Infinite Wealth? At What Cost?

“The poorer one is [in spirit], the more the indescribable riches of Christ will find their place in us. When we acknowledge and admit our misery, His generosity is very great.”

– Bl. Dom Columba Marmion (Union with God, Thibaut 1938, p. 156)

In Richard kelly’s movie, ‘The Box‘ (2009), a curious-looking man comes knocking on the door of a middle-class family. He is holding a box with a button inside. The couple let the man in to their house, and he explains to them that, if they are willing to press the button, they will receive one million dollars. The catch? Someone, somewhere, will die. (That is the gist; I won’t explain the whole plot).

The movie raises some very interesting philosophical questions. But even more intriguing, in my mind, are the spiritual implications that come to the fore when confronted with the question: ‘Can evil be committed in order to bring about good?’ Or put differently: ‘Does the end justify the means (if the means is evil)?’

So, how does this question relate to the spiritual life? Consider this real-life example: A man is tempted to evade paying taxes; he owes the government a few thousand dollars, but if he “pockets” some of his cash, and doesn’t inform the government, he will save a few quid/bob/bucks/Benjamins/whatever!

What does the man do? Suppose he takes the money; this would be an illegal and immoral act (the two are not necessarily the same!). Materially, he is guilty of mortal sin. If he acted with sufficient knowledge and consent, he is guilty of formal mortal sin (because the matter is grave).

Is this not the height of insanity? Whereas in ‘The Box,’ the couple are offered one million dollars for the life of another [an unspeakable evil, no doubt], in the aforementioned example, the man is “offered” a few thousand dollars for the “price” of his own soul! Recall that every mortal sin makes us a slave to the Devil, and until we give up our sin, we are heading towards eternal damnation.

That is a sobering thought, but it is must be known. If we are tempted to sin mortally, remember that the Devil can promise us nothing of true or lasting worth; he is all smoke and mirrors – pun intended. Pun regretted.

A Positive Look at Spiritual Riches

On a more positive note, we should consider that, for every little act of love, there is an eternal reward (if we are in a state of sanctifying grace, the seed of supernatural fruits).

“What are all the sorrows of earth, said a deceased Visitandine in a vision to Sr. Marie-Catherine Putigny, “compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!”

Going back to ‘The Box,’ imagine the the same basic plot, but instead of being offered money, you were offered eternal joy (which often spills into earth); and instead of coming at the cost of another person’s life, the gift came by sincerely asking for it. Who would say no?

Has Our Lord not put Himself at our disposal? Is He not the Source of all riches? “What more do you want? Am I not with you?” (Jesus to Mother Anne Margaret Clement)

People spend the greater part of their lives in pursuit of frivolous pleasures, when, all the while, Our Lord offers His grace to us at every moment. Whether we be poor or rich, sinful or virtuous, He offers us His friendship, His peace, His joy, and ultimately, Himself.

‘Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.’ (Mt. 6:19-20)

Our Treasure is in the Sacred Heart

“Learn for thine own benefit, and teach it to others, that to obtain solid virtue it must be soughtin the Heart of Jesus- Whoever wishes to be saved has only to take refuge in this Blessed Ark whence he can look out upon the tempest without being shaken by its fury. O beloved spouse, discover to all the place of refuge thou hast chosen for thy perpetual Abode; do Me this charity to teach it to other souls that they may come and find Me. I have immense treasures of grace for all: and whoever comes to Me shall be overwhelmed with them.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata (March 12, 1905)

“I am an infinite treasure which My Father has placed at the disposal of all. They who reject Me will comprehend their misfortune only in Eternity. I love men; I love them tenderly as My dear brethren; although there is an infinite distance between them and Me, I make no account of it.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

Dear Jesus, hide me in you Sacred Heart, which was pierced for love of me! Never let me exit therefrom!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

 

 

 

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How to Attain Lasting Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seek Consolation In The Sacred Heart Of Jesus!

(The following words, taken from ‘Love, peace and joy: a month of the Sacred Heart according to St. Gertrude’, will be of immense profit to all those who put these words into practice. The fruits derived from this practice are so great that you might well wish the whole world knew these words.)

It seems, however, that the Heart of Jesus desires, above all, that we shall unite our sufferings to His, in order that He may communicate to them His infinite merits. There is nothing that He recommends so frequently. One day, when St. Mechtilde felt that her infirmities rendered her, as it were, useless in the service of God, Jesus said to her:

“Place all thy sufferings in My Heart, and I will give them the highest perfection for the utility of the whole Church. Even as My Divinity has united to itself the sufferings of My humanity, in order to make them Divine, so I wish to unite thy sufferings to Myself, in order to render them perfect.

Offer them to My love, saying: O Love, to Thee do I entrust my sufferings, with the same intention with which Thou hast brought them to me from the Heart of my God; and I beseech Thee, with my deepest gratitude, to receive them again when Thou hast given them their highest perfection. Thy heart will thus unite itself to the love which makes Me embrace the Cross with My whole Heart, and to the gratitude with which I thanked My Father for having permitted Me to suffer for those I love ; and even as My Passion has borne infinite fruits, both in Heaven and on earth, thy sufferings, even the most trivial, when united to My Passion, will bear such fruits that the citizens of Heaven will receive from them an increase of glory; the just an increase of grace; sinners their pardon; and the souls in Purgatory an alleviation of their pains.

