Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#3)

 “I showed you all the love I could in order to make you turn to me. However, since you have turned away from me, you deserve to be sentenced, because you scorned mercy. However, I am still so merciful that, if it were possible for me to die again, for your sake I would again endure the same torment I once endured on the cross rather than see you sentenced to such a sentence. Justice, however, says that it is impossible for me to die again, even if mercy tells me to want to die for your sake again, if it were possible.

– Jesus to St. Bridget (addressing a self–condemned soul)

God’s love cannot coexist with mortal sin, but He still loves sinners. He thirsts for souls. If you combine the love of all the Saints throughout the ages, this is still but a drop in the ocean compared to the limitless love of God. Since the beginning of time, every conversion has been owing to the love and mercy of God.

If we did not water down the malice of sin, we would have a greater appreciation of how great and pure God’s love is. “Then they crucify his right hand when they hold justice to be as injustice, saying: ‘Sin is not so heavy and abominable to God as it is said. God does not punish anyone for all eternity; he only threatens us with these hard things to scare us. Why else would he redeem man if he wanted us to perish?’ (Our Lady to St. Bridget) “He wished all of them to be saved (I Tim. 2: 4), and if not all of them attained this salvation, no one can justly complain of his superabundant kindness.” (Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda)

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Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#2)

“In order that all might be saved, He came into the world, taking flesh from me, and endured His passion and death on the cross.” 

-Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Leonard of Port Maurice said that if all returned to God with contrite hearts, all would be saved. Unfortunately, many souls do not avail themselves of the graces that God gives (and wishes to give) them. Many – even Christians – are spiritually dead in mortal sin. And to think that many Christians reject this doctrine!

Mortal sin is “a chain of hell” (St. Alphonsus); it is “the assassin of the soul” and “the crucifier of God,” (St. John Vianney); it is irrational and selfish. “In committing a mortal sin,” writes St. Alphonsus, “you have been guilty of a greater fault than if you trod under foot the loftiest monarch of a world.”

“… each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and Source of Life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani

This might all have us feeling a bit heavy-hearted. But do not worry. God, Who is all-merciful, is ever seeking sinners. He is always seeking to use our prayers and sufferings for the salvation of souls.

If our sins are immense, the love and mercy of God is greater still. He never rejects a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). But we must repent while there is time. ‘The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance’ (2 Pet. 3:9).

Some powerful sermons to help us root out sin

Sermon XX (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 145) AND Sermon XXI (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 152) by St. Alphonsus:

https://archive.org/details/sermonsforallsun00liguuoft

What Wounds Jesus Most?

“Even the single little prayer, ‘I trust in Thee,’ ravishes My Heart, because Faith, Love and Humility are comprised in this short prayer… An act of confidence pleases Me so much because it honors my dearest attributes, goodness and Mercy.”

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

“Write, my Benigna, Apostle of my Mercy, write this: The principal thing I desire to make known is that I am all Love; the greatest pain souls can give Me is to doubt My goodness. Not only does My Heart feel compassion, but It rejoices when there is much to repair, provided souls have no malice. If thou couldst know how powerfully I would operate in a soul, even filled with miseries, if she would let Me! Love has need of nothing, but it must find no resistance. Often all that is required of a soul to render it holy, is to let Me act. Imperfections cannot displease Me, unless the soul loves them. She should use them as so many steps of the ladder to mount to Me by means of humility, confidence and love; I descend to the soul that humbles herself, and go to seek her in her nothingness to unite Myself to her.

It is certain that a hundred sins offend Me more than one alone; but if this single sin is distrust of Me, it wounds My Heart more than the hundred others, because distrust wounds My Heart to its innermost core. I love men so much!

“Yes, they have too narrow an idea of the goodness of God, of His mercy, His love for His creatures. They measure God by creatures, and God has no limits; His goodness is without bounds. O that men are able to use God and will not do it! Why is this? Because the world knows Him not. 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.

… Thou canst not conceive the pleasure I take in fulfilling My Mission of Saviour. When sins have been pardoned, they become for the soul fountains of graces because they are perpetual sources of humility. Everything contributes to the advancement of a soul, everything; even her imperfections are in My divine hands like so many precious stones, because I change them into acts of humility, which I inspire the soul to make. If those who build houses could transform the debris and all that obstructs their work into materials of construction, how fortunate they would consider themselves! Well, the faithful soul does this with the aid of My divine grace; and her faults, even the gravest and most shameful, become fundamental stones of the edifice of her perfection.”

EIGHTH STATION [OF THE CROSS]

Jesus Consoles the Pious Women

“The attraction of the most sweet Heart of Jesus is to console those who suffer, to compassionate the miseries of His poor creatures, and ever to show them mercy. Let him who wishes to prove it, come to Me, He says. Let him who would purchase relief and mercy, go to Jesus and present for payment his very miseries; and the merciful Jesus will accept them provided they are offered with humility, confidence and love. O my Jesus, I will console Thy Heart, so desirous of consuming our miseries, and do Thou console mine by giving me Thy holy peace. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!”

Happy Feast of the Divine Mercy! (This feast is linked to the revelations of St. Faustina, which deserve to be read by all.)

A Revelation on Divine Mercy (to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi)

carreno-de-miranda1

The Eternal Father addressed these words to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi:

“My Word consummated on the cross the love wherewith I sent Him to you, satisfying My justice for your sins so fully that I received more satisfaction, without comparison, than I had received offense. Hence it is that I am so easily appeased with the sinners who return to Me and are converted; and I receive them in the arms of My Love, because I have been so well satisfied by the obedience of My Word. In this world, or in an infinite number of worlds, so many sins could not be committed, for which My Word had atoned, that I would not be satisfied with the reparation He made for the sins and the offense. Hence, the Royal Prophet, foreseeing this satisfaction, has said: “Copiosa apud eum redemption” – “With Him plentiful redemption” (Ps. cxxix, 7).”

“As St. Thomas says: “He properly atones for an offense who offers something which the offended one loves equally, or even more than he detested the offense. But by suffering out of love and obedience, Christ gave more to God than was required to compensate for the offense of the whole human race”; for the immense charity of the incarnate Son was more pleasing to God than all the sins of men were displeasing to Him, because this act of charity was a theandric act [and therefore infinite in value], inasmuch as it proceeded radically from the person of the Word.” – Lagrange

“I am your God… I Myself want to live in your heart.”

The following words have been compiled from the remarkable Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden. If they were read by a greater number, many more souls would be saved.

“I am your God and the Lord of the angels. I am Lord over life and death. I Myself want to live in your heart. See what a great love I have for you! The heavens and the earth and all the things in them cannot contain me, and yet I want to live in your heart, which is only a little piece of flesh. Whom could you then fear or what could you need when you have inside you God Almighty in whom all good things are?

… I created all things for the sake of mankind, and placed all things under his authority, but he loves all things except me, and hates nothing but me. I bought back the inheritance for him which he had lost because of his sin. But he is so foolish and without reason that he prefers this passing glory… instead of eternal glory in which there is everlasting good.

… The soul is indeed worthier and nobler than all the world, and more lasting than all things. The soul is more worthy, because she is a spiritual creature like the angels and made for eternal joy. She is more noble because she was made in the image of my divinity, both immortal and eternal. Because humankind is worthier and nobler than all creatures, the human race should live more nobly as having been endowed with reason beyond all the rest.

  … I desire souls in order to give them eternal joy and honor; but the devil desires to give them eternal horror and sorrow. … you should observe and take heed of the favors and good deeds which I have done for you: such as how nobly I created you by giving you a soul and body, how nobly I enriched you by giving you health and temporal things, how lovingly and sweetly I redeemed you when I died for you and restored your heavenly inheritance to you – if you want to have it. The bride should also do the will of the Bridegroom. But what is my will, except that you should want to love me above all things and not desire anything but me?

…But if you, my bride, desire nothing but me… I will give you the most precious and lovely reward! I will not give you gold or silver, but myself, to be your Bridegroom and reward – I, who am the King of Glory… consider how I, your God, walked before you, when my servants and friends abandoned Me in the world; for I was not seeking earthly friends, but heavenly friends. And if you now are troubled and afraid about the burden and difficulty of work and sickness, then consider how difficult and painful it is to burn in Hell! What would you not deserve if you had offended an earthly master as you have Me?

… Therefore, embrace and take upon yourself a little work, so that you may be made clean of sin and reach the great reward sooner. For the bride should grow tired working alongside her bridegroom so that she may all the more confidently take her rest with Him.”

Mary’s Appeal to the Worst of Sinners

Our Lady spoke these words to St. Bridget of Sweden:

“I tell you so now: Nobody in the world is so great a sinner – provided he says in his heart that my Son is the Creator and Redeemer of the universe and dear to him in his inmost heart – that I am not prepared to come to him immediately, like a loving mother to her son, and hug him and say: ‘What would you like, my son?’ Even if he had deserved the lowest punishment in Hell, nevertheless, if only he has the intention of not caring for worldly honours or greed or carnal lust, such as the church condemns, and desires nothing but his own sustenance, then he and I will right away get along quite well together.” (Bk IV, Ch 32)

Sadly, this appeal of Our Lady will not be heeded by many. The atheist will deny it; the agnostic will view it with a pitiable indifference and skepticism; and the sinner and lukewarm Christian alike will scarcely perceive that it is addressed to him just as much – if not more – than it is addressed to other ‘greater’ sinners, who have perhaps received far fewer graces.

Please pray, dear reader, that neither you nor I will be lukewarm; pray, rather, that we might become Saints. This is the surest way to please, to console, and to thank Our Lady and Our Lord for all they have done for us, and for all they desire to do for us!

Consolation for Scrupulous Souls (Some Advice from St. Alphonsus)

Jesus to St. Veronica Giuliani: ‘… tell everything to him who holds My place [the priest]. Be obedient to him; do whatever he commands. You can never be mistaken when you are obedient.’ (p. 264, Vol. 2)

The following words, though addressed to all – and which contain some very helpful advice for the spiritual life – will be particularly appreciated by those who are inclined to doubts, fears, scruples and the like. The words are taken from ‘The Way of Salvation and Perfection,’ (pp.451–460; Ch VI. Interior Trials):

“… the chief thing they [scrupulous souls] ought to consider is this: that he who acts in obedience to a learned and pious confessor, acts not only with no doubt, but with the greatest security that can be had upon earth, on the divine words of Jesus Christ, that he who hears his ministers is as though he heard himself: He that heareth you heareth Me; whence St. Bernard says, “Whatever man enjoins in the place of God, provided it be not certainly displeasing to God, is altogether to be received as though enjoined by God.” It is certain that, as to the personal direction of conscience, the confessor is the lawful superior, as St Francis de Sales, with all spiritual instructors, declares, while F. Pinamonti, in his Spiritual Director, says: “It is well to make the scrupulous perceive, that submitting their will to the ministers of the Lord provides them the greatest security in all that is not manifestly sin. Let them read the lives of the saints, and they will find that they know no safer road than obedience. The saints plainly trusted more to the voice of their confessor than to the immediate voice of God; and yet the scrupulous would lean more on their own judgment than on the Gospel, which assures them, He that heareth you heareth Me.”

The Blessed Henry Suso says, that “God demands no account from us of things done under obedience.” St. Philip Neri says the same: “Let such as desire to advance in the way of God submit themselves to a learned confessor, and obey him in God’s stead; let him who thus acts assure himself that he will have to render no account to God for his actions.” He says, moreover, that one should have all faith in one’s confessor, on the ground that God would not permit him to err; and that there is nothing that more surely cuts asunder the snares of the devil than to do the will of another in what is good, nor anything more full of danger than to be guiding ourselves according to what seems best to us; which is confirmed by St. John of the Cross, who says, in the name of the Lord: “When thou art unfaithful to confessors, thou art so unto Me, who have said, He that despiseth you despiseth Me.” And again: “Not to rest satisfied with what the confessor says is pride and failure in faith.” We are, therefore, to have this certain confidence, that each person, in obeying his spiritual Father, may be sure of not sinning. “The sovereign remedy for the scrupulous,” says St. Bernard, “is a blind obedience to their confessor.” John Gerson relates, that the same St. Bernard told one of his disciples, who was scrupulous, to go and celebrate, and take his word for it. He went, and was cured of his scruples.

“But a person may answer,” says Gerson, “Would to God I had a St. Bernard for my director! but mine is one of indifferent wisdom.” And he answers, “Thou dost err, whoever thou art that so speakest; for thou hast not given thyself into the hands of the man because he is well read, etc., but because he is placed over thee; wherefore obey him not as man, but as God.” For this reason St. Teresa well said, “Let the soul accept the confessor with a determination to think no more of personal excuses, but to trust in the words of the Lord, He that heareth you heareth Me. The Lord so highly values this submission, that when, in spite of a thousand inward conflicts, and considering the decision to be an absurd one, we execute it nevertheless, cost us what it may, the Lord so assists us,” etc.; and she goes on to say, that we then comply with his divine will. Hence St. Francis de Sales, speaking of direction from a spiritual Father in order to walk securely in the way of God, says, “This is the very counsel of all counsels.” “Search as much as you will,” says the devout Avila, “you will in no way discover the will of God so surely as by the path of that humble obedience which is so much recommended and practised by the devout of former times.” Thus, too, Alvarez said, “Even if the spiritual Father should err, the obedient soul is secure from error, because it rests on the judgment of him whom God has given it as a superior.” And F. Nieremberg writes to the same effect: “Let the soul obey the confessor; and then, although the thing itself were matter of fault, he does not sin who does it with the intention of obeying him who holds to him the place of God, persuading himself (as is, indeed, the case) that he is bound to obey him;” forasmuch as (according to the words of F. Rogacci and F. Lessius) the confessor is to us the interpreter of the divine will. And this is confirmed also by the gloss: “But if what is prescribed be of a doubtful kind, the virtue of obedience exempts from sin, although the thing in itself be evil;” and in the chapter Inquisition de Sent, exc., from the same text, obedience to the confessor is enjoined, when it says that scruples “ought to be dismissed at the judgment of one’s pastor.”

St. Francis de Sales gives three maxims of great consolation to the scrupulous: “An obedient soul has never been lost; 2. We ought to rest satisfied with knowing from our spiritual Father that we are going on well, without seeking a personal knowledge of it; 3. The best thing is to walk on blindly through all the darkness and perplexity of this life, under the providence of God.”

And therefore all the doctors of morals conclude, in general, with St. Antoninus, Navarro, Silvester, etc., that obedience to the confessor is the safest rule for walking well in the ways of God. F. Tirillo and F. La Croix say that this is the common doctrine of the holy Fathers and masters of the spiritual life. In the second place, the scrupulous should know, not only that they are safe in obeying, but that they are bound to obey their director, and to despise the scruple, acting with all freedom in the midst of their doubts. This is the teaching of Natalis Alexander: “That scruples ought to be despised when one has the judgment of a prudent, pious, and learned director; and that one ought to act against them is plain from the chapter Inquisitioni,” etc., as above; and of Father Wigandt: “He who acts against scruples does not sin; nay, sometimes it is a precept to do so, especially when backed by the judgment of the confessor. So do these authors speak, although they belong to the rigid school; so, too, the doctors in general; and the reason is, that if the scrupulous man lives in his scruples, he is in danger of placing grievous impediments in the way of satisfying his obligations, or, at least, of making any spiritual progress; and, moreover, of going out of his mind, losing his health, and destroying his conscience by despair or by relaxation.

Hence St. Antoninus agrees with Gerson in thus reproving the scrupulous, who, through a vain fear, is not obedient in overcoming his scruples: “Beware lest, from overmuch desire to walk securely, thou fall and destroy thyself.” For this reason F. Wigandt also says, that the scrupulous man ought to obey his director in all cases where the precept is not plainly sin, “unless the director enjoins what is manifestly against God;” and it is the general and undoubted decision among Doctors, that in things doubtful each one is bound to obey him who is placed over him, if it be not evidently a sin. This is proved by St. Bernard in a passage quoted at the commencement; and by St. Ignatius Loyola, who says: “There must be obedience in all things in which no sin is perceived, that is, in which there is not manifest sin.” Also by Blessed Humbert, General of the Friars Preachers, who says: “Unless the precept be plainly evil, it is to be received as though enjoined by God.” Moreover, by Blessed Denis the Carthusian: “In things doubtful as to whether or not they are against the divine precept, one must stand by the precept of him who is set over one; because, although it should be against the precept of God, yet, in virtue of obedience, the person under direction sins not.” Of the same opinion is St. Bonaventure. This makes Gerson say: “The scrupulous are to act against their scruples, and plant their feet firmly in resisting them. We cannot set scruples to rest better than by despising them; and, as a general rule, not without the advice of another, and especially our Superior. Otherwise, either ill–regulated fear or inconsiderate presumption will be our fall.” “With a firm foot,” says he, “they ought to overcome the scruple.”

And so the remedy that St. Philip Neri gave the scrupulous was, to make them despise their scruples. It is thus written in his life: “Moreover, besides the general remedy of committing one’s self altogether and for everything to the judgment of the confessor, he gave another, by exhorting his penitents to despise their scruples. Hence he forbade such persons to confess often; and when, in confession, they entered upon their scruples, he used to send them to Communion without hearing them.” So, then, in conclusion, the scrupulous man ought to set before himself obedience, and look upon his scrupulous fear as vain, and so act with freedom. Nor does this require (say the Doctors Busembaum, with Sanchez and others) that in each particular act he should expressly determine that the thing is a scruple, and that he ought to obey his confessor in despising it; it is enough that he act against it in virtue of a judgment made beforehand, since, from his past experience, the same judgment resides in his conscience habitually or virtually, though dim and confused. Hence La Croix and Tamburini, together with Vasquez, Val., etc., add, that if he who is scrupulous be unable amid that darkness to lay aside his scruple at once, or call clearly to mind the obedience laid on him by the confessor, which some anxious consciences are disabled from doing, perplexed as they are how to put by their scruple, by reason of the fear that weighs upon them, in that case he does not sin, though he act with a positive fear of sinning; and for this reason that as he has already passed a like judgment upon former scruples, and on the duty of obeying the injunction given him to despise them, he ought assuredly to believe himself to possess it now also, though, from the force of his fear, he does not perceive it.

But the scrupulous ought at such a time to despise the fear, inasmuch as it forms no true verdict of conscience. Hear how Gerson openly confirms this point, and what advice he gives: “A formed conscience is, when, after discussion and deliberation, a definite sentence of the reason judges that a thing is to be done or to be avoided; and to act against this is a sin: but fear or scruple of conscience is, when the mind wavers in doubt, not knowing which of two things it is bound to do, and yet would not omit whatever it could ascertain to be agreeable to the divine will; and this fear is as much as possible to be cast away and quenched.” In fact, then, Gerson says that a person sins by acting under a practical doubt, when the doubt proceeds from a formed conscience; but that this formed conscience exists when, after examining the circumstances, he deliberately judges with a definitive sentence on what he is obliged and what he is forbidden to do; and he sins by acting against such a conscience as this. But that, when the mind is doubtful and wavering, and yet would not do anything that was displeasing to God, this, says Gerson, is no true doubtfulness, but a vain fear, which ought as much as possible to be cast away and despised. So that when there certainly exists in the scrupulous person the habitual will not to offend God, it is certain (according to Gerson) that while he acts in his doubtfulness he does not sin; and with reason, since it is then not a true doubt, although he may apprehend it to be a doubt, but a vain fear.

On the other hand, it is certain, that for the commission of a mortal sin there is required a full perception on the part of the reason, and a complete deliberate consent on the part of the will, and to will something which grievously offends God. This doctrine is undoubted, and common to all the theologians, and even to the most rigid, as Juenin, Habert, and that most rigorous of all, Genet, who speaks thus: “But if (the act) contain only an imperfect degree of deliberation, the sin will be venial, not mortal.” And this, too, is the teaching of all the rest, with St. Thomas, who says: “That which is mortal may be venial, owing to the act being imperfect, since it does not absolutely amount to the perfection of a mortal act, being not deliberate, but sudden.”

Let scrupulous souls, then, suffer this cross of theirs with resignation, and not perplex themselves in the greatest distresses which God may send or permit. It is for their profit, to the end that they may be humbler, may guard better against such occasions as are beyond doubt and seriously dangerous, may commend themselves oftener to the Lord, and put a more entire trust in the divine goodness. Meanwhile let them often have recourse to the most holy Virgin Mary, who is called, and is in truth, the Mother of Mercy, and comforter of the afflicted. Let them, indeed, fear to offend God, wherever they do in truth discern what will offend him; but if only they are steadfast in resolving rather to die a thousand times than lose the grace of God, let them, above all things, fear lest they fail in obedience to their directors. On the other hand, while they blindly obey, they may assure themselves of not being abandoned by that Lord who will have all men saved, and who, loving good–will as he does, never suffers a really obedient soul to perish.

