6 Easy Ways to Grow in Divine Love

god-rays-in-vernazza

Jesus Christ, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 18:19), is infinitely rich and generous; nothing and no one can exhaust the treasures of His Sacred Heart. But we must avail ourselves of these precious graces.

“My Heart is overflowing on all sides. It can no longer contain all the graces that souls unceasingly repel. Take them, My child, take them.”

– Jesus to Sr. Gertrude Mary (Dec. 26, 1906, from ‘Divine Communications,’ vol. I, Rev. Auguste Saudreau)

God always makes the first move; we never seek Him without the previous inspiration of grace. ‘You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you.’ (John 15:16) “There,” writes G.K. Chesterton, “is the great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ‘Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

He wishes to establish His most gentle reign in each and every one of our hearts, which are infinitely precious to Him, more precious than any earthly kingdom – not because there is a deficiency in God, but because of His pure love, a love that seeks only to communicate goodness and joy to the beloved.

Apart from Divine Love, all is vanity; God alone is; He is the Beginning and the End of all the deepest yearnings of the human heart; outside of Him there is nothing but vexation and want.

Almighty God, Who is the Divine Husbandmen, reveals His love for us by stripping us of all that could be an impediment to His Divine action within us. Because of our frailty, our sinful attachments, and our wavering faith, this is often a painful process. But God is all-wise, all-good and all-powerful; He knows what He is doing, and He alone can bring it about. It is only reasonable, then, to practice abandonment. To offer ourselves to One so good is an incalculable gain – even when, or especially when, we feel the sting. ‘As it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord!’ (Job 1:21)

Here, then, are some simple, albeit powerful, ways to grow in love:

(1) Draw Riches from the Treasury of the Sacred Heart

Imitate St. Mechtilde, St. Gertrude and many others, by offering to God His own love and merits to supply for what was is wanting to you.

The same goes for offering God the love and merits of the saints and angels, all of which can be drawn from the Saviour’s Adorable Heart. ‘And all My things are thine, and thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them’ (John. 17:10).

If we are all His, He is all ours. ‘I to my Beloved, and my Beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies’ (Cant. of Cant. 6:3).

+ Examples:

    1. Offer the Rosary in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Blessed Fruit of her womb, by uniting it to all the Masses said throughout the world, to the Angelic Salutation of St. Gabriel, to the greeting of St. Elizabeth, and to the perfect love that drew God from Heaven to Earth.
    2. Unite your every action, thought, heartbeat, breath etc., to the Sacred Heart and to all the love that animated Our Lady and the Saints.
    3. In preparation for receiving the Adorable Eucharist, offer God the fervent love with which the Saints received Him, as well as His own perfect love in giving Himself to us.
    4. Offer the infinite love and perfect obedience of Jesus to God the Father, in thanksgiving for every grace that He has ever given any of His creatures, or that He has ever desired to give (but has been impeded from doing so due to our obstinacy). Does a parent not deserve to be thanked for the gifts that they desire to bestow on their children, even when the children do not accept them? [The fruits of this practice are immense]

“When thou shalt offer Me to God the Father for the joy and glory of the Saints, their happiness and recompense shall be increased, as though they had received Me corporally on the earth.” (A beautiful and extremely powerful way to honour the Saints, and to honour God in His Saints!)

– Jesus to St. Mechtilde (‘The Love of the Sacred Heart’)

(2) Aspirations

Love alone gives our actions value; souls are not saved and God is not glorified, save by charity. Aspirations are an easy way to keep the fire of love burning in our hearts. We were created to love God; all else is false, empty, vain, a precious waste of precious time.

I have written about aspirations before:

https://littlestsouls.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/aspirations-an-easy-way-to-attain-holiness-and-joy/

“If I knew I should receive £1 for each one [aspiration] I made, I would not waste a spare moment. And yet I get infinitely more than this, though I often fail to realise it.”

“This morning I lay awake powerless to over come myself and to make my promised visit to the chapel. Then I felt prompted to pray; I said five aspirations and rose without difficulty. How many victories I could win by this easy and powerful weapon!”

