If You Want to Save Souls…

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Pictured: Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

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“I have need of them [priests] to do My work.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 168)

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The Influence of Holy Priests

If a priest is holy, he has the power to effect much good in the world (as do all of us). If you doubt this, read a biography on St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Francis Xavier, St. Padre Pio or St. John Vianney, to whom the Devil said: “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined.”

Much could be said about the dignity and duties of the priest, but let this one quote from St. John Vianney suffice for now:

“Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put Him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [i.e. the spiritual death of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything!”

The Responsibility of Priests

“Priesthood entails the greatest responsibility. Everyone raised to this holy estate is required to give a strict account, not only of the administration of My holy mysteries and of his personal holiness too, but also of the souls that were entrusted to his charge. Woe to those who ill-perform their task in My Church! I require of them again the immortal souls that I redeemed to dearly with My Blood.”

– Our Lord to Marie Dominica Clara Moes (p. 194)

Wounded Priests

Unfortunately, many priests neither know nor love the Church; it seems that many priests have been mortally wounded by sin, and are in desperate need of help. Even in St. Bridget of Sweden’s time, Our Lord often spoke to her about the wickedness of priests.

Nowadays, it is all too common to hear of some scandal or another. Alas, many priests do not know how sublime their vocation is, nor do they appreciate the fact that they have been ordained for God’s glory, for the salvation of immortal souls!

‘In the multitude of people is the dignity of the king.’

– Prov. 14:28

What can we do about this sad state of affairs? Should we wallow in sadness and despair? Should we complain about priests and the obvious crisis in the Church? No!

Victims of Divine Love and Mercy

What can we do, then? We can be Eucharistic souls! Like St. Therese, we can offer ourselves to God to be victims of His Love and Mercy! How?

“It should be made in the form of a sacrifice; you should offer yourselves as holocausts to be consumed in the fire of love, in order that this love may be diffused throughout the world and inflame souls.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret

Victims for Priests

In these troubled times, God is particularly calling souls to offer themselves for the sanctification of priests; He wishes to raise up more generous souls, like Sr. Gertrude Mary, Ven. Louise Margaret, and Mother Marie Dominica Clara Moes, who will spend themselves in the service of priests. A life spent in the service of priests is a life well spent!

“Very well, IF YOU WANT TO SAVE SOULS, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

 

The Priest Fights for the Kingdom of Love

+ “I will make from My dear priests a little army that will fight for good and make My Love reign.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 173)

+ “I shall reform Holy Church by giving her good and holy pastors; it will not be through war and the sword and cruelty, but by peace and calm and the tears and sweat of My friends.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (p. 190)

“Nineteen centuries ago, twelve men changed the world; they were not merely men, they were priests. Now once more twelve priests could change the world.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret (p. 167)

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References:

– ‘The Love and Service of God, Infinite Love’ by TAN Books

– ‘Divine Communications,’ by Rev. Auguste Saudreau, vol. 2

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“Give yourself entirely to priests and I will give Myself entirely to you.”

– Jesus to Ven. Louise Margaret

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Catching Foxes, and Eternal Salvation

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“Catch us the little foxes that destroy the vines.”

(Song of Solomon 2:15)

‘My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin.’ (1 Jn. 2:1)

“He [the Lord] does not tell us to catch the lions or the bears, but the little foxes. Lions and bears strike terror, and therefore all are careful to keep at a distance through fear of being devoured by them; but the little foxes, though they do not excite dismay, destroy the vine by drying up its roots. Mortal sin terrifies the timorous soul; but, if she accustom herself to the commission of many venial sins with full deliberation, and without endeavouring to correct them, they, like the little foxes, shall destroy the roots that is, the remorse of conscience, the fear of offending God, and the holy desires of advancing in divine love; and thus, being in a state of tepidity, and impelled to sin by some passion, the soul will easily abandon God and lose the divine grace.

… Moreover, deliberate and habitual venial sins not only deprive us of strength to resist temptations, but also of the special helps without which we fall into grievous sins. Be attentive, brethren; for this is a point of great importance. It is certain, that of ourselves we have not sufficient strength to resist the temptations of the devil, of the flesh, and of the world. It is God that prevents our enemies from assailing us with temptations by which we would be conquered. Hence Jesus Christ has taught us the following prayer: “And lead us not into temptation.” He teaches us to pray that God may deliver us from the temptations to which we would yield, and thus lose his grace. Moreover, venial sins, when they are deliberate and habitual, deprive us of the special helps of God which are necessary for preservation in his grace. I say necessary, because the Council of Trent anathematizes those who assert that we can persevere in grace without a special help from God. “Si quis dixerit, justificatum vel sine speciali auxilio Dei in accepta justitia perseverare posse, vel cum eo non posse; anathema sit.” (Sess. 6, can. xxii.) Thus, with the ordinary assistance of God, we cannot avoid falling into some mortal sin: a special aid is necessary. But this special aid God will justly withhold from tepid souls who are regardless of committing, with full deliberation, many venial sins. Thus these unhappy souls shall not persevere in grace.”

– St. Alphonsus Liguori

A Revelation Regarding Habitual Venial Sin

“In this manner, sins are increased through habitual practice, and a venial sin that could have been pardoned through contrition becomes a serious one through a person’s negligence and scorn, as you can deduce from the case of this soul who has already been condemned.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 3, Ch 19)

A Striking Example of the Danger of Venial Sin

“It is related in the Teresian Chronicles, that Sister Anne of the Incarnation once saw in Hell a person whom she had regarded as a Saint: on her countenance appeared a multitude of small animals, which represented the multitude of defects that she committed and disregarded during life. Of these some were heard to say, By us you began; others, By us you continued; others, By us you have brought yourself to Hell.

– St. Alphonsus: (‘Dignity and Duties of the Priest,’ Ch 5 – The Injury Done to the Priest by Tepidity)

COMMENT: In other words, this Sister’s tepidity exposed her gradually to mortal sin.

To profit from these words – which I admit are quite disturbing – we must make some distinctions. This will help us avoid confusion and scruples.

       + We must distinguish between sin and imperfection.

“An imperfection is distinguished from these sins of frailty because it is only an act of lesser generosity in the service of God and of slighter esteem for the evangelical counsels. This is the case with a man who has five talents and sometimes acts as if he had only two; his act is still meritorious, but weak (remissus), and he is more or less clearly conscious of this inferiority. What is less good in itself must not be confused with what is essentially evil; what is less good for us here and now must not be confused with what would even now be evil for us. The lesser good is not an evil, as the lesser evil is not a good. Evidently we must avoid confusing good and evil.”

– Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange (‘The Three Ages of The Interior Life’)

       + We must distinguish between habitual sin and sins of weakness.

Habitual sins are generally – but not always – those sins that we refuse to give up, or that we make little effort in overcoming. (Sometimes it happens that we fall often because we do not make good use of the means for avoiding sin e.g. confident and persevering prayer; mediation; spiritual reading; the Sacraments; examination of conscience etc.).

To cling to sin is foolish and perverse. One cannot remain in the same state forever; either we will advance in the spiritual life, or we will go backwards.

Don’t be despondent. We all fall from time to time; none of us have been immaculately conceived. ‘For a just man shall fall seven times and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil’ (Prov. 24:16). Even if we have the misfortune of committing many sins, we should not be discouraged. God loves us and His Sacred Heart is always open to us.

Just remember not to make your peace with deliberate sin.

“… you will commit faults, infidelities, and imperfections; and these will help you to advance, for they will cause you to make many acts of humility.” 

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 41, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

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

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

“Do not always keep looking back at yourself, and on what you have done; but look beyond those defects, and love always!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata (p. 85, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World,’ St. Paul’s)

       + We must recognise the great duty of Religious.

St. Thomas and many others say that a Religious must strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. Religious will be judged with greater exactness because they have been called to practice the evangelical counsels (poverty, chastity, obedience) in all their glorious perfection.

The Final Judgement

“It is stated that God will not ask for what He has not given, but I shall ask of those souls what I did not give them, because they deprive themselves of it by their sloth, by their indifference; because they are unwilling to put themselves out and to mortify themselves. I shall ask of them all that I should have given them if they had willed it, I shall ask of them the souls that they would have saved with their own if they had done what I required of them.”

– Jesus to Mary Brotel (‘Divine Communications,’ p. 25, Vol. 2)

The Purgative Way

Before entering Heaven, all souls must be perfectly purified from sin and attachment to sin. This purification should take place on Earth; but there are few souls who are this generous with God, hence many go to Purgatory before entering Paradise.

“After conversion there ought to be a serious beginning of the purgative life, in which beginners love God by avoiding mortal sin and deliberate venial sin, through exterior and interior mortification and through prayer. But in actual fact this purgative life is found under two very different forms: in some, admittedly very few, this life is intense, generous; it is the narrow way of perfect self-denial described by the saints. In many others the purgative life appears in an attenuated form, varying from good souls who are a little weak down to those tepid and retarded souls who from time to time fall into mortal sin.”

– Rev. Garrigou–Lagrange, O.P. (‘The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life’)

The Remedy for Lukewarmness

“First, the tepid must sincerely desire to be delivered from a state which, as we have seen, is so miserable and dangerous; for, without this desire, they shall not take pains to employ the proper means.

Secondly, they must resolve to remove the occasions of their faults; otherwise they will always relapse into the same defects.

Thirdly, they must earnestly beg of the Lord to raise them from so wretched a state. By their own strength they can do nothing; but they can do all things with the assistance of God, who has promised to hear the prayers of all. “Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and you shall find.” (Luke xi. 9.) We must pray, and continue to pray without interruption. If we cease to pray we shall be defeated; but if we persevere in prayer we shall conquer.”

– St. Alphonsus Liguori

An Easy, Powerful Way to “Pray Without Interruption”

“The holy desire of the soul, that is to say, good-will, is a continual prayer, because it has the power of prayer. And, whatsoever man does for the love of God and of his neighbour, may be called prayer, since love is accounted as prayer.”

– Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena

+ Also, we should make frequent use of ejaculations/aspirations e.g. “O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy!”

If you persevere in repeating these little prayers often, you will become a Saint. You may fall, but you will rise quickly.

Some Encouragement

Souls converted:

‘Many people who are entangled in the nets of sins obtain contrition before they die. And their contrition may be so perfect that not only are their sins forgiven but also the pain of Purgatory is remitted if they die in the same contrition.’

– Jesus to St. Bridget

Children of Mary saved:

 “He who is devout to the Virgin Mother will certainly never be lost.”

– St. Irenaeus

Sinners saved through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy:

“… in order to honour the Incarnate Word, I in My mercy have decreed that any person whatsoever, be he just or sinner, who shall have recourse to Mary with love and respect, can never be the victim and the prey of the infernal serpent. Mary is like a sweet bait set by My mercy to attract men, especially sinners.”

– The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena (‘Divine Communications,’ p. 102, Vol. 2)

 

 

God’s Goodness Surpasses All Understanding

“After the death of a certain virgin, St. Gertrude saw her soul exulting in celestial glory; and having heard her relate many most wonderful things, she said to her, “How knowest thou all these things? for whilst thou wert in the body, thy capacity was very simple.” She answered:

“I have learnt them from that Source, of which a certain Saint says, that

to have once behold God, is to have learnt all things.”

… The most favoured virgin, St. Gertrude, once understood in spirit, that the light of the Divinity was so great and so incomprehensible, that if each one of the Saints, from Adam to the last man, were to attain as deep and clear a knowledge of it as any one has ever attained, without that knowledge being shared by any other, and even if the multitude of the Saints were a thousand times more numerous, yet that light of the Divinity would infinitely surpass all understanding. The same is true of the beauty, sweetness, and goodness of God, and of His other desirable perfections.”

– Ven. Louis de Blois (Blosius)

To know God, we must love Him.

“I tell you this, My most sweet daughter, to let you know the perfection of the unitive* state, in which the intellect is ravished by the fire of My charity which gives supernatural light. The soul loves Me with this light, because love follows the intellect. The more she knows, the more she loves, and the more she loves, the more she knows, intellect and love reciprocally nourish one another… This is the most elevated state, when the soul during its mortal life can taste the life of the blessed. Her union with Me is often so great that she scarcely knows whether she is in the body or out of the body. She has a foretaste of eternal life, because she is closely united with Me, and there is no other way to be perfectly united to Me.”

– These words were allegedly revealed by God to St. Catherine of Siena (from memory, they are not found in her ‘Dialogue’ but in another lesser-known text)

* You can read about the unitive state/way (which is attained by very few) here:

https://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/3WAYS.TXT (‘The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life’ – an excellent little work – by Pere Garrigou-Lagrange)

A Simple Way to “Pray Always”

OUR Lord said to the virgin Catherine [St. Catherine of Siena]: “The holy desire of the soul, that is to say, good-will, is a continual prayer, because it has the power of prayer. And, whatsoever man does for the love of God and of his neighbour, may be called prayer, since love is accounted as prayer.

Good-will and pious affections should, however, at certain seasons and hours, be raised to Me by actual devotion. Know, daughter, that the soul that perseveres in humble and faithful prayer, attains to all virtue.”

Source: https://archive.org/details/workslouisofbloi00bloiuoft (‘Spiritual Works of Louis of Blois)

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)

 

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.

Jesus Asks His Spouses to Pray for Priests

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Priests have a sublime vocation. They are called to be “other Christs” in a very special way. Without them, there would be no Sacraments, which are for the faithful, a perpetual source of grace, hope and sanctity.

No priest = no Mass; and the Mass is the greatest gift that we can offer to Almighty God!

“All the praise, the love, the veneration, the worship, the thanksgiving, which Christ presents to the ever-blessed Trinity in every Mass far transcends all the praise of the angels, the adoration of the saints, so far, indeed, that were all the penances, the prayers, the good works of apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all saints offered to the Holy Trinity they would be less pleasing to the Divine Majesty than one single Mass.”

– Ven. Rev. Martin von Cochem

(What incredible words! This single quotation alone should be reason enough to become Catholic!)

Today, perhaps more than ever, priests need our prayers. Many churches are close to empty; priests are mocked and ridiculed by the media and by countless individuals; many Catholics dissent from the Church’s teaching; and there is a tidal wave of liberal theology and modernism that has infiltrated our seminaries. These are just some of the difficulties facing priests today.

St. Thomas, along with St. Alphonsus and many others, teaches that a religious is bound to strive for perfection, under pain of mortal sin. It is especially incumbent upon us, then, to pray for priests, that they might fulfil their priestly duties.

“Very well, if you want to save souls, there is only one and powerful means: holy priests.”

– Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.’ (Mt 9:38)

By praying and offering sacrifices to God that He might give us holy priests, we are exercising the virtues of faith, hope and love; we are demonstrating mercy, which will attract many graces from God, both now and at the final judgement; we are contributing towards the salvation of our own soul, as well as the souls of our brothers and sisters; we are making God better known and better loved; and we are fulfilling one of our many grave duties as children of the Most High.

Know for certain that those who disrespect priests, disrespect Christ; and those who love priests, love Christ.

“I will men to respect them [priests], not for themselves but for Me, because of the authority I have given them and the dignity with which they are clothed. I do not want this respect to decrease even if their virtue decreases… I have given them to you that they may be angels of the world and your light. If they are not all this, you ought to pray for them and not judge them, but let Me judge them Myself. I desire to be able to show them mercy through your prayers.

– God to St. Catherine of Siena

 ‘People do not pray enough for priests. I have graces reserved for them which I will give them if people ask for them… These are not graces indispensable to their ministry; nevertheless if they possessed these graces they would do more good and souls would benefit greatly thereby.’ 

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary

Words from the Saints and Mystics on Humility

Words from the Saints and Mystics on Humility

“Humility is Truth.” (St. Padre Pio). The humble soul lives in the infused light of truth; she realises that “everything is grace” (St. Therese); she is necessarily joyful because she is well acquainted with Our Lord, Who is Truth and … Continue reading

Trust in God’s Providence!

‘Those who hope in Me and serve Me for Myself alone feel My Providence more than those who do so for their own advantage or for the happiness they find in Me… How can they believe that I, who am eternal and supreme goodness, can desire anything but their good in the little things I allow every day for their salvation, since they know by experience that in great things My only aim is to sanctify them?’

Almighty God to St. Catherine of Siena

The following words are also believed to have been revealed to St. Catherine of Siena by God the Father. Read them slowly; they are profound. 

“In ruling you, in ruling heaven and earth and the whole universe, I can never be deceived or led astray by any mistake. If it were otherwise, I should not be God and supreme Wisdom. In order that you may understand how efficacious is My Wisdom, know that from sin and punishment I draw good greater than the evil itself.

… My love makes Me will everything that is useful and salutary for you. It is impossible that any evil should come from Me, or any hatred. It was out of goodness that I created man, and I always love him with ineffable tenderness.

When you have been convinced of these truths by profound meditation and firm and unshakeable faith, you will understand that the troubles, difficulties, temptations, illnesses and all the vexatious things of life are always sent you by My Providence for your salvation. The things that seem disagreeable ought to correct your malice and lead you to that virtue by which you attain the true and supreme good which you know not.

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.

And so, My child, if you want to live in this deceitful and perishable world by grace, and in a happy eternity by glory, you must die to yourself by renouncing yourself and giving up your own will. For blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, and blessed are the poor in spirit, because they see Me through the union of love during their pilgrimage on earth, and will afterwards see Me in glory in the splendours of the fatherland.”

Listen also to the words of Our Lord to Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos:

“… if you will give up the forethought for yourself, My Providence will take good care of you, because above all things I love abandonment and dependence in the hearts that are Mine; I enjoy working miracles for them and in their favour; I provide them with everything, like a town that is My abode.”

Be Happy? Be SAVED? …Be ye perfect!

‘Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.’

(Mt. 5:48)

Jesus came to save sinners (Luke 19:10), and to give us [supernatural] life in abundance (Jn. 10:10). To attain such life we must remain united to Him – Who is Life Itself (Jn. 14:6) – by charity (1 Jn. 4:16), which knows neither limit, nor rest.

If we wish to remain united to God, therefore, we must advance in love and holiness. ‘In the way of truth you should never pause, but should always walk forward with great strides, because My Word [Jesus] is not only your Way, He is also your Guide.’ (The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi).

God desires our salvation ardently. He warns us, therefore, that the lukewarm are in danger of losing God’s grace and, in the end, their souls (Rev. 3:16). This truth is proclaimed by Scripture, the Church, the early Fathers, the Saints, and all credible mystics. Sadly, there are many today who teach or believe the contrary; they believe in a “new Gospel,” an “easy Gospel,” which hinders many from aspiring to charity, “without which no man is saved” (St. Robert Bellarmine).

St. Alphonsus relates the following story (from ‘True Spouse of Jesus Christ’): “Blessed Erric Suson, in the vision of the rocks described in his life, (vita cap. 12,) seeing a great many on the first rock, asked who they were. Jesus Christ answered: ‘These are the tepid who only seek to avoid mortal sin.’ The holy man then asked if they should be saved. ‘If,’ replied the Redeemer, ‘they die in the state of grace, they shall be saved: but their danger is much greater than they imagine. They think they can serve God and the senses; but this is scarcely possible: for, it is exceedingly difficult to persevere in the grace of God, and at the same time to indulge in sensual pleasures.’”

Thanks be to God for revealing to us this obstacle to happiness and eternal salvation! It is not difficult to love One Who loves us perfectly, and Who desires only our good. Frequent prayer and meditation (e.g. accompanied by spiritual reading) will keep our hearts set on Jesus, Who gives His love to all those who ask of it (Rev. 21:6).

 ‘My child, as long as you look at Me, you will love Me; as long as you look at Me, you will serve Me; when you do not look at Me, you will not follow Me.’

(Our Lord said to His servant, Armelle)

 “I desire to see another Myself on earth… Begin generously to be faithful to Me; look at Me, never take your eyes from Me, and thus you will copy Me perfectly.”

(Jesus to Bl. Mary Magdalen Martinengo)

If we give Jesus our good-will, He will take care of us. We cannot expect to become saints in a day, as St. Philip Neri says. 

‘To those who begin to wear My yoke, and who are making efforts, I will give My grace. With those who bear My burden – that is to say who try day by day for love of Me to advance in the way of perfection – I will work, I will be their strength, I will inflame them with love so that they may desire Me still more.’

(Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden)

We Must Always Aspire to Greater Love

“In the spiritual life,” says St. Padre Pio, “one must always go on pushing ahead and never go backwards; if not, the same thing happens as to a boat which when it loses headway gets blown backwards with the wind.” If we remain docile to the breath of the Holy Spirit, we will arrively safely at the port of salvation.

 ‘The soul cannot remain motionless; if she does not go forward, she goes back. When you advance in virtue, you give up the imperfection of fear. When you do not attain to love, you turn backwards.’

(The Eternal Father to St. Catherine of Siena)

 ‘Every soul in a state of grace loses ground if she does not incessantly endeavour to develop that grace within her.’

(Jesus to St. Margaret of Cortona)

God is infinitely Good; He is Goodness Itself, containing all good things. What greater gift, then, can He grant us than the grace to grow in charity, which unites us to Him and makes us holy and happy, both here and hereafter?! Listen to these words of Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary:

‘I am a jealous God. The more I love a soul, the more I exact from it; it can never give Me enough; and this comes from My ardent love for it.’

If God asks much of us, it is because He desires to give us much! Never forget this consoling truth! 

Generosity Makes Holiness Sweet and Easy

If we desire simply to love God and bear every Cross for the love of Him, we will advance rapidly in holiness, which will soon become delightful to us.

 “Carefully note these words of the Holy Ghost, My child: ‘They shall walk and not faint; they shall run and not be weary’ (Isaiah 40, 31). They mean that it is easier and less tiresome to run and fly rapidly than to go slowly forward, because in the spiritual life there is nothing more wearisome than slowness and laziness.”

(The Eternal Father to St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi)

The Greater Our Love, the Greater Our Reward in Heaven 

Almighty God is both just and merciful, ‘Who will render to every man according to his works’ (Rom 2:6). 

 ‘The measure of your love for Me now, while you are on earth, shall be the measure of your love in Heaven.’

(Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary)