6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love

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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 +

Offer Your Indulgences for the Poor Souls in Purgatory!

The Poor Souls in Purgatory suffer intensely, and they desperately need our help! One could quote many a Saint, Doctor of the Church, private revelation, and so on, confirming this fact; but the following consideration will suffice:

St. Teresa of Avila, while yet a pilgrim on earth, was overcome with such an intense longing for God that this constituted for her a veritable torture. Our Lord told her that this thirst for Himself – a manifestation of His intimate union with a soul – would be her Purgatory on earth, comparing her suffering and purification to gold in the furnace! (Perhaps you have read about the very “Purgatorial” sufferings of St. Catherine of Genoa?)

While it is true that Purgatory has varying types and degrees of punishments, the truth remains that there are many souls there who are literally burning with desire to see God face to Face, but who can do nothing to ease their pain. This is up to us. It is such an easy way to practice a very high form of charity! Also, the dividends are enormous… but that is secondary.

If Bl. John Massias released 1.2 million souls from Purgatory, we can at least hope to release a few souls! If St. John Vianney said that an aspiration (i.e. a short prayer, such as “My Jesus, mercy!”) often *saved* a soul, surely our prayers for the poor souls will not be in vain.

As you may know, the Church possesses the Keys to an Infinite Treasury of graces. Consider the Sacred Heart; consider the nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. “I am the Door,” said Jesus; yes, and He gave St. Peter (and, by extension, the Church) the Keys.

Indulgences, put simply, are the application of Christ’s merits to a soul; they are a means of repairing the damage done by sin; they remit some or all of the temporal punishment that one is owing to God. Indulgences can be partial or plenary. It is definitely worth doing some more reading on the subject if you are not too familiar with it.

Since praying more seriously for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, my life has changed for the better. If you want to please Christ; if you want to console His aching members; if you want to amass a treasury of merits for Heaven; if you want many holy souls (and Heavenly friends) praying for you, then say many indulgenced prayers, and offer them all to Our Lady. As the Queen of Purgatory, she will distribute our indulgences in the best way possible.

“Father Faber, in his beautiful book “All for Jesus,” enumerates six advantages which accrue to us, from our giving over our Indulgences to the
holy souls in Purgatory.

1. First, it considerably increases our merit, and consequently our claim to glory.
2. Next, it lays the soul that we release under a particular obligation to us, both because of the singular benefit it receives from entering all the sooner into glory, and also because of the tremendous sufferings from which it is delivered.
3. Moreover, it gives us the consolation to think that those, whom we have released from Purgatory, are doing for us in heaven the great work of loving, praising, and glorifying God on our behalf.
4. Again, it adds fresh joy to the Church triumphant, from the fact that to the heavenly hierarchy a new citizen is added who can sin no more, whilst to the Church militant it brings comfort from the gain she has made of a new advocate.
5. Besides, it secures a prompt application of our Indulgences, which, in the possible case that we were in no want of them for ourselves, might remain for many years buried in the treasury of the Church.
6. And last of all, it entitles us to a speedy discharge of our own debt in Purgatory; for, if temporal alms are satisfactory above most other good works, much more will spiritual alms be so. And if he who gives up anything for God receives a hundredfold, we may have a security that, to recompense us for our generosity, He will so deal with us, that we shall need little Purgatory, or He will inspire devout souls to
pray for us.”
(Taken from ‘Indulgences: Their Origin, Nature and Development’ by Alexius M. Lepicier)

“To become a saint it is sufficient to gain all the indulgences possible.”
– St. Alphonsus

A “Challenge for Lent” from God Himself!

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These beautiful, beautiful words are taken from the revelations of Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. September 1, 1916, on a First Friday), titled ‘Vademecum Proposed to Religious Souls.’ 

