“Virtue consists above all in…”

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“… the mortification of one’s own will [Sir. 18:30].

It consists of concealing, as far as possible, from the eyes of men, the works that you do [Mt. 6:4].

The true servant of God is content to know that his services are known to the Heavenly Father.

You must prepare yourselves to receive all things, evil as well as good, with an equal resignation and even with gaiety of heart [Deut. 30:15; Phil. 4:4].

Be good, therefore, and charitable to your neighbour [Mk. 12:31];

be humble and patient in yourselves [Lk. 21:19].”

– Jesus to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi (p. 52, ‘Wife, Mother and Mystic,’ by Albert Bessieres, S.J., TAN Books)

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Aspirations: An Easy Way to Attain Holiness and Joy

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“There is nothing better than the practice of aspirations, steadily growing in number.”

– Fr. William Doyle

Fr. Faber, in his fantastic work, ‘All for Jesus,’ writes that ejaculatory prayer “… was the chief practice of the Fathers of the Desert, by which they raised themselves to such heights of sanctity.” This can hardly be disputed; for prayer elevates the heart to God – and union with God is the essence of sanctity.

Ejaculations (or aspirations) are simply short prayers, “short, ardent movements of the heart,” which can be recited with one’s lips or prayed in one’s heart. St. Francis de Sales says that “the great fabric of devotion leans upon this exercise.” “No one,” he says, “can be excused from making this practice because it can be made while coming and going about one’s business.”

The Saints and Aspirations

Many of the Saints made frequent use of aspirations; this fact should be sufficient to incline us towards this pious exercise. Among the Saints who made frequent use of aspirations, we may include the following: St. Paul of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Alphonsa, St. Therese, St. Gertrude, St. Leonard of Port Maurice and St. Bartholomew. We may also add Bl. Mariam, Sr. Benigna Consolata, Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, Fr. William Doyle, Sr. Consolata Betrone and many others to this list!

The Necessity of Aspirations

“Without this exercise,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “we cannot properly lead the contemplative life, and we can but poorly lead the active life.” It is principally in prayer – especially in silent contemplation, which is “mother of the wisest thoughts” (St. Diadochus) – that the heart and mind are elevated to God.

“Elevate thy heart to God by continual acts of love.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata (d. 1916)

Without frequent prayer, the mind wanders and the heart follows suit. Conversely, if we make a habit of addressing frequent aspirations to God, the consuming fire of His Love will descend into our poor hearts and minds, enlighten and inflame them, and divinize the least of our actions, giving them incomparable value. By means of frequent aspirations, God will unite Himself to us ever more intimately!

“I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My Heart… When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“It was only by constant practice,” says St. Robert Bellarmine, “that the saints obtained the spirit of prayer.” St. Gertrude, for example, repeated the prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” three hundred and sixty-five times a day.

If we wish to save our souls, we should make a firm resolution to pray at least 100 or so aspirations every day. What could be easier? What better way to follow Our Lord’s injunction to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5:17)! “Without any constraint we may make scores of them in a day; and each one is more to God than a battle gained, or a scientific discovery, or a crystal palace, or a change of ministry, or a political revolution.” (Fr. Faber)

“The great work of our perfection,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “is born, grows, and maintains its life by means of two small but precious exercises – aspirations and spiritual retirement. An aspiration is a certain springing of the soul towards God, and the more simple it is, the more valuable. It consists in simply beholding what He is, and what He has done and is doing for us; and it should excite the heart, as a consequence, to acts of humility, love, resignation or abandonment, according to circumstances. Now, these two exercises have an incredible power to keep us in our duty, to support us in temptation, to lift us up promptly after falls and to unite us closely to God. Besides, they can be made at any time or place, and with all possible ease; therefore, they ought to be as familiar to us as the inspiration and expiration of air from our lungs.”

Seven Fruits of Aspirations

“Many of these ejaculations are indulgenced, and thus the same little brief sentence will:

  1. Gain merit
  2. Impetrate grace
  3. Satisfy for sin
  4. Glorify God
  5. Honour Jesus and His Mother
  6. Convert sinners
  7. Soothe with substantial indulgence the Holy souls in Purgatory.

Can we do nothing more for Jesus in this respect than we have done hitherto?” (Fr. Faber)

Our Lord said to Sr. Consolata Betrone that if she would focus her attention on loving Him, He would take care of everything in her life; He would guide her, keep her from grave sin, inspire her with the right words… everything! The same promise was given by Jesus to St. Margaret Mary, who, after having made a complex vow of perfection, was assured by Our Lord that if she directed her attention to loving Him, He would see to it that she satisfies her vows. “[Y]ou will satisfy all by loving Me without reserve,” He said.

“I want you,” writes Fr. William Doyle, “to stick to two things: the aspirations and the tiny acts of self -conquest… Two wings by which we can fly to God and become saints: the habit of little tiny acts of self-denial and the habit of making a definite fixed number of aspirations every day… As regards counting the aspirations, if you really find that it is a strain on your tired head, give up the practice.”

Some Aspirations of the Saints

“My beloved and despised Redeemer, how sweet it is to suffer for You.” – St. Alphonsus

“Do with me, O Lord, as you will and know to be best.” – St. Philip Neri

“O my Lord! O Divine Goodness! when wilt Thou give me the grace to be entirely Thine, and to love only Thee?” – St. Vincent de Paul

“Have mercy on me. O Jesus, have mercy on me!” – St. Leonard of Port Maurice

“My Jesus, mercy!” – St. Leonard, St. Gemma Galgani, Bl. Mariam etc.

“My God and my all!”  – St. Francis of Assisi

Some Aspirations from Heaven

Our Lord revealed the following aspirations to Berthe Petit, St. Faustina, Sr. Consolata Betrone, and Yvonne-Aimee, respectively.

“Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!”

“Jesus, I trust in You!”

“Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save souls!”

“O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy!”

“The act of love also has value

because it eliminates from the spiritual life so many Marthas,

their being ‘turbaris erga plurima’ (troubled about many things).” (Lk. 10:41)

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone

 

 

17 Lessons/Revelations on How to Love

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“I shall make use of thee to communicate Myself to My creatures, and to make known to them My Will.”
– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

How to Love God (How to be Holy)

*The following revelations are taken from incredible biography of Sr. Benigna Consolata:

https://archive.org/details/sisterbenignacon00como

Look at Jesus

  1. “Keep thy eye fixed on God.”

Imitate Jesus

  1. “Now, in what does sanctity consist ? In becoming as far as possible the living image of thy Spouse. Copy Me, copy Me constantly, and therefore have the eyes of thy soul ever fixed upon thy Jesus.”

God’s Word

  1. “They should live off the Gospel, as they live on the air, on light, on food…”

Docility

  1. “I know what is good for thee; let Me act.”

Abandonment

  1. “Thou art walking in obscurity, it is true; but thou art not alone, I am with thee; abandon everything to me then, like a poor blind person who trusts in the guide with perfect confidence.”

Confidence in God

  1. “Confidence in thy Jesus, who loves thee so much, a loving confidence, a boundless confidence.”

Recollection

  1. “Have an affection for recollection, silence and solitude; every beginning is difficult, especially when there is question of practicing virtue; but do not be afraid; thou shalt become strong through My grace, provided thou bury thy littleness in My Mercy.”

Charity in Words

  1. “Let thy words be a perfume of sweetness.”

Perseverance

  1. “One Ave Maria said without sensible fervor, but with a pure will in time of aridity, has much more value in My eyes, than an entire Rosary recited in the midst of consolations. Write this for the comfort of souls.”

The Cross

  1. “The most precious gift I can make to My friends is that of the Cross. I send to the soul what costs it most, what it dreads most; this is the best means of making it advance.”

Annihilation

  1. “My Benigna, I am going to explain this great word, annihilation. Annihilation means death. A thought comes which pleases thee ; banish it, forget it, and it is the death of that thought; sacrifice a desire, and it is the death of that desire; when thou hast a will to do something and renouncest it, it is the death of that will; every act of death is an act of life, because the moment thou diest to nature thou livest to God.”

Humility

  1. “Humility will lead thee never to judge anyone; humility will lead thee to regard thyself as the servant of all; humility will lead thee ever to accuse thyself. When a soul has been introduced by Love into this profound abyss of humility, she walks securely and makes progress, for nothing can stop her.”

Repentance

  1. “My Benigna, thou knowest a little thorn may make a great rent, but if one is careful to take it out immediately, it leaves scarcely a trace. When thou art afraid of having displeased me, say at once; My Jesus, if I have offended thee in anything, grant me the grace to repair it; and deign to enlighten me that another time I may better accomplish thy will.”

Praise

  1. “Praise God always for all the benefits I have bestowed upon thee.”

Love

  1. “Elevate thy heart to God by continual acts of love.”

Purity

  1. “Intention most pure of pleasing God in all thou doest, in all thou sayest, in all thou thinkest, in all thou desirest.”

Sacrifice

  1. (On June 13, 1915, the Feast of the Sacred Heart) Sr. Benigna Consolata writes: ‘He said to me in a sweet, sad tone: “My Benigna, give me souls!” The plaintive words of my Adorable Master moved me profoundly. — How shall I give Thee souls, my Jesus? — “By sacrifices,” He responded.’

Be Happy? Be SAVED? …Be ye perfect!

‘Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.’

(Mt. 5:48)

Jesus came to save sinners (Luke 19:10), and to give us [supernatural] life in abundance (Jn. 10:10). To attain such life we must remain united to Him – Who is Life Itself (Jn. 14:6) – by charity (1 Jn. 4:16), which knows neither limit, nor rest.

If we wish to remain united to God, therefore, we must advance in love and holiness. ‘In the way of truth you should never pause, but should always walk forward with great strides, because My Word [Jesus] is not only your Way, He is also your Guide.’ (The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi).

