Some Saintly Insights into the “Little Way”

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

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

– Psalm 116:6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Servant of God, Leonie Martin, sister of St. Therese, d. 1941

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

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

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

– Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, d. 1937

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

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

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

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

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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

Some Scriptures and Corresponding Revelations

  1. ‘I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.’ -Galatians 2:20

“You see what I have suffered; well, all that is for you.” – Jesus to Bl. Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew

2. ‘That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.’ – 1 Corinthians 2:9

“… no one before or after Me has as fully understood how glorious is the delight of the heavenly Kingdom as have I and anyone to whom I wish to reveal it.” – Jesus to St. Bridget (Bk 4, Ch 111)

  1. ‘through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.’ – Acts 14:22

“Temptation is a means of attaining perfection.” – Jesus to St. Bridget

  1. ‘Fear the Lord, all ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.’ – Psalm 34:9

“See that you are faithful to me, and fear nothing.” – Jesus to Bl. Agnes de Langeac: (‘Divine Communications,’ p. 328, Vol. 1)

  1. ‘Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church.’ – Colossians 1:24

“I am the Head of the Church, and all who are Mine are the members of this same Body and must continue in union with Me, expiation and sacrifice till the end of time…” – Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

Pax Domini!

 

‘Devotion for the Dying’: The Most Pleasing Devotion to Jesus and Mary

‘He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.’ (James 5:20)

In her absolutely remarkable work, ‘Devotion for the Dying: Mary’s Call to Her Loving Children,’ Ven. Mother Mary Potter (d. April 9, 1913) demonstrates, beyond question, that we can and must pray for the salvation of dying sinners. (*Chapter 10 alone is worth the price of the book*).

How pleasing this devotion is to Our Lord, Who is Love Incarnate, and to Our Lady, who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit! The Saints tell us that we can do nothing more charitable than pray and offer sacrifices for the dying. Who are in greater need than the dying? They are on the threshold of eternity; the state in which they die will determine their eternity; for ‘in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.’ (Eccles. 11:3)

An All-Important Task

Make no mistake: if we neglect this all-important work, many unfortunate souls, who need our prayers, will be damned. “Francisco,” said Bl. Jacinta Marto to her older brother; “are you praying with me? We must pray very much to save souls from hell, so many go there. So many!” This need not be the case!

“Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them.”

– Our Lady of Fatima

‘Do unto others…’

Put yourself in the place of the dying sinner, and ask yourself this simple question: “If we traded places, would I hope that they would pray and make sacrifices for my eternal salvation?” If your answer is “yes”, as I’m sure it is, then you are bound to do the same for dying sinners. ‘All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them.’ (Mt. 7:12)

The Smallest Acts Suffice to Save Souls

We must not underestimate God’s mercy. Even the smallest acts, offered with a pure intention to Love, can be of great benefit to souls. “To pick up a pin for love,” exclaims St. Therese, “can convert a soul.” Glorious words.

“We of ourselves, it is true,” writes Ven. Mother Mary Potter, “could not by the offering of our whole lives make satisfaction to God for even one of the venial sins we think so lightly of when we commit them, but God views our good actions as the fruit of the Passion of His Beloved Son; and thus it is that a good action is more pleasing, necessarily so, to Him than a bad action is displeasing.” (p. 157–158)

“This is the consideration of God’s fairness, for, though my justice is so great that I leave nothing unexamined or unpunished, yet I am also so merciful and fair that I demand nothing beyond what nature can bear. Moreover, I forgive great punishment for the sake of a good intention and great sin in return for a little reparation.”

– Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden (Book 4, Ch 89)

Some Sage Advice from Ven. Mother Mary Potter

Each day, offer everything you do in reparation for dying sinners. If you read the Bible, for example, offer it for those who have spent their time reading ungodly literature; if you eat, offer this act for those who have been given in to sins of gluttony; and so on. Renew this intention frequently; you will save many souls thereby. This is an extremely powerful means of sanctifying our every act. The treasury of merits and graces that we amass by acting thus is incomprehensible. ‘And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.’ (Mt. 10:42)

The Two Thieves

Jesus, King of Love, was crucified between two thieves. One, it seems, was damned; the other responded to God’s call and was saved. He is now known as St. Dismas.

Perhaps we have not considered this before – but the thieves represent us. How often have we robbed God of glory by squandering the unfathomable gift of Divine Grace, which He purchased with the price of His Precious Blood? How often have we proudly attributed to ourselves the good that is within us? How often have we, like Judas, delivered Jesus over to the hands of His crucifiers, so that we might indulge in some carnal sin? Alas, I am guilty of this myself! “My Jesus, mercy! The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember. According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.” (Ps. 25:7)

Ultimately, our death will resemble one of the two thieves. It is for us to ensure that we die like St. Dismas. Furthermore, we must do what we can do ensure that others are converted, especially those “in most need of [God’s] mercy,” namely, dying sinners. St. Dismas, pray for us!

An Invitation from Jesus and Mary

Jesus tells us: ‘love one another, as I have loved you.’ (Jn. 13:34) These are the words of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, ‘Who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present wicked world, according to the will of God and our Father.’ (Gal. 1:4) In imitation of our Lord, we too must lay down our lives for our brethren – especially our dying brethren.

