An Offering of Oneself to Merciful Love

“I thirst for your love, just as a parched man thirsts for a spring of fresh water!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone (p. 50, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

“Tell the world how good I am, how like a parent, and how in return I desire only love from My creatures.”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 52, JATTW)

The following delightful prayer will surely please those who, like St. Therese, have, or desire to, offer themselves as a holocaust to Merciful Love:

An Act of Pure Love

“Jesus, God of infinite charity, Goodness inexhaustible, I, a miserable creature nothing worth, in order to honor Thy ineffable Mercy, offer myself, give and consecrate and abandon myself forever to the love of Thy most loving and tender Heart. My Jesus, as it is impossible that fire should not burn and consume a little blade of straw cast into it, so let Thy burning charity consume this poor little heart of mine, which wishes to be all Thine. Jesus, be to me a Jesus; Jesus, be to me a Jesus; Jesus, be to me a Jesus!” (Prayer given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero)

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Worth reading is St. Therese’s prayer, ‘Living on Love’:

Living on Love !…

On the evening of Love, speaking without parable, Jesus said : « If anyone wishes to love me All his life, let him keep my Word. My Father and I will come to visit him. And we will make his heart our dwelling. Comimng to him, we shall love him always. We want him to remain, filled with peace, In our Love !… » Living on Love is holding You Yourself. Uncreated word, Word of my God, Ah ! Divine Jesus, you know I love you. The Spirit of Love sets me aflame with his fire. In loving you I (…)

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“Finally I enkindle in the soul that loves Me such a fire of love, of desire of imitation,
that she can no longer live except to labor for God, to suffer for God, to immolate herself for God. Sacrifice is her life, as oil is the life of the burning flame.
(Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata, from ‘The Decalogue of Highest Perfection’)

“Free yourself of the burden of this world’s goods, and I will personally fill you with those which are heavenly unto your soul’s supreme consolation.”

– Jesus to Ven. Juan de Jesus Maria (p. 280, ‘The Principles of Monasticism’)

[Dear reader: I try to post weekly. Sometimes this is not possible. I will do my best. PAX!]

 

 

An Image of the Faithful Soul

 

burning-candle

“Just as the perpetual lamp in the sanctuary

is burning only for My glory and

consumes itself for My sake,

so must you consume yourself through love for Me

and have in view Me alone…

it is My Will to be all for you.”

– Jesus to Mother Mary of the Divine Heart

‘I am come,’ says the Lord, ‘to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?’
(Lk. 12:49) What powerful words! Our God, Who is a ‘consuming fire’ (Heb. 12:29), wants to communicate Himself to us, along with the delights of His Divinity, in which we are made partakers by sanctifying grace; He wants to consume us, to immolate us in the Fire of His Divine Charity, so that, like so many lambs, we might offer ourselves as living hosts to be consumed by and for God alone. That is sanctity. ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (Jn. 3:30). The world desperately needs such souls.

If you want an easy way to remember this all-important spiritual principle, namely, that holiness consists in being consumed by and for God alone, you simply have to remember these 33 words, which Our Lord addressed to Mother Anne Margaret Clement:

“Everything I did and everything I suffered was the result

of My love for your soul; is it not just

that the some love should induce you to undertake all

for My sake?”

[Not only do these 33 words correspond to the 33 years in which Our Lord laboured to win our love, friendship and eternal happiness, but they also remind us of John 3:30, quoted above.]

At times, the work of our sanctification is, no doubt, a painful operation; but this is all the more reason to give thanks to God, Who, from all eternity, has foreseen our sufferings, temptations and difficulties, and has ensured, in His merciful Providence, that everything will be to our profit… if only we submit to His loving designs, surrendering to Him our sins, our difficulties, our weaknesses, and ultimately, our wills. We can make no better use of our will than to constantly hand ourselves over to God. “Take me from myself and give me all to You!”

Remember: suffering lasts but a short moment; but the glory given to God lasts for eternity. Everything we do for love – or, rather, everything we let Love do in us – will be as a beautiful melody resounding throughout the courts of Heaven for all eternity.

The Love that Burns Within the Hearts of Generous Souls

“By it [a special grace of ineffable union, which was given to Sr. Jeanne Benigne] she understood that these words were spoken to her in the secret of her heart: —
by the Father: “My daughter, I receive thee;” by the Son: “My spouse, I give myself to Thee;” by the Divine Spirit: “Dear soul, I inflame thee with my love.” These words produced their effect in her soul at the same time, by a kind of globe radiant and all
on fire which was placed in the middle of her bosom, where she afterwards felt a devouring heat, which produced in her an impression of admirable purity of body, of heart, of spirit, love, and intention.” (‘The Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos’)

A Sublime Lesson Regarding the Sanctification of Souls (Given by Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)

“My Benigna, in what consists the martyrdom of love?

It consists in surrendering oneself to love as wood to the fire, or gold in the crucible; fire consumes the wood and reduces it to ashes; fire purifies the gold and makes it resplendent.

A soul surrendered to Love can no longer interrupt the operations of Love unless by her infidelity she deprives herself of its action. As fire consumes the wood entirely, so Love continues to work until the soul has arrived at the degree of perfection which God requires of it. It suffices to surrender wholly to Love, then Love will do the rest. But remark this well: when the wood is green the fire must first consume its humidity, and this takes more time: but if the wood be dry, it is immediately consumed, and the more rapidly according as the wood is more dry. So it is with souls: those who are still full of themselves find great difficulty in yielding to the action of Love; but souls dead to themselves are quickly consumed.”

“… My Benigna, I will tell thee yet more of the martyrdom of Love. The soul must let itself be consumed by Love Love is ingenious enough to know how to take everything away from the soul, without appearing to take away anything.

Let it act, and it will despoil thee. It will commence by the exterior, as the fire first consumes the bark; then it will penetrate into the interior. Benigna, give to Love all that it asks, and never say: It is enough. The more thou givest, the more it will demand, but
always with great sweetness. Love will augment in thee the desire of giving. I have very few souls surrendered so wholly to Love, because it is painful. Certain souls commence well, but turn back; they are afraid of sacrifice; I compare them to those persons who will not pluck a rose for fear they will be pricked. True love does not act so; wherever it sees a sacrifice, it darts upon it as its prey; it folds and embraces it; and the more hidden the sacrifice, the more interior and known to God alone, the more willingly is it performed. Courage, then. Tell Me thou givest Me thy will forever because thou wilt have no other movement than that of Love; then remain firm, and know that when a soul commences generously, she is always well received by My Heart. Thou mayst repair lost time by a
greater fideHty in the present and especially by using the treasures of My most sweet Heart.”

“It is so wonderful to unite oneself, poor, unworthy little victim that one is, to the Great Victim Himself.”

– Yvonne-Aimee

Man’s Only Good

“My God, my Sovereign Love, my All… My Jesus, my only Love, my God, my All... My Jesus, my only God, my All…”

– Words taken from various prayers given by Our Lord to SG. Sr. Benigna Consolata

He who possesses God, possess all. “Sanctifying grace,” writes Reginal Garrigou-Lagrange, “which makes us begin to live in this higher, supra-angelic order of the intimate life of God, is like a divine graft received in the very essence of the soul to elevate its vitality and to make it bear no longer merely natural fruits but supernatural ones, meritorious acts that merit eternal life for us.” (‘The Three Ages of the Interior Life’)

‘Furthermore,’ exclaimed St. Paul,  ‘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).

“That I may gain Christ.” That we may gain Christ. Is this not the reason for the Incarnation? Is this not the reason behind Our Lord’s cruel passion and death? Is this not the sublime end for which we were created? What more can we desire? What else can slake our thirst for limitless Good? ‘A man cannot receive any thing, unless it be given him from Heaven.’ (John 3:27) ‘I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father.’ (John 16:28)

“This,” writes Bl. Dom Columba Marmion, “is what our Lord Himself said to a Benedictine nun, Mother Deleloe, whose wonderful inner life has but recently been revealed:

“What more can you desire than to have within you the true source of all good, My Divine Heart?… All these great things are yours, all these treasures and riches are for the heart that I have chosen… Draw as much as you desire of these infinite delights and riches.” (‘Christ, the Ideal of the Monk’)

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“Maria,” said Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata, “no longer go begging the love of creatures; were they to give themselves entirely to thee thou wouldst not be satisfied. GOD ALONE CAN SUFFICE FOR THEE. Maria, thou hast need of a heart which loves thee, which understands thee; it is the Heart of God thou needest.” (‘The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul’)

Happy are those who can say with St. Francis of Assisi: “My God and my All!” What a beautiful, powerful and succint prayer. To go to God; to hope for everything from Him, to desire nothing but Him, is the very reason for which we were created; there is no other means by which we can find true, lasting fulfilment. This truth is beautifully illustrated in the writings of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (‘The Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos: Lay-Sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary’). The words speak for themselves:

“Once, on the Feast of the great St. Ambrose, I was in an extreme weakness, without devotion or application in God or to the merits of that Saint, my great protector, so that I said to our Lord:

‘Alas! my sweet Love, since I am so weak that I cannot further the interests of Thy glory as much as Thy goodness desires and signifies to me, I would punish myself for my fault by depriving myself this morning of approaching the holy Table. It is indeed the hardest penance I can impose on myself; yes, my Jesus, it is carrying my chastisement to the highest point thus to deprive myself of union with Thee by the reception of that Bread of Life.’

He made answer with a graciousness and love which penetrated my inmost soul and passed into the marrow of my bones:

‘Benigne, since when hast thou found that thou dost increase My glory, promote My interests, and make reparation for thy faults BY KEEPING AWAY FROM ME? …”

 

 

Liberty of Spirit: The End of Scrupulosity

Our_Mother_of_Perpetual_Help

Mother of Perpetual Succour, whose Feast Day is celebrated today (June 27)

Mother of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!

“Walk simply in the way of the Lord, and do not torment your mind.”

– St. Francis de Sales

It was one day revealed to Bl. Bernard Francis de Hoyos that a “holy liberty of spirit” is essential to holiness. Jesus wants our hearts to be dilated, full of trust in His merciful goodness. Think of a little child in the presence of its loving father. Even when the child is not looking at its father, it is nevertheless aware of his loving gaze, his power, and his protection. Supposing that the child were to walk towards the edge of a precipice, the father will warn the child; he is always looking out for his little one. Can we doubt that God would do likewise?

Self-Centredness: An Obstacle to Holiness

It often happens that a soul who is advancing towards God, becomes increasingly aware of the many dangers and obstacles that surround us. If the soul possesses good-will, she will strive to avoid sin and its near occasions. So far so good. But the Devil, seeing that he will not win such a soul by the allurement of mortal sin, resorts to more insidious means. If only he can divert the soul’s attention away from God, his job will be that much easier. Why? Because the soul that is preoccupied with self, remains there, instead of going to God (as Our Lord said to St. Mariam of Jesus Crucified). Instead of taking the “elevator of love” (St. Therese), she remains on the earth; her thoughts dwell there, and her heart, of necessity, follows suit.

It is a great shame when a soul turns in on itself; it is deprived of many lights and merits that it would otherwise have received, and God is deprived of the glory of seeing His beloved child happy and holy. ‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.’ (Jn. 10:10)

The Remedy / The Key to Liberty of Spirit

Go to Jesus.

“By His continual contact with you He will free you from your weakness and your faults and from all that troubles you. Nothing ought to prevent our going to Him.”

– Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity (who will be canonized on 16 October, 2016)

We ought to imitate King David, who, after having committed adultery and murder (I don’t say we should imitate him in that), immediately beseeched the Father of all Mercies, of Whom King David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, speaks thus:

‘For thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild: and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee.’

(Ps. 86:5)

Commenting on this passage, St. Alphonsus writes: “David declares that God shows not only mercy, but great mercy, to those who invoke Him…” In the same text (‘How to Pray at All Times’), the saint shares with us these consoling words:

“Consider that God is so willing to pardon sinners that He laments their perdition, when they depart far from Him and live dead to His grace. Therefore, does he lovingly call them, saying: Why will you die, O house of Israel? Return ye, and live (Ezek. 18-31). He promises to receive a soul that has forsaken Him, if only it returns to His arms: Turn to Me . . . and I will turn to you (Zach. 1-3). Would that sinners only knew how mercifully our Saviour awaits them in order to pardon them: The Lord waiteth that He may have mercy upon you (Isa. 30-18). Would that sinners realised the desire on the part of God, not, indeed, to chastise them, but to see them converted and to embrace and press them to His Heart: As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live (Ezek. 33-11). He has even still more consoling words: Come and accuse Me, saith the Lord; if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1-18). In other words, He says: Sinners, repent of having offended Me and then come to Me. If I do not pardon you, accuse Me of being unfaithful to My promises; but, no, I will keep My word.”

Source: http://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-211.shtml

What a great pity it would have been if St. Dismas (the Good Thief), instead of turning his attention to the merciful gaze of our Saviour, chose instead to contemplate the fruit of his own iniquity? Perhaps he would have remained with his sins and been damned. But no; Dismas looked to Jesus, Who is “plenteous in mercy” to all those who invoke Him with even the slightest desire to avail themselves of God’s mercy; and in looking upon the wounds and the gentle Countenance of our Divine Redeemer, his heart was moved to repentance, and he was saved.

What good can possibly come from fixating on our weakness and misery?

When Going to Jesus Appears Fruitless

Our Lord often said to St. Margaret Mary that she would only be lacking in help when His Divine Heart was lacking in power. He meant by this that, if we succumb to distrust – by which we doubt God’s infinite love and power (which is principally manifested in showing mercy to His creatures, as the Collect for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost attests) – we deprive ourselves, to some extent, of God’s assistance. ‘And He wrought not many miracles there, because of their unbelief.‘ (Mt. 13:58)

If we are making little progress in Divine Love, it is because we lack confidence in God. Our prayers should be bold, persevering, even audacious. God knows that we have nothing and can do nothing without His grace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the right and even the obligation to rely on God for everything. “My God and my All!” Every movement towards God, however slight, is the work of God. We cannot merit anything; we are neither good, nor learned, nor holy. ‘Tu solus sanctus.‘ God alone is holy (Rev. 15:4). We are only good to the extent that God acts within us. And God only acts within us to the extent that we rely on Him or let Him.

How often did Our Lord addressed these words to chosen souls:

“LET ME ACT.”

It is as if He said to us: “My little child; you are so weak that you do not know it. You can do nothing without me; you cannot so much as think a good thought without my grace. Come to Me, then, with great confidence; give yourself to Me. I will take care of you. I already am taking care of you. How else can you explain the desire that you have to possess Me? Was it not I Who put this desire in your heart?”

If we lack confidence, we should frequently beg God for this grace; He will give it, gladly. We must “not fear to be importunate” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez). God wants to teach us all a valuable lesson: all good comes from Him, and it is only when we truly seek Him and the Kingdom first, that we can absolutely rely on His infallible assistance. ‘You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:13)

St. Alphonsus says that certain pusillanimous souls do not perceive that their lack of confidence is a consequence of their lack of generosity towards God; because they will not abandon themselves to God without reserve, He cannot give Himself without reserve to the soul.

“Is this a sin?”

One of the greatest obstacles to liberty of spirit is habitual analysis of the sinfulness of particular scenarios, hypothetical events, and so on. In a word, if we are fixated on sin, we are not free to love. God never intended things to be this way. “Love and do what you will,” says St. Augustine. Our Lord wants us to be as ‘simple as doves‘ (Mt. 10:16).

It must be known that, although there is a great need for vigilance, the best form of vigilance is to frequently converse with Jesus, Whose very name means “Saviour.” By speaking to Him frequently and with simplicity, invoking His aid, He will guide our feet, just as a father guides his little infant. If it should happen that we commit some fault, it will not be a great one, because our will was more or less focussed on God.

“Do not give a thought to your involuntary imperfections!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 36, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World’)

By means of frequent prayer (e.g. the aspiration, “My Jesus, mercy!”) the soul is liberated from a great deal of trouble; she is free to love. Such souls might happen to commit many imperfections, but God always sustains them; He redirects their attention to Him the moment they perceive their misery.

“If you should happen to commit some fault, do not grieve over it, but come and place it quickly within My Heart; then strengthen your determination to strive for the opposite virtue, but with great calmness. In that manner your every fault will become a step in advance.”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 34, JATTW)

St. Therese perfectly exemplifies this perseverance in going to Jesus, Who seeks to purify us at every moment:

“O my good Jesus, who so benignly dost use our continual miseries to feed the fire of Thy divine Mercy, look with pitying eyes upon Thy solicitous purveyor, who lets not a moment pass without giving Thee something to burn!”

– From ‘The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul,’ taken from a prayer given by Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

Jesus asks one thing of us: LOVE. But first, He asks that we go to Him – the emptier our hearts, the better. How else are we to receive LOVE?

Doubts may arise from time to time to confuse our conscience, to distract us from loving; but we should know that we are always safe when we turn to Jesus and Mary, and when we obey our confessor (unless we receive patently evil advice – God forbid!). Good-will, according to the saints, is the perfection that God requires of us.

Some Examples of Liberty of Spirit

+ “I was very much pleased to read,” writes St. Francis de Sales, “in the Life of St. Charles Borromeo, how he yielded to the Swiss incertain things, in which otherwise he was very strict…”

+ “… and that St. Ignatius of Loyola, being invited to play, did not refuse.”