God desires our salvation ardently. He warns us, therefore, that the lukewarm are in danger of losing God’s grace and, in the end, their souls (Rev. 3:16). This truth is proclaimed by Scripture, the Church, the early Fathers, the Saints, and all credible mystics. Sadly, there are many today who teach or believe the contrary; they believe in a “new Gospel,” an “easy Gospel,” which hinders many from aspiring to charity, “without which no man is saved” (St. Robert Bellarmine).

St. Alphonsus relates the following story (from ‘True Spouse of Jesus Christ’): “Blessed Erric Suson, in the vision of the rocks described in his life, (vita cap. 12,) seeing a great many on the first rock, asked who they were. Jesus Christ answered: ‘These are the tepid who only seek to avoid mortal sin.’ The holy man then asked if they should be saved. ‘If,’ replied the Redeemer, ‘they die in the state of grace, they shall be saved: but their danger is much greater than they imagine. They think they can serve God and the senses; but this is scarcely possible: for, it is exceedingly difficult to persevere in the grace of God, and at the same time to indulge in sensual pleasures.’”

Thanks be to God for revealing to us this obstacle to happiness and eternal salvation! It is not difficult to love One Who loves us perfectly, and Who desires only our good. Frequent prayer and meditation (e.g. accompanied by spiritual reading) will keep our hearts set on Jesus, Who gives His love to all those who ask of it (Rev. 21:6).

 ‘My child, as long as you look at Me, you will love Me; as long as you look at Me, you will serve Me; when you do not look at Me, you will not follow Me.’

(Our Lord said to His servant, Armelle)

 “I desire to see another Myself on earth… Begin generously to be faithful to Me; look at Me, never take your eyes from Me, and thus you will copy Me perfectly.”

(Jesus to Bl. Mary Magdalen Martinengo)

If we give Jesus our good-will, He will take care of us. We cannot expect to become saints in a day, as St. Philip Neri says. 

‘To those who begin to wear My yoke, and who are making efforts, I will give My grace. With those who bear My burden – that is to say who try day by day for love of Me to advance in the way of perfection – I will work, I will be their strength, I will inflame them with love so that they may desire Me still more.’

(Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden)

We Must Always Aspire to Greater Love

“In the spiritual life,” says St. Padre Pio, “one must always go on pushing ahead and never go backwards; if not, the same thing happens as to a boat which when it loses headway gets blown backwards with the wind.” If we remain docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit, we will arrively safely at the port of salvation.

 ‘The soul cannot remain motionless; if she does not go forward, she goes back. When you advance in virtue, you give up the imperfection of fear. When you do not attain to love, you turn backwards.’

(The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena)

 ‘Every soul in a state of grace loses ground if she does not incessantly endeavour to develop that grace within her.’

(Jesus to St. Margaret of Cortona)

God is infinitely Good; He is Goodness Itself, containing all good things. What greater gift, then, can He grant us than the grace to grow in charity, which unites us to Him and makes us holy and happy, both here and hereafter?! Listen to these words of Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary:

‘I am a jealous God. The more I love a soul, the more I exact from it; it can never give Me enough; and this comes from My ardent love for it.’

If God asks much of us, it is because He desires to give us much! Never forget this consoling truth! 

Generosity Makes Holiness Sweet and Easy

If we desire simply to love God and bear every Cross for the love of Him, we will advance rapidly in holiness, which will soon become delightful to us.

 “Carefully note these words of the Holy Ghost, My child: ‘They shall walk and not faint; they shall run and not be weary’ (Isaiah 40, 31). They mean that it is easier and less tiresome to run and fly rapidly than to go slowly forward, because in the spiritual life there is nothing more wearisome than slowness and laziness.”

(The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi)

The Greater Our Love, the Greater Our Reward in Heaven 

Almighty God is both just and merciful, ‘Who will render to every man according to his works’ (Rom 2:6). 

 ‘The measure of your love for Me now, while you are on earth, shall be the measure of your love in Heaven.’

(Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary)       

 

A Beautiful Revelation For Every Christian

“Nothing has ever happened and nothing happens save by the plan of My divine Providence. In all things that I permit, in all things that I give you, in tribulations and in consolations, temporal or spiritual, I do nothing save for your good, so that you may be sanctified in Me and that My Truth be fulfilled in you.”

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

These words are actually addressed to all. God loves us so much that He wants us to become holy. The greatest gift God can give us is to make us like His Son, Jesus. Even when God corrects us, He does so with the intention of bringing us to His Heavenly Kingdom. The more we let the Holy Spirit (His Love) act within us, the more pleasure we give to God, the more of His love we receive, the more merit we receive (which will be rewarded eternally in Heaven), and the more God can use us to bring souls to Him!

“Sanctity is to allow Me to live in you, and it is I who bring it to pass within you. It is to give Me your human nature so that I may live on among you.” – Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity