An Examination of the Soul’s Condition~St.Francis de Sales

 

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1. What is the aspect of your heart with respect to mortal sin? Are you firmly resolved never to commit it, let come what may? And have you kept that resolution from the time you first made it? Therein lies the foundation of the spiritual life.

2. What is your position with respect to the Commandments of God? Are they acceptable, light and easy to you? He who has a good digestion and healthy appetite likes good food, and turns away from that which is bad.

3. How do you stand as regards venial sins? No one can help committing some such occasionally; but are there none to which you have any special tendency, or worse still, any actual liking and clinging?

4. With respect to spiritual exercises—do you like and value them? or do they weary and vex you? To which do you feel most or least disposed, hearing or reading God’s Word, meditating upon it, calling upon God, Confession, preparing for Communion and communicating, controlling your inclinations, etc.? What of all these is most repugnant to you? And if you find that your heart is not disposed to any of these things, examine into the cause, find out whence the disinclination comes.

5. With respect to God Himself—does your heart delight in thinking of God, does it crave after the sweetness thereof? “I remembered Thine everlasting judgments, O Lord, and received comfort,” says David. Do you feel a certain readiness to love Him, and a definite inclination to enjoy His Love? Do you take pleasure in dwelling upon the Immensity, the Goodness, the Tenderness of God? When you are immersed in the occupations and vanities of this world, does the thought of God come across you as a welcome thing? do you accept it gladly, and yield yourself up to it, and your heart turn with a sort of yearning to Him? There are souls that do so.

6. If a wife has been long separated from her husband, so soon as she sees him returning, and hears his voice, however cumbered she may be with business, or forcibly hindered by the pressure of circumstances, her heart knows no restraint, but turns at once from all else to think upon him she loves. So it is with souls which really love God, however engrossed they may be; when the thought of Him is brought before them, they forget all else for joy at feeling. His Dear Presence nigh, and this is a very good sign.

7. With respect to Jesus Christ as God and Man—how does your heart draw to Him? Honey bees seek their delight in their honey, but wasps hover over stinking carrion. Even so pious souls draw all their joy from Jesus Christ, and love Him with an exceeding sweet Love, but those who are careless find their pleasure in worldly vanities.

8. With respect to Our Lady, the Saints, and your Guardian Angel—do you love them well? Do you rejoice in the sense of their guardianship? Do you take pleasure in their lives, their pictures, their memories?

9. As to your tongue—how do you speak of God? Do you take pleasure in speaking His Praise, and singing His Glory in psalms and hymns?

10. As to actions—have you God’s visible glory at heart, and do you delight in doing whatever you can to honour Him? Those who love God will love to adorn and beautify His House. Are you conscious of having ever given up anything you liked, or of renouncing anything for God’s Sake? for it is a good sign when we deprive ourselves of something we care for on behalf of those we love. What have you ever given up for the Love of God?

Spiritual  Motherhood~The Nun and the Bishop 

Each of us owes gratitude for our lives and our vocations to the prayers and sacrifices of others.One of the leading gures of the German episcopacy of the 19th century,and among the founders of Catholic sociology, Bishop Ketteler owed his gratitude to a simple nun, the least and poorest lay sister of her convent.

in 1869, a German diocesan bishop was sitting  together with his guest, Bishop Ket-teler from Mainz. During the course of their conversation, the diocesan bishop brought up his guest’s extremely blessed apostolate.Bishop Ketteler explained to his host, “I owe thanks for everything that I have accom-plished with God’s help, to the prayer and sacrifice of someone I do not even know. I can only say that I know somebody has offered his or her whole life to our loving God for me,and I have this sacrafice to thank that I even became a priest.”

He continued, “Originally, I wasn’t plan-ning on becoming a priest. I had already finished my law degree and thought only about finding an important place in the world to begin acquiring honour, prestige and wealth.An extraordinary experience held me back and directed my life down a different path.

“One evening I was alone in my room, con-sidering my future plans of fame and fortune,when something happened which I cannot ex-plain. Was I awake or asleep? Did I really see it or was it just a dream? One thing I do know, it brought about a change in my life. I saw Jesus very clearly and distinctly standing over me in a radiant cloud, showing me his Sacred Heart.A nun was kneeling before him, her hands raised up in prayer. From his mouth, I heard the words, ‘She prays unremittingly for you!’“I distinctly saw the appearance of the sister, and her traits made such an impression on me that she has remained in my memory to this day. She seemed to be quite an ordi-nary lay sister. Her clothing was very poor and rough. Her hands were red and calloused from hard work. Whatever it was, a dream or not, it was extraordinary. It shook me to the depths of my being so that from that moment on, I decided to consecrate myself to God in the service of the priesthood.


“I withdrew to a monastery for a retreat,and I talked about everything with my confes-sor. Then, at the age of 30, I began studying theology. You know the rest of the story. So, if you think that I have done something admi-rable, now you know who really deserves the credit—a religious sister who prayed for me,maybe without even knowing who I was. I am convinced, I was prayed for and I will contin-ue to be prayed for in secret and that without these prayers, I could never have reached the goal that God has destined for me.”

“Do you have any idea of the wherea-bouts or the identity of who has prayed for you?” asked the diocesan bishop.

No, I can only ask God each day that, while she is still on earth, he bless and repay her a thousand-fold for what she has done for me.”
The next day, Bishop Ketteler visited a convent of sisters in a nearby city and cele-brated Holy Mass in their chapel. He was dis-tributing Holy Communion to the last row of sisters when one of them suddenly caught his eye. His face grew pale, and he stood there,motionless. Finally regaining his composure,he gave Holy Communion to the sister who was kneeling in recollection unaware of his hesitation. He then concluded the liturgy.

The bishop who had invited him the pre-vious day came and joined him at the convent for breakfast. When they had finished, Bishop Ketteler asked the Mother Superior to present to him all the sisters in the house. Before long she had gathered all the sisters together, and both bishops went to meet them. Bishop Ket-teler greeted them, but it was apparent that he did not find the one he was looking for.

He quietly asked the Mother Superior,

“Are all the sisters really here?”

She looked over the group of sisters and then said, “Your Excellency, I called them all,but, in fact, one of them is not here.”

“Why didn’t she come?”

“She works in the barn,” answered the superior, “and in such a commendable way that, in her enthusiasm, she sometimes for-gets other things.”

“I would like to see that sister,” requested the Bishop.


A little while later, the sister who had been summoned stepped into the room. Again bishop Ketteler turned pale, and after a few words to all the sisters, he asked if he could be alone with the sister who had just come in.

“Do you know me?” he asked her.

“I have never seen Your Excellency before.”

“Have you ever prayed for me or offered up a good deed for me?” he wanted to know.“I do not recall that I have ever heard of Your Excellency.”

The Bishop was silent for a few moments and then he asked, “Do you have a particular devotion that you like?”

“The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Je-sus,” was the response.

“You have, it seems, the most difficult task in the convent,” he continued.

“Oh no, Your Excellency” the sister coun-tered, “but I cannot lie, it is unpleasant for me.”

“And what do you do when you have such temptations against your work?”

“For things that cost me greatly, I grew ac-customed to facing them with joy and enthusi-asm out of love for God, and then I offer them up for one soul on earth. To whom God chooses to be gracious as a result, I have left completely up to him and I do not need to know who he chooses..I also offer up my time of Eucharistic adoration every evening from 8 to 9 for this intention.”

“Where did you get the idea to offer up all your merits for someone totally unknown to you?”

“I learned it while I was still out in the world,” she replied. “At school our teacher,the parish priest, taught us how we can pray and offer our merits for our relatives. Besides that, he said that we should pray much for those who are in danger of being lost. Sinceonly God knows who really needs prayer, it is best to put your merits at the disposition of the sacred Heart of Jesus trusting in his wisdom and omnipotence. That is what I have done,”she concluded, “and I always believed that God would find the right soul.”

“How old are you?” Ketteler asked.

“Thirty-three, Your Excellency,” she answered.

The Bishop paused a moment. Then he asked her, “When were you born?” The sister stated her day of birth. The Bishop gasped; her birth-day was the day of his conversion! Back then he saw her exactly as she was before him now. “And have you any idea whether your prayers and sacrifices have been successful?” he asked her further.

“No, Your Excellency.”

“Don’t you want to know?”

“Our dear God knows when something good happens, and that is enough,” was the simple answer.

The Bishop was shaken. “So continue this work in the name of the Lord,” he said. The sister knelt down immediately at his feet and asked for his blessing. The Bishop solemnly raised his hands and said with great emotion, “With the power entrusted to me as a bishop, I bless your soul, I bless your hands and their work, I bless your prayers sacrifices, your self-renunciation and your obedience. I bless especial-ly your final hour and ask God to assist you with all his consolation.”“Amen,” the sister answered calmly, then stood up and left.


The Bishop, profoundly moved, stepped over to the window inorder to compose himself. Some time later, he said good-bye to the  mother  Superior and returned to the apartment of his bishop friend. He confided to him, “Now I found the one I have to thank for my vocation.It is the lowest and poorest lay sister of that convent. I cannot thank God enough for his mercy because this sister has prayed for me for almost 20 years. On the day she first saw the light of the world, God worked my conversion accepting in advance her future prayers and works.

“What a lesson and a reminder for me! Should I become tempted to vanity by a certain amount of success or by my good works, then I can affirm in truth: You have the prayer and sacrifice  of a poor maid in a convent stall to thank. And when a small and lowly task appears of lit-tle value to me, then I will also remember the fact: what this maid does in humble obedience to God, making a sacrifice  by overcoming herself,is so valuable before the Lord Our God that her merits have given rise to a bishop for the Church.”

The Power of Praying for Others 


The Devil ‘ s Rage Over St Gemma Galgani Prayers for Others

The Devil once said to St Gemma Galgani “You can pray for yourself, but if you pray for others, I will make you pay dearly for it”. And on another occasion the devil said to this great Saint, “While acting for yourself, do as you please, but listen well, do nothing for the conversion of sinners; if you attempt it, I shall make you pay dearly for it.” The devil appeared to affirm for St Gemma Galgani that our Prayers for other are seemingly more fruitful then when we Pray for our wants when he tried a new tactic to get St. Gemma to consider her own soul rather than only others when he exclaimed “How and where comes such presumption? You are laden with sins, and all the years of thy life would not suffice to bewail and expiate them, and yet you lose time about the sins of others? Do you not see that your own soul is in danger? A strange gain, that of think­ing for others and neglecting thyself.” Through all this she was brutally beaten and never stopped praying for others letting herself be a victim for the human race as her Lord and Savior did on His Cross know that no servant Is greater than their Master. The devil seemed to be in a personal war with St. Gemma Galgani who at one point during one of his attacks started horribly cursing God and shouting “War! War against you and your spiritual director!”. This continued on a nightly bases with the devil mocking her and her prayers for others in the chance she would give up praying for others and which she took with the true patience of a saint. The devil caused her the most pains by blaspheming her True Love Jesus Christ continuously even one day he telling her “What are you doing” he said, “how stupid you are to pray to that malefactor. Look at the harm He does thee, keeping thee nailed to the Cross with Himself. How then can you care for Him, for Him whom you don’t even know, who makes all who love Him suffer? Through all these continued promises of earthly happiness and even acknowledging t her she may pray for herself just not others she persevered the devils attacks and eventually winning a great victory for mankind and guaranteed herself an exalted place in Heaven along with all Christ Saints.

The devils to Padre Pio: “You bother us more than Saint Michael.” “If you don’t snatch souls from us we will not bother you.”

What souls we can convert by our prayers. The one who saves a soul from hell saves this soul and his own as well.’ ~St. John Vianney 

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

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

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

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

How the Sacred Heart saved a dying sinner 

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

The Pious Woman and the Rosary 


St. Louis de Montfort writes of a pious but self-willed lady who lived in Rome. She was so devout that she put many a religious to shame:
One day, hearing of the holiness of St. Dominic, great apostle of the Rosary, she decided to make her confession to him. For penance the saint told her to say a Rosary and advised her to make it’s recitation her daily practice.

“But, Father, “ she protested, “I already say so many prayers and practice so many exercises…I walk the Stations of Rome every day, I wear sack-cloth and a hair-shirt, I scourge myself several times a week, and often fast…”

St. Dominic insistently advised that she adopt the recitation of the Rosary, but she would not hear it. Moreover, she left the confessional horrified at the methods of this new spiritual director who wanted to impose on her a devotion for which she had no taste.

One day, when she was saying her prayers, she was shown a vision. In this vision she saw her soul appear before the Supreme Judge. She also saw St. Michael holding the scale of her life. On one side he placed all her prayers and penances, and on the other all her sins and imperfections. Down went the scale on the side of sins and imperfections, outweighing all her good works.

Wide eyed, the good lady cried out for mercy, and turned to Our Lady imploring her help. Our Lady then gently set down on the tray of her good works the only Rosary she had ever said, which was the one St. Dominic had imposed on her as a penance.

This one Rosary was so heavy that it outweighed all her sins as well as good works.

Our Lady then reproved her for having refused to follow the counsel of her son Dominic and for refusing to adopt the practice of the daily recitation of the Rosary.

When the lady came to, she rushed to St. Dominic and casting herself down at his feet, told him what had happened. She begged forgiveness for her unbelief, and promised to say the Rosary faithfully every day. By this means she grew in holiness, and finally attained the glory of eternal life.

Thus says St. Louis de Montfort, “You who are people of prayer, learn from this the power, the value and the importance of this devotion of the holy Rosary when it is said with meditation on the mysteries.”

-THE SECRET OF THE ROSARY

St. Louis de Monfort 

A Priest Saves a Man From Hell 


A father of a family who grew rich only by doing wrongs had fallen dangerously ill. He knew that the final stages of death had already set in, and nevertheless he could not decide to make restitution. “If I make restitution,” he said, “what will become of my children?” His confessor, a man of sagacity, had recourse to a singular strategem to save this poor soul. He told him that if he wished to be cured, he was about to give him an extremely simple, but costly remedy. “Should it cost a thousand, two thousand, even ten thousand francs, what odds?” answered the old man briskly. “What is it?” “It consists in pouring the melted fat of a living person on the dying parts. It does not need much. If you find anyone willing, for ten thousand francs, to suffer one hand to be burned for less than a quarter of an hour, that will be enough.” “Alas!” said the poor man, sighing, “I am very much afraid I can find no such person.” “I will help you,” said the priest quietly. “Summon your eldest son; he loves you; he is to be your heir; say to him, ‘My dear son, you can save your old father’s life if you consent to allow one hand to be burned only for a small quarter of an hour.’ If he refuses, make the proposal to the second, pledging yourself to make him your heir at the expense of his elder brother. If he refuses in this turn, the third will no doubt accept.” The proposition was made successively to the three brothers, who, one after the other, rejected it with a shudder. Then the father said to them: “What! To save my life, an instant’s pain alarms you? And I, to procure your comfort, would go to Hell – to be burned eternally! Indeed, I should be quite mad.” And he hastened to restore all he owed without regard to what should become of his children.

Come to the aid of the Holy Souls and they will return the favor…


“A man of great virtue, when approaching his end, was violently assaulted by evil spirits surrounding his deathbed. Suddenly he saw the heavens opening and thousands of warriors in white garments coming to his aid. They told him that they were sent to defend and to gain victory for him. The dying man was greatly relieved and implored his heavenly defenders to tell him who they were. They replied: ‘We are the souls whom you released. We come to reward your charity and to conduct you to heaven’ ” ~Venerable Cardinal Cesare Baronius

The Rosary saves a girl from 700 years in purgatory

Saint Louis de Montfort tells the story of a young girl of noble station named Alexandra, who had been miraculously converted and enrolled by St. Dominic in the Confraternity of the Rosary.

After her death, she appeared to him and said she had been condemned to seven hundred years in purgatory because of her own sins and those she had caused others to commit by her worldly ways.

So she implored him to ease her pains by his prayers and to ask the Confraternity members to pray for the same end. St. Dominic did as she had asked.

Two weeks later she appeared to him, more radiant than the sun, having been quickly delivered from purgatory by the prayers of the Confraternity members.

She also told St. Dominic that she had come on behalf of the souls in purgatory to beg him to go on preaching the Rosary and to ask their relations to offer their Rosaries for them, and that they would reward them abundantly when they entered into glory.

Venerable Marthe Robin~French Mystic,Stigmatist and Victim Soul

Marthe_Robin

Marthe Robin was born on March 13, 1902 in Chateauneuf de Galaure, France in a region known as “the Plain”. She was one of six children. Her father Joseph, was a good natured farmer, not very religious in that he only went to Mass on Easter and big Feast days, although towards the end of his life, due to Marthe’s extraordinary example and virtue, he had a deep conversion and “died a saint” according to a statement made by Marthe. Her mother, Amelie-Celeste Chosson, was happy and gracious housewife and mother, and like her husband, was not initially devout in religious practice, however she too had a deep conversion towards the end of her life, once again presumably through the holy influence and example of Marthe.

