Prayer and Suffering

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“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

 

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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!

What Wounds Jesus Most?

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

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

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

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

“Yes, they have too narrow an idea of the goodness of God, of His mercy, His love for His creatures. They measure God by creatures, and God has no limits; His goodness is without bounds. O that men are able to use God and will not do it! Why is this? Because the world knows Him not. I am an infinite treasure which My Father has placed at the disposal of all. They who reject Me will comprehend their misfortune only in Eternity. I love men; I love them tenderly as My dear brethren; although there is an infinite distance between them and Me, I make no account of it.

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

EIGHTH STATION [OF THE CROSS]

Jesus Consoles the Pious Women

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

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

A Defence of God’s Justice (A Catholic Perspective)

This article consists of a fairly lengthy response I made to someone on Catholic Answers, concerning the justice of God. I am responding to a number of assertions, such as that God cannot be good or powerful if, desiring the salvation of all, all are not saved.

Response:

1. “God antecedently wills every man to be saved [hence the provision of the graces necessary for each man’s salvation], but He consequently wills some to be damned; in consequence, that is, of the exigencies of His justice [e.g. that those who die in mortal sin must be punished].” (Aquinas)

2. God created no one for damnation. All can, in principle, be saved. “If all sinners wished to return to God with contrite and humble hearts, all would be saved.” (St. Leonard). If God revealed to us (hypothetically) that most men would starve themselves to death, despite an abundance of food, I wouldn’t blame Him, even though He necessarily foresaw this and decided to create these men anyway. The fact is, it would be their decision to do so; they could easily have eaten. “Woe to him,” said Our Lord to St. Bridget (speaking of a presumptuous sinner), “if he does not quickly change his ways, for no one is rejected due to My foreknowledge.”

3. Suppose that all were saved but one. Suppose also that this person was “Adam.” Would it be just if God removed Adam from existence, if He knew that, by removing him, his descendants would likewise be removed? There are a number of responses to a hypothetical scenario such as this one, but ultimately they rely on assumptions: we do not know what the just or morally better alternatives are. Reason alone cannot provide the answer.

4. Many can’t get past the fact that God created a universe that He knew would contain evil, but can we logically demonstrate how much evil can be permitted by a God Who is infinitely wise and good? If not, how can we say that a particular degree of evil cannot be permitted by a good God? (This point has to be conceded for the sake of the argument; I am not attempting to demonstrate its truth). Catholic theology says that God permits evil so that He may draw a greater good out of it. I, for one, am in awe of how God is so good, wise and powerful that He can draw a greater good out of unspeakable evil. The sufferings and death of Our Lord, for example, became for us an infinite source of grace. By His sufferings, He has redeemed ours; unlike the angels, we are able to suffer for God; we can procure an increase in (accidental) glory for Him; we can empathise with Him; we can “earn” an abundance of merits that will receive an eternal reward, which, according to the Saints and mystics, is beyond our comprehension! A Visitation nun who had died, allegedly appeared to Sr. Marie–Catherine Putigny, saying: “What are all the sorrows of earth compared with the happiness of seeing God for even one instant!”

5. Hell is a fitting punishment. God is offended by sin; God is infinite; therefore sin is of infinite malice. A holy soul once said to Our Lord: “Lord, I submit to Thy judgements, but do not push the rigours of Thy justice so far.” Our Lord replied: “Do you understand what sin is? …” “I understand, Lord, that sin is an outrage to Thy Majesty.” “Well, measure, if you can, the greatness of this outrage.” “Lord, this outrage is infinite, since it attacks infinite Majesty.” “Must it not, then, be punished by an infinite chastisement? Now, as the punishment could not be infinite in its intensity, justice demands that it be so at least in its duration.” St. Catherine of Genoa and other Saints and theologians say that the pains of Hell are actually much less than they could justly be. God shows mercy even to the damned. We must also remember that the pains of the damned are proportionate to their sins. The fires of Hell, says St. John Chrysostom, discriminate between sinners.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   6. According to St. Thomas, God cannot suffer at the loss of souls, in so far as He is Divine; but this does not mean that God is unloving, cold or apathetic. We often equate emotion with the heart, but the fact is that the Word (Jesus), had as much love for souls prior to the Incarnation (even though He could not then suffer at their loss), as He did at the moment of, and subsequent to, the Incarnation. (I say “at the moment of” because some mystics believe that Jesus suffered from birth.) We know that Jesus suffered intensely at the loss of souls. Consider that Jesus wept; consider His sufferings in the Garden of Gethsemane. Furthermore, many holy souls (e.g. St. Faustina, St. Catherine of Racconigi, Ven. Anne of St. Bartholomew) say that Our Lord suffered inexpressibly at the loss of souls. Others (e.g. St. Bridget, Bl. Battista Varani) add that Our Lord would willingly, if it were possible (i.e. in accordance with His justice) suffer again everything that He suffered to save evenone of the damned! What love! These are great mysteries, indeed, but they are mysteries that should fill us with confidence rather than doubt.