No one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? In peace in the self-same I will sleep and I will rest; for Thou, O Lord, singularly hast settled me in hope. In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”

A Helpful Tip for Overcoming Temptation.

One day St. Rose of Lima complained to Our Lord that He let her be exposed to a great danger of falling into sin. Perhaps we have been in this position before. Perhaps we have even fallen into mortal sin many times, despite what we thought to be our best efforts. Maybe we have become so discouraged that we almost expect to fall again…

Whatever the case may be, the good news is that God has not given up on us: if we desire Him, He desires us far more; for we cannot seek God without His grace.

“As soon as your soul is touched by grace, and before the struggle has even begun, hasten to My Heart; beg of Me to let a drop of My Blood fall on your soul. . . . Ah! hasten to My Heart . . . and be without fear for the past; all has been swallowed up in the abyss of My mercy, and My love is preparing new graces for you. The memory of your lapses will be an incentive to humility and a source of merit, and you cannot give Me a greater proof of affection than to count on My full pardon and to believe that your sins will never be as great as My mercy, which is infinite.” (Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez)

If we etch the following truths deep in our hearts and minds, we will be preserved from many sins (provided that we persevere in prayer).

1. Grace is all–powerful. Grace is a participation in the Divine Nature; it is invincible, like God Himself. There is no sinner, however hardened, who cannot abandon his sins and be saved, provided that he calls on Almighty God with confidence and a will to turn from his wickedness. “Ask and you shall receive.”

2. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. We must not blame God for our falls. Deliberate sin, especially mortal sin, can always be avoided. If we fall, we can turn to God in humility, saying: “My Jesus, mercy! Help me to love You more! Please increase my humility. Help me to trust in you. Without You I am nothing and can do nothing.” And so forth. By our confidence we honour the infinite goodness of God. This is a sure way of obtaining great graces.

3. Without Grace we can do nothing. Everyone receives actual grace – absolutely everyone. Were God to withdraw His grace from us, we would not so much as be able to think a good thought. All life, all holiness, all wisdom, all intelligence, all goodness comes from Him. Pride is a perversion, a lie, spiritual theft, insanity (to a greater or lesser extent).

4. With God we can do all things. Every temptation we have overcome, any good we have ever done, any prayer we have made, any good we possess, is a gift from God. Why, then, do we not trust in Him?

Applying this knowledge to the pursuit of perfection – to which we are all called – it becomes evident that if we are to grow in love/holiness, we must place all our confidence in Almighty God, knowing that we can never place too much trust in Him, just as we can never place too little trust in ourselves!

St. Crescentia certainly distrusted herself, and she was profoundly humble and loving. It is written of her that if she heard of someone committing a mortal sin, she would say: “I should have fallen much lower than this unfortunate man, if Almighty God had not so powerfully upheld me; had the man, on the other hand, had the grace I possess, he would live a thousand times more piously than I do. He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.” Reflect seriously on these words, dear reader. We can never be too humble.

If we do fall into sin, we must not think: “But my spiritual life was going so well… I had avoided sin for so long… I was soaring with the saints!” No. We must attribute all our former success to God. Likewise, we must only expect to overcome sin with God’s help. Unless we trust in Our Lord, our efforts will be in vain.

“Let Me do it!” This is what Our Lord used to say to St. Veronica Giuliani. He says the same to us. If we are tempted, let Him do it: He will be our strength. If we desire holiness, let Him do it: He will sanctify us. Provided that we follow His inspirations and do not give in to a state of presumptuous passivity, He will lead us into His Sacred Heart.

I said earlier that St. Rose of Lima once complained to Our Lord that He allowed her to come close to falling into sin (or so she thought). This was Our Lord’s reply:

“Would you have conquered if I had not been in your heart? I am always with you and My grace forsakes you not; therefore weep no more.”

On another occasion, He said to her:

“They must no longer be deluded as to the meaning of pain; trial is the path to perfection; by it they attain beauty of soul and the summit of grace, and the glory of the Children of God. The Cross is the true and only ladder to reach Heaven. Without the Cross this ascent is impossible.”

Next time you are tempted, recall these words:

“Would you have conquered if I had not been in your heart? I am always with you and My grace forsakes you not.”

How to Remain Forever United to Jesus.

‘Abide in me, and I in you (John 15:4).’

“(1) He who meditates on the extent of My goodness will keep close to Me forever. (2) … those who, like you, are joined to the trunk, desiring Me alone, shall never be separated from it. (3) … Your will and desire to avoid sin carefully, as much as you can, is for Me as it were a link which binds and united Me to you more inseparably. (4) … Correspond exactly to all the tender attentions of My love, which is unwilling to be separated for a single instant from your soul.”

1. Words of Our Lord to St. Mechtilde
2. Words of Our Lord to His servant, Armelle
3. Words of Our Lord to St. Mechtilde
4. Words of Our Lord to Madeline Vigneron

(These revelations have received the Imprimatur. They can be found in the writings of Rev. Auguste Saudreau – an excellent author on mystical and ascetical theology.)

Marie Brotel, a great mystic, tells us that she experienced the fatherly gaze of our Heavenly Father, “that annihilated me with love,” she writes. “My daughter,” He said to her, “men do not know Me, and that is why they serve Me with servile fear and as if I were extremely severe; but you see My love for My creatures and My desire to see them happy.”

Yes, God hates sin – it is an unspeakable evil; but His love for us is so great, and His grace so powerful, that if we give ourselves to Him like little children, He will preserve us from serious sin; He will press us close to His bosom and protect us with jealous care.

How He longs for us to go to Him with confidence; with open hearts; and with gratitude! How He longs for us to remain united to Him. “Humility attracts Me; purity receives Me, prayer nourishes Me, poverty makes My delight, obedience binds Me and charity embraces Me.” (Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena).

If we fear God in a servile way, it can only be because we do not truly know Him. Ask Our Lady that you might know “the tendernesses of the love of Jesus for a little soul” – the title of Sr. Benigna Consolata’s biography (recommended to her by Jesus Himself). Our Lady is instrumental in bringing souls to know Jesus, to love Him, and to give themselves to Him without reserve.

Here is an anecdote that ought to inspire us with confidence in Jesus’ love for us, which is the SOLE CAUSE of any goodness in us, and should therefore be the SOLE CAUSE of our hope:

“One of the many souls who regard Jesus a tyrant was preparing to make a general confession for the hundredth time. Restlessly, she spent the days of her retreat writing down the sins of her whole life. She neither meditated nor prayed; she was entirely absorbed in an examination which stifled her.
At last she went into the confessional. She read out the list of her sins, repeating and explaining over, and over again, in fear and trembling. When at length she thought she had finished, a voice was heard which very gently and very sadly said,
“You have forgotten something very important.”
“I thought I must have,” she answered, terror-stricken, and hastily prepared to read it all again.
“Your sin is not in your notes,” continued the Voice, “and it offends me much more than all that you have said. Accuse yourself of lack of trust.”
The voice moved her to the depths and she sought to ascertain if it were really her confessor’s. The Confessional was empty! Jesus had come to give her a supreme lesson.”

(Taken from ‘Jesus, King of Love’ by Fr. Mateo Crawley–Boevey)

Pax Christi.

God is Patient and Rich in Mercy.

“When Sister [Saint] Mechtilde was once praying for someone who was afraid God had not forgiven a fault he had committed, the Lord told her:

‘That would be impossible. Whosoever regrets his sins receives their pardon from Me. If he continues to grieve for them, I give My grace in addition.’ (p. 47 of ‘Divine Communications’, Vol. 2, by Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

The following encouraging words are from Fr. Mueller’s book, ‘The Prodigal Son, or, the Sinner’s Return to God’:

“The Lord waits,” says Isaias, “that He may show mercy to you.” (Isaiah 30:18)… He delays His punishments as long as possible, that the poor ungrateful wretch may repent and at last return to His friendship. And, when obliged to punish, when He can delay no longer, He does it with such slowness that He discharges His anger little by little, to oblige the sinner to repent of his sins and to arrest the arm of His vengeance. God might have destroyed the city of Jericho in one instant, yet He spent seven days in destroying it. In like manner, He might have destroyed the world by water in one moment, yet He spent forty days in this work. Why? In order that those who were destroyed might have time for doing penance, and so be saved. (p. 281)