Look at our sweet Mother, Mary, at the foot of the Cross; look at her whose soul was pierced with a sword for the sake of her Son, and for that great multitude who will be forever separated from His loving embrace (Lk. 2:35). What a perfect example she is for us all! There she prayers for her Son’s crucifiers, for us; there she offers her own sufferings for the salvation of a prodigious number of sinners. If thousands were saved by Bl. Alexandrina’s sufferings (united to the sufferings and merits of Jesus) – as Our Lord confided to her – then think of how many souls were, and are, saved through the prayers and sufferings of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God!

“Our Blessed Lady told me that many souls escape Hell through her intercession. She often obtains the grace of repentance for a soul when it is just leaving the body. In that moment of extremity she obtains for the soul a feeling of love of God, a feeling of repentance.”

-SG. Père Lamy (p. 141 of his biography)

In thanksgiving to Jesus and Mary, let us firmly resolve, from this day forward, to cultivate a tender devotion to the dying; let us entrust this intention to our Blessed Mother, to our patrons Saints, and to our Guardian Angel. Let us have recourse to Mary, the Mother of Mercy; let us pray her Rosary; let us offer her our indulgences at the beginning of each day; let us offer her our merits, and she will see to it that we stay close to her Son; she will see to it that our prayers and sufferings are not wasted; she herself will offer them to God, bathed in the Precious Blood of Jesus, and united to her own merits. Do this and many, very many souls will be saved!

“Our Lady offers our prayers to God; she beautifies them; she makes them [more] pleasing in His sight… The recitation of the Rosary – that is what Lucifer hates.”

– SG. Père Lamy (p. 140, p. 157)

“… the imitation of both of our lives [Jesus and Mary] must be simultaneous on earth; Mary’s life was modeled on Mine… The souls who love her most and who are most like to her, are the souls who are most like to Me most perfectly. You must imitate her in the practice of virtues, I always told you, especially in her humility and her purity of heart. Observe the virtues she practiced in her solitude, in the last stage of her life, her outlook, and her soul wholly turned toward heaven, and her self effacement, glorifying Me on earth.”

(Jesus to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, Diary, Feb. 18, 1917 – a few months before Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima)

The Power of Prayer

The following anecdote beautifully captures the essence of this “devotion for the dying.” It is taken from p. 294 of ‘St. Vincent Ferrer, His Life, Spiritual Teaching, and Practical Devotion.’

“The Saint passing to Pampeluna, and his sanctity being well known to all the inhabitants, they besought him to interest himself in behalf of the spiritual needs and conversion of a person of notoriously bad character, who would continue impenitent to the last day of her life. The charity of St. Vincent, which desired nothing so much as the salvation of souls, drew him promptly and with joy into the presence of this poor sinner. He unhappily found her completely hardened. She was obstinate and so despairing of her salvation that she exclaimed, blaspheming:

“It is impossible for me to be saved; God cannot pardon either the multitude or the enormity of my sins.”

The Saint began, then, with all the energy of his soul to offer her powerful reasons which might encourage her to hope for a generous pardon from God. But it was useless, that soul was hardened in evil. Seeing this, St. Vincent raised up his heart to God, made a short prayer, and led by a divine inspiration, he promised the sinner that her absolution should come in writing from heaven, if she would promise to make her confession. The wretched woman began to ridicule a pledge so extraordinary and which appeared to her impossible; yet she said to the Saint:

“If it be so, I am very willing to (p. 293) confess.”

Then, the Saint procured pen and paper, and wrote these words:

“Brother Vincent Ferrer beseeches the most Holy Trinity to grant the sinner here present the absolution of her sins.”

He then folded the paper, and cast it into the air; the document flew out of the house; but some minutes afterwards it returned folded and closed. Wonderful to relate, on opening it, St. Vincent found the following promise written in letters of gold:

“We, the most Holy Trinity, at the request of our Vincent, grant the sinner of whom he speaks, the pardon of her faults; We dispense her from all the punishment which she ought to undergo; and if she confesses, she shall be carried to heaven in half an hour, where she shall reign eternally with us… From heaven… We, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

St. Vincent read the answer, and without delay the happy woman made her confession; in half an hour afterwards her soul took its flight to heaven. Oh! happy sinner! If so extraordinary a favour was obtained for this great sinner at the prayer of our Saint, while he was yet living, what ought not we to expect from him – great sinners as we are, but who are devoted to him – now that, consumed with charity, he rejoices in God Whom he beholds face to face, and who being near to Him, continually intercedes for those who have recourse to his prayers!” (p. 294)

‘God is wonderful in his saints: the God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people. Blessed be God.’

(Ps. 69:35)

My Own Experience of Fatima

On May 13, 2012, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (and the anniversary of the First Apparition), I received a strong inspiration to start this blog. It was only after I started writing that I realised it was May 13.

This, I believe, was no coincidence. I believe Our Lord was effectively telling me this: “My son, I have suffered much on your account; so, too, has my Mother. But do not despair. I have given her to be your Mother, a most merciful Mother. In gratitude for so much love, of which you have been the object, entrust yourself to her, love her; rest in her arms like a little child, and teach others to do the same.”

I am not claiming that I had a locution or anything of the kind. I did not. But I did receive an impression that, in response to so much love from Jesus and Mary, I must share at least a little of that immeasurable love with others – many, if not all, of whom have abused fewer graces than I have.

Over the years, the truth of Mary’s love for me has only increased, and she has helped me on countless occasions to renew my trust in the infinite love of her Divine Son. On one such occasion, I was in Church, praying, but with great difficulty (I think it was the year 2013). I was quite discouraged at the time. As I had my head down, a young man came up to me. I had never seen him before; I have never seen him since. “Here,” he said, handing me some Rosary beads; “these are for you.” How kind, I thought! I looked carefully at these beautiful Rosary beads, which were marked with a single word: FATIMA.

Our Lady has been very good to me.

On December 3, 2015, I had an opportunity to visit Fatima. It was incredible. I cannot attempt to describe it. One truly feels her presence there, just like at Lourdes.

Please join me, dear friend, in honouring Jesus and Mary by making our lives a constant sacrifice of praise and love.

“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners? … Say the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and the end of the war.”

– Our Lady of Fatima (May 13, 1917)

“Do not be afraid to love the Immaculata (Mary) too much because we could never equal the love that Jesus has for Her, and His imitation is our sanctification.”

– St. Maximilian Kolbe

A Final Word

Stay close to Mary, Help of Christians, and you will be saved; not only that: you will become a Saint; you will save many souls, and your death will be a most glorious one, a cause of delight to the Courts of Heaven!

‘… precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.’

(Ps. 116:15)

Why Pray for the Souls in Purgatory?

In his classic book on Purgatory, Fr. Schouppe tells us that “It was revealed to St. Bridget that he who delivers a soul from Purgatory has the same merit as if he delivered Jesus Christ Himself from captivity.” (p. 217). These are amazing words; yet how many of us actually offer prayers, alms, sacrifices, or the Holy Mass (the supreme sacrifice!) for the Holy Souls?

Our Lord said to a particular Blessed that the number of souls in Purgatory is “beyond the thought of man.” In other words, throughout the earth’s history, a vast number of souls have died who were neither in a state of unrepented mortal sin, nor in a state sufficiently pure to enter Heaven immediately.

Purgatory makes a lot of sense if you think about it. There is little use in denying it, or in clinging to theology that is at odds with this grand truth – a truth which is confirmed by the Church Fathers, the Saints, Holy Scripture, and countless experiences in the lives of the Saints.

According to the Church and all her Saints, we can easily assist the souls in Purgatory. It is so simple, and in return for our generosity, the Holy Souls, whose prayers are extraordinarily powerful with God, will obtain for us all kinds of favours! (The doctrine of the Communion of Saints should be studied assiduously by those who doubt this.)

Given that Our Lord accepts our acts of charity towards others as acts of charity towards Him, it is extremely profitable, beautiful and loving for us to pray for the souls in Purgatory. “Of all prayers,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, “the most meritorious, the most acceptable to God are prayers for the dead, because they imply all the works of charity, both corporal and spiritual.”

Only we can help them. Our Lord desires that we pray for them (as does Our Lady). He frequently asked St. Gertrude, Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, and a host of other privileged souls, to pray for the Holy Souls. We must do the same! How can we let a day go by without helping our dear departed brothers and sisters in Christ, who require so little from us, yet so often receive nothing?! “Do unto others…” (I need not finish this Scripture)

Some things we can do to help the Holy Souls are:
1. Pray for them (especially the Holy Rosary)
2. Offer our indulgences for them (the prayer ‘My Jesus, mercy!’, for example, receives a partial indulgence when recited by one who is in a state of grace)
3. Give alms or make acts of charity on their behalf (i.e. apply to the Holy Souls the merit of our actions)
4. Offer sacrifices for them (e.g. our sufferings, even the slightest)
5. Offer the Mass for the Holy Souls (this is the most powerful means for releasing the Holy Souls. By means of the Mass, the Saints released thousands of souls from Purgatory, according in part to the degree of their fervour and faith.)

If our knowledge of the pains of Purgatory is too vague, it is to be feared that we will forget about the Holy Souls, and we will soon forget to pray for them. Consider, then, these words of Our Lord to Bl. Battista Varani: “There is no difference between the pains of hell and of purgatory, only that the first are eternal, while the latter endure but for a time…” Nevertheless, we must also remember that “… the souls in purgatory remain there willingly, resigned and contented, suffering in peace, and returning thanks to the justice of God.”

Like St. Gertrude, may we pray fervently and frequently for the Holy Souls, and may we encourage others to do the same, so that one day, Our Lord might repeat to us the words He addressed to His dear spouse, Gertrude: “Fear not, My child; by your charity to the dead, you have increased the sum of your merits, and not only do you possess enough to expiate your slight faults, but you have earned a high degree of glory. My mercy will reward your devotion to the holy souls, and you will soon be with me in Paradise, to be rewarded a hundredfold for all you have done for them.”