God’s Care For You
“Cast all your anxiety on him for he cares for you”
~1 Peter 5:7
But when I take a close look at myself,I see only sin and weakness,and I cant believe that God would want to help me.
“Think no more of your past life,except in order to admire the Father’s goodness which…did not want to reject you,but rather with great care,wished to overcome your hardness and,winning over with his grace,wanted and wants to demonstrate this power over you”
“Place all your cares in God alone because God cares greatly for you”
“Let us consider Jesus’ love for us and his concern for our well being,and then let us be at peace.Let us not doubt that he will invariably assist us with fatherly care against all our enemies.If we were left to ourselves to remain on our feet,we should never be able to do it.At the first breath of air we should fall down and certainly have no hope of rising again.”
“….How many times does he not stretch out his hand to us to arrest our headlong dash towards the precipise?How many times,when we had abandoned him,has he not readmitted us to his loving embrace?”
Lord,help me to remember that you love me more than I can imagine,and that, despite my sin and weakness,you always want to help me.Amen.
TRINITY SUNDAY. – ON THE LOVE OF THE THREE DIVINE PERSONS FOR MAN.
Going, therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (MATT. xxviii. 19)
ST. LEO has said, that the nature of God is by its essence, goodness itself. ”Deus cujus natura bonitas”Now, goodness naturally diffuses itself. ”Bonum est sui diffusivum.” And by experience we know that men of a good heart are full of love for all, and desire to share with all the goods which they enjoy God being infinite goodness, is all love towards us his creatures. Hence St. John calls him pure love pure charity. “God is charity.” (1 John iv. 8.) And therefore he ardently desires to make us partakers of his own happiness. Faith teaches us how much the Three Divine Persons have done through love to man, and to enrich him with heavenly gifts. In saying to his apostles”Teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, ” Jesus Christ wished that they should not only instruct the Gentiles in the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity but that they should also teach them the love which the adorable Trinity bears to man. I intend to propose this day for your consideration the love shown to us by the Father in our creation; secondly, the love of the Son in our redemption; and thirdly, the love of the Holy Ghost, in our sanctification.
First Point The love shown to us by the Father in our creation.
1. ”I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee.” (Jer. xxxi. 3.) My son, says the Lord, I have loved you for eternity, and, through love for you, I have shown mercy to you by drawing you out of nothing. Hence, beloved Christians, of all those who love you, God has been your first lover. Your parents have been the first to love you on this earth; but they have loved you only after they had known you. But, before you had a being, God loved you. Before your father or mother was born, God loved you; yes, even before the creation of the world, he loved you. And how long before creation has God loved you? Perhaps for a thousand years, or for a thousand ages. It is needless to count years or ages; God loved you from eternity. “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” As long as he has been God, he has luved you: as long as he has loved himself, he has loved you. The thought of this love made St. Agnes the Virgin exclaim: “I am prevented by another lover.” When creatures asked her heart, she answered: “No: I cannot prefer you to my God. He has been the first to love me; it is then but just that he should hold the first place in my affections. ”
2. Thus, brethren, God has loved you from eternity, and through pure love, he has selected you from among so many men whom he could have created in place of you; but he has left them in their nothingness, and has brought you into existence, and placed you in the world. For the love of you he has made so many other beautiful creatures, that they might serve you, and that they might remind you of the love which he has borne to you, and of the gratitude which you owe to him. “Heaven and Earth,” says St. Augustine, ”and all things tell me to love thee. ” When the saint beheld the sun, the stars, the mountains, the sea, the rains, they all appeared to him to speak, and to say: Augustine, love God; for he has created us that you might love him. When the Abbe de Ranee, the founder of La Trappe, looked at the hills, the fountains, or flowers, he said that all these creatures reminded him of the love which God had borne him. St. Teresa used to say, that these creatures reproached her with her ingratitude to God.
Whilst she held a flower or fruit in her hand, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to feel her heart wounded with divine love, and would say within herself: Then, my God has thought from eternity of creating this flower and this fruit that I might love him.
3. Moreover, seeing us condemned to hell, in punishment of our sins, the Eternal Father, through love for us, has sent his Son on the earth to die on the cross, in order to redeem us from hell, and to bring us with himself into Paradise. “God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son”(John iii. 16), love, which the apostle calls an excess of love. “For his exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, has quickened us together in Christ.” (Eph. ii. 4, 5.)
4. See also the special love which God has shown you in bringing you into life in a Christian country, and in the bosom of the Catholic or true Church. How many are born among the pagans, among the Jews, among the Mahometans and heretics, and all are lost. Consider that, compared with these, only a few not even the tenth part of the human race have the happiness of being born in a country where the true faith reigns; and, among that small number, he has chosen you. Oh! what an invaluable benefit is the gift of faith! How many millions of souls, among infidels and heretics, are deprived of the sacraments, of sermons, of good example, and of the other helps to salvation which we possess in the true Church. And the Lord resolved to bestow on us all these great graces, without any merit on our part, and even with the foreknowledge of our demerits. For when he thought of creating us and of conferring these favours upon us, he foresaw our sins, and the injuries we would commit against him.
Second Point. The love which the Son of God has shown to us in our redemption.
5. Adam, our first father, sins by eating the forbidden apple, and is condemned to eternal death, along with all his posterity. Seeing the whole human race doomed to perdition, God resolved to send a redeemer to save mankind. Who shall come to accomplish their redemption? Perhaps an angel or a seraph. No; the Son of God, the supreme and true God, equal to the Father, offers himself to come on earth, and there to take human flesh, and to die for the salvation of men. O prodigy of Divine love! Man, says St. Fulgentius, despises God, and separates himself from God, and through love for him, God comes on earth to seek after rebellious man. “Homo Deum contemnens, a Deo discessit: Deus hominem diligens, ad homines venit.” (Serm. in Nativ. Christ.) Since, says St. Augustine, we could not go to the Redeemer, he has deigned to come to us. “Quia ad mediatorem venire non poteramus, ipse ad nos venire dignatus est.” And why has Jesus Christ resolved to come to us? According to the same holy doctor, it is to convince us of his great love for us. ”Christ came, that man might know how much God loves him.”
6. Hence the Apostle writes: “The goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared.” (Tit. iii. 5.) In the Greek text, the words are: ”Singularis Dei erga homines apparuit amor :”“The singular love of God towards men appeared.” In explaining this passage, St. Bernard says, that before God appeared on earth in human flesh, men could not arrive at a knowledge of the divine goodness; therefore the Eternal Word took human nature, that, appearing in the form of man, men might know the goodness of God. ”Priusquam apparet humanitas, latebat beniguitas, sed undo tanta agnosci poterat? Venit in came ut, apparante humanitate, cognosceretur benignitas.” (Serm. i., in Eph.) And what greater love and goodness could the Son of God show to us, than to become man and to become a worm like us, in order to save us from, perdition? What astonishment would we not feel, if we saw a prince become a worm to save the worms of his kingdom! And what shall we say at the sight of a God made man like us, to deliver us from eternal death? “The word was made flesh.” (John i. 14.) A God made flesh! if faith did not assure us of it, who could ever believe it? Behold then, as St. Paul says, a God as it were annihilated. ”He emptied himself, taking the form of a servant and in habit found as a man. ” (Phil. ii. 7.) By these words the Apostle gives us to understand, that the Son of God, who was filled with the divine majesty and power, humbled himself so as to assume the lowly and impotent condition of human nature, taking the form or nature of a servant, and becoming like men in his external appearance, although, as St. Chrysostom observes, he was not a mere man, but man and God. Hearing a deacon singing the words of St. John, “and the Word was made flesh,” St. Peter of Alcantara fell into ecstasy, and flew through the air to the altar of the most holy sacrament.
7. But this God of love, the Incarnate Word, was not content with becoming flesh for the love of man; but, according to Isaias, he wished to live among us, as the last and lowest, and most afflicted of men. ”There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows.” (Isa. iii. 2, 3.) He was a man of sorrows. Yes; for the life of Jesus Christ was full of sorrows. Virum dolorum. He was a man made on purpose to be tormented with sorrows. From his birth till his death, the life of our Redeemer was all full of sorrows.
8. And because he came on earth to gain our love, as he declared when he said “I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I but that it be kindled ?” (Luke xii. 49), he wished at the close of his life to give us the strongest marks and proofs of the love which he bears to us. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” (John xiii. 1.) Hence he not only humbled himself to death for us, but he also chose to die the most painful and opprobrious of all deaths. “He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even unto the death of the cross.” (Phil. ii. 8.) They who were crucified among the Jews, were objects of malediction and reproach to all. “He is accursed of God that hangeth on a tree.” (Deut. xxi. 23.) Our Redeemer wished to die the shameful death of the cross, in the midst of a tempest of ignominies and sorrows. “I am come into the depths of the sea, and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.” (Ps. lxviii. 3.)
9. ”In this” says St. John, “we have known the charity of God, because he hath laid down his life for us.” (1 John iii. 16.) And how could God give us a greater proof of his love than hy laying down his life for us? Or, how is it possible for us to behold a God dead on the cross for our sake, and not love him? “For the charity of Christ presseth us.” (2 Cor. v. 14.) By these words St. Paul tells us, that it is not so much what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for our salvation, as the love which he has shown in suffering and dying for us, that obliges and compels us to love him. He has, as the same Apostle adds, died for all, that each of us may live no longer for himself, but only for that God who has given his life for the love of us. “Christ died for all, that they also who live, may not live to themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.” (2 Cor. v. 15.) And, to captivate our love, he has, after having given his life for us, left himself for the food of our souls. “Take ye and eat: this is my body.” (Matt. xxvi. 26.) Had not faith taught that he left himself for our food, who could ever believe it? But of the prodigy of divine love manifested in the holy sacrament, I shall speak on the second Sunday after Pentecost Let us pass to a brief consideration of the third point.
Third Point. On the love shown to us by the Holy Ghost in our sanctification.
10. The Eternal Father was not content with giving us his Son Jesus Christ, that he might save us by his death; he has also given us the Holy Ghost, that he may dwell in our souls, and that he may keep them always inflamed with holy love. In spite of all the injuries which he received on earth from men, Jesus Christ, forgetful of their ingratitude, after having ascended into heaven, sent us the Holy Ghost, that, by his holy flames, this divine spirit might kindle in our hearts the fire of divine charity, and sanctify our souls. Hence, when he descended on the apostles, he appeared in the form of tongues of fire. “And there appeared to them parted tongues, as it were of fire.” (Acts ii. 3.) Hence the Church prescribes the following prayer: ”We beseech thee, O Lord, that the Spirit may inflame us with that fire which the Lord Jesus Christ sent on the earth, and vehemently wished to be enkindled.” This is the holy fire which inflamed the saints with the desire of doing great things for God, which enabled them to love their most cruel enemies, to seek after contempt, to renounce all the riches and honours of the world, and even to embrace with joy torments and death.
11. The Holy Ghost is that divine bond which unites the Father with the Son; it is he that unites our souls, through love, with God. For, as St. Augustine says, an union with God is the effect of love. “Charity is a virtue which unites us with God.” The chains of the world are chains of death, but the bonds of the Holy Ghost are bonds of eternal life, because they bind us to God, who is our true and only life.
12. Let us also remember that all the lights, inspirations, divine calls, all the good acts which we have performed during our life, all our acts of contrition, of confidence in the divine mercy, of love, of resignation, have been the gifts of the Holy Ghost. ”Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings.” (Rom. viii. 26.) Thus, it is the Holy Ghost that prays for us; for we know not what we ought to ask, but the Holy Spirit teaches us what we should pray for.
13. In a word, the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity have endeavoured to show the love which God has borne us, that we may love him through gratitude. “When,” says St. Bernard, ”God loves, he wishes only to be loved. ” It is, then, but just that we love that God who has been the first to love us, and to put us under so many obligations by so many proofs of tender love. “Let us, therefore, love God, because God first hath loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.) Oh! what a treasure is charity! it is an infinite treasure, because it makes us partakers of the friendship of God. ”She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God.” (Wis. vii. 14.) But, to acquire this treasure, it is necessary to detach the heart from earthly things. “Detach the heart from creatures,” says St. Teresa, “and you shall find God.” In a heart filled with earthly affections, there is no room for divine love. Let us therefore continually implore the Lord in our prayers, communions, and visits to the blessed sacrament, to give us his holy love; for this love will expel from our souls all affections for the things of this earth. ”When,” says St. Francis de Sales, ”a house is on fire, all that is within is thrown out through the windows.” By these words the saint meant, that when a soul is inflamed with divine love, she easily detaches herself from creatures: and Father Paul Segneri, the younger, used to say, that divine love is a thief that robs us of all earthly affections, and makes us exclaim: ”What, O my Lord, but thee alone, do I desire ?”
14. ”Love is strong as death.” (Cant. viii. 6.) As no creature can resist death when the hour of dissolution arrives, so there is no difficulty which love, in a soul that loves God, does not overcome. When there is question of pleasing her beloved, love conquers all things: it conquers pains, losses, ignominies. ”Nihil tam durum quod non amoris igne vincatur.” This love made the martyrs, in the midst of torments, racks, and burning gridirons, rejoice, and thank God for enabling them to suffer for him: it made the other saints, when there was no tyrant to torment them, become, as it were, their own executioners, by fasts, disciplines, and penitential austerities. St. Augustine says, that in doing what one loves there is no labour, and if there be, the labour itself is loved. ”In eo quod amatur aut non laboratur, aut ipse labor amatur.”
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).
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.”
Marie-Julie Jahenny might very well be the greatest mystic and stigmatist woman in the history of the Catholic Church. Marie-Julie Jahenny, the mystic and Stigmatist of La Fraudais, was born on the 12th of February, 1850, in a little village in Brittany (in the West of France), called Blain. The eldest of five children, she was brought up by her simple, good parents in that lively faith for which Bretons are renowned.
Our Lord favored her with many graces from the time of her First Holy Communion, graces to which she corresponded with ever increasing devotion. She joined the Franciscan Lay Third Order when in her early twenties, to help to sanctify herself in the world. In 1873, she received from Heaven that most remarkable mystic gift, the Stigmata. From the age of twenty-three until her death, some sixty years later, she bore in her body the Wounds of Our Lord to a more visible degree than had any other stigmatist in the Church’s history. In addition to the Five Wounds of the Sacred Hands, Feet and Side, Marie-Julie suffered the Wounds inflicted by the Crown of Thorns and the Cross on Our Lord’s Sacred Head and Shoulder respectively, the Wounds of His Scourging, those caused by the ropes with which He was bound, as well as other Wounds of a more mystic nature. Henceforth, Marie-Julie lived her life of co-redemptive suffering (as a victim soul) in a little cottage in the hamlet of La Fraudais, near Blain. She thus fulfilled Our Blessed Lord’s desire for her to make reparation for the sins of France and the world. She was favored with frequent visions of Jesus and Mary, as well as many prophetic lights. The truth of the Heavenly warnings of which she was to be the humble messenger was vindicated by her characteristic simplicity and honesty, her exemplary obedience to her spiritual directors and her Bishop, and of course, by the fulfillment of all she prophesied during her long life. With unfailing accuracy she foretold the two World Wars, the election of Pope Saint Pius X, the various persecutions of the Church, the chastisements and the fate of apostate France. Much remains to unfold. Her warnings for the Last Times should be read by all “who have ears.”
Marie-Julie was the wonder of the many scientists who examined her continually, the scorn of unbelievers and the proud, the admiration of her lifelong friend, Monsignor Fourier, Bishop of Nantes, and of the devoted circle of those who made the diffusion of her messages to an ungrateful and unheeding world their life’s work. She went to her Heavenly reward on March 4, 1941. Blind, deaf, dumb and crippled, she had subsisted miraculously on the Blessed Sacrament alone, for the last many years of her life. Surely then, we will not pass over lightly what God has confided to her for the benefit of our own sad days.
Marie-Julie Jahenny Witnesses a Conversation Between Jesus and the devil
The Lord tells Satan: “Prostrate at My feet, and adore My will.”
“I will bend my knee, says Satan with authority, but on one condition… Leave me free to make use, after Your example and according to my fancy, of the power over death, to be master thereof.”
Our Lord replies: “I leave you the power of inducing temptations upon men, to cause them suffering up to a certain limit… but I will be present.”
Satan also begs for the power of performing wonders. The Lord does not grant it to him entirely, but gives something of it, so that, by that means, we may acquire greater merits.
“In the beginning, says the Lord, you will not perform that many wonders, just a few. They will serve you for evildoing.” Satan protests that the sharing is unjust.
“A time will come, very far distant, replies the Lord, when you will be in possession of such a large crowd in the world, as for your portion will exceed Mine. You will become Great Conqueror for a length which will last for too long, yet will nevertheless be quite short. While you will be realizing the conquest of multitudes, I will perform striking wonders and cause an earthquake to happen, at the moment when the world will be nearing its destruction, at the time when you will be reporting triumph with a victory out of measure… when almost all parts of the world, and the whole of Europe will arise, the ones against the others… During the darkness a large number of conversions will take place; many stray individuals will come back to Me in repentance”.
When they were about to depart, each one to return in his own kingdom, Satan begs for the power of assuming all shapes or appearances, in order to be able to pass through any place.
“I grant you permission to seduce My people, the Lord replies, but I will never allow you to assume divine semblance nor any likeness of true figures.”
Satan ventures to give the Lord the thee-and-thou.
“Be respectful to Me, in the Name of My Eternal Power.”
“Yes, replies Satan, one day, far distant from the day on which we are, when you seemingly will tell me that I am a mighty conqueror. You will set not limits to the devastations, the desire for which is already devouring me.”
Marie-Julie questions the Holy Ghost about whether the period has already been fixed when Satan is to reign as such a great master. The Holy Ghost replies that it is already fixed in the Lord’s designs, and that the demon has a presentiment of this moment without knowing it with precision. “This is the one in which you are at present time, children of God,” says the Holy Ghost.
Satan goes on: “At the beginning of that period, he says, I will make use of every blasphemous word and of everything unjust in view of the destruction of Your Kingdom… I will transform everything into a work tool, against You. First of all, I will dig out that place where the larger number inhabit.”
“I will dig out that place upon which you shall make thunder lightning fall down… you will destroy first, after I myself will get through with it; I will accomplish such a devastation as never existed the like.”
“I will cover My own,” says the Lord, “with a protection of tenderness.”
“I will establish a rebellion between Your own and mine” replies Satan: “I will uprise all kings; I will establish such a division leading to a civil war throughout the whole universe.”
“On My part, the Lord goes on, I will send My Justice out: punishments, miracles, deaths, scourges, pest, unknown diseases.”
“I will overthrow the temple of Your prayers,” Satan cries out: “in which I will establish idols which they will adore. Everything which, in time of peace, is in residence in Your temples, will be broken down, dragged out of them and reduced to dust by my own.”
“I will show forth,” the Lord asserts, “that I am the Eternal King. I will crush down, under the lightning of Heaven, all those who will have given themselves over to Hell. I will restore My people: I will protect them against scourges; rebuild ruined buildings. I will cast you headlong into the abyss, but only after you have made use of the powers I leave with you for the time being.”
The flame says that sorrow is about to enter the hearts and Hell is ready to intone the great canticle of his victory.
February 11, 1881
The most Sacred Heart of Jesus! The burning Heart of God which pours forth His infinite love for us! It is perhaps the greatest of all the devotions, as it is centered in the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. This was St Padre Pio’s favorite devotion after the mass and the rosary and he recited the novena prayer below every day for all those who asked his prayers. Like many Saints, Padre Pio knew the power of the infinite love and mercy that comes forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
By far the most popular and traditional novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus would be the one below that St Margaret Mary Alocoque herself promulgated. It is also the novena that St Gemma Galgani recited when she was miraculously cured by Jesus, and also the one that St Padre Pio recited daily, as mentioned above. The beauty of it is that it incorporates both a tender love for Jesus and His most Sacred Heart, and also a tender devotion to His Mother, the most Blessed Virgin Mary.
While the entire month of June is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Church celebrates the Feast (Solemnity) of the of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday following the second Sunday after Pentecost.
Efficacious Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(To be recited daily for 9 consecutive days)
O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of…… (here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father….
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of…….(here name your request)
Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory Be To the Father….
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.” Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…..(here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father…
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
O’ Sacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us poor sinners and grant us the grace(s) which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears! Turn, then, O most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us, and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary; pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
–Novena promulgated by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690)
“O’ Heart of love, I place all of my trust in You. For I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Your goodness.” -St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
St. Louis composed this prayer asking for apostles of the latter times. These fiery words are certainly applicable to our days, when the need for these apostles is so urgent in face of the universal and profound affliction of Holy Mother Church.
Remember, O Lord, remember Thy congregation which Thou did possess from the beginning and think of from all eternity. It was held in Thy Almighty hand when, by a word, Thou didst create the world out of nothing. It was hidden in Thy heart when Thy Divine Son, dying on the Cross, consecrated it by His death and confided it, as a precious treasure, to the care of His most dear Mother: Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast possessed from the beginning (Ps. 73:2).
Accomplish, O Lord, Thy merciful designs; raise up the men of Thy right hand, such men as Thou hast shown in prophetic vision to some of Thy greatest servants – to St. Francis of Paola, to St. Vincent Ferrer, to St. Catherine of Siena, and to many other noble souls during the last two centuries.
Remember, O Lord: O Almighty God, remember this Company, applying to it all the might of Thy arm, which has no limits, to create, to produce and to bring it to perfection.
Great God, Thou Who out of the very stones can raise up children to Abraham, in the might of Thy Godhead say but one word to provide good laborers for Thy harvest and missionaries for Thy Church.
Remember, O Lord: God of infinite goodness, remember Thy mercies of old and, through this mercy, remember this congregation. Remember Thy repeated promises that Thou has made to us by Thy Prophets and by Thine Own Son to grant us all our lawful requests. Remember the prayers that have been offered To Thee by Thy servants for this end for so many centuries. Let their wishes, their sighs, their tears, and the blood that they have shed for Thee come into Thy presence and earnestly implore Thy mercy. But, above all, remember Thy Dear Son: Look on the face of Thy Christ (Ps. 83:10). Contemplate His agony, His shame and confusion, His loving complaint in the Gar- den of Olives, when He said: What profit is there in My Blood?(Ps. 29:10).
His cruel death, His Blood that poured forth cries out for mercy so that, by means of this congregation, His Kingdom may be established upon the ruins of that of His enemies.
Remember, O Lord: Remember, O Lord, this community in the effects of Thy justice. It is time, O Lord, to do: they have dissipated Thy law (Ps. 118:126). It is time to do what Thou has promised: Thy Divine Law is transgressed. Thy Gospel is ignored, Thy religion abandoned. Torrents of iniquity overwhelm the world, carrying away even Thy servants; the whole earth has become desolate; impiety is enthroned; Thy sanctuary is profaned, and abomination has reached even into the holy place.
Will Thou suffer this any longer, just Lord, God of vengeance? Will the end of all be like that of Sodom and Gomorrah? Will Thou be forever silent? Must not Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Must not Thy Kingdom come? Hast Thou not given to some of Thy friends a prophetic glimpse of the future renovation of Thy Church? Are not the Jews to be converted to the Truth? Is not this what Thy Church is awaiting? Do not all the Saints in heaven cry out to Thee: Avenge Thyself? Do not all the just on earth say to Thee: Amen. Come, O Lord, for the time is at hand (Apoc. 22:20). Do not all creatures, even the most insensible, moan under the weight of the numberless sins of Babylon and call for Thy coming to reestablish all things? For we know that every creature groaneth (Rom. 8:22).
Second Day: Detachment from all Earthly Things
Lord Jesus, Remember Thy congregation. Remember to give to Thy Mother a new company who, through Her, will renew all things and thus, through Mary, complete the years of grace just as, through Her, Thou did begin them.
Give me children, otherwise I shall die (Gen. 30:1): Give to Thy Mother children, servants, or let me die. Give Thy Mother children. It is for Thy Mother’s sake that I pray to Thee. Remember that Thou did dwell within her womb, were nourished at Her breasts, and reject me not. Remember whose Son Thou art and hear me. Remember what She is to Thee and what Thou art to Her, and grant my request. What is it I am asking from Thee? Nothing for myself, all for Thy glory. What am I asking of Thee? What Thou can, and even, I dare say, what Thou should grant me, being as Thou art the true God to Whom all power has been given in heaven and on earth and the best of all children, for Thou loved Thy Mother with an infinite love.
What am I asking of Thee?
Children: Priests, free with Thy freedom, detached from all things, without father or mother, or brothers or sisters, without relations according to the world, without means, without worry, without cares, and even without any will of their own.
Children: Slaves of Thy love and of Thy will: men according to Thy heart, who, without self-will to stain and hold them back, accomplish all Thy designs and crush all Thy enemies; other Davids, with the staff of the Cross and the sling of the holy Rosary in their hands.
Children: souls raised above this earth like heavenly dew who, without impediment, fly hither and thither in accordance with the breath of the Holy Spirit. It was they, in part, Thy Prophets spoke of when they asked: Who are these that fly as clouds? (Is. 60:8). Wither the impulse of the Spirit was to go, there they went (Ez. 1:12).
Children: Men ever at Thy hand, ever ready to obey Thee, like Samuel, at the voice of their Superiors: Presto sum: I am ready, every ready to run and suffer everything with Thee and for Thee, like the Apostles: Let us also go ,that we may die with Him(John 11:16).
Children: True Children of Mary, Thy Holy Mother, who are begotten and concealed by Her charity, carried in Her bosom, fastened to Her breasts, nourished with Her milk, reared under Her care, upheld by Her arms, and enriched with Her graces.
Children: True servants of the Blessed Virgin, who, like other Saint Dominics, would go everywhere carrying the bright and burning torch of the Holy Gospel in their mouths and the holy Rosary in their hands; barking, like faithful watchdogs, at the wolves who would fain tear to pieces the flock of Jesus Christ; burning like fires and lighting up the darkness of the World like other suns. Men who would, by means of a true devotion to Mary, that is to say, interior, not hypocritical; exterior, not critical; prudent, not ignorant; tender, not indifferent; constant, not unsteady; and holy, without presumption, crush wherever they go the head of the old serpent, in order that the curse Thou placed on him might be entirely fulfilled: I will put enmities between thee and the Woman and thy seed and Her seed: She shall crush thy head(Gen. 3:15).
Third Day: In Combat with the Devil
It is true, great God, that as Thou has predicted, the world will lay mighty snares to entrap the heel of this mysterious woman, that is to say, the little company of her children who will emerge toward the end of the world, and that there will be a mighty enmity between this blessed posterity of Mary and the cursed race of Satan. But it is a divine enmity, and the only one of which Thou art the author: I will put enmities. But these combats and persecutions that the children of the race of Belial will inflict on Thy Blessed Mother’s race will only serve to show to greater advantage the power of Thy grace and the courage of their virtue and the authority of Thy Mother, since Thou hast given to Her, from the beginning of the world, the commission to curse this proud spirit by the humility of Her Heart: She shall crush thy head.
If not this, then I shall die: Is it not better that I should die rather than see my God cruelly offended every day and myself in constant danger of being carried away by the unopposed and ever-increasing torrents of iniquity? Ah, death would be to me a thousand times preferable. Either send me help from heaven or take away my soul. Yes, if I did not hope that sooner or later Thou would, in the interest of Thy glory, hear his poor sinner as Thou has already heard so many others: This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him (Ps. 33:7), then I would pray to Thee just as the Prophet did: Take away my soul! (Kings 19:4)
But the confidence that I have in Thy mercy makes me say with another Prophet: I shall not die, but live; and shall declare the works of the Lord (Ps. 117:17) until I can say with Simeon: Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation (Luke 2:29).
Fourth Day: Formed by the Holy Spirit in Mary
Remember, O Lord, O Holy Spirit, remember to produce and to form children of God with Thy divine and faithful Spouse, Mary. Thou did form Jesus Christ, the Chief of the predestined, with Her and in Her. It is with Her and in Her that Thou should form all His members; Thou did beget no divine person in the Divinity; but it is Thou alone Who forms all holy persons out of the Divinity; and all the saints that have been or shall be until the end of the world are so many works of Thy love united with Mary. The special reign of God the Father lasted until the Deluge, and was concluded by a deluge of water. The reign of Jesus Christ was concluded by a deluge of Blood. But Thy reign, Spirit of the Father and of the Son, continues at the present time and will be concluded by deluge of fire, of love, of justice.
When shall it come, this deluge of fire and pure love, which Thou art to enkindle in all the earth with so much strength and sweetness that all nations, Turks, idolaters, even the Jews, will burn with it and be converted? And there is no one who can hide himself from his heat (Ps. 18:7).
May it be enkindled: May this divine fire, which Jesus Christ came to bring the world be enkindled before that of Thy anger, which will reduce everything to ashes. Send forth Thy spirit and they shall be created; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth (Ps. 103:30). Send forth the spirit of fire upon the earth to create priests all aflame, by whose ministry the face of the earth may be renewed and the Church reformed.
Remember Thy congregation, O Lord: It is a congregation, an assembly, a choice selection of predestined souls, which Thou must make in the world and of the world: I have chosen you out of the world (John 15:19). It is a flock of peaceful sheep which Thou must collect from among the wolves; a company of chaste doves and royal eagles from among so many ravens; a swarm of honey bees from among so many wasps; a herd of fleet deer from among so many tortoises; a battalion of courageous lions from among so many timid hares. Ah! Lord: Gather us from among the nations (Ps. 105:47). Call us together, unite us, that we may render all glory to Thy holy and powerful name.
Fifth Day: Complete trust in Providence
Thou shall set aside for Thy inheritance a free rain, O God; and it was weakened, but Thou hast made it perfect. In it shall Thy animals dwell: in Thy sweetness, O God, Thou hast provided for the poor. The Lord shall give the word to them that preach good tidings with great power. The king of powers is of the beloved, of the beloved; and the beauty of the house shall divide spoils. If you sleep among the midst of lots, you shall be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and the hinder parts of her back with the paleness of gold. When He that is in heaven appointed kings over her, they shall be white with snow in Selmon. The mountain of God is a fat mountain. A curdled mountain, a fat mountain. Why suspect, ye curdled mountains? A mountain in which God is well pleased to swell: for there the Lord shall dwell unto the end (Ps. 67: 10-17).
What is this voluntary rain which Thou has separated and chosen for Thy weakened heritage if not these missionaries, these children of Mary, Thy Spouse, whom Thou art to assemble and to separate from the world for the good of Thy Church so afflicted and so weakened by the crimes of her children?
What are these animals and these poor who will dwell in Thy heritage, to be there nourished with the heavenly sweetness that Thou has prepared for them, if not these poor missionaries trusting in Providence, who will be satiated with Thy divine joys; if not those mysterious animals of Ezekiel, having the humanity of man by their disinterest and beneficent charity toward their neighbor; the courage of the lion by their holy anger and their ardent, prudent zeal against the demons and the children of Babylon; and the strength of the ox by their apostolic labors and their mortification of the flesh, and finally, the swiftness of the eagle by their contemplation in God?
These are the missionaries whom Thou wish to send to Thy Church. They shall have the eye of a man for their neighbor, the eye of a lion for Thy enemies, the eye of an ox for themselves, and the eye of an eagle for Thee. These imitators of the Apostles shall preach with a strength and a virtue so great and so striking that they will stir up all minds and all hearts, wheresover they will preach. It is to them that Thou wilt give Thy word: even Thy mouth and Thy wisdom: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist or gainsay(Luke 21: 15), which none of Thy enemies will be able to resist.
It is among these well-beloved that Thou, Holy Spirit, as King of the virtues of Jesus Christ, the Well-Beloved, will take Thy delight. For in all their missions, they shall have no other end in view than that of giving to Thee all the glory of the spoils taken from Thy enemies: The king of powers is of the beloved, of the beloved, and the beauty of the house shall divide the spoils.
By their trust in Providence and their devotion to Mary, they shall have the silvery wings of the dove: that is to say, a perfect charity toward their neighbors to bear with their defects, and a great love for Jesus Christ to carry His Cross.
Thou alone, as King of heaven and King of kings, shall set apart from the world these missionaries like so many kings, in order to make them whiter than the snow on the top of Mount Selmon, the mountain of God, the strong and fertile mountain in which God takes wonderful delight and in which He dwells and shall dwell until the end.
Lord God of Truth, Who is this mysterious mountain of which Thou speakest such wonderful things if not Mary, Thy dear Spouse, whose foundation Thou has placed upon the tops of the highest mountains? The foundations thereof are in the holy mountains … the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of mountains (Ps. 86:1; Mich. 4:1).
Happy, a thousand times happy, are the priests whom Thou has chosen and predestined to dwell with Thee upon this abundant and divine mountain, there to become the kings of eternity by their contempt of the world and their elevation in God; there to be made whiter than snow by their union with Mary, Thy spouse, all beautiful, all pure, all immaculate; there to be enriched with the dew of heaven and the riches of the land, with all the temporal and eternal blessings with which Mary is filled.
It is from the top of this mountain that, like other Moses’, they shall direct the arrows of their ardent prayers against their enemies to crush or to convert them. It is upon this mountain that they shall learn, even from the lips of Jesus Christ, Who always dwells there, the meaning of His Eight Beatitudes. It is upon this mountain of God that they shall be transfigured with Him as upon Tabor, die with Him as upon Calvary, and ascend to heaven with Him as upon Mount Olivet.
Sixth Day: That they may extinguish the fire in the House of God
Remember, O Lord, Thy congregation: It is Thy Grace alone that must form this company. If man touches it first, nothing will be done. If he interferes with Thy work, he will spoil all, overturn all. Thy congregation: It is Thy work, great God. Do Thy work: do Thy all-divine work; collect, call, gather together Thy elect from all places over which Thou has domination and make of them a strong army to defend Thy heritage against Thy enemies.
The battalions pay homage to the God of battles
Seest Thou, Lord, God of battles, seest Thou the captains who are forming full battalions, the potentates who are assembling whole fleets, the merchants gathering in large numbers at the markets and the fairs? Crowds of robbers, drunkards, libertines, impious men are uniting against Thee every day – and so easily and promptly. The sound of a whistle, the beat of a drum, the sight of a blunt sword-tip, the promise of a withered laurel wreath, the offer of a bit of gold or silver; in a word, a breath of fame and earthly interest, a vile pleasure for which they long can, in a moment, unite robbers as one, call forward soldiers, assemble battalions, bring together merchants, fill houses and market places and cover the earth and the sea with an innumerable multitude of the reprobate, who, although divided among themselves by the places whence they come, by the differences in their dispositions or by their personal interests, are nevertheless united as one man, until death, to fight against Thee under the banner and the leadership of the demon.
And we, great God! Although there is so much glory and profit, so much sweetness and so many advantages to be gained by serving Thee, shall there be so few to take up Thy cause? Hardly any soldiers under Thy banner! Nary a St. Michael to proclaim among Thy brethren in zeal for Thy glory: Who is like unto God?
Ah, let me cry out everywhere: Fire! Fire! Fire! Help! Help! Help! Fire even within the sanctuary! Help for our brother who is being murdered! Help for our children whose throats are being cut! Help for our Father Who is being stabbed! If any man be on the Lord’s side, let him join with me (Ex. 32:26).
Let all good priests who are spread over the Christianworld, and those who are actually on the battlefield and those who have withdrawn from the combat to bury themselves in deserts and solitude, let them all come forward and unite with us — in unity there is strength — so that we may form, under the banner of the Cross, a well-regulated army in battle array, and together attack the enemies of God who have already sounded the alarm. They have shouted; they have raged; they have swelled their ranks. Let us break their bonds asunder; let us cast away their yoke from us. He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them (Ps. 2:3-4). Let the Lord arise, and let His enemies be dispersed.
Arise, O Lord, why sleepest Thou? Arise: Arise, O Lord, why feignest Thou to sleep? Arise in Thy might, Thy mercy, and Thy justice, to form Thyself a chosen bodyguard to keep Thy house, to defend Thy glory, and to save the souls bought at the price of Thy Precious Blood, so that there may be but one fold and one shepherd, and that all may glorify Thee in Thy holy temple: And in His temple all shall proclaim His glory. Amen.
‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’, Romans 5:20
Have you ever gone to confession for the same sins over and over? This is a struggle many people have and it can become frustrating. We are all weak, broken and sinful, but Our Lord is so merciful in His forgiveness and there is much hope for growing in virtue to alleviate these repeated sins and grow in Holiness and strive to become a Saint! To beat temptation moments, we must robe ourselves in virtue and grace and be strong. Remaining in the state of grace is one of the most important things we can do to decrease our reliance on vice and sin, our purgatorial cleansing time and speed up our journey to Heaven. And the most effective way is to build up a wall of virtue in our soul so that the temptations bounce off of ourselves, we no longer want to offend God and sin becomes less alluring. St. Paul reminds that we are spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6: 10-13. “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
Virtue is formed by practicing the repitition of good deeds over and over until they become habit and part of your character.
“If the wicked, however, renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws and is law-abiding and upright, he will most certainly live; he will not die”
“None of the crimes he committed will be remembered against him from then on; he will most certainly live because of his upright actions”
“Would I take pleasure in the death of the wicked — declares the Lord Yahweh — and not prefer to see him renounce his wickedness and live?”
“But if the upright abandons uprightness and does wrong by copying all the loathsome practices of the wicked, is he to live? All his upright actions will be forgotten from then on; for the infidelity of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, he will most certainly die.”
Catechism on Sin, 1865-1866: Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repitition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgement of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinfoce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root. Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the deadly sins which Christian experience has distinguished. They are called deadly because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, jealousy, envy, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth.
Catechism on Virtue, 1803: A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.
“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
“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.”
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.
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.
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 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.