“How ravishing and consoling are the pages of the Vade Mecum,
first of the writings dictated by the Pious Author [Jesus], whom we invoke
by saying: Pie Jesu! The Canon Saudreau, our acknowledged Master
in Mysticism, writes me that he recognizes the accent of Our Lord,
as we recognize the accent of a traveler from a foreign land.”

– from her biography

It is my great pleasure to share these inspiring words with you on what is the 100th anniversary of the death of Sr. Benigna Consolata, my dear “little sister.” Ask for her intercession and you will come to love her; she is another Seraphic soul, like St. Gemma, St. Catherine of Siena or St. Francis of Assisi.

I pray that God will one day raise Sr. Benigna to the Altars! Please join me! Thy Will be done!

(Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, the day after the Feast of the Holy Face!)

Challenge for Lent

“If this Challenge, says Jesus, is practiced with love and a real desire to please and console Me, it will cause in the souls of My spouses no little progress in intimate converse with My Sacred Heart, and will lead them to a closer union with Me.

In the Order of the Visitation a Disfida or Challenge is a schedule of practices of virtue, given by the Superior to the Sisters at certain seasons, as Lent, Advent, and at the approach of great Feasts, as Christmas, Pentecost.

It will be the duty of My dear spouses, their sweetest duty, during Lent to keep Me special company in My Passion, by meditating more frequently on My sufferings, the price of the Redemption of man. Above all, they should be at this time so many other Veronicas destined by love to wipe My Divine Face.

Every Religious House, every one of My spouses, shall be as a studio, where in the solitude of her heart she shall keep the eyes of her mind, especially those of the heart, fixed upon My Divine Features. This will be a study made as much as possible in silence and recollection. The religious soul will be the linen, on which, according to her devotedness, I will stamp My Divine Lineaments. But to come to a more precise
understanding, continues Jesus, I will say that it is My intention to make of My dear spouses so many of My living photographs, so that each soul shall see in her Sisters, even in the exterior, this work of grace.

The Challenge will be concerned for the most part with interior practices, because it is chiefly the work of the heart; but to these you will add exterior practices also, especially those of charity, gentleness and humility, virtues which unite hearts most closely.

1. It is My desire that hearts should let themselves be penetrated with the salutary thought of My Passion just as a material is penetrated with oil which you drop softly upon it. This is an invitation of Love, without obligation; but it will please Me if the Meditation on My Passion is made at least once a day. For My spouses the thought of My Passion ought to be a bouquet of flowers, borne always upon their hearts.

2. I desire that each soul should keep Me loving company the whole day long, habituating herself to accompany Me in thought. It would be well to choose for this purpose two or three thoughts at the close of each meditation; these one may often recall and so the more easily maintain her union with Me.

3. As love is not satisfied to contemplate but longs also to imitate, therefore each religious soul should determine upon a practice for Lent, to which she shall devote herself with particular care, by seeking to copy Me more faithfully. For example, if she wishes she may take silence.

4. Now let us commence the exterior practices :

(a) To make every Friday of Lent the Via Crucis [Way of the Cross], or recite the little Crown of My Sacred Wounds. If this can be done in common, at least once, it will give Me pleasure.

(b) In order to wipe My Face, like so many other Veronicas, My spouses shall perform their actions in the best manner possible, not alone with the interior disposition, but also with exterior perfection. Purity of intention will be the whiteness of the linen, and fidelity and love in execution will be its delicate softness.

(c ) They will take away the thorns from My Head by trying with exquisite charity to spare their neighbor all the little thorns of difficulty and little inconveniences, taking these for their own portion as much as lies in their power.

Whoever would show Me more tender love will make it her duty to heal the wounds her
neighbor may have received on occasions, and this by some kind words full of the sweet balm of charity. As to the practice of humility and gentleness, let it be this: to imitate Veronica in her courage in passing across the soldiers to come near Me; the soul most generous in humiliating herself, especially in public, will be the one on
whom I shall more quickly and clearly impress My Divine Features.