– Fr. William Doyle (d. 1917)

(3) Spiritual Communions

Many Saints highly recommend this practice. St. Francis de Sales made a spiritual Communion every fifteen minutes or so; Sr. Benigna Consolata, a spiritual daughter of St. Francis de Sales, was told by Our Lord to make them even more frequently.

St. Alphonsus tells us that Jesus appeared to a certain pious soul, showing her two precious vases, one gold, the other silver. “In the golden vessel,” He said, “I keep sacramental Communion, and in the silver vessel spiritual Communion.” (‘Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,’ TAN)

And to Blessed Jane of the Cross, our Saviour spoke these enlightening words: “As often as you make a spiritual Communion I send you a grace which is in a measure similar to the grace which I grant you in sacramental Communion.”

St. Teresa of Avila writes: “When you do not receive Communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” [The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35.]

“If you practice the holy exercise of Spiritual Communion a good many times each day, within a month you will see yourself completely changed.”

– St. Leonard of Port Maurice

(4) Meditation on the Last Things

Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell – also known as the four last things… that most people care to think about. Which is a great tragedy, because the truth is eternal and does not change to suit our fancy.
St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows was once asked how he could possibly bear to spend his days as a religious. Time flies, he replied, when one is thinking about Heaven! If only we had the faintest notion of what awaits those who love God! Mother Agnes (Pauline), the sister of St. Therese (and my dear little sister), shared with her a beautiful story in which a religious appeared to her sister (also a religious) shortly after her death, saying: “I am going to God; oh! I am not sorry for having humbled and annihilated myself for Jesus on earth. If you only knew what glory I am going to have, but God has not permitted me to reveal it to you because you would experience too great a joy and your way is the way of suffering.” (p. 582, ‘Letters of St. Therese,’ ICS Publications)
44. “To fear the days of judgment.
45. To be in dread of hell.
46. To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing.
47. To keep death daily before one’s eyes.”

– From the ‘Instruments of Good Works,‘ from the Rule of St. Benedict

(5) Lectio Divina

St. Jerome, writing about a holy man of his time, says that he made his heart “a library for Christ.” So often it is the case that individuals fill their hearts and minds with present troubles, with worldly things and with innumerable other sources of distraction or anxiety, ranging from mere trifles to great evils. Let us have none of this. Let us meditate often on the life-giving words of God; ‘lay up His words in thy heart‘ (Job 22:22), and draw upon them day and night; they will purify you, they will inflame you, and they will set your heart on things eternal. Without this, there can be no joy; our heart longs for the infinity of the horizon; what we truly desire – whether or not we realise it – lies beyond this crumbling world.

To truly profit from spiritual reading and meditation, the end must always be that we come to know and love God more – and this, principally, by means of prayer, without which there can be no lasting growth in wisdom and charity. ‘The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom’ (Ps. 38:30).

“At the Last Judgment I shall not  ask souls if they have read much, but what fruit  they have drawn from their reading.”

– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

(6) …

The final means for growing in Divine Love deserves/requires a post of its own. Also, I have run out of time (even with a generous extension). Hopefully it will be ready by next Sunday.

+ PAX +

Daily Revelation and Reflection: The Love of God (#2)

“In order that all might be saved, He came into the world, taking flesh from me, and endured His passion and death on the cross.” 

-Our Lady to St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Leonard of Port Maurice said that if all returned to God with contrite hearts, all would be saved. Unfortunately, many souls do not avail themselves of the graces that God gives (and wishes to give) them. Many – even Christians – are spiritually dead in mortal sin. And to think that many Christians reject this doctrine!

Mortal sin is “a chain of hell” (St. Alphonsus); it is “the assassin of the soul” and “the crucifier of God,” (St. John Vianney); it is irrational and selfish. “In committing a mortal sin,” writes St. Alphonsus, “you have been guilty of a greater fault than if you trod under foot the loftiest monarch of a world.”

“… each soul separates itself from Me, its Head and Source of Life, as often as it sins mortally.”

– Jesus to Bl. Battista Varani

This might all have us feeling a bit heavy-hearted. But do not worry. God, Who is all-merciful, is ever seeking sinners. He is always seeking to use our prayers and sufferings for the salvation of souls.

If our sins are immense, the love and mercy of God is greater still. He never rejects a contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). But we must repent while there is time. ‘The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance’ (2 Pet. 3:9).

