Hidden Treasures of the Spiritual Life

“When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez (‘The Way of Divine Love,’ TAN Books)

Shortly after Jesus expired upon the Altar of the Cross on Calvary, His Sacred Heart was pierced with a lance. By allowing this to happen, Our Lord has revealed to us the infinite, tender and impenetrable depths of His vulnerable love; He has opened to us the infinite treasury of His graces, His mercy and His merits. And He desires to share these riches with us! What a shame for them to go to waste, for they were purchased with so much love and so much suffering!

‘Come to Me,’ He says, ‘all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you’ (Mt. 11:28. ‘And he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely’ (Rev. 22:17).

The water of life that gushes forth from the pierced Side of Christ is the life of grace, which is of greater worth than the created universe. Grace transforms even the most mundane, seemingly trivial actions, into everlasting rewards; grace “divinizes” our gifts by mingling them, so to speak, with the treasures found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Everything we offer Him turns to gold. Ultimately, Jesus wants our hearts: ‘My son, give Me thy heart’ (Prov. 23:26).

“I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My Heart.

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menenedez (‘The Way of Divine Love’)

“When I think that if God were to give us the entire universe with all its treasures that this would not be comparable to the lightest suffering.”

– St. Therese to her sister Celine (Carmel, October 20, 1888)

Suppose you are at home and someone leaves their dirty dishes in the sink. “Argh! What a grub!” This might be your first reaction. But look with the eyes of the faith. Our Lord has permitted this small inconvenience; and by accepting it for the love of Him Who suffered so much for you, you will be consoling Him for so much ingratitude that He meets with today, and you will be storing up for yourself an eternal reward. ‘If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water’ (Jn. 4:10).

“Above all, try and do ordinary things well. The opportunity to do great things comes rarely and you are quite capable of doing them when it does come. Just concentrate on doing the little things really well.”

– Jesus to Yvonee-Aimee

Every day, there are countless opportunites to love God; but how many look upon these occasions as gifts from God? If God aks much of us, it is because He desires to give much; a gift given to God is a gift received. This idea is found all throughout the writings of St. Therese, who, referring to the wisdom of P. Pichon, says that the greatest gift God can give us is not to give much, but to ask much.

In imitation of St. Therese, Sr. Gertrude Mary, Sr. Yvonne-Aimee, Sr. Josefa Menendez, and so many other little souls, let us strive for fidelity in little things, like Jesus, of Whom it is written: “HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL” (Mk. 7:37).

Resolution:

Offer everything you do and everything you suffer to God, praising Him all the while. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ (Phil. 4:4). Remember that holiness is the flowering of God’s love in the soul; it is not the result of our efforts, but of our humble, confident acceptance of God’s love that seeks to transform our souls into Himself. (This requires effort; but it is not effort itself that sanctifies. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier, Who alone is competent to recreate within us the image of the Son of God.)

This was the practice of Sr. Gertrude Mary [d. May 24, 1908], who loved her God before all else. J.B. Lemius, the former Superior of Montematre, writes this: “The Sacred Heart has willed that this book* should be written; and will bless it… This little soul, so well beloved of Jesus, fascinates other souls. . . . She is worthy to rank beside little Teresa of Lisieux, and other flowers which our Lord has made to blossom in these days. I am convinced that we are face to face with an extraordinarily privileged soul.”

* https://archive.org/details/sistergertrudema00leguuoft

Our Lord said to her:

“My daughter, you have given Me everything. You have sacrificed the whole of your life to Me. In return I give you all the treasures of My Heart. They are at your disposal, for yourself, and for all the souls you love, and for whom you desire great things. Henceforth you can say to Me: Jesus, I have nothing more to offer Thee, but I love this soul, these souls, I owe them gratitude, and I address myself to Thy Divine Heart, for Thou Thyself hast told me to do so.”

She herself writes these incredible words:

“The Infinite seems to forget what He is and what I am.

He forgets His greatness and
dignity, in order to stoop to my nothingness.

O God, what art Thou doing? Thou dost
unite two contraries; for, if I seek what Thou art, and what I am, I reply:

Thou art the
Eternal, and I am a poor creature, a mere
nothing, which passes away.

Thou, my God, art
Infinite Sanctity, and I am only imperfection
and sin.

Thou art Infinite Power, and I am
weakness itself.

Thou art Uncreated Light,
and I am but darkness. . .

This is what Thou
art, and what I am.”

+BENEDICTUS DEUS+

 

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Consoling Revelations

[I was hoping to publish something else today, but was prevented from doing so due to time constraints. Not to worry: I will complete the post next week.]

“Paternal help shall never be wanting to those who place themselves in My hands.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani

(p. 43, ‘The Life of St. Gemma Galgani’ by Her Spiritual Director Venerable Fr. Germanus, C.P.)

“Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I Love you all.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“Fear nothing, for the Heart of Jesus is the throne of Mercy, where the miserable are the most readily received.”

– Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani (p. 54–55, Ibid.)

“I will be a mother to thee. Wilt thou be a true child?”

– Our Lady to St. Gemma Galgani (after saying this, Our Lady opened her mantle and covered her with it)

+++

‘The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.’

– Psalm 34:1

+++

Prayer and Suffering

open-bible-and-crucifix-11290876552hWG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

Some Powerful Quotes About Prayer and Suffering

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

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

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

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

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

 

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!

Divine Grace and Beauty of Soul

“For if you saw the spiritual beauty of the angels and of holy souls, your body could not bear to see it but would break like a vessel, broken and decayed due to the soul’s joy at the sight.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 2, Ch. 18)

“I desire,” said Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary, “that you should be altogether beautiful, My beloved.” It is as if He said: ‘My spouse, I love you. I cannot bear to see your soul sullied with sin.’

God takes delight in seeing us happy, beautiful and holy. But we will never have these things if we are attached to sin. Why? Because they can only increase in proportion to grace and charity, which are opposed to sin.

“Be ye perfect,” says the Lord. These are not the words of a demanding Spouse; no, they are an admirable proof of God’s love for us. We are perfected by grace and charity, which unites us to God; therefore, by calling us to perfection, God is calling us to receive His love, so that we might love Him in return!

It is because of God’s great love for us that He wants us to abstain from sin. Sin is a privation of goodness: it is a negation, a corruption, a perversion, an absence of goodness. Just as leprosy ravages the body, so too does cancer ravage the soul. One mortal sin is worse than all the sufferings of Hell.

If people cared as much for the beauty of their soul as they did their bodies, many of us would be saints. But, too often, instead of adorning our souls with virtues, we adorn our bodies; instead of directing others to God by our virtue and humility, we seek to draw attention to ourselves; rather than growing in love, we grow in self–love; rather than “glorifying God in [our] bodies”, we profane them.

“We must love the state of grace above everything else and fear nothing so much as occasions of sin… The state of grace is our beauty. It is the reflection of Jesus Christ in His Saints. As the Father sees Himself in His Word, so Jesus sees Himself in their souls. But if the soul is stained with sin, it is impossible for God to be reflected therein. Do you expect Him to be well pleased to look at His Divine Son’s executioner? Evil is never lovable. And when we are guilty of sin, God cannot love our state.” (St. Peter Julian Eyrmard)

What good has mankind’s general obsession with physical beauty achieved? Vanity, low self–esteem, depression, jealousy, envy, lust? How many souls have been led into sin as a result of this perverse glorification of the human body, which is destined to decay and die!

Let us value things according to their true worth. Let us shun all vanity and impurity, asking God to give us a thirst for holiness. One can hardly exaggerate the value of a soul, considering that Our Lord redeemed us with His Precious Blood, one drop of which is sufficient to atone for an infinite number of offences.

We must not take sin lightly. For all that God has done for our souls, we owe it to Him to keep them pure, remembering that only the pure of heart shall see God.

“Never go to rest at night with the slightest shadow obscuring your soul. This I recommend to you with great insistence. When you commit a fault, repair it at once. I wish your soul to be as pure as crystal.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez

“… I in the beginning created man to My own image and likeness, and… it is always My endeavour, in so far as you are fit for it, to intensify that likeness between Me and you.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena

The Beauty of a Soul in Grace

“When God had once revealed this beauty to St. Catherine of Siena, she covered with kisses the footsteps of those who were engaged in bringing sinners back to the grace of God, and transported with joy, she said to her confessor:  “Had you, my father, beheld the beauty of one soul adorned with grace, you would certainly, for the sake of one such soul, gladly suffer death a thousand times…

Solomon, therefore, in his Canticle of Canticles, praises nothing so much as this Divine beauty and glory of a soul in grace… If the mere natural beauty of the soul surpasses beyond comparison the beauty of all bodies, even that of the sun, how much more the supernatural beauty which it receives from grace? For there exists a much greater distance between grace and the nature of the soul, than between the latter and all the beauty of the visible world. Nor does the heavenly splendour of grace suffer from the fact that our bodily, or even our mental eye, is incapable of beholding it; this is rather a proof of its excellence, for whatever we are able to see can only be a limited and earthly beauty.” (‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ – an essential read for every Christian!)

‘The Glories of Divine Grace’ can be read online here (legally):

https://archive.org/stream/gloriesofdivineg00sche#page/n3/mode/2up

If we can find the time to learn about trivial things, surely we can devote at least a few minutes a day to learning about Divine Grace! This book will be a revelation to many; it certainly has been to me. It will make sin seem very, very unappealing.

A Beautiful Revelation for Every Christian (Pt. 3)

Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary:

“In return for the signal favours with which I fill your soul, I ask you to console My Heart. This is the part you have to play, My privileged spouse.

You rejoice My Heart every time that you show Me gratitude for the trials which I send you.**

Let Me do what I will with youBe faithful to all that I ask of you.

You shall be the beloved disciple of My Heart, and I will take the entire charge of your soul.”

** Our Lord said to St. Gertrude that we should thank Him for sufferings and trials. Why? Because they are sent or permitted for our eternal welfare, and for the benefit of others.  They are sent by God’s love as a means of purifying our souls; uniting us more intimately to God; increasing our merits; and to “snatch many souls from perdition” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez).

Ponder these truths, and next time you suffer, call to mind Our Crucified Saviour, the Lamb without spot.

My Favourite Scripture Verse.

‘Yea I have loved thee with everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.’ (Jeremiah 31:3)

This scripture verse is profoundly beautiful. Books could be written on this brief passage. But we will only focus (briefly) on 9 truths that relate to this passage.

“Yea I have loved thee with everlasting love…”

1. Before we were created, God loved us – each of us, without exception. His love is the cause of our existence. We are no accident; we are extremely precious to God. “I loved you all before you were born.” (Our Lord to one of His chosen souls)

2. The infinite love of God for souls is manifested to us through His Providence. It is for this reason that God wants us to abandon ourselves to Him without reserve, like a child in its mother’s arms. He does not want us to turn aside from His love, as so many poor souls do! “You have but one thing to do: love Me and abandon yourself to My will.” (Our Lord to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez)

3. Though He finds infinite satisfaction in Himself, due to His infinite perfections, He desired (and desires) nevertheless to share His gifts – to share Himself! – with us, His dear creatures. There is no purer love than God’s love! “Love is essentially communicative.” (St. Thomas Aquinas)

4. God’s love is eternal; it is immutable. We cannot exhaust His love. We can expel Divine Love from our souls through mortal sin; but this does not change God’s love for us. So long as we desire to seek God and turn from sin, He will welcome us back with intense pleasure, the sight of which fills Heaven with raptures of love and joy! Our Lord revealed to St. Bridget of Sweden that He would happily suffer to save the damned and even the fallen angels if it were possible! (St. Alphonsus and many others confirm the orthodoxy of St. Bridget’s revelations.)

“… therefore have I drawn thee…”

5. St. Thomas says that the nature of love is to will the good of the beloved. As God contains all Goodness within Himself, it follows that in His love, He necessarily seeks to unite us to Himself. This helps us to see why the Cross is a gift: it is permitted or sent in order to detach us from this earth and from sin. “O My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified.” (Jesus to St. Gemma Galgani, an extraordinary mystic)

6. Without actual grace, we cannot approach God. No one reaches God by their own efforts. The saints are simply those who cooperated with God’s grace, and who let themselves be led by infinite love, which wills only what is best for us. God’s will is Love. Those who trust in God alone and seek Him with pure hearts will soon experience the joy of their Master. “If you surrender all, you will find everything in My Heart.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)

“… taking pity on thee…”

7. Jesus laboured for 33 years for our salvation. His Interior Cross never left Him. The sufferings He endured for us are infinitely greater than we can imagine. And to think that He endured it all for you! For me! (Gal. 2:20). “The least sins wound Me more than all the ills in the world can wound you; you only feel what touches yourself, whereas I feel all the sins of mankind.” (Jesus to Venerable Anne of St. Bartholomew)