Religious Soul, does this Challenge please thee? It is a gift of My Love, not only to the Religious Community, but also to other souls who live in the midst of the world, because it is equally in their power to observe it in some points.”

 

“All those who honour My Holy Face in a spirit of reparation, will, by so doing, perform the office of the pious Veronica.”

– Jesus to Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre (Sr. Mary of St. Peter), October 27, 1845

Prayer and Suffering

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“Be apostles, like him [St. Padre Pio, who modelled his life on the Divine Master], of prayer and suffering!”

– Pope St. John Paul II, addressing the “Servants of Suffering,” Dec 2, 2004

“You cannot conceive,” said Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez, “how great is the reparatory value of suffering.” Suffering, you see, nourishes and perfects love, and it is love alone that has any value in God’s eyes; it is love alone that save souls.

Do not think that “suffering” means unpleasantness. Quite the contrary. It may be the case that certain sufferings are unpleasant to bear; but our God is the God of joy. “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.” (Bl. Dom Columba Marmion) The Cross is necessary to perfect our love, which is the cause of our joy. Here is a simple formula to remember this truth:

  1. Charity (love) unites us to God, the Source of joy.
  2. Suffering nourishes and perfects love, thereby uniting us more intimately to God.
  3. Therefore suffering nourishes and perfects joy.

Bl. Charles de Foucauld, most likely moved by love and humility, sometimes felt guilty that he was the unworthy recipient of such intense joy. He wanted to suffer like and for his Saviour. But, like Bl. Charles, we must remember that joy is a fruit of love; we can no more refuse this gift of God than a flower can refuse its fruit.

‘And not only so; but we glory also in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience trial; and trial hope; And hope confoundeth not: because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.’ (Rom. 5:3-5)

If we suffer, let us praise God; if we experience joy, let us praise Him!

***

Joy is still compatible with sorrow; don’t think that our union with God can be measured by feelings:

https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/joy-in-the-spiritual-life-q-a/

***

“Prayer, all prayer,” says Servant of God Fr. John A. Hardon, “is always efficacious. But prayer takes on extraordinary power to win graces, for the one praying and for all mankind, when it is united with patient suffering.”

Next time you suffer or make a sacrifice – be it ever so little – do it for God alone (and by extension, for souls, who are so dear to Him). “God and souls.” (St. Faustina)

Some Powerful Quotes About Prayer and Suffering

“You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.” – Jesus to St. Faustina

 “… by it [suffering] many more souls are saved than by the best of sermons.” – Little St. Therese (on the day of her canonization) to Servant of God Teresa Neumann

“It is blindness to avoid pain even in very small things, for not only is it of great worth to ourselves, but it serves to guard many from the torments of Hell.” – Sr. Josefa Menendez

“You know that sin is an infinite offense and needs infinite reparation . . . that is why I ask you to offer up your sufferings and labors in union with the infinite merits of My Heart. You know that My Heart is yours. Take It, therefore, and repair by It.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

 

‘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)

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#5)

“I desire you not to abandon these three souls, those of your husband and your two children, because I wish them to be saved by your means.”

– Jesus to Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora

We should not be anxious over the thought of the “fate” of our loved ones. God loves them more than we do. We only love them because God gives us a share in His love for them. Rather than worry about what we cannot change, we should do what we can to obtain grace for them. The greatest means at our disposal are:

  1. Prayer
  2. Holiness (intimate union with God)
  3. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

“It is by love that one can overcome Almighty God; He is so sensitive to love that He can refuse us nothing.” (Fr. Paul of Moll). The Mass is LOVE.

‘… I am the God who becomes all for you in all things – in a word, all things that a loving soul can desire… And if she devotes herself to the good pleasure of My heart, I feel it necessary to conform Myself to the desire of hers.’

– Jesus to St. Gertrude

A Simple Way to “Pray Always”

OUR Lord said to the virgin Catherine [St. Catherine of Siena]: “The holy desire of the soul, that is to say, good-will, is a continual prayer, because it has the power of prayer. And, whatsoever man does for the love of God and of his neighbour, may be called prayer, since love is accounted as prayer.

