’

(Ps. 116:15)

A Defence of God’s Justice (A Catholic Perspective)

This article consists of a fairly lengthy response I made to someone on Catholic Answers, concerning the justice of God. I am responding to a number of assertions, such as that God cannot be good or powerful if, desiring the salvation of all, all are not saved.

Response:

1. “God antecedently wills every man to be saved [hence the provision of the graces necessary for each man’s salvation], but He consequently wills some to be damned; in consequence, that is, of the exigencies of His justice [e.g. that those who die in mortal sin must be punished].” (Aquinas)

2. God created no one for damnation. All can, in principle, be saved. “If all sinners wished to return to God with contrite and humble hearts, all would be saved.” (St. Leonard). If God revealed to us (hypothetically) that most men would starve themselves to death, despite an abundance of food, I wouldn’t blame Him, even though He necessarily foresaw this and decided to create these men anyway. The fact is, it would be their decision to do so; they could easily have eaten. “Woe to him,” said Our Lord to St. Bridget (speaking of a presumptuous sinner), “if he does not quickly change his ways, for no one is rejected due to My foreknowledge.”

3. Suppose that all were saved but one. Suppose also that this person was “Adam.” Would it be just if God removed Adam from existence, if He knew that, by removing him, his descendants would likewise be removed? There are a number of responses to a hypothetical scenario such as this one, but ultimately they rely on assumptions: we do not know what the just or morally better alternatives are. Reason alone cannot provide the answer.

4. Many can’t get past the fact that God created a universe that He knew would contain evil, but can we logically demonstrate how much evil can be permitted by a God Who is infinitely wise and good? If not, how can we say that a particular degree of evil cannot be permitted by a good God? (This point has to be conceded for the sake of the argument; I am not attempting to demonstrate its truth). Catholic theology says that God permits evil so that He may draw a greater good out of it. I, for one, am in awe of how God is so good, wise and powerful that He can draw a greater good out of unspeakable evil. The sufferings and death of Our Lord, for example, became for us an infinite source of grace. By His sufferings, He has redeemed ours; unlike the angels, we are able to suffer for God; we can procure an increase in (accidental) glory for Him; we can empathise with Him; we can “earn” an abundance of merits that will receive an eternal reward, which, according to the Saints and mystics, is beyond our comprehension! A Visitation nun who had died, allegedly appeared to Sr. Marie–Catherine Putigny, saying: “What are all the sorrows of earth compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!”

5. Hell is a fitting punishment. God is offended by sin; God is infinite; therefore sin is of infinite malice. A holy soul once said to Our Lord: “Lord, I submit to Thy judgements, but do not push the rigours of Thy justice so far.” Our Lord replied: “Do you understand what sin is? …” “I understand, Lord, that sin is an outrage to Thy Majesty.” “Well, measure, if you can, the greatness of this outrage.” “Lord, this outrage is infinite, since it attacks infinite Majesty.” “Must it not, then, be punished by an infinite chastisement? Now, as the punishment could not be infinite in its intensity, justice demands that it be so at least in its duration.” St. Catherine of Genoa and other Saints and theologians say that the pains of Hell are actually much less than they could justly be. God shows mercy even to the damned. We must also remember that the pains of the damned are proportionate to their sins. The fires of Hell, says St. John Chrysostom, discriminate between sinners.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   6. According to St. Thomas, God cannot suffer at the loss of souls, in so far as He is Divine; but this does not mean that God is unloving, cold or apathetic. We often equate emotion with the heart, but the fact is that the Word (Jesus), had as much love for souls prior to the Incarnation (even though He could not then suffer at their loss), as He did at the moment of, and subsequent to, the Incarnation. (I say “at the moment of” because some mystics believe that Jesus suffered from birth.) We know that Jesus suffered intensely at the loss of souls. Consider that Jesus wept; consider His sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. Furthermore, many holy souls (e.g. St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Racconigi, Ven. Anne of St. Bartholomew) say that Our Lord suffered inexpressibly at the loss of souls. Others (e.g. St. Bridget, Bl. Battista Varani) add that Our Lord would willingly, if it were possible (i.e. in accordance with His justice) suffer again everything that He suffered to save evenone of the damned! What love! These are great mysteries, indeed, but they are mysteries that should fill us with confidence rather than doubt.