Encouragement for Those Who Wish to Abandon Sin

“… God grants the same favors to holy penitents as to innocent souls, and thereby fulfils the promise made by Him through the prophet Ezechiel: “The wickedness of the wicked shall not hurt him in what day soever he shall turn from his wickedness.”  But not only do holy penitents receive the same favors as innocent saints, many of them even seem to be more highly favored by God. Which of the apostles was made Head of the Church? Was it St. John or St. James, whose lives were always blameless? Not so; it was St. Peter, who denied his divine Master three times. And did not St. Paul, who persecuted the Christians with implacable hatred, become a vessel of election to preach the Gospel among the Gentiles? The innocent apostle St. John always remained faithful to our Lord, and stood beneath His cross at Mount Calvary. Yet it was not to him that our dear Saviour appeared first after His resurrection, but to St. Peter, His sinful apostle. It was not Martha but Magdalen, the penitent, that sat at the feet of our Lord and listened to his sacred doctrine; and it was she, too, to whom our Lord first appeared after His resurrection. How great are the graces and privileges which our Lord afterwards granted to so many holy penitents! To St. Augustine, for instance; to St. Margaret of Cortona. To this last saint, in particular, who had formerly spent several years in sin, God revealed the place prepared for her in Heaven amongst the seraphim; and even during her life He showed her many signal favors, insomuch that, beholding herself so highly favored, she one day said to God: “Lord, how is it that Thou lavishest so many graces on me? Hast Thou, then, forgotten the sins I have committed against Thee?” “And have you for gotten,” our Lord answered, “what I have told you, that when a soul repents of her faults I no longer remember the outrages of which she has been guilty towards me?”

… But will not innocent souls murmur at this love and mercy of God for sinners? … Oh! no, holy innocent souls! Show yourselves content with all this… Persevere in your piety, and your reward is most certain. “My son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.”  

But do you, wretched sinners who have hitherto been prevented from returning to the Lord by the consideration of the great number and hideousness of your sins, hearken to the words of the wise man: “Think well of the Lord. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek Him in simplicity of heart.” Think of the Lord in a manner worthy of His goodness and exceedingly great mercy. Should you have committed all the sins that ever were committed, should you have stayed from confession for how long soever, let all this be no reason for you to stay away any longer. God is ever ready to receive you with open arms, to embrace you as His dearly beloved children, with so much the more joy and gladness the further you have strayed away from Him. “Fear not,” said He one day to St. Margaret of Cortona “fear not to obtain the full remission of all thy sins. Thou wilt infallibly obtain it, and thou shalt inflame others colder and more coy. I have destined thee as an example to all poor sinners, in order that they may clearly understand that I am that compassionate Father who welcomes back His most rebellious and most contumacious children, and that, if they ask my pardon and prepare to receive my grace, they will ever find me ready to give it just as quickly as I have turned to thee.”  From the moment of your repentance, all the disorders, all the crimes, of your life, no matter how black, how hideous they may be, will be drowned, as it were, in the ocean of God’s mercy, and disappear as the darkest night disappears at the rising of the sun. “As far as the east is from the west,” says the Lord, “so far I will put away from me all your iniquities.” 

The Mercy of God Towards a Great Sinner

Father Patrignani (Corona d’Esempi, IV. Esemp. 13, t. iv.) relates that a certain woman had committed a great many crimes, but Jesus patiently waited for her conversion. As the woman seeks the lost penny in the sweepings, so did Jesus seek this lost soul in the very midst of her sinful career. This woman at last went so far in her wickedness as to receive Holy Communion unworthily. After having received, she drew from her mouth the sacred particle and placed it in a handkerchief. She then went to shut herself up in her room, where she threw the Blessed Sacrament on the ground, and began to trample it under her feet. But lo! she casts her eyes down, and what does she see ! She sees the Sacred Host changed into the form of a beautiful Infant, but all bruised and covered with blood; and the Infant Jesus said to her:

“What have I done to you that you treat me so ill?”

Upon which the wretched creature, full of contrition and repentance, threw herself on her knees in tears, and said to Him: “O my God, dost Thou ask me what Thou hast done to me? Thou hast loved me too much.” The vision disappeared, and the woman changed her life and became a model of penance. Oh! the great patience of God in waiting for the return of the sinner.