Beginning in May, 1918 at age 16, Marthe began experiencing painful headaches. On November 25th she collapsed in her kitchen and was unable to get up without assistance. The Doctor was sent for and it was thought that she had encephalitis. At times she would often cry out in pain. During this time she had her first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary; her sister Alice who was in the bedroom with her, saw a great light that surrounded the room, but she herself did not see the Blessed Mother.

Offering herself to the Love and Will of God

From her childhood, Marthe always had “conspicuous” religious devotion and tendency; conspicuous in that her parents and family were not very devout Catholics; only going to Mass on major feast days. As her illness and suffering progressed, her legs weakened, and she was confined to a chair more and more. During this time her spiritual life blossomed and she was very inspired and edified by the life of the “Little Flower”, Therese of Lisieux, who was canonized on May 17, 1925 by Pope Pius XI. Later that year, on October 15, 1925, the Feast of St Teresa of Avila, she felt inspired to make a “Act of Abandonment to the Love and the Will of God”, composing the text of the Act of Abandonment herself.

Desk alongside Marthe Robin's bed

Marthe Robin’s Room

Another Serious Illness

 
Barely a year after having made her act of abandonment to the will of God, Marthe again fell gravely ill. It was on October 3, 1926, the day of the first celebration of the feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux, who had been canonized the preceding year. Dr. Aristide Sallier, of Saint-Uze came to The Plain and found Marthe in a coma. “There is nothing more that can be done,” was all he said. The Parish Priest, Fr. Faure could only replace the doctor at the bedside to administer the Sacra­ment of the Sick to “his parishioner,” as he called her. It was the second time that she had received it. Everyone expected that each day would bring her death. The coma lasted three weeks.

Marthe Robin bedroom

Marthe Robin’s Bedroom

Apparitions of Saint Therese of Lisieux

But while death seemed to be imminent, Marthe experienced three apparitions of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. The Carmelite of Lisieux revealed to her that she would not die yet, that she would recover, and that she would extend her mission throughout the entire world! That is what Marthe confided to Fr. Finet, even adding, laughingly, “Oh that rascal, in the end, she’s left it all to me!” Behind the suffering and the mysticism, this sense of humor is the best indication of Marthe’s mental health.

Love for God and suffering

After her death, some pages of a notebook were discovered in which she described the sufferings she endured during 1927:
“….it was impossible to make the least movement without the assistance of my very devoted mama, not that I did not retain at least partial use of my arms and my hands, but that they had become very clumsy. Nevertheless I thank the Good God for everything that He sends me, and particularly for His having left me at least this last mobility, as some consolation to my dear parents, and so that I may perform a few light tasks for them. Oh, that I may never work except with Him and for Him! Still, I feel that I am crushed, both physically and mentally. Everything causes me anguish and overwhelms me … I no longer know how to react. But so be it! But too much-too much about my poor self, and it seems it would be better for me to dwell more upon all that God is doing in my soul, and for my soul, every minute….”

“My soul is plunged into and, as it were, swept away toward that Jerusalem of Love, by the powerful allurements and inspirations of God Himself, who now and then seems to desire to absorb me wholly into Himself. I am afraid of all this! … I am so alone, spiritually and mentally, and meanwhile I understand that I must abandon myself to Him without any reservations. So be it! I have so much need to say this “Fiat” often, which unites me with Jesus, and with Mary, my most beloved Mama, and consum­mates my immolation.

“It seems to me that I am no more than a very tiny thing in the arms of God, and that I will remain so until I die … I do not know what He wants to do with me, but I desire it all. Everything is good that comes from God and that He wants of us. Yes, all is good to me … All is infinitely dear and sweet to my soul because it is He who wishes it so, He who manages it all. I take refuge in His heart, united with Mary my Mother whom I love so much, and I shall not leave it any more … I know that He will not expel me.” (March 2, 1927).

Fifteen days later, she added: “I test how sweet it is to love, even in suffering, and I shall say above all in suffering; for suffering is an unsurpassed school of true love … It is the living language of Love, and the great teacher of humankind. One learns to love, and one does not really love except in and by suffering, for true suffering instructs us, not through human delights, but through the stripping away and renouncing of self on the Cross.”

Further Paralysis: Marthe Ceases to Eat and Sleep

martherobin01
As of March 25, 1928 (Feast of the Annunciation) Marthe’s legs became completely paralyzed. Hence­forth she was bedridden for life. She lay in the room next to the kitchen and which faces onto the courtyard. Her legs had contracted and twisted out of shape. We leave it to the reader to contemplate such a experience. This time of her paralization also coincided with an extraordinary grace of total abstinence from all food and drink. This extraordinary phenomenon may be incredi­ble, but it has also been known in the cases of other mystics. From 1928 to 1981, the year of her death, Marthe did not consume anything except the Eucharist that was brought to her once or twice a week. The host, entering into her, instantly disappeared without any normal ingestion. Marthe could not swallow anything else. As far back as the beginning of that year, when her mother had brought her a cup of coffee, it had immediately flowed back out of her mouth. Mrs. Robin groaned, “Look at my poor little one, in what a state she is!” And Marthe’s father wept, “But she has done nothing bad!” He was pitiful, a childhood friend of Marthe’s told me.

Thenceforth, Marthe had no ingestive or digestive processes whatever, and, in addition, she entirely ceased to sleep; she was completely stripped. According to medical men, a total loss of sleep is even more extraordinary than not taking any food or drink. We can assume that one does not enter into such a state without agony. It appears that at this time Fr. Netton began to come to visit and console Marthe. And it was at this point that the Blessed Virgin began to increase the frequency of her appari­tions.

The Devil Breaks Two of Her Teeth

Late in the year 1928, two Capuchin Priests who were preaching a Mission in her hometown were visiting all the sick in their free time. When they met Marthe they were quickly impressed by her devotion and her resignation and acceptance to her paralysis. When they returned that day to the Rectory of the Church, they said to the Pastor “that is a Saint that you have there!” Encouraged by these holy Priests she felt called to join their number by entering into the Third Order of St Francis on November 2, 1928. But the Enemy, of whom the Evangelists speak, began to harass her. The Lord had said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant, Job, and that there is no one on earth like him?” We can wager that he would have been able to say the same of Marthe. Satan was so enraged after her entry into the Third Order of Saint Francis, that on the very night after the ceremony Marthe ex­perienced her first manifestation of the devil. Mrs. Robin, who slept in a bed just beside her daughter’s, said, “I don’t know what happened, but she uttered a frightful scream!”
“Satan,” a confidant of Marthe’s reported, “had struck her a blow with his fist, breaking two teeth. It was she who told me.” “Did you see the broken teeth?” “Yes, yes.” This same episode was related by Fr. Perrier.

Marthe Loses the Use of Her Hands

The paralysis of her legs occurred on the feast of the Annunciation, 1929. On Candlemas Day, February 2, 1929, Marthe lost the use of her hands. She had offered them to the Lord, and he had taken her at her word! Goodbye to letter writing and to embroidery! “I kept my thimble on my finger for about a week, and finally I said to mama, ‘You know, you must take off my thimble, now!’ ” Undefeated by this new paralysis, Marthe learned to write with a pencil in her mouth.

Thus, at age 27, this is the state to which she was reduced: her arms and legs held her down in her bed; her legs were partly bent; she was twisted, with a pillow under her back, and a stiff cushion to support her knees; her right arm lay across her chest and her left arm was stretched out along her body. She could not move. When Mrs. Bernard (the daughter of Mrs. Ferdinand Robin) went to help Mrs. Robin to change the bed linen, Marthe endured torments as soon as she was lifted.

In this uncomfortable and unchangeable position Marthe remained, without drinking, without eating, and without sleeping, for more than fifty years. “Oh Jesus, you have made me your little victim,” she said on July 12, 1929, “as you have wished to be mine, and that of all mankind. All my life, oh my God, is yours … oh Cross, Cross of my Savior … oh divine ladder that joins earth to heaven, you are the altar upon which I must consume my sacrifice and consume my life in immolation and love. ”

 

The Stigmata of Marthe Robin

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Towards the end of September, 1930, Jesus appeared to Marthe and asked her “Do you wish to be like Me?”She did not know exactly what our Lord meant by this, but recalling that she had offered herself completely to Him five years earlier, she wanted everything that He wanted. She at once made her “fiat” with all the love and devotion of her heart. Sometime during the early part of October (possibly on the 4th, the feast of Saint Francis, the stigmatized saint), Jesus Crucified appeared before the eyes of Marthe. At once he took her paralyzed arms, rigid since February 2, 1929, and opened them wide. At that moment a tongue of flame leapt from his side, separated in two, and struck both of her feet and both of her hands; a third tongue of flame struck Marthe on the heart. She bled from her hands, her feet, and her heart.

Later, whether it was the same day is not known, Jesus imprinted his crown of thorns on Marthe’s head. The marks extended down to her eyes and bled freely. This crown appeared on her forehead “like purple veins”; several months afterward (at Marthe’s request, as an act of humility) they completely disappeared.
Still later, Jesus intervened again, imposing upon Marthe the wood of the Cross; Marthe felt crushed-dislocated because of the burden of the Cross with its enormous weight.

Her parents saw their daughter covered with blood, and were overwhelmed. According to Marthe, her mother “understood that this condition had come from God with Marthe’s abandonment to the Divine will.”

Her parents nevertheless called for Dr. Aristide Sallier of Saint-Uze. His medical studies had obviously not prepared him to cope with such a phenomenon. Right away, he tried to have his patient drink something. It was impossible; the liquid came out through her nose. The doctor recognized that he had come to the end of his resources. One day he acknowledged his helplessness, and said to Marthe. “Mademoiselle. pray for me!”

On the Friday following her stigmatization, Marthe began to relive the Passion of Jesus.

People come from all over to visit Marthe

Rumors of these events did not take long to circulate throughout the neighboring countryside. and soon a number of people were “ascending to The Plain” to see Marthe and to pray with her, uniting themselves through her with the Passion of Christ. This apostolate of welcoming visitors for the good of souls continued for 50 years, that is, until the end of her life. Fr. Faure and Fr. Perrier were the first to organize such visits for the edification of the souls of the parishoners entrusted to them.

The visitors so increased that, beginning in 1931 or 1932, the permission of Fr. Faure was needed to “ascend to The Plain.” Why Fr. Faure’s permis­sion? Simply because the Robin family would have been too embarrassed to refuse anyone admittance to their home.

Already, a ritual had spontaneously come about: one awaited one’s turn in the kitchen in the company of Marthe’s mother, whose patience was touching. Finally one entered Marthe’s room, chatted with her, and showed her the gifts one had brought, not only the oranges that people habitually gave (for the sick, since Marthe neither ate nor drank), but all sorts of things that Marthe then had the pleasure of sending to the poor and to missionaries. This was the origin of what todays retreatants at Chateauneuf call “Marthe’s basket.”—gifts that Marthe sent to the poor and missionaries.

 

The death struggles of her own will

“Here is the end of the year 1930,” she said on the night of December 31st, ”My whole being has undergone a transformation as mysterious as it is profound. A year of trials, a year of pain. A year of graces and of love. My real joy on my sickbed is profound, lasting because it is divine …. I reflect upon the road I have traveled since the beginning of my illness, and from this reflection emerges only Love, and gratitude towards God who is so merciful and so good. What a labor! What growth God has wrought in me! But what leapings of the heart, what death-struggles of the will it takes to die to self!”

A Passion That Recurs Every Week

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The ever increasing number of visitors, the glimpses of glory (‘ ‘It was so beautiful up there”) must not make us forget that Marthe continued to suffer every day, unceasingly and more and more painfully. Right up until 1981. One can scarcely imagine that this Calvary lasted fifty years.
Marthe suffered in her body. Even when the bed linen had to be changed it was necessary to take all sorts of precautions; despite them, Mrs. Robin and Mrs. Ferdinand Robin (who came to help) knew well enough that they caused her great agony. Marthe suffered also in not being able to eat or drink, not because she had taken some vow, as is sometimes said, but because she had no salivation and no power of normal ingestion. Her sole nourishment was the Eucharist. For fifty years Marthe lived only by means of it.

Marthe suffered in her heart to see that her parents were tormented by not being able to do anything for her. Above all, she suffered in her soul because the sin of the world is hateful and because Love is not loved. And this spiritual suffering was at its greatest every Friday when Marthe relived the crucifixion for so many years. Later, the agony of Christ began for her on Thursday evenings. “He desires to relive in me His Passion up until his last breath and His descent into hell, and even his resurrection, although I remain on the cross so as to continue this life of crucifixion that is His will for me; that He wills for me for his glory and for the redemption of souls all over the world. ”

Fr. Finet more than once told of his pathetic dialogue between them that preceded her entry into the agony of the Passion: “Father, do you know that today is Thursday’?” “Yes, my child.” “You know, Father, that this evening … ” “Yes, my child.” “Father, I worry I will not be able to bear it.” “Yes, yes, my child!”
And, little by little, during the course of the day on Thursday, Marthe increasingly felt the pangs of the Passion. She was in combat against the infernal regions unleashed, against the Devil, who beat her head against the furniture near her couch. And Marthe wept tears of blood.

Like Christ at Gethsemane, she carried the sins of the world. She was overwhelmed and horrified; she became sin. Sometimes she would say to Fr. Finet, “Do not come near me! I will make you dirty!” She groaned, unable to say any more.
She prayed. She no longer prayed to Jesus, because she was one with Jesus, so closely was she living in him. She prayed to the Father. One sensed that she was Jesus in agony in the Garden of Olives. She could be heard to say, “Let this chalice pass from me.” And then, “Father, let your will be done!’ ,

The torment continued from Thursday night throughout the whole of Friday. Marthe relived all the scenes of the Passion. This drew to a close with confidence and peace in God, on Friday night at hours that varied, when she cried, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
She would have a great sigh; her head fell to the left, then backwards. It was finished. One would think she was dead. She was in ecstasy.
Then on Saturday she came to herself. Sometimes it was not until Sunday, or (in the last years of her life) only on Monday morning, or even Monday afternoon.

“The Chateau”

One of the Divinely inspired projects in the heart of Marthe Robin was to build a Christian school for girls. Her spiritual director, Father Faure felt this project was doomed to failure, because the town and in fact the whole region was quite overrun with “free thinkers” who were not in favor of Christian schools. It took two years for her to convince him to make the first steps for the project. He consulted all the Priests of the Canton, 17 at that time, and 16 of the 17 thought the idea was “crazy”, given the prevailing spiritual climate of the area at that time.
To summarise the story: The building that became the Chateau was purchased and renovated, and on October 12, 1934 the Chateauneuf de Galaure school was opened. As of today, the Chateauneuf de Galaure boasts two secondary schools and an agricultural school, with a total of about 1000 students.

The “Foyers de Charite”

The second Divinely inspired project in the heart of Marthe was the “Foyers de Charite” (Houses of Charity) , which where something totally new in the Church—they are retreat houses built and organized by consecrated lay people, and directed by a Priest. The first Foyers de Charite retreat took place on September 7, 1936, preached by one of Marthe’s close friends, Father Finet. As of 2006, there are 75 Foyers in 41 countries.

Her holy death

Marthe Robin grave stone
After 50 years of suffering in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls, Marthe Robin entered her eternal reward on the First Friday of the month (devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus) February 6, 1981.

Let us close with these words of Marthe, which summarize well her life of love:
“I am Thy prey, oh Jesus, in the Cross and in joy, in cruel trials and in sharpest pain; oh how sweet it is to suffer when it is a sacrifice to Thee! And when one has as one’s sun the great fire of Thy heart. I know where love dwells, I have seen the shining of Its flame, And for Thy heaven, oh Jesus, I would gather flowers. Painful torments bloody my soul, but unceasingly I repeat, ‘I thank Thee, my Savior.”

“Oh Virgin Mary, let me each day be more docile, more patient, more simple; unnoticed and forgotten. I do not ask that God bring about in me things that are visible, but only that I be a small, lowly child, sweet and humble of heart.”

“My Lord and my God, to You I abandon myself. You wish me here, and here I shall remain, with no thought of leaving; if you wish me elsewhere, that is what I too wish. I know, oh Jesus, that always and everywhere You are saving me for yourself. Oh my Jesus, how thy little victim suffers, but how she loves Thee, with as much love as she has received … oh Jesus, keep me always. I belong to Thee; give me patience and peace in everything.”

~Venerable Marthe Robin, pray for us!

“In the Heart of Jesus I drown sin, hatred and godlessness.” -Marthe Robin