Good-will and pious affections should, however, at certain seasons and hours, be raised to Me by actual devotion. Know, daughter, that the soul that perseveres in humble and faithful prayer, attains to all virtue.”

Source: https://archive.org/details/workslouisofbloi00bloiuoft (‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois)

Jesus Asks His Spouses to Pray for Priests

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Priests have a sublime vocation. They are called to be “other Christs” in a very special way. Without them, there would be no Sacraments, which are for the faithful, a perpetual source of grace, hope and sanctity.

No priest = no Mass; and the Mass is the greatest gift that we can offer to Almighty God!

“All the praise, the love, the veneration, the worship, the thanksgiving, which Christ presents to the ever-blessed Trinity in every Mass far transcends all the praise of the angels, the adoration of the saints, so far, indeed, that were all the penances, the prayers, the good works of apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all saints offered to the Holy Trinity they would be less pleasing to the Divine Majesty than one single Mass.”

– Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem

(What incredible words! This single quotation alone should be reason enough to become Catholic!)

Today, perhaps more than ever, priests need our prayers. Many churches are close to empty; priests are mocked and ridiculed by the media and by countless individuals; many Catholics dissent from the Church’s teaching; and there is a tidal wave of liberal theology and modernism that has infiltrated our seminaries. These are just some of the difficulties facing priests today.

St. Thomas, along with St. Alphonsus and many others, teaches that a religious is bound to strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. It is especially incumbent upon us, then, to pray for priests, that they might fulfil their priestly duties.

“Very well, if you want to save souls, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.”

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.’ (Mt 9:38)

By praying and offering sacrifices to God that He might give us holy priests, we are exercising the virtues of faith, hope and love; we are demonstrating mercy, which will attract many graces from God, both now and at the final judgement; we are contributing towards the salvation of our own soul, as well as the souls of our brothers and sisters; we are making God better known and better loved; and we are fulfilling one of our many grave duties as children of the Most High.

Know for certain that those who disrespect priests, disrespect Christ; and those who love priests, love Christ.

“I will men to respect them [priests], not for themselves but for Me, because of the authority I have given them and the dignity with which they are clothed. I do not want this respect to decrease even if their virtue decreases… I have given them to you that they may be angels of the world and your light. If they are not all this, you ought to pray for them and not judge them, but let Me judge them Myself. I desire to be able to show them mercy through your prayers.

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

 ‘People do not pray enough for priests. I have graces reserved for them which I will give them if people ask for them… These are not graces indispensable to their ministry; nevertheless if they possessed these graces they would do more good and souls would benefit greatly thereby.’ 

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

In his classic book on Purgatory, Fr. Schouppe tells us that “It was revealed to St. Bridget that he who delivers a soul from Purgatory has the same merit as if he delivered Jesus Christ Himself from captivity.” (p. 217). These are amazing words; yet how many of us actually offer prayers, alms, sacrifices, or the Holy Mass (the supreme sacrifice!) for the Holy Souls?

Our Lord said to a particular Blessed that the number of souls in Purgatory is “beyond the thought of man.” In other words, throughout the earth’s history, a vast number of souls have died who were neither in a state of unrepented mortal sin, nor in a state sufficiently pure to enter Heaven immediately.

Purgatory makes a lot of sense if you think about it. There is little use in denying it, or in clinging to theology that is at odds with this grand truth – a truth which is confirmed by the Church Fathers, the Saints, Holy Scripture, and countless experiences in the lives of the Saints.

According to the Church and all her Saints, we can easily assist the souls in Purgatory. It is so simple, and in return for our generosity, the Holy Souls, whose prayers are extraordinarily powerful with God, will obtain for us all kinds of favours! (The doctrine of the Communion of Saints should be studied assiduously by those who doubt this.)

Given that Our Lord accepts our acts of charity towards others as acts of charity towards Him, it is extremely profitable, beautiful and loving for us to pray for the souls in Purgatory. “Of all prayers,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, “the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual.”

Only we can help them. Our Lord desires that we pray for them (as does Our Lady). He frequently asked St. Gertrude, Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, and a host of other privileged souls, to pray for the Holy Souls. We must do the same! How can we let a day go by without helping our dear departed brothers and sisters in Christ, who require so little from us, yet so often receive nothing?! “Do unto others…” (I need not finish this Scripture)

Some things we can do to help the Holy Souls are:
1. Pray for them (especially the Holy Rosary)
2. Offer our indulgences for them (the prayer ‘My Jesus, mercy!’, for example, receives a partial indulgence when recited by one who is in a state of grace)
3. Give alms or make acts of charity on their behalf (i.e. apply to the Holy Souls the merit of our actions)
4. Offer sacrifices for them (e.g. our sufferings, even the slightest)
5. Offer the Mass for the Holy Souls (this is the most powerful means for releasing the Holy Souls. By means of the Mass, the Saints released thousands of souls from Purgatory, according in part to the degree of their fervour and faith.)

If our knowledge of the pains of Purgatory is too vague, it is to be feared that we will forget about the Holy Souls, and we will soon forget to pray for them. Consider, then, these words of Our Lord to Bl. Battista Varani: “There is no difference between the pains of hell and of purgatory, only that the first are eternal, while the latter endure but for a time…” Nevertheless, we must also remember that “… the souls in purgatory remain there willingly, resigned and contented, suffering in peace, and returning thanks to the justice of God.”

Like St. Gertrude, may we pray fervently and frequently for the Holy Souls, and may we encourage others to do the same, so that one day, Our Lord might repeat to us the words He addressed to His dear spouse, Gertrude: “Fear not, My child; by your charity to the dead, you have increased the sum of your merits, and not only do you possess enough to expiate your slight faults, but you have earned a high degree of glory. My mercy will reward your devotion to the holy souls, and you will soon be with me in Paradise, to be rewarded a hundredfold for all you have done for them.”

A Sure Way to Convert Sinners, Even in their Final Moments!

“My Heart loves each soul infinitely.”

– Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger

Nothing pleases Our Lord more than the salvation of souls. He came from Heaven to seek us. Each soul is extremely dear to Him. He makes use of the members of His Mystical Body to convert sinners, even at the hour of death:

“This is a brief hour in which God has secretly saved many a soul that to all appearances had been lost. I never saw a case where this happened to a person who had not done something good with a well-intentioned will.” – Mechtilde of Magdeburg

The Sacred Heart thrills with joy and Heaven rejoices when a sinner returns to God. How beautiful it is to bring souls to God!

God asks for your help:

“During My human life on earth, I could do no more for the salvation and sanctification of souls; and since that time, I have wished to continue the work of redemption through My life in souls. Pray and intercede with My Divine Father. Intercede, that means praying earnestly, praying untiringly, praying with certainty of being given what you are asking. Pray and intercede!” – Jesus to Bl. Dina

Our Lord revealed to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez, that confident and persevering prayer generally obtains the conversion of the souls for whom we pray; if they reject the graces offered, someone else receives them. Prayer, therefore, is never in vain! Also, Our Lord revealed to St. Gertrude that He converts souls in His own time; He alone knows when they will best be disposed to accept His grace.

The Precious Blood

The Precious Blood of Jesus is the price of our salvation. It is a gift of infinite value, perfectly pleasing to God the Father. Few souls know this, but the Precious Blood is God’s gift to us! This has been confirmed by theologians and Saints e.g. St. Mechtilde and St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi.

The following words ought to encourage us to pray for the conversion of sinners, even in their final moments. The prayers suggested (in italics) are remarkably powerful!

+ Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius): “God Himself has deigned to reveal to His friends that these [the following] words, suggested to the faithful when dying, or piously said by word, or in the mind, by those who are dying, are of wonderful efficacy; so much so that no one who has the Catholic faith* can perish, if, in his last moments, with a truly sincere heart, he humbly says these words to God, or devoutly accepts them in his own mind. [*We may confidently hope that the efficacy of this prayer extends to all those who sincerely wish to be united to Christ. “Invincible ignorance” and other doctrines come into play here.]

The following words, said in the hearing of the dying, are of great profit:

“O Lord God, I am that miserable one, whom Thou, in Thy fatherly love, didst create, and through the most ignominious death of Thine only-begotten Son didst redeem from the power of the enemy. Thou only hast power and dominion over me, and canst save me according to Thy immense mercy.”

+ Ven. Leo Dupont: “I must tell you at the same time one of my devotions, borrowed from St. Teresa, and I would beg you to adopt it for your own use whenever occasion offers. The saint, on hearing of the death of one of her old friends, exclaimed, ‘Lord, if in the course of my whole life I have done any good thing, apply it to this soul’; and at the same instant she understood that the beautiful soul for which she had interceded was ascending into Heaven.”

+ Our Lord to Sister Mary of St. Peter: “Ask My Father for as many souls as I shed drops of Blood during My Passion.” By asking for the Precious Blood to be poured out on souls we prevent Its being, as it were, spilled out on the ground in vain. In His mysterious Providence God has put the salvation of others in our hands: we must ask for it, and ask fervently and often.

+ One of the best means of participating in the graces and blessings of the Precious Blood is to offer It to the Eternal Father. “An offering,” says Father Faber, is “more than a prayer.” In prayer, we are the recipients, but when we make an offering, God vouchsafes to accept something from us. St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, when in ecstasy, once exclaimed:

“Every time a creature offers up the Blood by which he was redeemed, he offers a gift of infinite worth, which can be equalled by no other.”

God revealed the practice of making this offering to this Saintly Carmelite nun when He complained to her that so little effort is made in this world to disarm His Divine justice against sinners. Acting upon this admonition, she daily offered the Precious Blood fifty times for the living and the dead. She did this with so much fervour that God showed her on different occasions the numerous souls who had thereby been converted or delivered from Purgatory.

At another time when St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was in ecstasy, she saw all the holy patrons of the city of Florence [accompanied by innumerable other saints], before the throne of God interceding for sinners. Their petitions, however, remained unanswered. Then the guardian Angels of the poor sinners approached, but their prayers likewise remained unheard. Next came the multitudes of the blessed to make intercession for the guilty souls. While imploring God’s mercy, they were intent at the same time upon offering to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood, and on account of the merits of the Divine Blood, their petitions were granted. Ought not these examples incite us to offer the Precious Blood frequently during the day?

+ Precious Blood Offering: “ETERNAL Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, in satisfaction for my sins, in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church [especially for the soul of (Name)].” – The Raccolta, 188

+ In order to obtain special graces through the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to offer It in our stead. This advice is given us by many devout servants of God, in particular by St. John Vianney [the Cure of Ars] who says that this is the best method of prayer. He furthermore adds: “My children, mark this well: whenever I obtained some grace, it was obtained in this manner, which I never found to fail.”

We can make this offering many times a day. We can use these words:

“IMMACULATE Heart of Mary, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of sinners, especially [Name].”

+ St. Gertrude’s writings are replete with most beautiful sentiments concerning the Precious Blood. To St. Mechtilde Our Lord once revealed Himself on the altar, with hands extended and Blood streaming from His Wounds:

“I show these bleeding Wounds to My Father to appease His wrath. He pardons when He sees the Blood.”

Sources: ‘Glories of the Precious Blood’ (TAN publishers); ‘A Book of Spiritual Instruction’ by Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius); ‘The Life of Leon Papin-Dupont, The Holy Man of Tours’