6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love (Pt. 2)

(6) Praise God in ALL THINGS and for ALL THINGS

What is it that attracts God to our souls? Is it our virtue? Our strength? Our talents?

Certainly not.

St. Augustine says that we cannot give what we don’t have. Well, okay – what do we have? “I am good at maths,” one will say; “I am a professional athlete,” another will say; “Yeah, well, I can bench 120!”

Yes, okay – but what do you have of yourself? What do you have that you have not received? (Bear in mind that we do not have existence of or from ourselves; our essence is distinct from our existence).

The answer? Nothing. Nada.

[Actually, there is an exception. Although we have neither existence from ourselves, nor talents, nor grace, we do have a unique claim to our sufferings and our sins].

This might seem all a bit depressing, a bit of a guilt-trip. But it isn’t. Rather, it is the foundation of happiness; it is the bedrock of the spiritual life, of a genuine relationship between the creature and the Creator; it is the key to holiness and, subsequently, to happiness.

It is humility that attracts God to our souls. [Humility and charity grow together.]

Let me attempt to explain.

Because God’s essence is Love, He is always seeking our good; He longs to communicate His Divine Life – which is nothing other than Love Itself – to us, His dear children, for whom He has paid so great a price! Whether we are the greatest sinner in the universe or not, matters little; the only impediment to God’s action in us… is us. If we are full of pride, of self-sufficiency, then God has no room to act (pride and God are like oil and water); but if we are humble, acknowledging our frailty and leaning on God alone, He will supply for our deficiencies, He will fill our empty vessels, bit by bit (“… fill the hearts of Thy faithful… “). And the greater our need, the more God is glorified in helping us!

Let Love be Love. Don’t try to give yourself to God; this is beyond your strength. Rather, ask God to take you to Himself. ‘I am thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94).

“God alone is capable, properly speaking, of giving – he to Whom ALL THINGS belong.”

– Louis Bouyer (p. 80, ‘The Meaning of the Monastic Life’)

God is more glorified by the feeble works of an imperfect soul who recognises her absolute dependence on God, and who trusts audaciously in His goodness, than He is by the most heroic acts of a soul who believes that, by their works, they are somehow giving God something that wasn’t already His to begin with; for ‘to Him nothing may be added’ (Eccles. 42:21).

God alone communicates life and goodness to His creatures. Until we grasp this truth, our relationship with God will suffer. There is nothing quite like knowing that God’s love for us is perfectly pure; that He seeks us, not because of what we are, but because of what He is. In ALL THINGS, then, let us rely on Him, let us glorify Him, let us thank Him. This is the key to great holiness. A grateful soul is necessarily a humble soul, and a humble soul is necessarily a loving soul, being inundated, as it were, with the graces of God.

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ALL THINGS IN GOD, ALL THINGS BY GOD,

ALL THINGS WITH GOD, ALL THINGS FOR GOD

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“Thou art my Treasure: be Thou my All!”

– Dom Pius de Hemptinne

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Everything is Grace

‘Giving thanks always for ALL THINGS, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father…’ (Eph. 5:20)

Those Who Possess God are Truly Rich (Even the Poor and Afflicted)

‘… as having nothing, and possessing ALL THINGS.’ (2 Cor. 6:10)

God Seeks Only to Give

‘He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill ALL THINGS.’ (Eph. 4:10)

God Changes Everything we Give Him into Gold

‘And we know that to them that love God, ALL THINGS work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.’ (Rom 8:28)

 ‘… if we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?’ (Job 2:20)

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+ Some Revelations to the Same Effect

(1) “Religious Soul, let thyself be guided in ALL THINGS by Love.

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

(2) “… she [the soul] should have God alone in view in ALL THINGS, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this she will always be at peace.”

– Our Lady to Sr. Benigna Consolata

(3) “A soul who does the Will of God in ALL THINGS, not only accomplishing His Will but studying even His least desires in order to fulfill them, who is, so to say, ever on the alert, is a soul always in prayer.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

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‘Furthermore I count ALL THINGS to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ…’ (Phil. 3:8)

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“I WILL LOVE HIM IN ALL THINGS;

I will love Him in Himself and out of Himself, in His creatures, in His severity,

in His sweetness, in His magnificence, in my privations, contradictions, censures,

in oppression of heart and joy of  soul, in His abundance as well as in my poverty…”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692)

[The next post will provide us with the easiest means for finding God, loving God and pleasing God in all things. I have never been so eager to share something.]



 

My “Dear Sister” and 17 Lessons/Revelations on How to Love

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“I shall make use of thee to communicate Myself to My creatures, and to make known to them My Will.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

“My dear Sister,” Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata (d. Sept 1, 1916)

When I first came across Sr. Benigna Consolata, I was suffering terribly from scruples; my spiritual life could best be described as a vacillation between a tiresome attempt at perfection, and backsliding into mortal sin. At one point – and this is after I discovered Sr. Benigna Consolata – I abandoned the spiritual life entirely for close to a year, choosing to live in unrepentant mortal sin, rather than serve my God and Father. My ingratitude and malice grew daily; I abstained from the Sacraments, from prayer, from spiritual reading, and largely from good works; I lived only for myself. I was miserable.

Now, you might think that I am exaggerating. On the contrary.

Why, though, am I sharing these words with you? It is for this reason: to make known the love and mercy of God! His infinite love and mercy towards me is primarily what inspired me to make this blog; I wanted – and I still want – to share the joy of being forgiven; of loving God; of feeling His embrace. We were made for God; nothing else and no one else can satisfy our hearts.

Do you, perhaps, doubt that God loves you? Well, doubt no more! “But what I wish particularly to say to thee, My Benigna,” said Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, “is that the soul ought never to be afraid of God, because God is all-merciful; the greatest pleasure of the Sacred Heart of thy Jesus is to lead to His Father numerous sinners; they are My glory and My jewels. I love poor sinners so much!”

I know these words are true.

If you have even the slightest inclination to seek God, it is because He loves you. We cannot seek God without His grace; that is a theological and philosophical fact. Fear not, then, that God might reject you; fear not that you will be damned. Rather, give yourself to God like a little child; renew your confidence and love in Him at every moment; let His love be the Source of your actions; with Sr. Benigna, say to Him: “My Jesus, my most sweet Jesus, I believe in Thy love; though Thou shouldst slay me, I would believe in it still. Yes, my Jesus, if I saw myself hanging by a thread above hell, and this thread were held by Thy divine hand, I would in no wise fear; even though it should break, I would not be afraid, because Thou couldst tie it together again.”

My Benedictine Vocation

It is with great joy that I announce to you my decision to become a Benedictine monk as of late-March, 2016! I will be entering a traditional Benedictine monastery somewhere in Europe.

Is it a coincidence, perhaps, that I, the greatest of sinners, am entering the monastery during the Jubilee of Mercy? Is it a coincidence that 2016 is also the 100th anniversary of the death of Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata? I cannot say. But what I can say is this:

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.’ (2 Cor. 1:3)

Thank you, dear Lord, for your infinite mercy! Thank you, dear Sister Benigna, for your prayers, for your obedience in recording the revelations you received from Almighty God, and for your witness! And thank you, dear reader, for stopping by! If you have ever said a prayer for me or for the Littlest Souls blog, thank you, and may God bless you!

Please pray for my perseverance!

Deo gratias!

How to Love God (How to be Holy)

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

https://archive.org/details/sisterbenignacon00como

[Please pray that Sr. Benigna Consolata may be declared a “Venerable” in 2016, the 100th anniversary of her entrance into Eternal Life! Please pray that she will be raised to the Altars! If you make this an intention for your next Mass, God will remember even if you do not. Thank you, dear friend!]

Look at Jesus

  1. “Keep thy eye fixed on God.”

