I have been praying during my weekly hour of Adoration, over many years, for my husband to return to Mass and the Sacraments as he has been away from them for 26 years. He didn’t even enter the church when our children were making their first Holy Communions and Confirmations. On a wet and very cold winter’s day he dropped me down to the Adoration Chapel for my holy hour and asked me to hurry out after the hour as he wanted to go to an important meeting. After the hour he came to collect me and waited outside in the car. After waiting for an extra twenty minutes, he lost patience and ran into the Adoration Chapel to hurry me out. I pretended not to see him and he sat down very impatiently for some minutes. Finally I got up and left and he came speedily after me. I was expecting a lot of anger and complaints because I stayed longer than the hour and kept him waiting. Having got into the car he turned to me, and said, calmly and quietly, ‘I am not going to that meeting I mentioned but instead I am going to see the priest in the Parochial house and ask him to hear my confession. Something came over me as I entered that Adoration Chapel, and I feel God calling me back again’. He got confession that day and became a daily mass goer and a weekly Adorer for the very first time. I put this down to the power of prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
My name is Michael (not my real name) a married man in my thirties with two children. Christmas Eve 2012 I was in town alone, feeling very lonely, sad and at times suicidal and wanted someone to talk to. I was very low and didn’t want to go home and let my family see me like this. I had an old religious card in my wallet and there was a number on it. I rang this number not having a clue whose number it was. I told Jim (not his real name) who answered the phone promptly that I was suicidal and wanted to talk. I asked him to come in and meet me. Jim kept talking to me trying to calm me down and said he couldn’t meet me but that he knew who could. He asked me where exactly I was and then went on to explain to me where I could go to talk to the person he had in mind. I didn’t listen very much to what he was saying and got a bit annoyed that he wouldn’t come in to talk to me. He emphasised that help was quite near where I was standing, in fact just 50 metres down the street. Jim said that help was in a room around the side of the Church and that I would see a light on in this room window and to just go in and sit down quietly and to tell him all you told me. Who is this him I asked. It is Jesus, the one who can do great things for you. I got a bit hyper and loud and cross, when he said this to me, thinking he was having me on. However after arguing and listening to Jim for half an hour I set off to get this help. I went into this room and saw three other people there sitting on chairs. I did likewise and watched what others were doing. They were all looking in the one direction. (later I was to discover that it was the Blesssed Sacrament in a Monstrance that they were looking at) I did the same. I started thinking what Jim had said and suddenly found myself talking silently and pouring out all my troubles and problems. About an hour or more passed and I felt a lot better and much calmer. I went outside and rang Jim again. I just said thanks, and I feel better now and I put down the phone. Finally I went home. That encounter with Jesus that night has changed my life. I won’t say all my problems are solved but I am in a much better place now. I visit this Chapel of Adoration regularly now and I get great peace and contentment there. Thank you Jim, thank you Jesus.
Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque “His wish for her to order a picture of the image of His Sacred Heart for people specifically to venerate and have in their homes and also small pictures to carry with them.” St. Margaret Mary always kept a Sacred Heart badge with her and inspired her novices to do the same. She made many badges and often said this practice was very pleasing to the Sacred Heart.
The popularity of the Badge increased suddenly due to a very dramatic event in the city of Marseilles in France. In the year 1720, about thirty years after the death of St. Margaret Mary, Marseilles was ravaged by the plague. About one thousand persons died each day from the disease. Fear had reached near panic proportions. The Bishop of Marseilles asked the nuns of the city to make thousands of Sacred Heart Badges similar to the kind used by St. Margaret Mary and her friends. When the Badges were ready, the Bishop led a procession to the center of the city. There he consecrated Marseilles to the Sacred Heart, and everybody present put on a Sacred Heart Badge. From that moment not one new case of the plague was reported.
In 1870 a Roman lady, wishing to know the opinion of the Holy Father Pius IX about the Badge of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, presented him with one. Touched by the sight of this emblem of salvation”, the Pope approved the devotion forever and said: “This, Madam, this is an inspiration from Heaven. Yes, from Heaven.” Blessed Pope Pius IX granted in 1872 an indulgence of 500 days once a day to all the faithful who wear around their neck this pious emblem and recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be to the Father.
The Badge is a reminder of reparation by which we accept with love and faith Our share in the sufferings of Christ. Thus we cooperate more closely with Christ in the vital work of the redemption of mankind by accepting the obligations of God’s commandments, by our fidelity to the daily tasks of our state in life, by the patient acceptance of the trials, disappointments, and crosses thrust upon us each day.
Our Lord revealed to St. Margaret Mary: “Those who propagate devotion to His Sacred Heart shall have their names written in My Heart never to be blotted out.” Our Dear Savior also revealed to Mother Rafols, who belonged to the mother house of the Sacred Heart in Saragoza, Spain (19th century): “To those who devoutly wear the image of His Sacred Heart, He promised great graces and special protection at the hour of their death.” He said in time to come, many souls would propagate the Devotion to His Sacred Heart.
Open Thy Sacred Heart 0 Jesus! Show me Its beauty and unite me with It forever. May the throbbing in all the movements of my heart, even during sleep, be a testimony of my love and tell Thee unceasingly: Yes, Lord Jesus, I adore Thee … accept my poor little actions … grant me the grace of repairing evil done … so that I may praise Thee in time and bless Thee for all eternity.”Amen.
This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.
The lessons from the Breviary tell us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: “Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross.” The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey.
Prayer to Jesus on the Cross
O Jesus, for how many ages have You been on the Cross and yet people pass by in utter disregard of You except to pierce once again Your Sacred Heart. How often have I passed You by, heedless of Your overwhelming sorrow, Your countless wounds, Your infinite love. How often have I stood before You, not to comfort and console You, but to offend You by my conduct or neglect of You, to scorn Your love. You have stretched out Your Hands to comfort me, and I have seized those Hands – that might have consigned me to hell – and have bent them back upon the Cross, nailing them rigid and helpless to it. Yet I have only succeeded in imprinting my name on Your palms forever. You have loved me with an infinite love and I have taken advantage of that love to sin all the more against You. Yet my ingratitude has only succeeded in piercing Your Sacred Heart and causing Your Precious Blood to flow forth upon me. O Jesus, let Your Blood be upon me, not for a curse, but for a blessing. Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.
Photo credit:St.John Cantius,Chicago,Il
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