7. It is impossible, in principle, for us to consent to our creation; we must first exist in order to give consent. I believe, however, that you already know this and that you were merely saying something like: ‘Why doesn’t God give us a chance to choose to continue existing?’ I would say this: God created us for union with Him, the Sovereign Good, Who, as the Source of all perfection, is alone capable of satisfying the desires of our intellects, our wills and our hearts. In a word, God “alone can fill the heart of man” (as He said to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi). Subsequently, our creation isintrinsically good; whether or not we acknowledge the objective Good for which (of for Whom) we have been created is another issue. Our Lord reputedly said the following to Bl. Alexandrina, who suffered from the stigmata and endured terrible sufferings for the conversion of sinners: “I have died for them, and they say they did not ask me to do so… In order to save them, I select certain souls and lay the cross on their shoulders. Happy the soul who understands the value of suffering! My cross is sweet if carried for love of me.” I certainly won’t argue with my existence. I try to follow St. Crescentia, who, when confronted with the thought of predestination, reasoned thus: “God is infinitely good; He is never the first to depart. It is His peculiar property to be ever merciful and to spare. Yes, He is my hope and my salvation.”

8. If Jesus is God, then any mystery pertaining to our salvation should be seen in the light of revealed truth. Scripture says, for example: ‘Thou art just, O Lord: and thy judgement is right.’ (Ps. 119: 137). We may doubt this if we wish, preferring to trust in our own intellect, but ultimately we have no good reason to do so – especially considering that our reason is only a reliable source if God, Who created our intellects, is true.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     9. In relation to the small number of the Elect, we must remember that this is not dogma. While it seems very likely that a relatively small number are saved (out of the total of mankind), this does not tell us how many are damned. The large number of unbaptized children, for example, who die every day are not included in the number of those who are damned, properly speaking. The Council of Florence says that unbaptized infants go to Hell, but – and this cannot be emphasised enough – the Church is here referring to the loss of the Beatific Vision; for the Church elsewhere teaches that only those who die in mortal sin go to the Hell of the damned. (I do not wish to discuss the exact or ultimate fate of these souls. Ultimately, God is all-good either way; at the very least, these souls will experience a state of natural happiness, as St. Thomas, St. Alphonsus and many others have explained).

Some final quotes (revelations):

Our Lady to St. Bridget: “It would be great audacity to ask why God made his people suffer so much or why there can be eternal punishment, given that a life in sin cannot last forever. It would be as great audacity as to try to reason out and comprehend the eternity of God. God is eternal and incomprehensible. His justice and recompensation is eternal; his mercy is beyond understanding.” (Book 3, Ch 30)

St. Mechtilde: ‘O my sole Beloved, what do you desire that men should know of you?’
Jesus: ‘My goodness and My justice: My goodness which makes Me wait for man so mercifully until he is converted, to which I continually attract him by My grace; but, if he absolutely refuses to be converted, My justice demands his damnation.’

Jesus to Sr. Consolata: “If only you knew how I suffer when I must dispense justice. You see, My Heart needs to be comforted; It wishes to dispense mercy, not justice!”

Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata: “To exercise Justice is for Me to go against the current; it does violence to Me… The door of My justice, on the contrary, is shut and locked; and I open it only to him who compels Me to do so; but I never open it spontaneously.”

Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina (October 1, 1954):

“I want you to set fire to the world with this love of my Divine Heart, today extinguished in men’s hearts. Set fire! Set fire!

I want to give my love to all men. I want to be loved by all.

They do not accept it and do not love me.”

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

A Beautiful Revelation For Every Christian (Pt. 2)

“I am perfect love, for all the things which I have done from eternity, I did out of love; and, whatsoever I do or shall do in the future, likewise proceeds and will proceed from My love. My love for man is now as great and incomprehensible as it was at the time of My Passion, when, out of exceeding love, I delivered all the elect by My death. And, if it were possible for Me to die as many times as there are souls in Hell, I would with most prompt will and most perfect charity give up My Body, and would endure for each soul the same Passion and Death that I endured for all.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget

The holy Benedictine, Fr. Paul of Moll, was often lost in ecstasy when he spoke about the love of God, to the extent that he would sometimes be raised off the ground for ten minutes or so; his face often radiated with an indescribable brightness, and an aureole surrounded his head. This holy priest knew well the love of God, which can bestow on us no greater blessing than transforming us into saints; the saints are partakers in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) to a remarkable degree, and for all eternity the Heavenly Father will be glorified by them to the degree that they resemble His Son. If we were to consider, even infrequently, the infinite desire that God has for our salvation, we would better be able to appreciate the value and purpose of trials, sufferings and temptations of all sorts. The cross is truly a blessing beyond compare. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, the holy lay-sister of the Visitation Order, was accustomed to adoring the holy will of God in all things. With God’s grace, we can do the same. 

If we truly desire to please Jesus and to save our souls, as well as many others, we must ask daily for the gift of divine love. This is a treasure beyond compare; It alone can transform this fallen world.

Deo Gratias!

Fear Of Hell? … Consolation For The Doubtful

“Perfect charity casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18).

When Our Lord asked Sr. Benigna Consolata, a “little soul”, to meditate on Hell, He assured her that they would do so in an atmosphere of love. We will do the same (very briefly), though we will not go into specifics about that dreadful place. (Many would profit, however, by considering their last end, as the saints did so regularly).

 “I counsel you to have always two thoughts in your heart; first, the remembrance of what I have done for you in suffering and dying; this thought will excite love of God; secondly, the consideration of My justice, and the future judgment; this will strike fear* into your soul.”

Our Lord to St. Bridget

*A confident fear i.e. a fear of offending God’s love, whereby we run the risk of losing that immense privilege. “Confidence and fear of God go together like two sisters.” (St. Padre Pio)

God is infinite love; His goodness never changes. Hell is the necessary consequence of a rejection of infinite love. Certainly sin is to be feared (because sin alone sends one to Hell), and there is a natural horror that arises when we reflect on the sufferings of the damned. But we must remember, first and foremost, that God is goodness itself, and all His judgements are true, loving and just:

“The works of God are perfect, and all his ways are judgments: God is faithful and without any iniquity, he is just and right.”

– Deuteronomy 42:4 

God does not demand the impossible (i.e. that we feel a certain way about His judgements), but 

HE DOES ASK THAT WE ACKNOWLEDGE HIS GOODNESS IN ALL THINGS. 

This pleases Him greatly. From my own experience I can say confidently- though without certainty- that He will reward you with a greater peace and confidence if you leave your fears and doubts to Him (despite your feelings), acknowleding His sovereign, unchanging goodness. St. Gertrude was wont to do this, and she was very pleasing to Our Lord, Who often filled her soul with immense consolations, which are but a foretaste of Heaven.

Mary: A Perfect Role Model

Consider the faith and love of Mary, the Mother of God and our spiritual Mother. According to many saints and mystics, Mary frequently experienced profound raptures of love, in which she was at times lifted from the ground (a phenomenon that can be found in the lives of the saints e.g. St. Joseph Cupertino, St. Padre Pio, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Gerard Majella, Bl. Mariam etc.). Mary also knew the justice of God well; the number of the saved was even revealed to her (though we are not given to know this number). Although Mary was well aware of the justice of God, she did not doubt God’s goodness. She did not waste time trying to reconcile God’s judgements with His acts of mercy. What profit is there in this? We are assured that (perfect) “charity casteth out fear”; knowledge does not cast out fear. We are incapable of conceiving even a faint notion of God’s infinite goodness. The prison of Hell that God has reserved for those who persevere in sin, is far more perfect than the justice exercised in our earthly prisons. It is humility to believe this, because “humility is truth” (St. Padre Pio).

Let us humbly accept all trials, including those that confuse and unsettle us, as coming from the hands of Our Heavenly Father. The love and wisdom of God directs all things to good., Who knows better than we do what will be most conducive to our eternal welfare and ultimate happiness!

A relevant anecdote

(Taken from ‘All For Jesus’ by Fr. Faber, a great spiritual writer)

When our Lord showed Sister Francesca of the Blessed Sacrament, a Spanish Carmelitess, the loss of a soul, and several times in a vision compelled her positively to study the separate tortures of that place*, He upbraided her for weeping: “Francesca! why weepest thou?” She fell prostrate at His sacred feet, and said, “Lord! for the damnation of that soul, and the manner in which it has been damned.” He vouchsafed to reply, “Daughter! it hath chosen to damn itself; I have given it many helps of grace that it might be saved, but it would not profit by them. I am pleased with your compassion, but I would have you rather love My justice.” (*We are not all called to do the same; this was not the way of St. Therese, for example).

What must we do to be saved?

“Do the will of God in the present moment.” – Mother Angelica

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“I love souls madly; they must not be lost.”

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– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez