The Dying Robber 


In the time of Emperor Marian, there was a fierce and cruel robber living in Thrace. He was lying in a hospital. He was dying. What happens very seldom happened to him. A little before he died he began to repent of his sins. He made a most sincere Act of Contrition. He cried much for his sins that his pocket-handkerchief was as wet with his tears as if it had been steeped in water.
When the robber was dead a very holy man, the doctor of the hospital, had a vision. He saw on one side of the dead robber many devils with papers in their hands, on which the sins of the robber were written. On the other side he saw two angels shining with light. A pair of scales was brought. The devils put into the scale the papers of sins, and this scale sunk down with the weight of sins laid upon it. The other scale went up. The Angels said to one another, “What can we put into the empty scale to make it weigh more than the scale in which his sins are? He has only just repented of his robberies. How can we hope to find anything good done by him. However, let us try.” They searched about and found the pocket- handkerchief wet with tears of repentance. They said “Let us put this handkerchief into the empty scale, and perhaps God will add to it the weight of his mercy.” They did so. Behold, the empty scale went down and the tears were found to weigh more than the sins. So it was known that God had pardoned the man’s sins because he had made a sincere Act of Contrition. 

Blessed Leonard’s Act of Contrition — “O my God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against Thee, because Thou art so good, and I will not sin again.”

St.Faustina Kowalska~Messenger of Divine Mercy 


Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament was born as Helena Kowalska, in Glogowiec, Leczyca County, north-west of Lódz in Poland on August 25, 1905. She was the third of 10 children to a poor and religious family.

Faustina first felt a calling to the religious life when she was just seven-years-old and attended the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. After finishing her schooling, Faustina wanted to immediately join a convent. However, her parents refused to let her.

Instead, at 16-years-old, Faustina became a housekeeper to help her parents and support herself.

In 1924, Faustina experienced her first vision of Jesus. While at a dance with her sister, Natalia, Faustina saw a suffering Jesus and then went to a Cathedral. According to Faustina, Jesus instructed her to leave for Warsaw immediately and join a convent.

Faustina packed her bags at once and departed the following morning. When she arrived in Warsaw, she entered Saint James Church in Warsaw, the first church she came across, and attended Mass.

While in Warsaw, Faustina approached many different convents, but was turned away every time. She was judged on her appearances and sometimes rejected for poverty.

Finally, the mother superior for the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy decided to take in Faustina on the condition that she could pay for her own religious habit. Working as a housekeeper, Faustina began to save her money and make deposits to the Convent.

On April 30, 1926, at 20-years-old, she finally received her habit and took the religious name of Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament and in 1928, she took her first religious vows as a nun.

Over the next year, Faustina traveled convents as a cook. In May 1930 she arrived in Plock, Poland. Soon after, she began to show the first signs of her illness and was sent away to rest. Several months later, Faustina returned to the convent.

On February 22, 1931, Faustina was visited by Jesus, who presented himself as the “King of Divine Mercy” wearing a white garment with red and pale rays coming from his heart. She was asked to become the apostle and secretary of God’s mercy, a model of how to be merciful to others, and an instrument for reemphasizing God’s plan of mercy for the world.

In her diary, Faustina writes:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing, the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord; my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.'”

Faustina also describes during that same message, Jesus explained he wanted the Divine Mercy image to be “solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy.”

Faustina, not knowing how to paint, asked around her Plock convent for help but was denied. It wasn’t until three years later, in 1934, that the first painting of the image was created by Eugene Kazimierowski.

In 1932, Faustina returned to Warsaw. On May 1, 1933 she took her final vows in Lagiewniki and became a perpetual sister of Our Lady of Mercy.

After taking her vows, Faustina was transferred to Vilnius, where she met Father Michael Sopocko, the appointed confessor to the nuns. During her first confession with Sopocko, Faustina told him about her conversations with Jesus and his plan for her. Father Sopocko insisted she be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Faustina passed all the required tests and was determined sane, leading Sopocko to support her religious efforts.

Sopocko encouraged her to start keeping a diary and to record all of her conversations with Jesus. Faustina told Sopocko about the Divine Mercy image and it was Sopocko who introduced her to Kazimierowski, the artist of the first Divine Mercy painting.

According to Faustina’s diary, on Good Friday, April 19, 1935, Jesus told her he wanted the Divine Mercy image publically honored. On April 26, 1935, Father Sopocko delivered the very first sermon on the Divine Mercy.

In September 1935, Faustina wrote about her vision of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, used to obtain mercy, trust in Christ’s mercy and to show mercy to others.

During the following year, Faustina attempted to set up a new congregation for Divine Mercy, but was reminded that she was perpetually vowed to her current order and sent back to Warsaw. She reported Jesus said to her, “My Daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My Divine Mercy, I will make up for what you lack.”

In 1936, Faustina fell ill again. She moved to the sanatorium in Pradnik, Krakow and continued to spend most of her time in prayer.

In July 1937, the first holy cards with the Divine Mercy image were created and Faustina provided instructions for the Novena of Divine Mercy, which she reported was a message from Jesus. Throughout the rest of 1937, the Divine Mercy image continued to be promoted and grow in popularity.

Faustina’s health significantly deteriorated by the end of 1937. Her visions intensified and she was said to be looking forward to the end of her life. On October 5, 1938, Faustina passed away. She was buried on October 7 and currently rests at the Basilica of Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland.


Her entire life, in imitation of Christ’s, was to be a sacrifice – a life lived for others. At the Divine Lord’s request, she willingly offered her personal sufferings in union with Him to atone for the sins of others. In her daily life she was to become a doer of mercy, bringing joy and peace to others, and by writing about God’s mercy, she was to encourage others to trust in Him and thus prepare the world for His coming again.

Her special devotion to Mary Immaculate and to the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation gave her the strength to bear all her sufferings as an offering to God on behalf of the Church and those in special need, especially great sinners and the dying.

The message of mercy that Sister Faustina received is now being spread throughout the world; her diary, Divine Mercy in my Soul, has become the handbook for devotion to the Divine Mercy.

In 1965, Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, who would later become Pope John Paul II, opened up the first investigations into Faustina’s life and virtues. He submitted a number of documents on her life to the Vatican and requested the official beatification process to start.

One of his documents noted the case of Maureen Digan of Massachusetts. In March 1981, Digan reported she was healed from Lymphedema after praying at Faustina’s tomb. She explained, while there, she heard a voice saying “ask for my help and I will help you,” and her pain stopped. After returning to the United States, five different doctors all reported she was healed with no medical explanation. In 1992, the Vatican declared Digan’s case miraculous.

St. Faustina Kowalska was beatified on April 18, 1993 and canonized on April 30, 2000, both by Pope St. John Paul II. Her feast day is celebrated on October 5 and she is the patron saint of Mercy.

Source:catholiconline.org 

Vision of St.Gertrude of Mary Refuge of Sinners

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Saint Gertrude Sees How Even the Most Vilest of Sinners Are Saved When They Come to Mary

St. Gertrude one day saw Mary with her mantle extended, beneath which many wild beasts, lions, bears, and tigers had sheltered themselves; and Mary not only did not cast them from her, but received them with pity and caressed them. And by this the saint understood, that the vilest sinners, when they flee to Mary, are not cast out, but welcomed and saved from eternal death. Let us enter, then, into this ark, and seek refuge under the mantle of Mary; for she certainly will not reject us, and will surely save us.

Divine Mercy for the dying 


The Divine Mercy Chaplet originated from a vision that St. Faustina had of an Angel, the executor of divine wrath, on the evening of September 13, 1935. She wrote: “He was clothed in a dazzling robe, his face gloriously bright, a cloud beneath his feet. From the cloud, bolts of thunder and flashes of lightning were springing into his hands; and from his hand they were going forth, and only then were they striking the earth. When I saw this sign of divine wrath which was about to strike the earth, and in particular a certain place, which for good reasons I cannot name, I began to implore the angel to hold off for a few moments, and the world would do penance. But my plea was a mere nothing in the face of the divine anger. Just then I saw the Most Holy Trinity. The greatness of Its majesty pierced me deeply, and I did not dare to repeat my entreaties. At that very moment I felt in my soul the power of Jesus’ grace, which dwells in my soul. When I became conscious of this grace, I was instantly snatched up before the Throne of God. Oh, how great is our Lord and God and how incomprehensible His holiness! I will make no attempt to describe this greatness, because before long we shall all see Him as He is. I found myself pleading with God for the world with words heard interiorly.

As I was praying in this manner, I saw the Angel’s helplessness: he could not carry out the just punishment which was rightly due for sins. Never before had I prayed with such inner power as I did then. The words with which I entreated God are these: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us.

The next morning, when I entered chapel, I heard these words interiorly: “‘Every time you enter the chapel, immediately recite the prayer which I taught you yesterday.’ When I had said the prayer, in my soul I heard these words: ‘This prayer will serve to appease My wrath. You will recite it for nine days, on the beads of the rosary, in the following manner: First of all, you will say one OUR FATHER and HAIL MARY and the I BELIEVE IN GOD. Then on the OUR FATHER beads you will say the following words: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. On the HAIL MARY beads you will say the following words: For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and on the whole world. In conclusion, three times you will recite these words: Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world'” (Diary, 474-476).


Praying for the Sick and Dying

An ancient Christian writer wrote that, “of all divine things, the most divine is to share with God in the saving of souls.” GOD AND SOULS was the motto of St. Faustina. Our Lord asked her to pray and offer the Chaplet for sinners and the dying, saying:

“Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties [that is, insistent prayers] obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul” (Diary, 1777).

Saint Faustina was often given the grace to know when a certain dying person desired or needed prayer; she would be alerted to the moment, by her Guardian Angel or by Our Lord Himself. At those times she would pray until she no longer felt the need to pray, or a sense of peace came upon her, or she learned that the person had died, or heard the soul say, “Thank You!” She wrote: “Oh, dying souls are in such great need of prayer! O Jesus, inspire souls to pray often for the dying” (Diary, 1015).

One of the best means of assisting the dying is the one that Jesus revealed to St. Faustina and insisted that she use often — even continuously: The Divine Mercy Chaplet. Jesus said: “My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. … Write that when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior (Diary, 1541).

Earlier, Our Lord said to her, “At the hour of their death, I defend as My own glory every soul that will say this chaplet; or when others say it for a dying person, the indulgence is the same” (Diary, 811).

What if the person prays from a distance? Saint Faustina had a love for the sick and dying, and prayed for them with great fervor. The following experiences recorded in her Diary make it clear that one does not have to be at the bedside physically. She wrote, “It sometimes happens that the dying person is in the second or third building away, yet for the spirit, space does not exist. It sometimes happens that I know about a death occurring several hundred kilometers away. This has happened several times with regard to my family and relatives and also sisters in religion, and even souls whom I have not known during their lifetime” (Diary, 835).

“‘My daughter, help Me to save a certain dying sinner. Say the chaplet that I have taught you for him.’ When I began to say the chaplet, I saw the man dying in the midst of terrible torment and struggle. His Guardian Angel was defending him, but he was, as it were, powerless against the enormity of the soul’s misery. A multitude of devils was waiting for the soul. But while I was saying the chaplet, I saw Jesus just as He is depicted in the image. The rays which issued from Jesus’ Heart enveloped the sick man, and the powers of darkness fled in panic. The sick man peacefully breathed his last. When I came to myself, I understood how very important the chaplet was for the dying. It appeases the anger of God” (Diary, 1565).


The Divine Mercy Chaplet

Recite on ordinary rosary beads (Diary, 476).

The Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Then on the “Our Father” beads (before each decade):

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

On the “Hail Mary” beads (of each decade):

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Concluding Doxology (after five decades):

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world (Three times).

Conclusion

Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself (Diary, 950).

Repent while you still have time~A meditation by St.Leonard of Port Maurice 

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: “Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul.”

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, “Good Jesus, I want to save my soul,” O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!
~Saint Leonard of Port Maurice from a sermon

St.Faustina and the Holy Trinity 


The Trinity in St. Faustina’s Diary

In dozens of places in her Diary Sister Faustina wrote about the Holy Trinity, but let’s survey just a few of the principal ones here.

First of all, she says that as she advanced in her journey with Jesus Christ and came to appreciate more deeply the compassion of His Heart, “His Trinitarian Being enveloped me entirely” (Diary, 1056). In other words, the more she grew closer to Jesus, the more she felt enveloped in the Holy Trinity. For example, on the Feast of the Ascension, 1937, she wrote:

After Holy Communion I communed for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. … I saw the joy of the Incarnate Word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God (Diary, 1121).

Notice in the last quote how she connects a deeper appreciation for the Trinitarian mystery of God with an appreciation of the “glowing center of love” in God. We find this again in entry 1020:

I understand the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God’s love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being.

Often she received a deeper understanding of the Blessed Trinity during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. For example, in entry 472 she tells how one time she heard an angel singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” at the moment of the elevation of the Host, and then she received new light into the mystery of the Trinity: 

I knew more distinctly than ever before the Three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But their being, their equality, and their majesty are one. My soul is in communion with these Three; but I do not know how to express this in words; yet my soul understands this well. Whoever is united to One of the Three Persons is thereby united to the whole Blessed Trinity, for this Oneness is indivisible (472).


One time, after receiving Holy Communion, she began to understand that the entire Holy Trinity came to dwell within her soul:

Once after Holy Communion, I heard these words: You are our dwelling place. At that moment I felt in my soul the presence of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I felt that I was the Temple of God. I felt that I was a child of the Father. I cannot explain all this, but the Spirit understands this well (451).

Sister Faustina even tells us that in heaven the souls of the saints forever contemplate the wonder of the Holy Trinity:

Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend nor fathom.

This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures. Now I understand St. Paul who said, “Eye has not seen, not has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him” (777).

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “That is all very beautiful, but I still don’t get it! What does the Trinity really mean? How can God be One in being and essence, but Three Persons at the same time? And what difference does it really make if we believe all this or not?”

Well, Sr. Faustina wanted to know more, too! Listen to what she wrote near the very start of her Diary:

On one occasion I was reflecting on the Holy Trinity, on the essence of God. I absolutely wanted to know and fathom who God is. … In an instant my spirit was caught up into what seemed to be the next world. I saw an inaccessible light, and in this light what appeared like three sources of light that I could not understand. And out of this light came words in the form of lightning which encircled heaven and earth. Not understanding anything, I was very sad. Suddenly, from this sea of inaccessible light came our dearly beloved Savior, unutterably beautiful with His shining Wounds. And from this light there came a voice which said, Who God is in His Essence, no one will fathom, neither the mind of angels nor of man. Jesus said to me, Get to know God by contemplating His attributes. A moment later, He traced the sign of the cross with His hand and vanished (30).

So, right from the start, Jesus was telling her that no one can ever completely fathom the mystery of the Trinitarian Being of God, but that if we contemplate God’s attributes, we can at least begin to understand it. And as we have seen, that is precisely what Sr. Faustina did: The more she contemplated the compassionate love in the Heart of Jesus, and the more she appreciated the “glowing center of love” in God and the “burning center of God’s love,” especially manifested in the Holy Eucharist, the more she began to appreciate what it means to say that God is Three Persons in One Being or Essence. She tells us the same thing in her extended meditation on the Trinity in entry 911:

On one occasion God’s presence pervaded my whole being and my mind was mysteriously enlightened in respect to His Essence. He allowed me to understand His interior life. In spirit I saw the Three Divine Persons; none of them is either greater or smaller; there is no difference in either beauty or sanctity, for They are One. They are absolutely One. His Love transported me into this knowledge and united me with Himself. When I was united to One, I was equally united to the Second and to the Third in such a way that when we are united with One, by that very fact, we are equally united to the Two Persons in the same way as with the One. Their will is One, One God though in Three Persons. When One of the Three Persons communicates with a soul, by the power of that one will, it finds itself united with the Three Persons and is inundated in the happiness flowing from the Most Holy Trinity, the same happiness that nourishes the saints. This same happiness that streams from the Most Holy Trinity makes all creation happy; from it springs that life which vivifies and bestows all life which takes its beginning from Him. In these moments, my soul experienced such great delights that I find this difficult to express.


Sr. Faustina was actually given the key that unlocks for us the mystery of the Trinity. Not only is the Trinity entirely true and justifiable on the basis of logic and of Scripture, but in the light of Divine Love, it begins to make sense of the mystery of God Himself.

After Holy Communion I communicated for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. … I saw the joy of the Incarnate word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God. …

I understood the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God’s love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being. 

~from the Diary of St. Faustina, 1121 

According to Scripture and Sacred Tradition, God must not be seen as a solitary heavenly being, as if sitting alone on the heavenly throne by Himself. In St. John’s vision of the heavenly Kingdom, recorded in the last chapter of the Bible, he sees “the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1), in other words, the Spirit of God flowing eternally from the Father and the Son. 

Thus, God’s own inner life, in a mysterious way, is Tripersonal. God is not a solitary person. Rather, from all eternity, from everlasting to everlasting, before He ever made the universe, and even if He had never made any universe at all, God already knew what it was like to love; in fact, He already enjoyed the fullness of perfect love — love given, love received, and love returned — within His own divine nature. As St. John wrote: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:7). “Love” is what God is by definition; in other words, perfect Love is going on within the divine nature all the time. It is not something God just chooses to do now and then. In His own eternal, infinite Being, therefore, God was never one solitary person, but always Three divine Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — united forever in mutual, self-giving love. 

As C.S. Lewis once wrote, their unity is like the unity among dancers who are moving to the same song in perfect harmony and perfect self-giving. Even so, the Three Persons share eternal joys, cooperate in divine purposes, and manifest together every divine perfection: an eternal dance of love among the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

If God is a Holy Trinity defined in this way — a Trinity of eternal, perfect love — then this doctrine also tells us something important about why God created the world. He obviously did not create the world because He needed to, as if to cure Himself of His own loneliness, or to fulfill some unrealized potential in His own nature for loving relationship. God didn’t need to do any such thing, for He already knew what loving personal relationship was like — love given, love received, and love returned. 

God already enjoyed the perfect fulfillment of loving relationship within His own nature, in the Trinity. Then if God did not need to create us, why did He do so? It can only be because He wanted to share His perfect love with creatures: He wanted to create beings who could take part, each one in its own way, in His perfect divine love, and enjoy it by joining in the dance!

Other religious faiths (such as Judaism and Islam) share our belief that there is One God. But what they fail to see is that if God is, as they hold, one single divine Person, then He cannot be said to have the attribute of perfect Love. For before such a God made the world, and apart from His relationship with the world, He would not have known the joy and perfection of loving personal relationship. Thus, in Himself, such a God could not be called the God of Love; He would only be “potentially loving,” for He would need to create a world in order to have something or someone to love. And even in His love relationship with the world, such a God would never know the perfect joy of having His love fully received and fully returned, something that finite creatures, even the best of them, could never do. Only divine Persons can fully receive infinite divine Love, and infinitely return it. In short, a unipersonal God would be a “needy” God: a divine being who created the world in order to fulfill His own potentials for loving personal relationship, and never quite succeeded. This hardly matches the Biblical witness to the infinite majesty, glory, and holiness of God!

On the other hand, if, as Christianity teaches, from everlasting to everlasting God is perfect Love within Himself, if He enjoys the perfection of personal relationship within His own eternal Being, if He is not one solitary person but Three Divine Persons united in self-giving love and sharing all the divine perfections, then it follows that God did not create us out of any selfish need of His own, but out of selfless generosity: out of an overflow, so to speak, of His Trinitarian love. He created us so that we might one day share in the same interpersonal love that makes up His own eternal joy. For it is the same divine love that eternally binds the Three into One, and it is the same Trinitarian Love that called us into being and invites us now to join in the dance.

Perhaps now we can begin to understand what St. Faustina meant when she wrote that coming to know the secret of the Trinity involves being “drawn into the glowing center of love,” when one is “immersed in the Divine Trinity.” But, she also added: “I do not know how to express this in words.” 

Source:divinemercy.org

First Saturday Devotion


Tomorrow is First Saturday and if you start this devotion tomorrow (June 3rd)you will end in October the 100th Anniversary of the last apparition of Fatima and the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun!Join the movement and honor Our Lady’s requests at Fatima and offer it for her intentions,for our country and for mercy for our depraved world!

 FIVE FIRST SATURDAYS DEVOTION

 
In December of 1925, Our Lady appeared to Sister Lucia, giving her the following guaranty of salvation for those who complete the First Five Saturdays Devotion:

“I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for the salvation of their souls.”

 

Why Five Saturdays?

The five first Saturdays correspond to the five kinds of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1) Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception.

2) Blasphemies against her virginity.

3) Blasphemies against her divine maternity, at the same time the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all men.

4) Instilling indifference, scorn and even hatred towards this Immaculate Mother in the hearts of children.

5) Direct insults against Her sacred images.

How to complete the Five First Saturdays Devotion: 

On the first Saturday of five consecutive months:

1. Go to confession;

2. Receive Holy Communion;

3. Say five decades of the Rosary;

4. Keep Our Lady company for 15 minutes, meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary;

5. Have the intention of making reparation to Our Lady for the offenses listed above.

How the Sacred Heart saved a dying sinner 

A priest relates the following conversion of a great sinner, in which the goodness of the Heart of Jesus is striking manifested: “A young man, one of my parishioners, whose parents had given up their practice of religion, became so impious and lawless that he scandalized even those who led bad lives. The excesses in which he indulged brought on an infection of the lungs which, gradually developing, was slowly leading him to the grave. I visited him and gave him many proofs of the interest I took in him; but he met all my advances with blasphemies and insults, even refusing to say a ‘Hail Mary.’ His state filled me with grief. ‘My good friend,’ said I to one of my curates, ‘go at once to Paray-le-Monial; ask prayers for our poor dying man, and place his name in the Heart of Jesus.’ He set off without delay, and the next day he was at Paray-le-Monial with the pilgrims from Dijon. Prayers were said and Communions offered for the lost sheep, and his name was placed in a silver heart near the altar of the Heart of Jesus. Full of hope we went again to visit the sick man. ‘I prayed for you at Paray,’ said the curate, ‘and I have brought you a medal of the Sacred Heart.’ ‘I thank you,’ replied the dying sinner, and calling his mother he asked for a ribbon, to which he attached the medal, placed it round his neck, and even kissed it with respect. ‘Now,’ said he, ‘I wish to go to confession, and it must be this very day.’ He received all the Sacraments of the Church, to the great edification of all present. Whilst I administered Extreme Unction, he said: ‘Do not hurry, Father, I must follow what you say, and ask pardon for my sins. Oh, how good is the Heart of Jesus in waiting for and pardoning me; if I could live longer, how much I would love It.’ He died the following day, blessing the Heart of Jesus.

Sr.Benigna Consolata Ferrero~Apostle of Love

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“O my Benigna! Be the Apostle of my love! Cry aloud so that all the world may hear, that I hunger, I thirst, I die to be received by My creatures.” – Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

Her Early Years

Maria Consolata was born in Turin on August 6, 1885, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. At Baptism, her pious parents, Signor Sebastiano Ferrero and Signora Carolina Pansa, gave their little one the names Maria, Consolata, Rosalia, Theresa, Philomena, and Gaetano. Like St. Therese of Lisieux and Sr. Maria Consolata Betrone (d. 1946), Maria was a “little soul”. This fact is reflected in her life and in the revelations she received from Our Lord, which can be found in her biography, “The Tendernesses of the Love of Jesus for a Little Soul” (a title suggested by Jesus).
Suffering entered the life of this “little one” at an early age. As an infant, her afflictions grew daily. Her health continued to decline until Signora Ferrero, perceiving this sad turn of events, took her child to the Church of St. Dalmazzo, where she knelt before an altar of Our Lady and invoked the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Virgin for the welfare of her beloved daughter. Not long afterwards, little Maria was restored to full health.
At the age of five, Maria began to attend school by herself. In her second year of school, she was accompanied by her younger sister, Adeline, who, being withdrawn from the maternal caresses of her mother could not hold back her tears. Only Maria Consolata was able to console her. This fact seems to prefigure the later years in Maria’s life, as Our Lord would call her, His “Benjamin”, to console His aching Heart, which is so wounded by the ingratitude and coldness of sinners.
Three years later, Maria’s mother placed her children in a boarding-school of the Sisters of St. Joseph. In the words of the Reverend Antonio Piccinelli (Maria’s chaplain in later years), little Maria “imbibed their spirit so abundantly” that her “virile and punctilious” nature was completely transformed by grace. She “overcame her natural tendencies so far, even while in the family circle, as to effect a total and visible change in her temperament.” Furthermore, she “manifested an eagerness to please others without any regard to the sacrifice it might entail upon such a disposition as hers.”
From an early age, Maria exhibited clear signs of a great love for God. She was always willing to help her neighbour, and while she was indulgent with others, always seeking to excuse their faults, she never let herself become attached to the complements that she received.
Maria’s great pleasure as a child was to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. On one occasion, her family passed their summer holiday in the country-side, far from any Catholic Church. During this time, Maria had to content herself with frequent acts of spiritual communion, which Our Lord would later encourage, with the words: “I am in the Sacrament of My love for My creatures, and they make so little account of it! O do thou at least, My Benigna, make as many spiritual communions as possible to supply for the Sacramental Communions which are not made. One every quarter of an hour is not enough. Make them shorter, but more numerous. If a wife saw her spouse dying of hunger, she would go from door to door to beg for Him. My Benigna, seek to draw souls to receive Me in Holy Communion.”

The Stirrings of a Vocation


In one of her early manuscripts, Maria writes, “One day, my soul felt sweetly attracted and I heard the voice of my God; it was so sweet that I scarcely dared to make a movement for fear of hearing it no longer, and while listening I wept with emotion. Jesus told me that He would give Himself to me, that He would be to me as a mother to a child, and that He would furnish me occasions of suffering for Him.” Though these words were penned at the age of seventeen, it is possible that Maria heard Our Lord’s call prior to this time.
While still living in the world, Our Lord manifested to Maria His will that she live as though she were already in the convent. He revealed to her his insatiable thirst for souls, and promised to grant her a great thirst for the conversion of sinners. Maria expressed the desires of her heart in the following words: “O Jesus, do with me all that Thou wilt; I place in Thee all my confidence and I abandon myself to Thy loving cares; henceforth I wish to serve Thee in peace, joy and love, as Thou Thyself hast taught me; but let me implore Thee to grant me the grace of knowing Thee that I may love Thee with all my heart, and of knowing myself that I may humble myself profoundly.” Our Lord responded graciously to Maria’s firm resolution to become a saint. He said to her: “Thou hast taken the resolution to become holy: this is well and thou must not fail; but it is not to an ordinary sanctity thou art called; thou must aim at the most sublime perfection.”
Maria certainly reached a sublime degree of sanctity, but not without the cross. Maria Consolata suffered particular torments at the thought of having consented to sin. Her conscience was very delicate and at times she succumbed to scruples; however, her resolute desire to please God- a desire that He alone implanted in her soul- ensured her victory over the Devil, of whom Our Lord said, “The infernal enemy conquers religious souls more easily by discouragement than by any other temptation.” To these words, Jesus adjoined a spiritual counsel that will be appreciated particularly by those tried by temptations to discouragement: “He (the Devil) is overcome by unlimited confidence in Jesus; the more frequent the falls, the more should confidence grow in the divine Mercy.” “Our miseries entitle us to God’s mercy”, says Bl. Dom Columba Marmion.
“Involuntary imperfections cannot displease Me, unless the soul loves them”, said Our Lord to Sr. Benigna; “I love men so much! Yes, they have too narrow an idea of the goodness of God, of His mercy, of His love for His creatures. They measure God by creatures, and God has no limits; His goodness is without bounds. Surely these words should encourage us to confide in God’s mercy. We can rest assured that a firm resolution to love God, combined with a humble gratitude and trust in His mercy, will keep us firmly fixed on the path to eternal life. Our Lord confirmed this to Sr. Benigna on March 15, 1905: “Knowest thou the shortest way to arrive at Heaven? It is that of confidence in My merits and fidelity to grace.” Furthermore, Our Lord imparted a valuable lesson regarding the necessity, excellence and means of growing in humility: “There is no way that conducts more directly, more securely, more swiftly, and more sweetly to God than humility. But it is the humility studied in the Gospel, humility learned in My life, humility profoundly taught in the Holy Eucharist. If thou seek humility in these three sources, thou wilt ever find it… When there is humility, I give; when I find more, I give more…”


Like many Saints and victim souls, Sr. Benigna was chosen, not because of her strength or virtue, but because of her weakness and misery: “I have chosen thee because thou art wretched and miserable, in order that thou mayst attribute nothing to thyself and know that all good comes from God.” None need ever fear to approach Our Merciful Saviour, Who has said: “Even sinners can love Me and become saints” (revelation to Bl. Alexandrina). On September 12, 1915, Jesus dictated the “Decalogue of Mercy” to Sr. Benigna, which contain perhaps some of the most tender and encouraging words ever recorded: “(8) The more evil the state to which the soul is reduced by the sins of the past, by her disorders and passions, so much the more pleased is Love to have so much to accomplish in her. (9) Souls the most miserable, the most weak, the most infirm, are the best clients of Love, the most desired by the divine Mercy. (10) These souls, thus become, as it were, the predilette [favourite] of God, will, like so many living monuments, exalt and magnify the multitude of His mercies, sending up to God the reflections of living light, His own light, which they have received from Him during their mortal life- the multitude of kindnesses God has made use of to conduct them to eternal salvation. These souls will shine like previous gems, and will form the crown of the Divine Mercy.”
Sr. Benigna Consolata knew well her own misery; the “Decalogue of Humility” helped to ensure that; but this did not halt her on the path to God. Her love was too great to settle for anything less than constant sacrifice and perfect fidelity to God’s grace, which is the essence of sanctity. She possessed an insatiable desire to be united to Jesus in Holy Communion, and ultimately in Heaven. How consoling and joyous, then, must have been the sublime occasion on which Our Lord spoke thus to Sr. Benigna: “Thou art the Apostle of My Love; but when thy body shall be under the earth, and thy soul in Heaven like a little atom in My Heart for all eternity.” This is one of many intimate colloquies that occurred between Sr. Benigna and her divine Spouse, Who frequently addressed her as “My Nigna”, “Nigna of gold”, “My joy”, “My lily”, “My queen”, “My Benjamin”, and “the apple of My eye”.
Maria Consolata, the seraphic spouse of Our Lord, had a heart aflame for God and for souls. In relation to her vow to love God with her whole heart, Our Lord assured Maria: “Thou doest this already, but I wish to oblige thee to do it ever more and more perfectly… I want thee to lend Me thy mind, thy life, thy faculties, which are My gifts, that thou mayst become wholly the instrument of My mercy. The desire of seeing My Adorable Heart ever more known and loved ought to move thee to receive this mission with docility. Accept it, then, through the love thou hast for My Sacred Heart.”
On October 23, 1903, Our Lord sent Maria, who was then 18 years of age, to address a discouraged stranger with the following words: “Have confidence, Jesus loves you.” Maria overcame her “embarrassment”, having never before seen this particular person. Maria would write that “the enemy… was trying to cause the loss of this soul by distrust.” Jesus would frequently encourage Maria to intercede for sinners, for whom she suffered, like Our Savior, with such constant and intense love.
To add to her sufferings, Maria’s brother, John, fell ill. She tenderly nursed him, so that he would say to her: “O you are more necessary to me than food!” John’s health continued to decline until the day he received the Last Sacraments and died peacefully in his sister’s arms. Later, while in the Monastery, Maria would reflect on these events with a humble gratitude, acknowledging the wise designs of providence: “Our Lord wished to detach me from everything, that I might be His alone. In taking away from me that brother so beloved, He began to dig in my heart a void which He alone could fill.”
On one occasion, while she was suffering great desolation, Jesus consoled her thus: “Know that in those painful moments in which it seems as if the demon is about to tear thee from my Heart, thou art more closely united to Me by the strong bonds of love. Art thou not the happy prey of Love? How canst thou be afraid of the demon when the Almighty is with thee? I am the cuirass of thy soul; then fear not the blows destined for thee; a soldier fears not the snares of the enemy when he knows he is powerfully defended. And what I say to thee is not for thyself alone, but also for so many souls who are in the same state. I repeat it; I wish thee to make known to souls what I teach thee; CONFIDENCE IS THE KEY THAT OPENS THE TREASURES OF MY MERCY.”


On September 11, 1915, Our Lord dictated to his “Apostle of Mercy” the “Decalogue of Confidence.” The most beautiful doctrines are expressed through this Decalogue; for example, “(6) This God of love wishes to be to me a brother, friend and consoler. (7) This God of love carries His tenderness so far as to wish to be my physician, my medicine, and more than all, my spouse. (8) This God of love wishes to be despoiled of His gifts, as a tree is stripped of its fruits, which in no wise complains, but rather produces more fruit. The tree must wait another year, but I produce fruit at once. (9) This God of love seeks only miseries to consume, imperfections to destroy, weak wills to fortify, and good resolutions to strengthen.”
The confidence that Maria Consolata possessed was extraordinary. In her writings we find these words: “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. He constantly predicts to me new sufferings, and does not fear to frighten me, assuring me that Crosses are most precious caresses which He reserves for privileged souls. He shows me the state of victim as a sublime state. At another time I heard from my Beloved a dolorous plaint. He revealed to me the sorrow of His Heart at being robbed of the love which is due to Him, while souls are making so bad a use of it everywhere. He compared Himself to a beggar who sees food thrown away and spoiled right before his eyes, food which would prevent him from dying of starvation.”

Maria Consolata is called to the Order of the Visitation

In order to fulfil the designs of Providence, Maria was beckoned by Our Lord to “enter into the Order of the Visitation”, of which He said: “The Monastery will be the pulpit in which thou shalt make Me known. Having no need of strength, I shall lean upon thy weakness. I use the ignorant to confound the strong.” Maria’s parents conducted their daughter to the Monastery of Pozzo Strada; the answer was not favourable, but in March of 1906, she was accepted by the Sisters of Pignerol. The biography of Sr. Benigna Consolata elaborates on this event: “Now it happened that while the venerated Mother of Pignerol was still in a state of indecision, our young Postulant was taken with a slight indisposition. This was at once made a pretext to restore her to her family; thus painful explanations were avoided; and her relatives were overjoyed at the final determination. Maria obeyed without a word. But who could reveal her martyrdom? Her heart was crushed. She repressed silently her bitter tears. Was this blessed Cloister, the object of her sighs, to be forever closed against her? Yet had not Jesus told her a thousand times He wished her to be a Visitine? The fear of illusion, of having deceived herself and others, returned to torture her; and the enemy on his side tormented her incessantly, laying snares upon snares for her.”
What relief must Maria must have felt when Our Lord communicated to her interiorly His desire that she enter the Visitation of Como, which she was unaware existed. Again, we read in her biography: “Such were the ways of Providence over this soul, and the hidden and admirable designs by means of which Jesus introduced her into the “place of her repose.” The Most Honored Mother Maria Louisa Sobrero, whom our dear Turin with incomparable kindness had lent us, was then Superior. She knew the Ferrero family and held them in high esteem. Having made inquiries at Pignerol as to the dismissal of Maria Consolata from that Monastery, and having been apprized that the only obstacle to her admission was the extraordinary way by which she seemed to be led, Mother Maria Louisa hastened to open her arms and her heart to the dear aspirant.”
“Maria Consolata arrived among us on December 30, 1907, accompanied by her venerable father and her dear aunt; she was then twenty-two years old. Matured, purified by suffering, enriched by the virtues she had so long practiced in the shadow of the Cross, she seemed already formed to the religious life.”
As a religious, Maria took the name Sister Benigna Consolata. She spent eleven months as a Postulant, before making her profession of the simple vows on November 23, 1909. On November, 1912, Sr. Benigna Consolata made her solemn profession. What incomparable joy must have been hers on this special day. In the words of a fellow Sister, when speaking of her Beloved Spouse, Sr. Benigna’s eyes “appeared beautiful and luminous; one could read in them the virginal purity of her soul and the divine love which devoured her.” Furthermore, “she always spoke sweetly, peacefully”, and she only spoke after having consulted Our Lord.
Although she was a model religious, Jesus, in order to preserve her humility, granted a special grace whereby others would perceive only her involuntary imperfections and defects. The Mother Superior made it known to several of the Sisters that it caused her suffering when she was required to give a reprimand; however, “when there was question of Sister Benigna Consolata, He gave her a special grace, for she humbled her severely and fearlessly.”
Knowing her misery, Sr. Benigna possessed “not only a real contempt for herself, but she desired that everyone else should despise her.” Speaking of such a humble disposition, which can in no way be compared with despondency or self-loathing, Our Lord said: “My Benigna, the purity of love consists in the perfection of sacrifice; and there is no sacrifice which pleases me so much as that of one’s honor and reputation. When a soul has attained to the love of contempt in order that God may be glorified in her, I look upon her with so much love that if she could see Me she would die of joy.”
Combined with her profound humility was perfect obedience. Her fidelity to the Rule was a source of edification to her fellow Religious. “One day”, recalls a Sister of the Novitiate, “having gone with my Sister Benigna Consolata to the garden to gather the dry leaves, I observed that since there were so few, it would be a loss of time to carry them to the place assigned; but she answered with her ordinary sweetness: ‘My Sister, our Mother desires we should carry them there; we ought to obey although we had to pick up only a single leaf.’ I was greatly edified, and I saw that until then I had not understood obedience.”
On another occasion, Sr. Benigna Consolata and the other Sisters were asked by the Mother Superior to find a turtle that had been presented as a gift to the Monastery. After a brief period, all of the Sisters but Sr. Benigna Consolata discontinued their search. “My Jesus,” she said, “obedience works miracles; help me to do our Mother’s will.” Her humble obedience was rewarded by God: she soon returned with the turtle. No sacrifice was too insignificant for Sr. Benigna.


The life of Sr. Benigna was marked with heroic sacrifice. Not only was she ever attentive and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, but she furnished every moment with mortification, so as to arrive more speedily at that “sublime perfection” which Our Lord had called her to. “Act in such a way”, said Jesus, “that wherever the body can find relief, it may meet, on the contrary, only constraint and suffering; refuse it even the least pleasure.”
Speaking of her sufferings, Sr. Benigna said: “I am sometimes so oppressed with sorrow, so troubled through the fear of not corresponding with God’s grace, that I can scarcely trust in His goodness- It is principally in prayer that my sufferings are augmented: while there I ought not and wish not to be mindful of aught but God; but alas! all sorts of thoughts present themselves to my mind. The demon, delighted, takes hold of the occasion to torment me. Overwhelmed, I am tempted to leave off prayer through dread of making it badly; but I do not yield, and continue in spite of suffering. If I could tell my sufferings to someone it seems to me I should be relieved; but God alone knows these interior pains. When I would manifest my state to my Director, I have so slight a remembrance of it that I cannot find terms to express myself; for these are spiritual sufferings that at times I myself cannot comprehend.”
Although this dear spouse of Jesus suffered greatly, she was encouraged frequently by Our Lord, Who assured her that her sufferings would not go unrewarded: “Cast a glance upon Jesus on the Cross, and thou wilt see thy program of mortification. Spiritual consolations will be thy recompense.” These words are reminiscent of the words that Jesus addressed to Ven. Concepcion Cabrera de Armida: “Penance is a great virtue… and receives in Heaven a most sublime recompense.”
One can imagine with what confidence Sr. Benigna, when afflicted by untold sufferings and temptations, must have hastened to find refuge in the Sacred Heart of her Beloved, Which ever seeks to comfort and bless His dear creatures: “Thou canst not imagine, O my spouse, the pleasure I experience in remaining with My creatures! I am always in search of hearts that love Me, and I find only a small number. I lavish upon them the plenitude of My graces; I have so great a love for the souls who are faithful to Me and let Me do what I please with them, that I am as ready to gratify them as if it were a law to Me.” Such tender words are addressed to all souls: “I have immense treasures of grace for all: and whoever comes to Me shall be overwhelmed with them… I love men so much! … I love poor sinners so much! … Write, My Benigna, that all may know this: 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.”
Jesus often complained to Sr. Benigna of the unfathomable sorrow of His Sacred Heart. “Behold”, said Jesus; “I beg the love of My creatures, who refuse it to Me and squander it upon things which pass away. They do not even think of giving it to Me- if thou knewest, Maria, how painful it is to love so much and not to be loved! I do not grow weary, I am always seeking love and no one gives it to me; not only they will not love Me, but they hate Me. Dost thou know what hinders Me from striking sinners? It is the prayers of the just; they disarm My divine Justice.”
If Our Lord complained of His sufferings, He also begged for the love of souls, including those who wound Him most. Even the most shameful sinners should be inspired with confidence in God’s mercy after reading the tender revelations given to Sr. Benigna Consolata. Jesus continually made known to her that He yearns to save even the most sordid sinners. He invites all sinners to bathe their souls in His Precious Blood, which was shed for our salvation: “Provided I find good will in a soul, I am never weary of looking upon its miseries- My love is fed by consuming miseries; the soul that brings Me the most, if the heart is contrite and humble, is the one that pleases Me most, because she gives Me an opportunity of exercising more fully My office of Saviour. But what I wish particularly to say to thee, My Benigna, is that the soul ought never to be afraid of God, because God is all-merciful; the greatest pleasure of the Sacred Heart of thy Jesus is to lead to His Father numerous sinners; they are My glory and My jewels… Sins may be enormous and numerous; but provided that the soul returns to Me, I am always ready to pardon all, to forget all.”

Her Final Conflict and Entrance into Eternal Life

 

Towards the end of 1916, Sr. Benigna was invited by Jesus to enter into solitude, in preparation for her death. “Ask permission of thy Mother,” He said, “to withdraw into solitude from the eve of the 20th of June to July 2 inclusively… Twelve days are not too much to prepare thee for death.” She returned from this treat with a glowing countenance, but this happiness was to be followed by great trials.
On the 28th of August, Sr. Benigna was plunged into an ocean of sadness. At about four o’clock in the afternoon, a great interior struggle commenced. Her countenance was transformed from one of great serenity into one of immense agitation. She was frequently heard to repeat, “I am lost”, and other terrible words that reveal the extent of her interior martyrdom. The Monsignor was called on to administer the holy exorcisms, which successfully drove Satan away from his victim. As midnight drew near, Sr. Benigna Consolata’s usual, sweet appearance returned. Her Confessor consoled her, instructing her to consider herself, at such painful moments, as “the prisoner of the Heart of Jesus”. Joyously, she exclaimed: “Benigna, prisoner of Jesus!”
On Friday the 1st of September, 1916, Sr. Benigna Consolata received the Holy Viaticum for the last time, after which her health continued to decline, though without affecting her consciousness, which she preserved. Her biography describes the touching account of her passing into eternal life as follows: “Frequently with great fervor she murmured the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. Toward half past one she recited with pain, but intelligibly, the act of contrition. At half past two our Confessor entered to renew the holy Absolution and recite the prayers for the Recommendation of the Departing Soul- At three o’clock, while she rested peacefully in the arms of our Mother, Sister Benigna Consolata opened her eyes suddenly, appeared to fix them on a distant and luminous point, and expired sweetly. The Confidant of Jesus had gone to be united to the Heart of her God!”

Words of Sr.Consolata

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“I will send you treasures of happiness from Heaven.” – Sr. Benigna Consolata
Words of Sr. Benigna Consolata
“If souls knew what it means to suffer, and suffer for God, not a soul would be found who would not be willing to suffer for Him.”
‘O my Mother, how I suffer! but I am happy.”
“I weep because I see Jesus, who is doing Himself violence to make me suffer; He is forced to it, having chosen me for a victim; but it costs Him to hide from me His love.”
“My Jesus, one would say that Thou canst not live without me. What is it that attracts Thee to my soul? Then hast Thou not the Angels? Dost Thou not find Thy happiness in Thyself?” “My Benigna,” He answered, “it is true, all this is true; but it is also true that I have a human Heart, and that I love Men I have told thee this already, but I tell thee again that thou mayst write it, my little Secretary of Love; then I will cause it to be read, that souls may believe in My excessive love; men are my brothers.”
“The enemy tried to tempt me to pride by making me out a saint: I complained to Jesus, who told me to answer him: ‘With the aid of my God I will be one, because of a sinner He can make a great saint.”
“He said to me in a sweet, sad tone: ‘My Benigna, give me souls!’ The plaintive words of my Adorable Master moved me profoundly. ‘How shall I give Thee souls, my Jesus?’ ‘By sacrifices’, He responded.” (June 13, 1915, the Feast of the Sacred Heart)
Words of Our Lord to Sr. Benigna Consolata

“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. It will be thy mission to console the infinite love of God, which seeks solace from its little creature.”
“Let all thy actions bear the impress of Reparation and thou wilt console My Heart.”
“Finally, to attain more speedily to perfection, she should have God alone in view in all things, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this, she will always be at peace.”
”Maria, no longer go begging the love of creatures; were they to give themselves entirely to thee thou wouldst not be satisfied. God alone can suffice for thee. Maria, thou hast need of a heart which loves thee, which understands thee; it is the Heart of God thou needest. Speak to Me as thou wouldst to an earthly friend, to whom one tells everything. I know thee, I share thy sufferings, I offer Myself to be thy Model and on this thou must carefully form thyself.”
“Benigna, the more a soul humbles herself, the more she approaches to Me.”
“I wish thee to be faithfully faithful, my Benigna. A little act of fidelity may be the principle of great graces. Exact observance is, as it were, a perpetual Communion for the faithful soul; for with each point of the Rule well observed, she receives an increase of grace; and when the soul receives an increase of grace, I communicate Myself to her.”
“My Benigna, if souls had more faith, they would live on mortification as they live on bread, whereas they fly it as they would the plague.”
“Benigna, few souls walk with a rapid step in the way of love, because there are very few who enter generously into the way of sacrifice. If one is constant in sacrifice, she is constant in love: if she falters in sacrifice, she falters in love.”
“When I permit temptation, it is not through cruelty, but to give the soul an opportunity of merit.”

“What is here written in My Heart? Love Me! If thou lovest Me, thou wilt repair; if thou repairest, thou wilt console Me; and then thou wilt be a faithful spouse: Love, Reparation, Consolation, Fidelity.”
“Nigna of gold, goodnight, adieu!”

Some Comparisons between Sr. Benigna Consolata’s Revelations and those of other Victim Souls

The inspiring revelations given to Sr. Benigna Consolata share much in common with the spirituality of St. Faustina, Sr. Josefa Menendez, Bl. Dina Belanger, Sr. Consolata Betrone, St. Therese of Lisieux, and other holy “little souls.” Our Lord frequently manifested to Sr. Benigna Consolata the tender mercy of His Sacred Heart- especially towards little souls, of whom He said: “The little ones are my weakness.” To each of the aforementioned individuals, God has entrusted the message of His merciful love. The following themes are common to each of these holy women: confidence in the mercy of God, knowledge of our misery, childlike simplicity and humility, and the value of love, which transforms even the most trivial acts into something sublime.


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)
4. + “To exercise Justice is for Me to go against the current; it does violence to Me.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna)
+ “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. Consolata Betrone)
+ “I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
5. “Little things are little things, but fidelity in little things is a great thing.” (Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ.” (St. Therese)
+ “Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions.” (St. Faustina)
+ “The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
6. + “One act of love alone will repair a thousand blasphemies.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “One ‘Jesus, Mary! I love You! Save souls!’ repairs a thousand blasphemies!” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone)
7. + “Souls are not saved if nothing is done for them. I died on the Cross to save them—I ask of thee no great thing—only a word withheld, a look repressed, a pleasant thought banished, in a word all that restrains and mortifies nature. These little things, united to My infinite merits, acquire a great value.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “One faithful soul can repair and obtain mercy for many ungrateful ones… Every soul can be instrumental in this sublime work [saving souls]… Nothing great is required, the smallest acts suffice: a step taken, a straw picked up, a glance restrained, a service rendered, a cordial smile… all these offered to Love are in reality of great profit to souls and draw down floods of grace on them.” (Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
+ “If only you knew how many souls can be saved by those little acts!” (Our Lady to Sr. Josefa Menendez)
+ “To pick up a pin for Love can convert a soul. It is Jesus alone who can give such value to our actions. Let us then love Him with all our heart.” (St. Therese)
8. + “As the fire is fed with combustibles, and increases according as they are supplied, so My mercy is nourished with the miseries it consumes, and the more it receives the more it increases.” (Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata)
+ “There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted- it increases.” (Jesus to St. Faustina)
Many more comparisons could be made, but these few are sufficient to give us some idea of the importance of this message for mankind. Jesus wants each of us to love and console Him. To do this we must remain little, have great confidence in His mercy, and have a firm resolution to become holy. To do this, we may profit by keeping in mind the words dictated by Our Lord to Sr. Benigna in the “Decalogue of Confidence”: “(1) I have a God who is all mine. (2) This God, all mine, is my Father. (3) This God, all mine, wishes that I should be all His forever. (4) This God of love came down from Heaven to earth on purpose to seek me. (5) This God of love asks me for my heart… (10) This God of love goes in search of those whom the world despises, abhors and abandons, that is, of poor sinners; and after having converted them through the delicacies of His charity and the attractions of His mercy, if He meets with the correspondence He seeks, He makes them masterpieces of holiness.” At another time, Our Lord said: “And why should you become a saint except to please your Jesus ever more and more.”
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Prayer written by the Servant of God Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero:

O’ Jesus, True Charity and God of Love, Goodness without limits: I, a miserable sinner, in order to honor Thy incomparable mercy, offer, give and abandon myself forever to the love of Thy most amiable and tender Heart.
Source:mysticsofthechurh.com

Divine Mercy Sunday 2017

 

Mercy Sunday or the Feast of Divine Mercy 

 

The Revelations of Our Lord to St. Faustina

According to the doctrine of the Church we must distinguish between those matters communicated by God through the prophets, the apostles and the other sacred writers, and found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and the private revelations or apparitions He grants to individuals. These latter are given for our guidance, usually refer also to things in Public Revelation which must be believed, but in and of themselves are not of the faith. The revelations given to St. Faustina are private revelations about the Divine Mercy. As with most approved private revelations, much is simply the repetition in a new way of the perennial truths of the Catholic Faith. Other elements have a prophetic content, or make promises or requests, which depend entirely on the credibility of the witness, Sister Faustina.

A private revelation could obtain no higher degree of human credibility, the standard of reason applied by the Church, as one in which the mystic is canonized and the requests are acted upon by the Holy See. No one today disputes the devotion to the Sacred Heart, for example, which is now well-founded in Tradition, even though the impetus for its specific theological development was a private revelation. The same is true of the Mercy Devotion. The Pope in his prophetic office has sounded many of the same warnings as St. Faustina, as he has of Our Lady of Fátima. Nonetheless, while it may be imprudent or unreasonable to not accept the specific promises and warnings of St. Faustina, given the authentication of her life and message by the Church, it is not contrary to the faith. The conscience of each must nonetheless judge, avoiding both blind credulity and incredulity. As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “Virtue is in the middle.” Or, as St. Paul says, “Test all things, retain what is good” (1 Thes. 5:21).

The Feast of Mercy


One of the requests of Our Lord which the Church has acted upon is the Feast of Mercy. On 30 April 2000, at the Canonization of Sr. Faustina, the Pope responded to this request by establishing on the Sunday after Easter a Feast dedicated to the Divine Mercy. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments officially notified the world’s Bishops of this decree on 23 May 2000. Today, the liturgical calendar, or Ordo, of all dioceses in the world now reflect that the Sunday after the Solemnity of Easter is the “Second Sunday of Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday”.

Some confusion exists over the fact that this day is not officially called “The Feast of Mercy”. Feast can be understood in two senses, as a liturgical class, or as a general way for referring to all special days regardless of their liturgical class.

According to the first sense, liturgical class, Mercy Sunday is a Solemnity, the highest possible liturgical class (solemnity, feast, memorial, optional memorial). Beginning with Easter Sunday, the Solemnity of Solemnities, the Church celebrates an octave (8 days) of the Resurrection. This practice goes back to the Old Covenant and the Jewish practice of celebrating feasts, such as Unleavened Bread (of which Passover is a part), for eight days. Each day of the Octave is a Solemnity, in essence an extension of Easter Sunday. The principal prayers of the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours are those of Easter Sunday. This octave concludes with the Gospel account of Easter night, in which Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Penance, that is, of His Divine Mercy.

According to the general sense of feast, it is legitimate to refer to Divine Mercy Sunday as the Feast of Mercy, even though it is a Solemnity. A feast is the celebration of a saint or a special day. Regardless of liturgical class, we refer to a saint’s day as his or her feast day. Thus, it is appropriate here, too, to speak of the Feast of Mercy, or Easter, or Pentecost, all of which are Solemnities.

The Promise


According to St. Faustina, Our Lord promises to those who go to confession and communion on this day, the remission of the guilt and the punishment of sins.

On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. (Diary of Sr. Faustina, 699)

Many take this to mean that they must go to Confession ON Mercy Sunday. This is not true. To receive the benefits of the Promise one must be in the state of grace. The Lord does not promise the absolution of grave sin on Mercy Sunday, but points us to the Sacrament of Penance. To receive the grace we should be disposed. This is done by a confession near the time of Mercy Sunday. According to the Cardinal of Krakow, the confession which a Catholic makes during Lent in preparation for Easter is sufficient. Priests do not have to provide confession on Mercy Sunday so that Catholics can satisfy this condition. Since it is a Sunday the condition of Communion can be easily satisfied (including at the Saturday Vigil Mass). Our Communion, as our Confession, should be especially devout.


Some refer to this grace as a Plenary Indulgence. While the effect is the same, complete remission of sin and the punishment due to it, it is not granted by the Church but by a promise of the Lord. Also, the conditions are fewer, only Confession and Communion. While the Lord also asks for veneration of His Image on Mercy Sunday, as well as acts of mercy, these do not appear to be essential to the Promise, though they certainly could manifest the disposition, or lack of disposition, of the person seeking it. The receipt of the grace is not magic, but necessarily involves the opening of our hearts to mercy. This is best done by deeds, words and thoughts of mercy towards others. That, too, takes God’s grace, but we can surely expect the actual graces to be merciful available to us on Mercy Sunday, if we but trust. The message clearly states the Lord’s willingness for the greatest generosity on this day. We do what our circumstances permit us, and trust in God. This is true also of those whose circumstances do not permit them to get to Communion on that day, such as the infirm and the home-bound. God does not ask the impossible.

The Image


I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it. (Diary 341)

The Holy See has not obliged anything in this regard. Indeed, whatever a parish does beyond the liturgical celebration of the Divine Mercy is regulated by the bishop and the pastor. However, there are several ways that a willing pastor can facilitate the public veneration of the Image of the Divine Mercy.

1. A parish which has just acquired the Image of the Divine Mercy for public veneration should have it blessed according to the rite for the “Blessing of an Image of Our Lord” (Book of Blessings, 1263-1276). Every parish should have this ritual book. This rite, however, may not be used within the Mass. Such a solemn blessing would be conferred only once on a particular Image.

2. A previously blessed image can be displayed in the Sanctuary during Mass. There is already in the rubrics the provision for incensing an image during the incensations of the Mass.

3. A previously blessed image can be left in the sanctuary for veneration by the faithful throughout the Feast of Mercy.

4. A previously blessed image can be used in processions, be the object of veneration during a communal recitation of the Chaplet of Mercy, or other devotions as the parish may celebrate during the Feast of Mercy.

Similar things can be done in the home also, privately venerating the Image, by the use of devotional candles, by a public display of the Image, family prayer, etc… These images should also be blessed. However, they do not receive the solemn blessing of an image used for “public veneration” (#1 above), just the simply blessing ordinarily given to religious objects (Book of Blessing 1442ff). This could even be done communally, if the pastor is willing.


Source:EWTN.com