What is there, in fact, that My Divine Heart cannot change for the better, since all that is precious in Heaven and on earth has its source in the goodness of My Heart?”

And why should not we also, in all, even the most trivial of our sufferings, assure to ourselves the incomparable fruits which union with the Heart of Jesus secured for our Saint? Why should not we also receive them with the love and gratitude which she drew from the Saviour’s Heart? It is so sweet and easy to do so! It is not a question of suffering more, but of suffering better, with more consolation and fruit. We have only to suffer all in union with the Heart of Jesus. May it be henceforth our habitual practice!

Is it not evident that if we thus place our trials in the Heart of Jesus, they will at once be greatly alleviated? On one occasion, as St. Mechtilde was praying for a person in affliction, Our Lord said to her:

“Let her, with childlike simplicity, bring all her troubles to Me; let her seek her consolation in My compassionate Heart, and I will never abandon her.”

“Jesus”, adds the Saint, “has bestowed on us the gift of His Heart, in order that we may, when in sorrow, seek our refuge and our consolation therein.”

Love Of God: “the only true love”…

“… those who wound My Heart most are the much-loved ones who always keep something back, and do not give themselves wholly to Me. Yet, do I not show them clearly enough how dearly I love them? Do I not give them My whole Heart?”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

Words such as these are commonly addressed to saints and victim souls. The following words of Our Lord to Conchita, should humble us greatly, and inspire us with love for God:

“Some souls do not love Me. That is why they are lost. Among the souls who love Me and call themselves Mine, how few there are who give Me their whole heart! Almost always I receive but a part of their heart. All of it, so rarely! Nevertheless I want them to love Me ‘with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength!’ The human heart turns partly toward creatures, toward the world, toward self. Self-love for the greatest part fills it. It lives and breathes only for that. I demand a love which surpasses everything. I have imposed this precept on them to render men happy and to save them. Despite this, how few, I repeat, are the souls who carry out My sovereign will to perfection! I wish them well and they resist. I present them with a treasure and they despise it. I give them life and they run to death. To love and to sacrifice oneself, therein is the eternal felicity in heaven.

“To overcome vices and to practice virtues, it is necessary to sacrifice oneself, but do so with love. The soul which does this, love Me wholeheartedly and I will be its eternal recompense. Give Me a love like this, give Me souls who love Me in suffering, who find their joy on the Cross. My Heart thirsts for such a love. I want a pure love, an unselfish love, an expiatory, crucified love, a sound love such as it may be said no longer exists on earth. Yet it is the only true love, the love which saves, purifies and the love I require through My commandments. All other apparent loves do not satisfy Me; all other love is vain, artificial, often culpable, save the love which I have just shown you.

“Love Me as I have loved you, in my interior Cross, after the very first moment of my Incarnation. Love Me in suffering and in sacrifice out of love. Love Me for I am God and solely to please Me. It is toward this love I aspire, the love I desire. Happy the soul possessing it… 

I PROMISE THAT ON THIS EARTH, THAT SOUL WILL BEGIN TO TASTE OF THE DELIGHTS OF HEAVEN.”  

“Oh how easily we could win Heaven

– day by day –

just by doing what we have to do,

but doing it for God.”

– St. John Vianney

A Beautiful (And Extremely Encouraging) Revelation From Our Lord, Jesus, To Sr. Benigna!

(I have divided the words up for the sake of contemplation):

“Do not be so avid of conversation with creatures: here is the Creator who speaks to you: am I not sufficient for you?

Nigna, where can you find a heart that loves you more? Where, Nigna, where?

My Heart is an abyss of Mercy, and you know it not already? Have I not given you many times this happy experience? Yes, Nigna, give Me this consolation give Me your miseries. I wish to be your Rag-gatherer, that is one who buys rags, that even pays for those offered him. Give Me your miseries and I will pay you: I will draw you from an imbroglio [a complicated situation] and it will give Me pleasure.

But you must sell them to Me by an act of profound humility, not spiteful, but fervent and affectionate. And then, My Benigna, give Me those things which you know not what to do with, and I will fashion of them something useful for souls. Allow My Love to act. Call Me what you please, either the Raggatherer of Love or that of Mercy; both titles please me.

Love and Mercy are, as it were, the breath of My most meek Heart. I inspire, that is, I draw into Myself the miseries of My poor, weak creatures to consume them in the fire of My Divine Charity; and then I respire, that is, I breathe forth from My most Loving Heart that fire which devours It and is capable of inflaming many hearts. I must needs consume the miseries of My poor, weak creatures, and I never tire of cleansing souls again and again, because I cleanse them in My most Precious Blood.

Thou canst not believe, O Benigna, the pleasure I experience in the office of Saviour; it is My happiness; and I make the most beautiful masterpieces precisely from souls that I have drawn from the lowest things, from the mud, because I have more material to work upon.”

Taken from (perhaps) my favourite book on the spiritual life, ever: ‘Vademecum Proposed To Religious Souls’, which can be read for free: http://archive.org/details/vademecumpropose00ferruoft