Some powerful sermons to help us root out sin

Sermon XX (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 145) AND Sermon XXI (‘On the evil effects of bad habits,’ p. 152) by St. Alphonsus:

https://archive.org/details/sermonsforallsun00liguuoft

A Revelation That Most Catholics Are Saved (Pt. 2)

St. Mechtilde believed that Our Lord said to her that the number of Catholics who go to Heaven when they die, exceeds the number of those who go to Hell (Liber specialis gratiae. In Sanctae Mechtildis, virginis ordinis sancti Benedicti, Liber specialis gratiae accedit sororis Mechtildis ejusdem ordinis Lux divinitatis. Book 6, Chapter 15. Ed. Monks of Solesmes. Paris: Oudin, 1877). Nevertheless, Our Lord assured her that His justice will claim its due; many souls will go to Purgatory before they are pure enough to enter the Kingdom of God.

Whether or not we can apply this revelation to every generation is not certain (private revelations, in themselves, are uncertain*). It may be the case that the majority of Catholics will, in the end, be saved.

Either way, let us thank God for His mercy! And let us not be presumptuous! We will be saved if we seek God with all our heart. If we are tepid in our faith, there is a danger that we will fall from sin to sin, without even realising how far we have fallen. We must imitate the holy monk that St. Leonard tells us about, who said that, even if one soul were damned, he would do absolutely everything in his power not to be that soul.

*Still, if they are consistent with Church teaching, and if they have been given to a humble and obedient soul, such as St. Mechtilde, then we are safe in believing them, so long as we subordinate them to the Magisterium… This site only quotes from the revelations of those whose virtue has been recognised by reputable authorities.

The Eternal Father to St. Hildegard:

“Does anyone think it possible to see into the deep wisdom of the Most High and into the discernment of His knowledge, and count the number of those who are to be saved? His judgements are incomprehensible to all people. Your task is to run; for the kingdom of God is prepared for you.” (p. 315, Scivias)

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.”

6 Eucharistic Books That May Change Your Life (Excerpts included)

The following books are classics. Really. At least one of them should be read by every Catholic. Better yet – every Christian. The Eucharist is simply too important to be misunderstood, undervalued or neglected.

If, to obtain $100,000 a day, all it took was a daily visit to a church, who would be mad enough not to attend? Yet Jesus offers Himself to us without reserve in the Mass, and almost no one pays any real attention! Are we not aware of the infinite good that Our Lord offers us in every Mass?

“Every degree of grace is in itself infinitely valuable, more precious than all created things in Heaven or on earth, a treasure for which we should, with the Apostle, count all things as loss, that we may gain Christ and His grace.”

(From “The Glories of Divine Grace”)

There are poor souls hastening towards perdition, greatly in need of prayer. You can do nothing more charitable than to save a soul… nothing! And the most effective means by which you can do this is to offer the Holy Mass (in which Our Lord prays for us and offers the Sacrifice of Himself!) for the conversion of sinners! And the greater your fervour at Mass; the greater your faith; the greater your holiness (and purity of intention), the more eagerly will God grant your prayers!

The most urgent need in the world today is not food, shelter, wealth, success, or any other temporal thing; it is love. In particular, it is the love of God, which redeems, purifies, vivifies and saves. And where do we find God’s love most abundantly? In the Mass. At Mass, Our Lord offers Himself mystically, just as He did on Calvary. ‘Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13).

“One more Mass! One more Mass!” – Fr. Mateo Crawley Boevey

How blessed would many Christians consider themselves if they knew that they were going to be visited one day by Our Lord! How they would prepare their hearts; how meticulously they would prepare their appearance. Yet Jesus is truly present in the Tabernacle, waiting to descend into our hearts, and almost no one pays any real attention!

Please, dear reader: if you have not already done so, please consider reading at least one of the following books. Ideally, read it a few times; otherwise it will be impossible to extract all its goodness.

1. ‘Explanation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass’ (aka ‘The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Explained,’ or, ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass’) by Rev. Martin von Cochem:

https://archive.org/stream/explanationofthe00maesuoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “St. Bridget, who was permitted to witness in spirit what went on in the heights of heaven during the consecration, says that she saw the sacred host, under the appearance of a living lamb, enveloped in flames, surrounded by angels, countless in number as the motes in the sunbeam, adoring and serving Him, as did also an innumerable multitude of the blessed.”]