+ “… As to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, she played and danced sometimes, when she was present at assemblies of recreation, without any prejudice to her devotion; for devotion was so deep in her soul, that her devotion increased amongst the pomps and vanities to which her condition exposed her.” (‘Introduction to the Devout Life’)

+ “Saint Spiridion, a bishop of olden times, once gave shelter to a pilgrim who was almost dying of hunger. It was the season of Lent and in a place where nothing was to be had but salt meat. This Spiridion ordered to be cooked and then gave it to the pilgrim. Seeing that the latter, notwithstanding his great need, hesitated to eat it, the Saint, although he did not require it, ate some first in order to remove the poor man’s scruples. That was a true spirit of liberty born of charity.” (Saint Francis de Sales, quoted in Rev. Quadrupani’s brilliant chapter on ‘Liberty of Spirit’: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/quadrupani/light.v.ch_16.html )

+ For the sake of charity, some of the Desert Fathers would eat as often as they had guests, even if they themselves were already sufficiently fed. They would not have eaten until they were absolutely glutted; but they knew charity is primary, and that one can always fast later, or delay the next meal.

[In the Conferences of St. John Cassian, we are given this sage advice: if we have taken on certain spiritual practices, in self-will, that are impeding our peace and spiritual growth, we should give them up. Ideally, we should submit these concerns to our confessor; that way, we avoid self-deception.]

+ St. Teresa Margaret (d. 1770), a Carmelite nun, upon seeing the sufferings of Sr. Mary Victoria at meal-time, leaned over and gave her a kiss. By this simple act of affection, St. Teresa Margaret liberated her from her violent toothache. “The Carmelite rule,” writes Berth Ghezzi (p. 12, ‘Mystics and Miracles’), “forbade one sister to kiss another, but Theresa Margaret wasn’t thinking about rules that day. She was thinking about love, and that led to a small gesture of kindness, and that led to a miracle.” ‘The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’ (Mk. 2:27).

Like St. Teresa Margaret, St. Therese, St. Francis de Sales, and so many others, we should not be so calculating. It is God, after all, Who is our guide, our protector and our Counsellor. Rather than studying ourselves, then, as if we were some kind of characters in a play, we should prefer to study God, to love Him, to speak to Him with simplicity, and thereby to forget self. “Forgetfulness of self is the tomb of scruples.” Let us turn to our Mother of Perpetual Succour/Help, and let us avoid being children of perpetual worry; we must stop analysing our first movements, involuntary imperfections, venial sins, falls, intentions, words and the like. Go to Jesus, Go to Mary, Go to Joseph (Ite ad Joseph); enjoy their company; do not become the sport of demons by listening to their vile suggestions, which can easily be detected by the effect they have on the soul, and by the fact that they keep the soul from God.

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi

St. Teresa Margaret, Carmelite nun (d. 7 March, 1770)

Some Advice Given to Sr. Consolata Betrone

“Think no longer about yourself, about your perfection, on how to attain sanctity, or about your defects, your present and future troubles. No, I will see to your sanctification, to your sanctity. You must henceforth think only of Me and of souls; of Me to love, and of souls to save them!” (p. 131, JATTW)

Some Final Advice

If you want to acquire liberty of spirt, get to know the following holy souls and their writings:

– St. Therese

– St. Francis de Sales

– St. Gertrude

– Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius)

– Sr. Benigna Consolata

– Sr. Gertrude Mary

In time, one will imbibe their spirit.

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‘Offer up the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord: many say, Who sheweth us good things?’
(Ps. 4:5)

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“Jesus, be to me a Jesus [i.e. a Saviour]!”

– Part of a prayer given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata (The same prayer – minus the word “a” – was recommended by a Visitandine to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos)

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“My Jesus, my only God, my All, I conjure Thee to bury me so deeply in Thy Sacred Heart that I may never be able to come forth.”

– Part of a prayer given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

[This post is dedicated to my Superior and spiritual Father, who gave me permission to spend a greater length of time completing this article.]

+BENEDICTUS DEUS+

Some Saintly Insights into the “Little Way”

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Servant of God, Leonie Martin (sister of St. Therese)

‘The Lord is the keeper of little ones: I was little and he delivered me.’

– Psalm 116:6

When people hear of the “Little Way,” they generally think of (Little) St. Therese. This is understandable, considering the profound role she has played, and will continue to play, in making this doctrine better known, i.e. the doctrine of confident and complete abandonment to Merciful Love.

But it is important to know that St. Therese is only one of many “little souls” (or the “littlest ones,” as she desired to be). There are a number of other “little ones,” that, like St. Therese, have much to teach us. This post is devoted to them. Let us consider their wisdom:

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“Our deeds are not the best claim to merit before God. God inspires the thought and gives the strength. Our true Title to the Divine favour is the Blood of Christ, to which we have the right through our own destitution and humbly acknowledged frailty.”

– Dom Pius de Hemptinne, d. 1907 (p. 139, ‘A Disciple of Dom Marmion’)

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+ “And to make Jesus more promptly realize my desire [to become a religious], I treated Him as a little child treats her mother until she obtains what she wants. I tormented Jesus. How weary He must have grown of hearing me! But was it not He Himself who was inspiring this ardent desire of giving myself to Him, wholly and without reserve? Did He not really wish that I should importune Him in this way?”

– Sr. Gertrude Mary, d. 1908 (An extraordinary French mystic, who has often been compared to St. Therese.)

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+  “I wish to stay small, so that I can have the audacity to believe that I will not go to Purgatory.  I ask my Jesus that He Himself prepare me for His arrival.”

– Servant of God, Leonie Martin, sister of St. Therese, d. 1941 (A few days ago, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, and the 153rd anniversary of the birth of Leonie, my “little sister,” I was told that I will be entering the novitiate earlier than expected! Thanks, little sister!)

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“I wish to stay small, so that I can have the audacity to believe that I will not go to Purgatory.  I ask my Jesus that He Himself prepare me for His arrival.”

– Servant of God, Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, d. 1692 (Another extraordinary French mystic!)

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“I will suffer joyously since Jesus wills it; I will not seek calm and tranquillity, but let Jesus do around me whatever He pleases. I shall be faithful to the practice of virtue, even in the smallest things; for example, I shall be silent when I wish to speak, and speak when I would like to keep silence. May Jesus bless me, guide me, and enlighten me!”

– Servant of God, Sr. Benigna Consolata, d. 1916

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“Love is the soul of every life of prayer and of every good work.”

– Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, d. 1937

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“Never let yourself be depressed by the thought of your wretchedness. The great
St. Paul said: ‘Where sin abounded, grace did more abound.’ So it seems to me that the weakest, even the most sinful person has the greatest right to hope. By forgetting self and casting herself into the arms of God, she glorifies Him more than by any self-examination and self-reproach, which keep her attention fixed on her own defects though she possesses a Saviour within her Who is always willing to purify her.”

– Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity (soon to be declared a Saint!)

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“I have only to ask; I hear the humble and trustful prayer of little ones.”

– Our Lady to Pere Lamy (p. 95, ‘Pere Lamy’)

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My Last Post… for now…

“All for God, all for His glory, and all through pure love.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

Dear readers,

Tomorrow I will be embarking on a journey to (somewhere in) Europe, where I will be entering a Benedictine monastery! I will offer Mass every day for all the readers of Littlest Souls – past, present, and future.

Please pray for me, too! And if you would be so kind, please also pray that Sr. Benigna Consolata may be declared a “Venerable” in 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of her entrance into eternal life, and the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy! This, I believe, is no coincidence.

I have been given permission to continue with my blog, so I will contribute to Littlest Souls once a week, most likely.

All the best, dear friend!

“Thou wilt be consumed by Love. Yes, My little spouse, I accept thy sacrifice with all the expansion of My love. I will immolate thee, but it will be always with the sword of Love. I will enchain thee, but with the bonds of love. I will consume thee, but in the fire of My Love.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

The Life and Revelations of Sister Jeanne Bénigne Gojos

jeanne-benigne

Her Birth

Servant of God (S.G.) Sr. Jeanne Bénigne was born on July 20, 1615, in Viuz, Veronay, a small French village situated in the diocese of Geneva. Her father and mother were both from respectable Catholic families, who took care to observe the Commandments, and practice works of mercy.

Her Baptism

On July 22, the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (and the birth of St. Margaret Mary*), little Jeanne received the grace of Baptism. Her mother chose this name because her birth was a cause of joy for all her family.

[*In the year 1657, Sr. Jeanne Benigne prophesied about a Sister Margaret Mary, who would teach a profitable devotion in the Church i.e. devotion to the Sacred Heart.]

Her Childhood

Shortly after her baptism, she was entrusted to the care of her grandfather, Anthelme Perjure. He was a very wealthy and respected man, renowned for his great charity towards the poor. We can only estimate the extent of his influence on Jeanne, whose first words were,I want to be a saint.” Whenever the question was repeated to her, she always gave the same response: “I want to be a saint. Yes, yes, Jeanne wants nothing else but holiness.” Our Lord was already acting impressively upon the soul of his beloved child, who, like St. John the Baptist, was to be a child of grace.

At the age of 4, Jeanne was afflicted by smallpox, which left her features disfigured. Her illness was so severe that her parents feared for her life. On another occasion, Jeanne fell into a fire, but was fortunate enough to escape with nothing worse than a sore hand. Later, little Jeanne faced yet another grave danger when a man who was carrying her on horseback nearly drowned in the river.

When she reached a fitting age, Jeanne was taught how to read, write, sing and dance. She was particularly fond of singing and dancing; but these things could never satisfy her heart; she thirsted for the All, the Alpha and the Omega.

Inevitably – as happens in the lives of all servants of the Divine Master – Jeanne became the victim of the world’s assaults; vanity, attachment to creatures, and frivolous pastimes knocked at the door of her heart – but in vain. These attacks only induced Jeanne to seek the safety of the cloister with greater ardour.

Spiritual Formation

At the age of 11, Jeanne made her first Communion with great devotion. She would often spend long periods before the Blessed Sacrament, where she occasionally tasted great spiritual sweetness. “It seemed to me,” she wrote “that when that time was past I was a poor orphan, no longer having my Divine Saviour before my eyes.”

To sustain her in the spiritual life, she read the writings of St. Francis de Sales, and the holy Gospels. The latter in particular inspired her with great lights, unction, reverence and love for Almighty God, Who penetrated her heart with an intense hatred of the least fault. Later in life she could say in truth:

“I would rather die a thousand times than offend Him. I have a mortal hatred of the very least defects.”

An EverIncreasing Flame

Jeanne’s ardent love of God, and her hatred of sin – two sides of the same coin – would continue to grow throughout her life, even to an heroic degree. The Divine Gardener would continue to graft Himself every more intimately to the soul of His loving daughter, in whom He had planted the seed of a desire for the religious life; it was only time before this seed bore fruit. Since a young age, God had been drawing her irresistibly to the cloister, to sacrifice, to silence, to self–abnegation. ‘Therefore, behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart’ (Hosea 2:14).

One day, at Holy Communion, Our Lord clearly manifested His Will to Jeanne; she was to retire from the world and give herself without reserve to God. At first, her confessor strongly dissuaded her from doing so – but he cited only earthly reasons. In her affliction, Jeanne addressed her ardent sights to the Blessed Mother, asking her to fulfil her resolution to give herself entirely to God within only a few months. Her prayer was answered. “During this time,” she writes, “by a sort of miracle, I found means, through one of our out–sisters of Annecy [of the Order of the Visitation], of asking to be received there without anyone knowing it… At the end of the limit I had given to Mary, my powerful Advocate, the out–sister, together with the chaplain of our first Monastery at Annecy, arrived at our house, saying quite frankly that they had come to take me away to that holy place, and that our Mothers had granted me admission into their house. I had made this choice the better to accomplish my desire of being a saint, for I had heard of the sublime perfection of the life that was led there. I had also in view to go to a distance from my relations and my country, in order that God might more readily make known to me His Will.”

Her Entrance into Religion

Despite her good intentions, Jeanne’s parents gently reproached her for acting so secretively. Her father was particularly reluctant to let go of his dear child, but the mother persuaded him to accept with docility the sacrifice that God was asking of them. After receiving her parents’ blessing, Jeanne left on the eve of the Feast of St. John for the Visitation of Holy Mary in Annecy, France, where she would arrive on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. This day also marked the 13th anniversary of the death of [Saint] Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva. Jeanne knelt before his tomb that very day when “… she began to feel a grace which may have had some little resemblance to that which the great St. Paul received at the moment of his conversion; for she felt herself not only blind to all worldly objects, but dead to all worldly feelings.”

The religious life was, for Sr. Jeanne Benigne, a source of innumerable blessings from Heaven. Almighty God bestowed upon her the gift of infused prayer, a great purity of heart, and He occupied her affections to such an extent that “… He became thenceforward the Sovereign Master of her whole being by a continual perception and adoration of His divine Will in all things.”

The morning after entering the religious life, Sr. Jeanne changed put on the clothes of a servant–maid and began her new life within the walls of the Visitation. Writing later in life, she tells us that, since entering the religious house, not once did she lose sight of God, Who often manifested Himself to her in the most profound ways. Her life was truly extraordinary; she was often the recipient of visions, locutions, and other mystical graces. She learnt many valuable and inspiring lessons from the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, from the Blessed Mother, and even from St. Francis de Sales.

Her Extraordinary Sanctity

It was evident to those around her, that Sr. Jeanne Benigne was a privileged child of God; she was a model religious, who sought nothing but Christ and His good–pleasure. Although she tried to conceal her gifts, it was of no use; it was noted by the sisters, for example, that when Sr. Jeanne tried to make the Sign of the Cross without anyone perceiving it, this often resulted in remarkable cures, including the prolongation of life, and deliverance from temptations and distress. “God also promised her that during the course of her life He would preserve this country [France] from pestilence and famine, and from the dangerous consequences of the siege, as well as from other causes of public affliction; and this protection was in reality experienced, although we were often threatened with those scourges; and the secret favours she obtained for the whole state, and for us in particular, were innumerable.”

“And I say that Benigna is she by whom I go about cleansing the world from sins and heresy, often granting to her real conversions from both, such as the conversions of pagans and Turks.”

– Jesus to Sr. Jeanne Benigne (p. 192, ‘Divine Communications’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau, Vol. 1)

No less of an authority than Mother de Chantal [St. Jane Frances de Chantal] “… judged favourably of the ways by which this soul was led, and said that the designs of God upon her were great; that love and grace would do admirable things in her favour.” This holy soul, a friend of St. Francis de Sales, ensured that Sr. Jeanne Benigne’s virtue was tried. This proved to be an occasion of countless graces for Sr. Jeanne Benigne and for the whole community at Annecy, who were greatly edified by her sublime virtue.

On the 31st of May, 1637, Sr. Jeanne Benigne received the habit from the hands of Mother de Chantal. “She redoubled her efforts to attain to the state of pure love; and her virtue gained her the esteem and affection of all the sisters, who found great consolation in conversing with her.”

Throughout her religious life, Sr. Jeanne Benigne was ever faithful in observing the Rule, which Our Lord gave her a profound respect for her, drawing her attention to particular words to meditate upon and put into practice. Such condescension on the part of Love Incarnate served to inflame the heart of Sr. Jeanne Benigne; she was always inventing new ways to mortify herself, so that Christ may reign in her soul. She sought to eradicate even the least shadow of a fault by means of continual mortifications of the senses, and of her own will. ‘Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will.’ (Eccles. 18:30)

In addition to her self–imposed sacrifices, she also suffered from strange maladies, which she bore with her usual patience and even with delight. Like the Sacred Heart of her Beloved Saviour, the heart of Benigne was a blazing furnace; the more she loaded it with the wood of the Cross, the more ardently it burned for God and for souls. “No, no,” she would exclaim; “O sovereign clemency, Heart of Jesus, pardon all the world and punish only Benigne; let her bear the chastisements that are due to it.”

She confessed on at least one occasion that sufferings were no longer a burden for her; rather, they were a delight, for they were opportunities to prove her love for her Heavenly Spouse.

For the sake of brevity, we pass over the greater part of Sr. Jeanne’s religious life. Suffice it to say that we are speaking here of a truly privileged soul, who was called to an unusual sanctity. “Ah!” said Our Lord to Sr. Jeanne one day, “what is wanting to the grace I bestow on thee in showing Myself to thee, except duration, to be able to call thyself blessed.” On another occasion the Three Divine Persons addressed these words to her:

“Benigne must do everything in the spirit of Jesus, and must follow Him in all things, to glorify us in Him and by Him.”

How admirably did Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos appear to put this sublime lesson into effect!

Her Holy Death

“It was on Wednesday, the 5th of November, 1692, at eight o’clock in the evening, that we witnessed the end of the holy life of this venerable sister, at the age of seventy–seven years, five months, and fifteen days, of which she had passed fifty–seven years in religion, as a humble lay-sister, which was no doubt a privilege granted by God to her humility, notwithstanding the frequent intentions that had been formed of giving her the black veil.

As she had often foretold, her death took place in the twenty–third week after Pentecost, on the Sunday of which the Gospel relates the story of that woman who only wished to touch the hem of the Saviour’s garment that she might be healed, and who won that praise from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom, Fides tua te salvam fecit, with an encouragement to confide in His goodness.”

Her Influence Today

S.G. Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos is a powerful intercessor, whose influence can still be experienced today. After her death, many holy and learned priests and religious gave written evidence attesting to her sanctity.

On November 5, 1908, Maria Consolata – another privileged nun of the Visitation Order – received the white habit with the name Sr. Benigna Consolata. This was no coincidence. These two privileged souls shared much in common. Our Lord even referred to the Revelations of Sr. Jeanne Benigne in a locution to Sr. Benigna Consolata.

Our Lord Desires to Make Himself Known Through Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos

“One day,” writes Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, “I asked my pure Love in what manner I could exalt that glory, and I received from Him this instruction:

“By being obedient to My graces, and by writing them down also by obedience; yes, My Benigne, submission attracts My glory to the soul, and that enables it to gain victories, as thy holy Founder teaches you all, and attracts Me to the earth of your heart, which thus remains full and penetrated by Me. My daughter, I am much glorified by all those who know how to conquer themselves, and who for love of Me do violence to their passions, to bring them under the empire of holy love, and under the loving law of My Will.”

On another occasion, “… Our Lord confirmed the command to write, and there took place a kind of dialogue between Him and His Benigne. “Alas!” she said, “what wilt Thou gain by these writings, O Lord ?”

“My glory will be exalted by them.”

“O God! Nothingness exalt the All! How can that be?”

“By showing how I love this nothing,” Jesus replied.

“But to what purpose should they learn what Thou hast done for me?”

“They will be excited to love me by reading it.”

“Ah! Lord, my little virtue will not correspond to Thy bounties, they will never believe them!”

“He who will not believe shall not taste them.”

“Ah! my God, who will be able to collect Thy divine favours out of my rough copies? What person will take so much trouble?”

“I will find her, Benigne, trust to my care, and I will reward those who shall read the recital of the graces which I have been pleased to heap upon thy soul.”

She said again to her Jesus: “Faith does not oblige anyone to believe these divine favours.” But He taught her that the heart which loves perfectly hopes strongly, believes its Lover easily, and will possess even in this life all it can desire from His bounty.”

——————————————-

+++++++

SOME REVELATIONS GIVEN TO SR. JEANNE BENIGNE GOJOS

Source: ‘Life of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, lay–sister of the Visitation of Holy Mary, who died in the odour of sanctity in the Monastery of Turin, in 1692’ by Mother Marie Geltrude E. Provane De Leyni

+++++++

Our Misery Attracts Divine Mercy

“… remember that I love thee, that where misery and poverty abound, there I pour out My mercy, and the riches of My grace, and that as I cannot abase myself to the unworthiness of thy soul, I raise it up to Myself, freeing it from its dross and imperfection by means of my preventing love…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 51)

Obedience Gives Value to the Least of our Actions

“My Spouse tells me that nothing but obedience and love give a high value to our good actions, and that obedience confers merit even on indifferent ones. That all we do with little love is painful, and if the merit of it is not quite lost, it is at least much diminished.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 56)

Obedience Attracts the Divine Assistance

“… submission attracts My glory to the soul, and that enables it to gain victories, as thy holy Founder teaches you all, and attracts Me to the earth of your heart, which thus remains full and penetrated by Me. My daughter, I am much glorified by all those who know how to conquer themselves, and who for love of me do violence to their passions, to bring them under the empire of holy love, and under the loving law of My Will.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 61)

God Desires Love Alone

“Benigne, I love those who love me, and I desire only the love of my creature.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 62)

Humility Attracts Divine Grace

“I have learnt that the sincere avowal of my powerlessness for good is a wonderful secret of love to please God, to draw Him to me and to restore me to my place near Him…”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 63)

Jesus Does Not Abandon the Suffering Soul

“I am with him who suffers for love of me.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 65)

The Fruits of Good–will

“He who keeps my law will abound in benignity, happiness, and long life.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 66)

Love, Hope, Sacrifice, Abandonment

“In short, I will that my Benigne should never cease to love God, to hope in Him, to suffer with her Spouse, and to abandon herself to love. These are the four laws which Divine Love gives her.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 67)

Prayer for Sinners

“Benigne, oh, tell Me to pacify these kings, and to cease to punish them by means of themselves.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 79)

Jesus Loves to See us do Battle

“I shall then conceal from thee the pleasure I take in seeing thee fight against my enemy; yes, Benigne, I shall be in thee in a singular manner.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 85)

God is our Protector and Guide

“Fear nothing; love guides thy steps; I tell thee again that My eyes are upon thee.”

– Words of God (p. 85)

The Importance of Work and Manual Labour

“… my holy Angels help me to do my work, and make me think highly of manual labour.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne (p. 103)

Death to Self

“I have learnt that God loves nothing so much as a heart dead to self, and that nothing gives Him more glory than such a heart when it no longer exists but in His divine Will.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 147)

Purity of Intention

“I was taught that the soul that gives heed to this [purity of intention] gains much in a short time, as I have said elsewhere; but here I add that my Master taught me that by this purity of intention the soul sees accomplished in her the words of the apostle, ‘He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him [1 Cor. 1:17],’ and that it thus receives a blessed capacity of willing all that God wills, or rather a kind of impossibility of willing, desiring or loving anything but what God wills that it should desire, or will, or love, or do.”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 218)

The Treasure of Divine Grace

“I have placed my treasure in thee – keep it sedulously.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 239)

Union with God: A Work of Divine Love

“… My loving-kindness unites Me to thee, and my grace unites thee to Me…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 294)

Jesus Loves Each Soul with an Infinite Love

“… I feel for thee the same tenderness which I felt for thy soul in particular upon the Cross…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 294)

Jesus is our Strength

“I will be thy sole Support.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 319)

Mary is Our Mother and Protector

“Jesus, Saviour of souls, wills that Benigne should be protected by His Holy Mother, even in her death.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 319)

Examine your Conscience

“Know thyself.”

– Words of the Divine Spirit (p. 321)

Union with God in Paradise

“God renders the blessed like Himself; yes, Benigne, My elect by seeing Me are in such wise transformed in Me that they have no other will than Mine; their love springs from My love.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 341)

The Tender Love of our Heavenly Father

“My daughter, what can afflict thee? What do I not do for thee? I keep thee in My Bosom, thou hast been brought there with My Son, thou art My friend, I stoop down to thee, I fill thee with My graces, I give thee no reason to think that I omit to confer a single one upon thee.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 345)

What Pleases God Most

“… submission to My divine good pleasure is what is most pleasing in My sight…”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 346)

God Protects Those Abandoned to Him

“… if thou entirely givest up thy own foresight, I will take care of thee; I take pleasure in working miracles for the hearts that belong to Me.”

– Words of the Eternal Father (p. 348)

Faith Glorifies God

“… if thou wouldst glorify the Father and the Son, believe My words; the loss is theirs who do not believe in Me…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 350)

Docility

“… let Me act as I please…”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 357)

Involuntary Imperfections

“Benigne must not be surprised to see some faults in herself after receiving so many mercies, and even to feel imperfect emotions, provided she does not dwell on them.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 358)

He who Possesses God, Lacks Nothing

“God will be with thee as long as He is God, by an infinite mercy. What canst thou desire from us that thou hast not received?”

– The Three Persons in their Unity (p. 359)

An Echo of Our Lord’s Words to St. Margaret Mary

“If I had not already made this divine Eucharistic institution of love, I would make it this very moment for thee, Benigne of Jesus – that is thy new surname.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 367)

Jesus Inspires us to Ask Him for Graces

“When wilt thou come with an open heart; it is I who incite thee to ask; ask, and I can refuse thee nothing.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 367)

Jesus is “the Way”

“Come, Benigne, unite thyself to Me Who have united the Godhead to the Manhood, two contraries not to be reconciled by any but Me.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 373)

Cast your Cares upon Him

“Confide in the God of thy heart, who loves thee.”

– Words of Our Lord (p. 407)

Purgatory

“Souls which not being pure enough to fly at once to Heaven are destined to Purgatory, go thither to undergo their pains so lovingly and with a grace of such divine satisfaction that they find their punishment sweet in the justice of the Will of God. Oh! how extreme is their happiness in being assured of the love of their Creator!”

– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (p. 417)

Every Movement Towards God is an Effect of Divine Love

“My daughter Benigne, when thou shalt be quite convinced of thine own nothingness and misery, thou wilt learn to magnify My name. I am the Almighty, raising to Myself what is but dust; My mercy is infinite, and I take pleasure in strikingly displaying it in the sanctification of the chosen souls who abandon themselves with tender confidence to My Providence.”

– The Heavenly Father (p. 347)

God’s Providence: Fascinating Connections between 10 Mystics

The purpose of this article is to accentuate the wisdom, mystery and beauty of God’s Providence. I have chosen to focus on Providential events in the lives of 10 remarkable Catholic Mystics – each of whom were fervent (female) devotees of the Sacred Heart. It is my hope that in reading this article, many (of the relative few who read this blog) will be inspired to learn more about these remarkable women. Furthermore, it is my hope and prayer that you will seek their intercession and friendship. As Soeur Gertrude-Marie says: the more we love God, the more we will love His Saints.