Imitate Jesus

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

God’s Word

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

Docility

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

Abandonment

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

Confidence in God

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

Recollection

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

Charity in Words

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

Perseverance

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

The Cross

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

Annihilation

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

Humility

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

Repentance

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

Praise

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

Love

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

Purity

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

Sacrifice

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

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

Something to Consider When You Suffer…

One day Our Lord appeared to Bl. Catherine of Racconigi, a stigmatic nun, who, like St. Catherine of Siena and several other saints, was mystically espoused to Jesus. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09703a.htm (‘Mystical Marriage’)
He showed Catherine an exceedingly beautiful crown of roses, saying: “All afflictions will appear as roses to you if you bear them with good will.”

When we accept any cross, however small, for the love of God, we bring Him immense glory and consolation. Listen to what Our Lord said to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero:

“Whenever a soul receives with faith and love any occasion of suffering, it is as if she received Me in her arms when taken down from the Cross; the two arms with which the soul receives Me are resignation and love for My divine Will.”

In relation to one of the elect, Jesus spoke these beautiful words to St. Gertrude: “Because her most intense suffering was in her arm she holds Me embraced with a glory of beatitude so great that she would wish to have suffered a hundred times more.”

15 Reasons To Suffer With LOVE.

“Embrace the cross lovingly, whenever it comes, as the most precious token of love I can give you in this life.”
– Jesus to St. Margaret Mary

If we were more humble, we would never complain of suffering (except in the sense in which Our Lord complained in the Garden of Gethsemane). “Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction.” Furthermore, let us consider that God also uses our sufferings – if only we bear them with love – to bring down an abundance of graces for others!

Suffering is a small price to pay considering that one serious sin merits eternal suffering. “They do not consider,” said Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden, “that the least little sin a man finds delight in is enough to damn him to an eternal torment [if he does not repent].” (We must not forget that Hell is only for those who die in unrepented mortal sin.) This consideration is mentioned so that we may humbly thank God in particular for the priceless grace of repentance, and for the grace of knowing the value – at least to a greater degree than many others – of suffering. God desires that we be happy with Him both here and hereafter. The cross is the means by which God purifies souls and leads them to Himself.

It is a great act of charity to console the suffering. Perhaps the following words will be of profit to someone you know who is suffering:

1. “When suffering is accepted with love, it is no longer suffering, but it is changed into joy.” – St. Therese

2. “… when suffering is joined to love, the proofs of love given through suffering are a true reparation [i.e. for sin] offered to God.” – Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

3. “Whenever a soul receives with faith and love any occasion of suffering, it is as if she received Me in her arms when taken down from the Cross.” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

4. “Be not afflicted if I begin to abandon thee. Do not think it chastisement. It is truly My own Will in order to detach thee from
creatures and unite thee to Myself.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

5. “No sin of yours will come under my judgment if it has been expiated in this life through your penance.” – Jesus to St. Bridget

6. “The best penance is to have patience with the sorrows God permits.” – St. Peter Damian

7. “The Cross is the way to Paradise, but only when it is borne willingly.” – St. Paul of the Cross

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

9.  “Affliction is always accompanied by Grace; Grace is proportionate to Suffering. The measure of My gifts is increased with the measure of trials.” – Jesus to St. Rose of Lima

10. ”O My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

11. “Let us tell ourselves that every day, every hour, every instant of suffering borne with Jesus and for love of Him will be a new heaven [reward in Heaven] for all eternity, and a new glory given God for ever.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

12. “My child, you canst do nothing more gratifying to Me than to submit patiently to all the tribulations that befall you.” – Jesus to St. Gertrude

13. “The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues.” – Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

14. “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13

15. “O what inspiration there is in the Crucifix! … God … never commands us to do anything which he has not first practiced Himself…” – St. John Vianney

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… should I then have deserved to go to hell in punishment of my sins, I entreat you, O my Lord to pardon me, and to be pleased to lead me to enjoy you eternally in heaven.”

– Venerable Fabrizio Dall’ Aste