7. It is impossible, in principle, for us to consent to our creation; we must first exist in order to give consent. I believe, however, that you already know this and that you were merely saying something like: ‘Why doesn’t God give us a chance to choose to continue existing?’ I would say this: God created us for union with Him, the Sovereign Good, Who, as the Source of all perfection, is alone capable of satisfying the desires of our intellects, our wills and our hearts. In a word, God “alone can fill the heart of man” (as He said to St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi). Subsequently, our creation isintrinsically good; whether or not we acknowledge the objective Good for which (of for Whom) we have been created is another issue. Our Lord reputedly said the following to Bl. Alexandrina, who suffered from the stigmata and endured terrible sufferings for the conversion of sinners: “I have died for them, and they say they did not ask me to do so… In order to save them, I select certain souls and lay the cross on their shoulders. Happy the soul who understands the value of suffering! My cross is sweet if carried for love of me.” I certainly won’t argue with my existence. I try to follow St. Crescentia, who, when confronted with the thought of predestination, reasoned thus: “God is infinitely good; He is never the first to depart. It is His peculiar property to be ever merciful and to spare. Yes, He is my hope and my salvation.”

8. If Jesus is God, then any mystery pertaining to our salvation should be seen in the light of revealed truth. Scripture says, for example: ‘Thou art just, O Lord: and thy judgement is right.’ (Ps. 119: 137). We may doubt this if we wish, preferring to trust in our own intellect, but ultimately we have no good reason to do so – especially considering that our reason is only a reliable source if God, Who created our intellects, is true.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     9. In relation to the small number of the Elect, we must remember that this is not dogma. While it seems very likely that a relatively small number are saved (out of the total of mankind), this does not tell us how many are damned. The large number of unbaptized children, for example, who die every day are not included in the number of those who are damned, properly speaking. The Council of Florence says that unbaptized infants go to Hell, but – and this cannot be emphasised enough – the Church is here referring to the loss of the Beatific Vision; for the Church elsewhere teaches that only those who die in mortal sin go to the Hell of the damned. (I do not wish to discuss the exact or ultimate fate of these souls. Ultimately, God is all-good either way; at the very least, these souls will experience a state of natural happiness, as St. Thomas, St. Alphonsus and many others have explained).

Some final quotes (revelations):

Our Lady to St. Bridget: “It would be great audacity to ask why God made his people suffer so much or why there can be eternal punishment, given that a life in sin cannot last forever. It would be as great audacity as to try to reason out and comprehend the eternity of God. God is eternal and incomprehensible. His justice and recompensation is eternal; his mercy is beyond understanding.” (Book 3, Ch 30)

St. Mechtilde: ‘O my sole Beloved, what do you desire that men should know of you?’
Jesus: ‘My goodness and My justice: My goodness which makes Me wait for man so mercifully until he is converted, to which I continually attract him by My grace; but, if he absolutely refuses to be converted, My justice demands his damnation.’

Jesus to Sr. Consolata: “If only you knew how I suffer when I must dispense justice. You see, My Heart needs to be comforted; It wishes to dispense mercy, not justice!”

Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata: “To exercise Justice is for Me to go against the current; it does violence to Me… The door of My justice, on the contrary, is shut and locked; and I open it only to him who compels Me to do so; but I never open it spontaneously.”

Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina (October 1, 1954):

“I want you to set fire to the world with this love of my Divine Heart, today extinguished in men’s hearts. Set fire! Set fire!

I want to give my love to all men. I want to be loved by all.

They do not accept it and do not love me.”

“Be like a child with Me,” says Jesus.

The following words were revealed by Our Lord to Sr. Gertrude Mary, a holy nun of the community of St. Charles in Angers, France, who was born in 1870 and died on May 22, 1905:

“… you must be like a child with Me. There is in you too strong a feeling of fear and I wish you to exchange it for a feeling of filial love

Your joy must be greater than your fear. Excessive fear is not the feeling of a loving daughter. And in so far as your soul is not dilated with joy, trust and abandonment, there will be obstacles

The thing that checks Divine effusion in your soul is your want of simplicity and abandonment with your heavenly Father. I desire to be lavish with your soul, and you prevent My doing what I wish with you.”

Simplicity and abandonment. This is the key to happiness and holiness. Sr. Gertrude Mary writes: ‘We say: “God loves me dearly; God is very good” and we are not convinced of its truth; and this is what prevents our perfect correspondence with God’s plan for us – it is Our Lord who says so.’

 “Whosoever is a little one, let him come to Me.” (Proverbs 9:4). “To him that is little, mercy is granted.” (Wisdom 6:4).

“Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in thee.” (Psalm 33:22) 

“Trusting souls are the robbers of My graces. Write that the pleasure I take in the trusting soul is inexpressible.” (Jesus said to Sr. Benigna Consolata) 

“Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me, because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them. I rejoice that they ask for much, because it is my desire to give much, very much. On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little, when they narrow their hearts.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)

Jesus: “If you knew how I love you…”

“If you knew how I love you, you would die from joy.”

Jesus to Blessed Maria Pierina De Micheli

The love of God is so great that, were we to behold Him as the Saints do in Heaven, it would be impossible not to love Him. Many do not love God because they do not know Him. Ignorance, sinfulness and pride are perhaps the primary causes of this lack of knowledge and subsequent lack of love. “Everyone with a good conscience,” said Our Lady to St. Bridget, “understands well that God is more lovable than anything else, and such a person also puts this into practice. However, not everyone sees this, even if they have healthy pupils, because eyelids cover the eyes of most people. What does this eyelid signify if not the neglect of the life to come that covers the intelligence of many people?”

Blessed Imelda died of love, as did many other Saints. Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, in his book ‘How to Be Happy, How to Be Holy’ tells a beautiful (true) story about a nun who died of love. God is love. God is infinite. God is INFINITE LOVE. 

“If you knew how much I love you, you would die of joy.” – Jesus to Blessed Alexandrina da Costa

“If we knew the value of the Mass, we would die of joy.” – St. John Vianney

“Oh, if only the suffering soul knew how much God loves it, it would die of joy and excess of happiness!” – St. Faustina

“If you were to know how much I love the soul, you would never know aught further, for you would either die or continue to live by a miracle… So powerful is my love that the knowledge of it would annihilate not only the body but the soul of man, if that were possible.”

– Jesus to St. Catherine of Genoa

+++

Divine Love Drives Out Scruples.

FORGETFULNESS OF SELF IS THE TOMB OF SCRUPLES.”

– Marie-Catherine Putigny (a great mystic)

“You see, Consolata, sanctity means self-forgetfulness in everything, in thoughts, desires, words….Allow Me to do it all! I will do everything; but you should, at every moment, give Me what I ask for with much love!”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone (taken form ‘Jesus Appeals to The World)

What hinders us from loving God? Self-will and self-love. We all have it. It is an effect of Original Sin. Divine love alone can conquer it, and this precious gift is obtained by means of prayer. Ask God often for this pearl of great price.

Jesus is deserving of all of our love. To love Him, we must acknowledge our unworthiness and accept God’s mercy with great confidence. We have no reason to be discouraged. God gives us the grace to conquer sin. 

Discouragement shows that we care more for our guilty selves than our innocent Lord. This is not genuine love; rather, it is tantamount to the sorrow of Judas, which led to despair and damnation. 

By meditating daily on the Passion we will certainly grow in divine love.  This will replace our self-love, which is the cause of so much misery that we can scarcely form an idea of it!

I stronly suggest reading ‘The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ’ by St. Alphonsus. It is an excellent tool for growing in divine love, confidence and humility. It is one of St. Alphonsus’ more accessible works. It can be read for free online:

https://archive.org/stream/passiondeathofje00ligu 

Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mt. 6:33)

If we constantly fix our attention on ourselves, it will be impossible for us to fully perceive the great and tender love of God, which speaks to us through the peaceful action of the Holy Spirit. The evil spirit, on the other hand, produces sudden anxiety, and seeks to lessen our confidence in Almighty God. Let us renew our confidence in God. His love is boundless, therefore our confidence should be boundless. Avoid useless reasonings. Love God. 

(The following quote is taken from the ‘Life of Marie-Catherine Putigny: lay-sister of the Visitation Convent at Metz’)

“A certain ecclesiastic, a friend of our convent, was greatly tormented by scruples. One day, he said to Mother Marie-Seraphine: “I should like to know what Almighty God thinks of me.” Mother Marie-Seraphine made no reply at the moment, but the next time she saw him, which was shortly after, she said: “Father, do you remember telling me your desire to know what God thinks of you? I told Sister Marie-Catherine to ask Our Lord, and here is His answer: ‘I am not displeased with that priest, but he yields too much to his fears.’ Then she entered into a detail of his interior so clear and so precise that the priest recognized himself perfectly. It was evident that God had clearly manifested his interior to Sister Marie-Catherine.”

“Do not be absorbed in your misery-you are still too weak to speak of it-but, rather, gaze on My Heart filled with goodness…”

– Jesus to St. Faustina (words addressed to a despairing soul)

 

 

 

Sr. Benigna Consolata: Friend of “little souls”

Dear reader, I have written an article about Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero, the great spouse of Jesus. Please find the article at the following address:

http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2013/10/sister-benigna-consolata-ferrero.html

Sr. Benigna Consolata is a Heavenly advocate and friend worth having!

Here is a brief sample:

Here are but a few examples of the similarities between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s writings and those of the aforementioned saints and mystics:

1. + “Thou art the Apostle of My Love.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Apostle of My mercy.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
+ “Apostle of Love.” (Jesus to Bl. Dina Belanger)
+ “Apostle of My love.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
 
2. + “Thou shalt make thy Purgatory in the flames of My pure love-” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna, July 14, 1903)
+ “… the Fire of Love is more sanctifying than is the fire of Purgatory.” (St. Therese)
 
3. + “Even the single little prayer,‘I trust in Thee’, ravishes My Heart, because Faith, Love and Humility are comprised in this short prayer.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Words repeated throughout Sr. Consolata Betrone’s diary)
+ “Jesus, I trust in You!” (Prayer dictated by Our Lord to St. Faustina)
+ “How easy it is to please Jesus, to ravish His Heart. We have merely to love Him, while, at the same time, forgetting ourselves.” (St. Therese)

Lacking Confidence In God?

How do we grow in confidence? Let’s keep things simple. God desires our salvation incomparably more than we do. Those who offer their lives and wills to God have nothing to fear; they have every reason to be confident in- and to love- the incomprehensibly good God who inspired them to make this generous offering!

“Some complain of their want of confidence in God; but they do not perceive that their lack of confidence arises from the weakness of their resolution to serve God.” – St. Alphonsus

Most of us probably hold something back from God. Why? There are many reasons. Rather than analyse them, let us resolve to give everything to God, or at least, to serve God more faithfully each day. A vague resolution will not suffice; we must make concrete resolutions. For example: this week, I will ask God for the grace to remain silent when I am tempted to gossip. 

God longs to grant us His grace! Blessed Dina Belanger reminds us that “To give God a chance to exercise His mercy by our repentance and confidence causes Him joy.”

“Most dear to me is the soul that strongly believes in my goodness and has complete trust in me. I heap my confidence upon it, and give it all it asks.”

– Jesus to St. Faustina (453)

Perhaps we are familiar with some of the more challenging writings of the Saints, and we feel that salvation is almost unattainable. Dear friend, even if a handful of souls were saved, this does not reflect the infinite longing of God to save sinners. The sufferings of Blessed Alexandrina were said to have saved thousands of sinners; the sacrifices of St. John Vianney were said to have saved 80,000 sinners; St. Gertrude was encouraged by Our Lord to pray for the salvation of a “prodigious number” of sinners; the sacrifices of St. Faustina converted thousands… how much confidence, then, should we have in Our Lord, who created us solely to love Him (and our neighbour) and be loved by Him!

God is always good in all His dealings with us. It is not for us to question God. Let us follow the example of the Blessed Mother who never doubted God’s goodness, but rather, faithfully followed God’s inspirations, and was inflamed with love for God at every moment of her existence.

Those who genuinely devote themselves to God’s service will be rewarded with great love, joy, confidence and peace. We read in the lives of many Saints that, at the hour of death, they were greeted by Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints.

Some examples (from St. Alphonsus):

+ Leonard the Dominican, as we read in the chronicles of his order, who was accustomed to recommend himself two hundred times a day to this mother of mercy, when he was on his death-bed, saw one beautiful as a queen by his side, who said to him: “Leonard, do you wish to die and come to my Son and me?” “Who are you?” answered the religious. “I am the mother of mercy,” replied the Virgin; “you have many times invoked me, and now I come to take you: let us go to paradise.”

+ A pupil had been instructed by his master to salute the most holy Virgin in these words: “Hail, oh mother of mercy.” When he was at the point of death Mary appeared to him, and said: “My son, do you not know me ? I am that mother of mercy whom you have saluted so many times.” Then this servant of the Virgin extended his arms as if to follow her, and gently breathed his last.

Every desire of our hearts is found in the Heart of God. He will bring us safely to our eternal Home if we let Him.

 “Prayer to Obtain the Grace of Boundless Confidence”

“My sweetest Jesus, God infinitely merciful, Most tender Father of souls, especially of the weakest, the most miserable, the most infirm, whom Thou bearest with singular tenderness in Thy divine arms, I come to beg of Thee through the love and the merits of Thy Sacred Heart, the grace to confide in Thee, the grace to confide more and more in Thy merciful goodness, the grace to repose securely for time and eternity in Thy divine and loving Arms.”

– Given by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

 

The SUPREME Duty And Privilege Of Every Christian: To “… set fire to the world…”

I want you to set fire to the world with this love of my Divine Heart, today extinguished in men’s hearts. Set fire! Set fire! I want to give my love to all men. I want to be loved by all. They do not accept it and do not love me. By you, I want this love to be kindled in all humanity…”

– Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina

Why were we created? So that we might know, love and serve God, and thereby save our souls and find everlasting happiness.

Why did God become man? So that we might know, love and serve God, and thereby save our souls and find everlasting happiness.

“To find Me, to know Me, to receive Me, then to come to Me -that is the only meaning of every life… I am the Alpha and Omega, your God and your All… How is it then that in so many lives, I am accepted and treated merely as something supplementary?”

– Jesus to Sr. Mary of the Trinity

Unfortunately, many neither know nor love God.

“Ah! If only they knew My Heart… mankind is ignorant of Its mercy and
goodness: that is My greatest sorrow.”

– Jesus to Sr. Josefa

We can help to change that!

Christians in particular have the great duty and privilege of converting sinners. How? Through love. Our love must extend to all because God desires to save all! Following the Saints, we are to pray for the grace to know and love God’s will; we must love our enemies, pray for sinners, and offer sacrifices for souls.

“The greatest charity is to take away souls from Satan and to bring them back to God!” 

– Saint Padre Pio

 “My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.”

– Jesus to St. Faustina

“In this matter, no sacrifice is too insignificant.”

– Jesus to St. Faustina

We are called to spread God’s love. We do this by leading holy lives.

 “LOVE IS SANCTITY. The more you love Me, the holier you will become.”

– Jesus to Sr. Consolata

Like Bl. Alexandrina, Jesus invites- nay, urges– us to love Him and our neighbour. Meditation on the Passion will help us to love our enemies, just as Christ loved us. Who, considering all Jesus has done for us, can have a bitter heart? Daily we must pray for humility!

God is a “consuming fire” of love. This love causes us to suffer at times, as we have to be purified from the darkness of sin and earthly attachments. Neverthless, we must not be discouraged.

  “The Lord is equally kind when He apportions affliction as when He gives consolations.”

– St. Francis de Sales

We should consider every suffering a mere trifle in comparison with what we have deserved. Thanks be to God! Also, we should offer to God our every difficulty- however small– for the love of God and for the salvation of souls: That means more souls who will be loving God for all eternity! God desires that we become saints, so that He can live again in us!

“Benigna, I cannot make thee a saint unless thou give me the key of thy will; but if thou give it to me, I can make thee not only a saint but a great saint.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata

 The more we are united to God’s will, the more He will live in us, and the more we will be filled with His dispositions: His love, His peace, His joy. Jesus referred to this as a “mystical incarnation” (to Conchita Cabrera), whereby Jesus once again lives in our hearts! In fact, certain privileged saints, such as St. Gertrude and St. Catherine, were given the Sacred Heart of Jesus with which to love Him!

How can we love Jesus with all our heart?

“My Benigna, thou canst never love Me with all thy heart, as I wish to be loved by thee, unless thou dost hate thyself* with all thy heart. Sacrifice thy personal interests and gratifications to the greater glory of God… Sinners hate Me; do thou love Me with all thy strength; sinners blaspheme My Holy Name; do thou praise Me; sinners banish Me from their memory; do thou keep Me ever present before thy mind, discarding every other thought. Let all thy actions bear the impress of Reparation and thou wilt console My Heart. Let thy life be a life of Love and Reparation. I wish to live in thee… I wish to see with thy eyes, to speak with thy mouth, to hear with thy ears, to walk with thy steps, to labor with thy hands.”

* “The remedy for pride is also to tell ourselves that there is in us something inferior to nothingness itself: the disorder of sin and its effects. As sinners, we deserve scorn and all humiliations; the Saints have thought so, and they certainly judged better than we” – Lagrange (Put simply: hate sin, disorder etc. Of course we must remember that God loves us infinitely! Do not misunderstand this point!)