Reading the lives of the Mystics* has been a passion of mine for quite some time. I confess that I am captivated by the love of these generous souls, who inspire me to seek their intercession, and to imitate, at least to some degree, their humility, purity and charity.

[*St. Therese is the only “ordinary” Mystic in this article; the others were the frequent recipients of visions, locutions and such.]

Read. Pray. Befriend. Imitate.

— Note: Much, much more could be said about the similarity between these great women. One has only to compare the revelations of Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Faustina, for example, to see that their lives and writings are imbued with the message of Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy truly is the message for our times – our troubled, confused, despairing, atheistic, evil times. To this message we must respond with childlike confidence – another characteristic trait of the holy souls to whom this article refers.]

The Birth (and Death) of 10 Great Mystics

1615

  • July 20: Birth of Servant of God (SG.) Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. November 5, 1692)

1647

  • July 22: Birth of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (d. October 17, 1690)

1870

  • October 28: Birth of (SG.?) Sr. Gertrude Mary (Anne-Marie Bernier) (d. May 24, 1908)

1873

  • January 2: Birth of St. Therese of Lisieux (d. September 30, 1897)

1885

  • August 6: Birth of SG. Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero (d. September 1, 1916)

1890

  • February 4: Birth of SG. Sr. Josefa Menendez (d. December 29, 1923)

1897

  • April 30: Birth of Bl. Dina Belanger (d. September 4, 1929)

1901

  • July 16: Birth of SG. Mother Yvonne-Aimee de Jesus (d. February 3, 1951)

1903

  • April 6: Birth of SG. Consolata Betrone (d. July 18, 1946)

1905

  • August 25: Birth of St. Faustina (d. October 5, 1938)

Dates Connecting the Aforementioned

July 22 (Feast of St. Mary Magdalene)

  • 1615: Baptism of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos. “This dear child received the grace of Baptism on the Feast of St. Magdalen, which seemed to foretell that the little creature would be, as indeed she was, a true lover of Jesus, but [in her case] always innocent.” (p. 6 of her biography)
  • 1647: Birth of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (It was also on her birthday in 1690 that “… a little less than three months before her death, she heard more distinctly than ever the call of the Spouse.” (p. 283 of her biography)

Some revelations received on July 22:

  • 1921: Our Lady said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “While you suffer, the devil has less power over that soul [for which you offer your sufferings].” (from ‘The Way of Divine Love’)
  • 1922: Jesus appeared to Sr. Josefa Menendez at the beginning of Holy Mass. “In one hand,” she writes, “He held His Heart and with the other He beckoned to me: “Behold the Prison I have prepared for you from all eternity. In My Heart you will henceforth live lost and hidden forever.”

August 25

  • 1671: St. Margaret Mary is clothed in the black habit of the Visitation Order.
  • 1905: Birth of St. Faustina (Trivia: August 25, 1883, marks the death of SG. Louise Lateau; she was a stigmatist, who, like St. Faustina, died at age 33)

Some revelations received on August 25:

  • 1915: Sr. Benigna Consolata received the “Decalogue of Love” from Our Lord.
  • 1920: Sr. Josefa has a remarkable vision of Jesus. She writes: “I cannot attempt to describe Him. He was standing upright, vested in white; He held His Heart in His hands, as in a brazier of fire.”
  • 1934: Sr. Consolata Betrone was reading a book which mentioned punishments threatened by Our Lord. Jesus consoled her: “Consolata, look up to Heaven… Have confidence!” (p. 19)

September 8 (Feast of Our Lady’s nativity/birthday)

  • 1890: Solemn Profession of St. Therese.
  • 1939: Sr. Consolata Betrone was transferred to the new foundation of Moriondo, Moncalieri, in Turin, Italy.
  • 1942: Sr. Consolata Betrone reconsecrated the Littlest Ones (those who will follow her in her unceasing act of love) to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, who said to her: “Upon all, and upon each one, I will look with predilection, as I have done with you!”

Some revelations received on September 8:

  • 1920: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “Which do you prefer, My Will or yours?”
  • 1921: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “Let your soul occupation be to love Me; Love will give you strength.”
  • 1922: Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Menendez: “O slake My thirst to be loved by souls, especially to be loved by those I have chosen… I do not look at the act, I look at the intention. The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation… I want only love, I ask for nothing else.”
  • 1928: Jesus said to Bl. Dina Belanger: “I want My life in you to be a canticle of praise for the glory of My Father. From now on, I want you to sing with Me the eternal canticle of My sacred and glorious Heart. Let Me radiate through you the love and joy of eternity.” (p. 352 of her autobiography)
  • 1936: Jesus said to Sr. Consolata Betrone: “Make every effort, Consolata; it is for your own good! It is upon the effort that I now insist, that you offer Me unceasingly an act of love!” (p. 104 of ‘Jesus Appeals to the World’)

November 5

  • 1690: St. Margaret Mary made a Vow of perfection.
  • 1692: Death of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos.
  • 1908: Sr. Benigna Consolata received the white habit of the Visitation Order.

Some revelations received on November 5:

  • 1907: Our Lord gave Sr. Gertrude Mary a “superb necklace.” “This necklace,” He said, “is the symbol of faithfulness.” (p. 161)
  • 1934: St. Faustina writes (Diary, 341): “I am very surprised that You bid me to talk about this Feast of Mercy, for they tell me that there is already such a feast and so why should I talk about it?” Jesus replied: “And who knows anything about this feast? No one! Even those who should be proclaiming My mercy and teaching people about it often do not know about it themselves. That is why I want the image to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it.”

Further Connections between the Aforementioned

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos and St. Margaret Mary:

  • A little-known fact is that Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos – herself a great mystic – prophesied that Sr. [Saint] Margaret Mary would be instrumental in making known the Sacred Heart. Mother Marie Geltrude Provane de Leyni writes: “It is certain that in the year 1657 she [Sr. Jeanne] made known to me several of the graces of our Sister Mary Margaret Alacoque, of whom there was no talk as yet in our country. She told me that she was a person by whom God would be glorified, and that she would teach a very profitable devotion in the Church.” (p. 400 of Sr. Jeanne Benigne’s biography)

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos and Sr. Benigna Consolata:

  • While Sr. Benigna was still living at home, her spiritual director gave her some books to read, including a biography of Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos. “The reading of these lives,” she writes, “cast more deeply the roots of my vocation.” (p. 41 of her biography)
  • The author of Sr. Benigna’s biography writes: “Our Honored Mother Maria-Louisa in giving her this name [Benigna/Benigne], seemed to enter into the designs of God since there was to be more than one trait of resemblance between these two privileged souls.” (p. 37)

+ Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos, Sr. Benigna Consolata and Sr. Consolata Betrone:

  • Mother de Chantal [St. Jane Francis de Chantal] writes: “I have endeavoured, more than for any other foundation [of Visitation nuns], to ask of God light to choose for that of Turin, which gives us the entrance into Italy, no subjects but those capable of taking into it the true spirit of our little Congregation. I hope that our Lord may have granted me this grace for them all, but I am sure I have obtained it with regard to Sister Jeanne Benigne.” (p. 20) (Sr. Benigna Consolata was born in Turin, and Sr. Consolata was transferred to, and died in, Turin.)
  • (Trivia: Jesus said to Sr. Benigna Consolata: “Thou shalt go to the Visitation. 1. Because it is My Will; 2. Because at the Visitation thou canst not only become holy, but thou canst attain to the degree of sublime perfection which I destine for thee; 3. For the spiritual good of others.” – p. 30)

+ Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Therese:

  • Maria Consolata (Sr. Benigna Consolata) received several names, including Consolata, Rosalia, Philomena, and Theresa. The title of her biography is “The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul” – a title that was recommended by Our Lord Himself.
  • Therese compares herself to a “little ball”: “I had offered myself to the Holy Child some time before. I told him not to use me as a plaything for the worthy but as a little ball of no value that he could throw on the ground, kick, pierce, leave in a corner, hold close to his heart, as he wished; in a word, I wanted the Holy Child to play, I wanted to please him, I wanted to abandon myself to his childlike caprices.” Contrast these words with those of Sr. Benigna Consolata: “Jesus compares my soul to a ball, which when thrown violently to the ground, rises much higher than its point of departure; so my soul humbled by aridity rises again, by the grace of God, to the practice of pure love.” (from her biography)

+ St. Faustina and St. Margaret Mary:

  • Feb 15: Death and Feast Day of St. Claude Colombiere (St. Margaret Mary’s confessor) and Bl. Sopocko (St. Faustina’s confessor).

+ Sr. Benigna Consolata and St. Faustina:

  • Benigna Consolata died on September 1, 1916, at 3 o’clock (on a First Friday). Our Lord would later call this the “hour of great mercy,” reminding us at this time to implore His mercy, “especially for sinners.” Both St. Faustina and Sr. Benigna Consolata were Apostles of the Divine Mercy.

+ St. Therese, Yvonne-Aimee, Sr. Consolata Betrone and St. Faustina:

  • After her death, St. Therese spoke to Yvonne-Aimee and St. Faustina, and Our Lord spoke to Sr. Consolata about St. Therese. For example: “You will help me to shower roses upon the earth!” (St. Therese to Yvonne-Aimee)

A Final Word:

What does all this mean? Are some of these similarities mere coincidences?

In response to the first question, the following point must be reiterated: the message of Divine Mercy is the message for our times (every other message, such as the Holy Face devotion, is linked, at least implicitly, to the Divine Mercy). Only merciful love can cleanse this world of its “sinful filthiness” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone).

As to the latter: Well, there is no need to get bogged down by drawing minute philosophical distinctions, which will be of little profit to souls. Not every little event has a particular meaning, per se. Suppose you spill some curry on your new white shirt (purely hypothetical… *cough*); does this event have meaning? In a limited sense, perhaps.

“With God, nothing is empty of meaning.” (St. Irenaeus). We must distinguish between “meaning” with a capital ‘M’ and meaning with a lower case ‘m.’ We often cannot differentiate. Don’t bother trying (especially if it distracts you from God Himself). Simply know that the infinite Wisdom, Knowledge and Love of God ordains all things for our greater good.

Pax Domine!

JOY in the Spiritual Life: Q + A

“The only happiness here below is to strive to be always content with what Jesus gives us.” – St. Therese

“The greatest joy which it is possible to taste on earth is to possess God, God alone… And little souls do taste this.” – Sr. Consolata Betrone (Jesus Appeals to the World,’ Saint Pauls/Alba House) 

 “Give up your own will, if you want to be little.” – Our Lady to St. Bridget (Bk 4, Ch 18)

+ Thank you ‘edarlitrix’ for the article idea. God bless you, friend.

CONTENTS 

  1. What is joy?
  2. Is joy compatible with sorrow?
  3. If joy is not felt, can it be called joy?
  4. Joy amidst suffering: the example of the Saints
  5. How can suffering and joy coexist?
  6. Purity of heart: the key to abiding joy
  7. How do we attain purity of heart/intention?
  8. Only God can give us true joy
  9. The Eucharist: the Source of all joy
  10. Some final questions
  1. WHAT IS JOY?

Joy can be described as spiritual contentment, resulting from the possession of a desired good. Authentic joy consists in the possession of God, Who alone can satisfy our hearts, which thirst for Infinite Truth (satisfaction of the intellect) and Infinite Love (satisfaction of the will).

“Now joy,” writes St. Thomas, “is compared to desire, as rest to movement… and rest is full when there is no more movement. Hence joy is full, when there remains nothing to be desired.”

Our hearts were made by God and for God, the Sovereign Good. Only in Heaven will our joy be complete: ‘Enter into the joy of thy Lord.’ (Matthew 25:21). There, the risen body will partake of the soul’s delights, without hindrance. Also, according to sound theology, the risen body will have its own unique delights.

  1. IS JOY COMPATIBLE WITH SORROW?

St. Thomas answers in the affirmative (ST, Second Part of Second Part, Q. 28, Article 2). In this “valley of tears”, our joys are often mingled with sorrow. As we grow in love, we also become more sensitive to sin, which abounds in the world. The sight of our loved ones suffering is enough to render our joy imperfect.

Again, only in Heaven will our joy be perfect; for it is there that ‘God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.’  (Rev. 21:4)

  1. IF JOY IS NOT FELT, CAN IT BE CALLED JOY?

Yes, for if we return to the definition of joy (i.e. “spiritual contentment, resulting from the possession of a desired good”) and to St. Thomas, we will see that joy does not properly consist in feelings. It is quite possible to experience intense fear and joy at the same time, for example.

As it is not a physical thing, joy cannot be reduced to a feeling or an emotion. In saying that, joy does imply peace and contentment – at least at the spiritual or intellectual level. To understand what this means, we must distinguish between the inferior part of the soul and the superior.

The superior part of the soul, in simple terms, refers to the spirit, whereby man is distinct from the animals. Man can know and love – these are spiritual faculties. The inferior part of the soul, in simple terms, refers to our emotions.

It is possible for the superior part of the soul to possess joy, while the inferior part of the soul is beset by all kinds of trouble, such as fear, restlessness and violent movements of the passions (e.g. anger).

  1. JOY AMIDST SUFFERING: THE EXAMPLE OF THE SAINTS

It is a fact that many of the Saints suffered indescribably. It is also a fact that many – if not all – of the Saints were full of peace and joy. “To suffer for God is the highest joy and delight,” says St. Crescentia; “but not to be able to love Him enough is a great martyrdom.” “When suffering is accepted with love,” says St. Therese, “it is no longer suffering, but it is changed into joy.” Such expressions are not uncommon amongst the Saints.

In his personal diary, for Christmas Day, Bl. Dom Marmion writes: “Aridity and temptations. Deo gratias (Thanks be to God).” This same holy Abbot – an astounding theologian, whose doctrine is very practical and consoling – writes: “In finding God, we shall likewise possess joy… It is impossible to explain the abundance of this peace in the soul altogether given to God and seeking Him alone.” These are the words of a man who underwent long interior trials, and who experienced bouts of depression. But these sufferings have ended for him, and they shall never again touch him; for he is now experiencing unimaginable happiness ‘in sinu Patris’ – in the Bosom of the Father (Jn. 1:18).

When we suffer, let us not forget this: the Cross, borne willingly, unites us more intimately to God, and leads to Paradise.

Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida:

“During my life, I never desired anything except the Cross, and ever the Cross, wanting to show the world that which is the sole wealth and happiness on earth, the currency which will buy an eternal happiness.”

  1. HOW CAN SUFFERING AND JOY COEXIST? 

We might wonder how anyone could maintain joy amidst terrible suffering. The answer is simple: by LOVE. (A supernatural love, that is). Love alone will transform our very sufferings into joy.

Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone:

“Love Me and you will be happy; and the more you love Me, the happier you will be! Even when you find yourself in utter darkness, love will produce light, love will produce strength, and love will produce joy!”

The greater the flame of Divine Love that burns in our hearts, the more rapidly will the wood of the Cross be consumed, thereby producing an ardent and pure charity – a delightful charity that is incomparably sweet; a charity that increases our knowledge of God (God is both Love and Light); a charity that gives us strength (God is both Love and Power); a charity that draws down an abundance of grace; a charity that increases our confidence in God’s love and in the hope of an eternal reward; a charity that renders our trials light and sweet; a charity that increasingly finds its pleasure in pleasing God. And because God is infinite Love, we can always love Him more (Fr. Paul of Moll). Consequently, there is no limit to the joy that God offers us!

The greater our love for God, the greater will be our knowledge of Him; and the greater our knowledge of Him, the greater will be our delight in serving Him. “Jesus told Mother Clement that the secret of happiness is to abandon oneself to the power of God’s love; acting in this way, He teaches us to know the Divine Perfections, which produce in us a perpetual admiration, complaisance and adoration.” (Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

Even the smallest suffering accepted for the love of God, increases our union with Him. And what more could the Saints desire – or can we desire – than God? What more can we hope for than the love, the friendship, the protection, and the grace of God? “The good of the grace of one soul,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, “is greater than the good of the nature of the whole universe.” “Do you not actually possess all things if you have Him who possesses all?” (Peter de Blois).

The joy of the Saints, you see, was a result of their pure love for God. They desired God alone. Because they had given themselves to Him entirely, they were assured of His love, His grace and His protection. ‘I love them that love me: and they that in the morning early watch for me, shall find me.’  (Prov. 8:17) The joy of the Saints was constant because they were ever seeking God.

God to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi:

‘WHO WOULD HARM YOU IF YOU SOUGHT NOTHING BUT GOOD?… IF THEN YOU RETURN TO ME, WHO AM YOUR PRINCIPLE, AS THE RIVERS RETURN TO THE SEA FROM WHICH THEY CAME, YOU WILL ENJOY PERPETUAL HAPPINESS, BECAUSE YOU WILL LIVE IN ME – WHO AM THE LIFE OF YOUR SOUL AND YOUR SOVEREIGN GOOD.’ 

  1. PURITY OF HEART: THE KEY TO ABIDING JOY

‘To those who love God, all things work together unto good’ (Rom. 8:28).

Commenting on the above Scripture, St. Alphonsus writes: “Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfil, even in adversity, the will of God. Afflictions do not mar their serenity, because by accepting misfortune, they know they give pleasure to their beloved Lord: ‘Whatever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad.’ (Proverbs 12:21).”