2. ‘The Blessed Eucharist, Our Greatest Treasure’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedeuchar00meuluoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “But you will ask perhaps: ‘Why does our Lord hide Himself under the outward appearances of bread and wine? Why does He not manifest Himself under the sensible qualities of His body, with His wounded hands, His merciful countenance, His radiant majesty?’ Now, our Lord does so chiefly for two reasons. The first is, that we may not lose the merit of faith. Were we to see Jesus Christ as He is seen by the blessed in heaven, we could no longer make an act of faith in His Real Presence, for ‘faith is the belief in things which we do not see.’ Now, our Lord wishes to bestow on us, after this life, a great reward for our faith, as He Himself has said: ‘Blessed are they that do not see and yet believe.’ Many of the saints, in order not to lose the merit of their faith, have gone so far as to beg our Lord not to favor them with those consoling manifestations of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament which He has sometimes granted to His chosen servants.”]

3. ‘The Holy Mass: The Sacrifice for the Living and the Dead. The Clean Oblation Offered Up Among the Nations From the Rising to the Setting of the Sun’ by Rev. Michael Muller:

https://archive.org/stream/holymasssacrifi00mlgoog#page/n18/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “A certain holy Bishop of Breslau, named Nanker, entertained a most tender devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He used to say Mass daily, and heard as many Masses besides as he possibly could. When at the point of death, a most sweet, heavenly melody was heard, and a voice from above said: ‘The soul of Bishop Nanker has already left the body, and is now being carried by the angels into heaven. This grace and honor have been bestowed upon him on account of his great love and devotion for the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.’]

4. ‘The Holy Eucharist’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori:

https://archive.org/stream/alphonsusworks06alfouoft#page/n3/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Thence arise the following considerations which may aid us to hear Mass with great fruit: 1. By the oblation of the person of Jesus Christ, God and man, to the Eternal Father, we give to God infinite honor; we give him greater honor than he would receive from the oblation of the lives of all men and all angels. 2. By the oblation of Jesus Christ in the Mass, we offer to God a complete satisfaction for all the sins of men, and especially for the sins of those who are present at Mass; to whom is applied the same divine blood, by which the human race was redeemed on Calvary. Thus, by each Mass more satisfaction is made to God than by any other expiatory work. But although the Mass is of infinite value, God accepts it only in a finite manner, according to the dispositions of those who attend the holy sacrifice, and, therefore, it is useful to hear several Masses. 3. In the Mass we render to God an adequate thanksgiving for all the benefits that he has bestowed upon us. 4. During the Mass we can obtain all the graces that we desire for ourselves and for others. We are unworthy of receiving any grace from God, but Jesus Christ has given us the means of obtaining all graces, if, while we offer him to God in the Mass, we ask them of the Eternal Father in his name, for then Jesus himself unites with us in prayer. If you knew that while you pray to the Lord, the divine Mother, along with the whole of paradise, united with you, with what confidence would you pray? Now when you ask of God any grace during the Mass, Jesus (whose prayers are more efficacious than the prayers of all who are in heaven) prays for you, and offers in your behalf the merits of his Passion.”]

5. ‘The Hidden Treasure: Or, The Value and Excellence of Holy Mass’ by St. Leonard of Port Maurice:

https://archive.org/stream/hiddentreasureo01leongoog#page/n4/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “Go to the church as if you were going to Calvary, and behave yourself before the altar as before the throne of God, in company with the holy angels. See what modesty, what reverence, what attention, are requisite from us, in order that we may carry away the fruit and the blessings which Almighty God is wont to bestow on him who honours with devout demeanour these sacred mysteries. We read, that while the sacrifices of the Old Law were being offered by the Jews, sacrifices in which was offered nothing greater than bulls, lambs, and other animals, it was admirable to behold with what diligence, decorum, and silence, the whole people assisted; and although there were numbers innumerable of those attending, besides the seven hundred ministers who sacrificed, yet, with all this, it seemed as if the temple were empty, not the very slightest noise, not even a breath, being heard. Now, if so much respect and so much veneration were practised towards those sacrifices which, after all, were only a mere shadow, a simple figure of ours, what silence, what devotion, what attention, does not Holy Mass deserve, in which the Immaculate Lamb himself, the Divine Word, is offered for us in sacrifice!”

6. ‘The Blessed Sacrament; Or, The Works and Ways of God’ by Fr. F. W. Faber:

https://archive.org/stream/theblessedsacram00fabeuoft#page/n5/mode/2up

[Excerpt: “It is said that St. Michael revealed to St. Eutropius the Hermit that he had been chosen to be the guardian angel of the Blessed Sacrament; and that it had been entrusted to his charge ever since Holy Thursday; and there are also on record several revelations of his to various saints concerning the worship of the Blessed Sacrament. Some have supposed him to be the angel of the mass referred to in the canon; and he is spoken of at the beginning of mass in the Confiteor, again at the second incensing at the High Mass; and also in the offertory of masses of Requiem. Many saints and servants of God have had a peculiar devotion to the angel mentioned in the canon of the Mass, without deciding on his name or individuality.”]

St. Anthony of Padua, pray for us!

St. Faustina, pray for us!

The Conversion of Four Hardened Sinners

“I would gladly die for the sake of humanity all over again, if it were possible.”

– Jesus said to St. Bridget of Sweden

The Christian faith is one of perseverance. Love sets no limits. The Holy Spirit says through St. Peter: “And if the just man shall scarcely be saved, where shall the wicked and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter: 4) St. Leonard, in one of his sermons, said: “Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved.” Salvation is a gift that God is infinitely eager to give; He suffered and died for us so that we may receive this inestimable treasure. Can we honestly say that we would rather die than commit mortal sin? If not, then we do not desire to be saved (nor do we desire the salvation of others) as much as God desires to save us! (This, of course, is impossible!)

Why, then, do we not have more confidence in Him? If we are lacking in confidence, it is likely to be because we rely too much on ourselves, and because we make weak/vague resolutions to attain holiness. May our most merciful God give us a profound humility, a love for Him, and a desire for holiness and the salvations of souls! Before reading some beautiful conversion stories, here are some words of encouragement:

+ “Lost nations! Wake up for once, and if you want to ensure your eternity, commend yourself to God, have frequent recourse to Him, through these words or ones like them: ‘My Jesus, mercy!’ And I give you my word, since Jesus Christ gave you His before I did in His holy Gospel: ‘Ask, and it will be given you’ (Mt. 7:7), ask My help and you will have it, and with My help you will sin no more.’ I give you my word, I repeat – if you commend yourselves often to God by saying ‘My Jesus, mercy!’ from the bottom of your heart, you will sin no more, and you will be saved.” – St. Leonard

+ He damns only those who are determined not to be converted; they who have a spark of good will are saved.”

– Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

+ “I saw too that, by prayer and the offering of sufferings for others, many souls that have done no good upon earth may be converted and saved at the hour of death.”

– Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich

1. (Taken from ‘The Sacred Heart: anecdotes and examples to assist in promoting the devotion to the Sacred Heart,’ 1899)

The following is a letter addressed to the Rev. Father Ramiere, the zealous promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart and of the Apostleship of Prayer: “Reverend and Dear Father: The arm of the Lord is not shortened. Yesterday it worked a great miracle in my behalf. Permit me to tell you all about it, so that you and all who read the account of my conversion, may unite with me in praising and thanking the infinite mercy of the Sacred Heart. I was sent, at the age of twelve, to an excellent and fashionable boarding school, where the teachers were a pattern of devotedness and zeal. But the spirit of darkness, who crept into the Garden of Eden, crept also into our dear institute. I was the one chosen by it to fall into its snares, and from a little angel was soon transformed into a veritable little fiend. It was sufficient to speak of confession, Holy Communion, or even to mention the name of God, to make me scoff and laugh at what was said. One day after my music-lesson, weary of the repeated remonstrances of my teacher, I exclaimed in a mocking tone: Satan, I give you my heart; come and take possession of it, it shall be ever yours. From that moment I never knew what it was to have a single hour of happiness. Satan was indeed my master, and left me no peace. I no longer loved God or the saints, but there was still a spark of affection left for our blessed Lady. Remorse tormented me, but I had not the courage to reveal to any one the torture I was enduring. A lady who took great interest in me and watched me closely, could not help exclaiming, on hearing me laugh: That is not the laugh of a human being, but of a devil. She was not mistaken. At last one of my friends, in the hopes of bringing about my conversion, proposed to me to join with her in making a novena to the Sacred Heart. Through the mediation of our blessed Lady, and for the sake of Our Lady, I consented. From the very first day I felt a change had taken place in me. I was no longer the same being, and on the last day of the novena Mass was said in honor of the Sacred Heart to obtain my conversion. Since then God has continued His work of mercy in my behalf. I am now, through a good confession, reconciled to Him and I intend consecrating the remainder of my life to that dear Saviour whose enemy I have been for the last eight weary years. Oh, pray for me, pray for me.”

2. (Taken from ‘The Glories of the Precious Blood’)

Eusebius of Caesarea, the “Father of Ecclesiastical History”, tells us how St. John the Apostle brought into Christ s fold a robber, whose life had been one long catalogue of crimes, and, when the poor man despaired of obtaining mercy from God, how the saint encouraged him by saying: “Fear not, my son; thou mayest yet hope for salvation: I will satisfy Jesus Christ for thee, I will gladly undergo death for love of thee, as the Lord endureth it for us. I will give my soul in the place of thine.” Thus did St. John pass on the satisfactions gained by himself to that poor sinner.

3. (Taken from ‘Saint Anthony: anecdotes proving the miraculous power of St. Anthony,’ 1899)

A man had for twenty-four years concealed in confession a grievous mortal sin, so that every time he received the sacraments he committed fresh sacrileges. At last a ray of light pierced through his darkened soul, and he implored the assistance of St. Anthony. One day whilst saying his prayers the saint appeared, and so forcibly pointed out to him the infinite justice of God, and the danger of eternal damnation, that, filled with terror, the poor sinner hastened to make a good confession and to be reconciled with God. 

4. (Taken from ‘The Life of St. Frances of Rome,’ 1855) 

The kind of apostolate which by this time she exercised in Rome was very remarkable; and her power over men’s minds and hearts scarcely short of miraculous. There was a subduing charm, an irresistible influence in her words and in her manner, which told on every variety of persons. The expression of her countenance, the tones of her voice, her mere presence, worked wonders in effecting conversions, and in animating to virtue those whom she approached. Her gift of reading the thoughts of others, which had increased ever since the archangel had become her companion, enabled her in several instances to bring about conversions, several of which are related at length by her biographers. Amongst them was that of a young woman who was lying dangerously ill in one of the hospitals of the city. Francesca had been distributing food to the sick, and was then attending the death-bed of a young man, who was about to receive the last Sacraments, when a piercing cry from one of the adjoining wards reached her ears. She hastened to the spot, and found a young woman stretched on one of the narrow beds, and dying in all the agonies of despair. No sooner had she looked upon the poor creature than her dreadful history was supernaturally revealed to her. She had some time before had an illegitimate child, and, under the pressure of shame and terror, had destroyed it. The consciousness of this crime was driving her to despair, and she had not courage to confess it. But now words were whispered in her ear, which went straight to the point on which the awful struggle turned; which spoke of the horrible misery of dying impenitent and unabsolved, and of the boundless mercy which has provided a remedy for the deepest stains of sin, the Blood of Jesus applied to the soul by the grace of the Sacrament. For a long time the poor creature resisted, turned her head away, and refused to be comforted. But when Francesca, in still more pressing terms, alluded to the intolerable burden of an unacknowledged crime, of the life-giving humiliation of a sincere confession, of the dire confusion of an unforgiven soul on the Day of Judgment; of the love of Jesus, of the tenderness of Mary, of the indulgence of the Church, the sweetness of pardon, the peace of reconciliation; then the stubborn heart yielded, the seared spirit was softened. Bursting into tears, the dying sufferer exclaimed, “A priest! A priest!” and one was at hand at the first call of contrition, and answered that expiring cry, as Matthew did the royal prophet’s confession: “The Lord forgives; thou shalt not perish.” And shortly after in Francesca’s arms the pardoned sinner breathed her last.

Deo Gratias!