8. Jesus offers Himself for us daily in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (as often as Mass is said)! What unspeakable love! “In the Mass is perpetuated the same immolation of the same Victim, Me, on Calvary. It is not a prolongation or a repetition of My sacrifice, but the same sacrifice though unbloody, the same living crucifixion with the same and only loving will of the Father to give His own Son, His only Son, for the salvation of the world.” (Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida)
The following book (which can be read legally and freely online) is essential reading (I do not use this expression lightly) for all Christians: https://archive.org/stream/cochemsexplanat01martgoog#page/n18/mode/2up (‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Explained’ by Ven. Martin von Cochem)

9. Even if we have been the worst sinner in the world, God will pardon us if we return to Him. In Heaven there are many who have been terrible sinners; but they all share this in common: they humbled themselves. Those who are proud will never be happy. Pride is to union with God what oil is to water.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus invites us all in such moving words as these: “Come to repent, come to be reconciled, come to be consoled, come to receive a blessing. Come, My friend, take everything which a friend can give to his friend. Come, My sister, possess the eternal inheritance which I acquired for you by My Precious Blood. Come, My spouse, enjoy My Divinity.” (Jesus to St. Mechtilde)

A Helpful Tip for Overcoming Temptation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On another occasion, He said to her:

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

Next time you are tempted, recall these words:

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

“God Alone!”: A Simple, Consoling and Blessed Rule for Living.

“GOD ALONE!”

– These words can be found over the doors in Cistercian monasteries.

For many, life is a great burden. If only they knew the love of God! God desires our greatest good, namely, union with Him, because He is the Source of all good. I am the vine; you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. How do we unite ourselves to Him? Through confidence, charity and humility. He that loveth not, abideth in death.

“It is not hard to love Love itself,” said Our Lord to Servant of God, Sr. Josefa Menendez. “Why do you permit so much suffering?”, we might ask…

“When a soul is stretched on the cross, and is surrendered to My will, that soul glorifies me, and consoles Me,

and is very close to Me.”

– Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez

Ah, yes! Union with God! That is our greatest good. “GOD ALONE!” 

“It would be very pleasing to me,” said Jesus to St. Gertrude, “if my friends judged me less cruel. They should have the delicacy of thinking that I do not use severity, except for their benefit and for their greater benefit. I do it through love, and if this were
not necessary to cure them or in order to increase their eternal glory, I would not even let the slightest breeze bother them.”

In all our trials, all our worries – at all times – we need only seek God. “GOD ALONE!” Nothing will be of greater profit to us; nothing will afford us more consolation, both here and hereafter. Without God we are like a child without nourishment from its mother’s breast. Actually, we have an even greater need of God, for without Him we can do nothing! He sustains us in existence and nourishes us constantly with His strength and grace.

We must convince ourselves that God’s constant desire is what is best for us. The words “Blessed be God!” and other such words should always be in our heart and on our lips. Human ‘wisdom’, which complains that a “good God would not allow so much suffering”, rejects the One Who made the Cross a bridge between Heaven and Earth; but by doing so they blindly reject the very means by which they are to find true life; that is, by dying to self, to sin, to ego, to selfishness! I die daily, says St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31). To be united to Life itself, we must be purged of sinfulness and imperfection. It is impossible to grow closer to God without trials.

Words of Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez:

“When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult. Let her then come to My Heart to revive her courage…”

(“GOD ALONE!”)

“… Let her offer Me her dejection, and unite it to My fervour; then she may rest content, for her day will be of incomparable value to souls. All human miseries are known to My Heart, and My compassion for them is great.”

(“GOD ALONE!”)

“But I desire souls to unite themselves to Me not only in a general way. I long for this union to be constant and intimate, as it is between friends who live together; for even if they are not talking all the time, at least they look at each other, and their mutual affectionate little kindnesses are the fruit of their love…”

(“GOD ALONE!”)

“When a soul is in peace and consolation, doubtless it is easier for her to think of Me, but if she is in the throes of desolation and anguish, she need not fear. I am content with a glance. I understand, and this mere look will draw down on her special proofs of my tenderness.”

(“GOD ALONE!”)

“It will never be known,” said Jesus to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos “what I have suffered to repair the evil of man.”  Will we not, then, bear at least a small burden for Our Saviour each day?

“When thou art suffering, whether interiorly orexteriorly, do not lose the merit of thy pain; suffer only for Me.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

++++++++++++++

“GOD ALONE!”

++++++++++++++

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

“My Heart loves each soul infinitely.”

– Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger

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

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

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

God asks for your help:

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

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

The Precious Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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