What an excellent definition of purity of heart: “To fulfil, even in adversity, the will of God.” In other words, we must seek “God alone, God only” (Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary).In joys, seek Him; in trials, seek Him; in doubts, seek Him*. Thank Him for everything that comes from His loving Providence. Believe that God permits nothing that is not for our greater good. This disposition of heart and mind, this living faith, is necessary if we are to experience true peace. If our hearts are set on self, sin, created things, or on creatures, then we cannot experience true peace; our heart will be torn in a thousand different directions.[*This does not always require an explicit intention before or during everything we do; love, says St. Augustine, is essentially rooted in a desire of the heart]

The more generous we are with God, the more generous He is with us. If we are all His, He is all ours! “My child,” said the Infant Jesus to St. Crescentia, “give Me thy heart, and everything that I possess is thine.” He repeats these same words to us: ‘My son, give me thy heart: and let thy eyes keep my ways’ (Proverbs 23:26).

  1. HOW DO WE ATTAIN PURITY OF HEART/INTENTION? 

Persevering prayer is the key to purity of heart. Constant, confident prayer obtains all. Without confidence, there can be no joy. ‘Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in thee.’ (Ps. 33:22) Without prayer, we can accomplish nothing. How can we draw closer to God if we refuse prayer, which is the key to His grace and mercy?

All of us can pray with confidence. Although it is true that the power of a just soul’s prayer is immense, it is also true that God denies His grace to no one who asks with confidence and humility.  Let us listen to the words of Rev. P.J. Michel (in his excellent work, ‘Spiritual Despondency and Temptations’); they are profoundly consoling; and furthermore, they are supported by several dogmas of the Church. The author writes:

The saints did not hope in God because they were faithful to God, but they were faithful to God because they hoped in Him. Otherwise the sinner could never make an act of hope, and yet it is that very act of hope which disposes him to return to God.  Observe that St. Paul does not say, I have obtained mercy because I have been faithful, but “Having obtained mercy of the Lord, to be faithful” (i Cor. vii. 25). Mercy always precedes the good which we do; and it is from mercy alone that we have the necessary grace to do any good at all. The saints never counted upon their works to strengthen their confidence in God, for they were ever mindful of the words of Our Saviour: “So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: “We are unprofitable servants” (Luke xvii. 10)… Unlike the Pharisee in the Gospel, they [the Saints] found nothing in themselves to warrant their confidence, but in the mercy of God they sought and found a confidence, the foundations of which could not be shaken. This was what supported them, and this it is which must encourage you, and reanimate your fainting strength. It is of the utmost importance for you to understand this truth, that you may not again fall into the snare which your enemy has so often laid for you.”  [Source: https://archive.org/stream/spiritualdespond00gareuoft#page/n5/mode/2up]

Let us pray, then, with unshakeable confidence! As soon as our soul is touched by grace, let us hasten to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is an abyss of love and mercy. Do not think that any hardness of heart is an obstacle to God’s mercy; if it were, He would not inspire us to seek Him. Our greatest obstacle to union with God, apart from self–seeking, is a lack of confidence in His goodness.

Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata:

“Knowest thou what souls profit most by My goodness? Those who trust the most. Trusting souls are the robbers of My graces. Write that the pleasure I take in the trusting soul is inexpressible.”

  1. ONLY GOD CAN GIVE US TRUE JOY 

“Only that which is eternal can satisfy us.” (St. Therese). Created goods cannot satisfy us; they were made for us, not we for them (as God said to St. Catherine of Siena). Likewise, human love cannot satisfy our hearts. Only God can satisfy our hearts. He is the cause of every good that we see in the world; He is the Eternal Fountain from which pours forth every good. ‘Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration’ (Jn. 1:17).

Consider that all the love, knowledge and joy of the Elect is merely a participation in the limitless abyss of God’s love! All of these things can be found in Jesus to an infinite degree.

We have every reason to be generous with God, and not a single good reason to be selfish. Let us pray frequently, receive the Sacraments devoutly, and ‘attend unto [spiritual] reading’ (1 Tim. 4:13). When we die, we will have to account for all the graces that we have abused. How little do we esteem grace!

‘Peace to men of good–will.’ “If you are at peace, you have the seed of this joy that will come.” (Pope Francis) Only those who are generous with God can experience the abundance of peace that He offers. ‘You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:13) Like St. Paul, we must ‘die daily’ to sin, so that we may rise with Christ, Who is ‘the Resurrection and the Life.’

  1. THE EUCHARIST: THE SOURCE OF ALL JOY 

‘He that spared not even his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also, with Him, given us all things?’ (Rm. 8:32). How admirably are these words fulfilled in the Holy Eucharist! If we seek joy, there we shall find it! The Eucharist is truly the Risen Christ; veiled under the appearance of bread and wine is He Who said to St. Thomas: “Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.” (Jn. 20:27) The Adorable Eucharist is the Ultimate Source of Strength and Holiness.

“If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema.” (Session 8, Canon 1: Canons on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist)

  1. SOME FINAL QUESTIONS
  1. Was Jesus always joyful?

There is a great mystery here. Jesus, from Whom all good things come (including joy), chose to suffer unimaginably in His Sacred Humanity. The Divinity cannot suffer. It is in this sense that we are to understand the following words of Jesus to St. Margaret of Cortona: “All the time I was on earth, My body had not one completely happy day, nevertheless while My friends are here below I intoxicate them with the joys of Heaven and give them rest and peace.”

  1. What does the following Bible passage mean: ‘Extinguish not the spirit’(1 Thess. 5:19)?

Fr. Haydock writes: “Do not oppose either the interior gifts of the holy Spirit, which are his graces, nor his exterior gifts of prophecy…” We do this by setting up obstacles in our souls: pride, disobedience, distrust and the like. This admonition is not referring to souls of good–will; if they trust in God and continue to ‘seek first the Kingdom,’ God will fill them with His peace in time. The feelings of our sensitive nature (to be understood in a Thomistic sense) are not necessarily an indicator of our interior dispositions, nor are they a good guide to the spiritual life.

On the contrary, God wants to perfect our joy by perfecting our charity; and this transformation can only be effected by means of the crucible of suffering, which purifies, enlightens and strengthens.

“What happiness to resign ourselves absolutely to Our Lord, submitting our will to His, adoring Him in tribulation and in consolation, in sorrow and in joy, doing whatever He wills like little children!… He knows best what we need.” (St. Francis de Sales)

Let the following words (which are believed to have been addressed to St. Catherine of Siena by the Eternal Father) sink into your heart:

“The light of faith ought also to teach you that I know, I will and I can bring about your happiness better than yourself. You can do, know, and will nothing without My grace. You should, therefore, try your utmost to submit your will completely to the Will of God. If you do this, your soul will remain in peace, and you will always have Me with you, for I dwell in peace.”

  1. Why is there so much sorrow in the world?

Because God is scarcely known and scarcely loved. Faith is weak and sin abounds. “In thy amazement then,” said Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda; “my dearest, weep ceaselessly over the terrible loss sustained by so many insane and thankless souls, who are forgetful of God, of their duty and of their own selves… Catholics should bear in mind more constantly the passion and death of the Lord, because the Church so often recalls it to their remembrance, although few show themselves grateful… I wish also that thou lament with great sorrow the fact that Judas, in his malice and treachery, has many more followers than Christ. Many are the infidels, many the bad Catholics, many the hypocrites, who under the name of a Christian, sell and deliver Him and wish to crucify Him anew… No torment, nor death itself, would I have refused, if such had been necessary to save any of the damned, and to save them, I would have esteemed all sufferings a sweet alleviation in my most ardent charity… continue to pray [for the salvation of souls]: for thou canst scarcely imagine how acceptable are such prayers to the Almighty.”

Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata:

“To exercise Justice is for Me to go against the current; it does violence to Me…”

  1. How can I infallibly attain peace?

Be little. “I want you in My arms,” said Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina (a bedridden stigmatic), “with the same simplicity of a baby in those of its mother.” “Give up your own will,” as Our Lady said to St. Bridget, and seek only God’s good–pleasure. He will remove any obstacles to your peace; but this will happen in God’s good timing. Believe me. I used to be consumed by sorrow; but I kept asking God for light, and He heard my wavering prayers in a miraculous manner. Deo gratias!

  1. Are there any good online resources on joy?

There are two that spring to mind. The first deals indirectly with joy in so far as it gives us reasons to believe in the immense goodness of God.

  1. ‘Decalogue of Confidence’ (dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata on September 11, 1915): https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/decalogue-of-confidence-3/

The second is very beautiful. I happened to “stumble upon” this chapter while at Eucharistic Adoration. This was quite fitting, as it relates perfectly to what has been said in this article. It is a very encouraging read.

  1. ‘Love, Peace and Joy,’ by Rev. Andre Prevot; ‘Twenty–fifth day: ‘THE LIFE OF JOY IN THE HEART OF JESUS, ACCORDING TO ST. GERTRUDE): https://archive.org/stream/lovepeaceandjoya00prevuoft#page/162/mode/2up

Pax Domini!

‘REJOICE in the Lord ALWAYS; again, I say, rejoice’

(Philippians 4:4)

 

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.)