Voice of Jesus 28: Sanctifying Grace
What is the splendor of the stars? What the
beauty of all creatures, when placed in
comparison with the excellence of a
soul adorned with divine grace,
and thus assimilated to
(7.5 minute read...enjoy)
The Voice of the Disciple
1. My Child, do not disregard grace, but carefully preserve so sacred a deposit, which has been entrusted to thee.
For this is thy treasure, this thy glory, this thy happiness, this thy every good. This informs thee, the image of God, and renders thee alike to Him.
Know, then, thy dignity, man, who, by sanctifying grace, art raised even to the likeness of God, and becomest more exalted than the whole world, so that naught of earth can be compared to thee.
What is the splendor of the stars? What the beauty of all creatures, when placed in comparison with the excellence of a soul adorned with divine grace, and thus assimilated to God Himself?
Lift up thyself, therefore, and, mindful of thy dignity, do not defile nor debase thyself.
2. God adopts thee, resplendent with this grace not simply as His child, but as the child of His love and predilection.
Thus, what I possess by nature, thou receivest by adoption; so that thou art not only called, but art in very truth, a child of God.
Understand, if thou art able, what it is, to be a child of God: what it is, to be loved and cherished by such a Father.
In the world, children esteem themselves happy, and glory in having parents who are wise, good, influential, or wealthy, great, illustrious. But what are the distinctions of all the parents of this earth, when compared with the Attributes of God?
With how much more reason, therefore, shouldst thou glory and rejoice in having for thy Father, God Himself, the Lord of heaven and earth!
Ponder, then, with a true judgment the excellence of this divine adoption. For, when formerly thou wast a castaway, reduced to the lowest depth of degradation, thou becamest, by sanctifying grace, from bond, free; from one disowned, the acknowledged child of God; that, thus ennobled, thou mayst rejoice in the affluence of the good things of the Lord.
Blessed is he who knows the price of sanctifying grace, whereby he was raised to be a child of God; and who so esteems this, the highest nobility, that, on no account, he shows himself degenerate, but ever continues a child worthy of such a Father!
3. If, by grace, thou art a child, by the same thou art also made an heir, even the heir of God, and co-heir with Me. Wherefore, My Child, the everlasting kingdom, which is Mine by right of nature, becomes thine in virtue of sanctifying grace.
When thou lookest up to heaven, and viewest, in spirit, the glory, the beatitude, and all the good things of eternity, say to thyself: Behold my possessions, behold my inheritance, if I preserve the title of grace.
My merits obtained that this grace should confer upon thee a settled right to the possessions of heaven; of which none, except thyself, can deprive thee.
God's promise remains firm; He is faithful to His word: but, if thou losest sanctifying grace, thou throwest aside thy right, and becomest disinherited.
4. Grace, My Child, which constitutes thee an heir of the heavenly kingdom, makes thee also a companion of the Angels, a brother of the Saints.
If thou art glad when thou enjoyest the intercourse of distinguished companions, mortal men though they be, and subject to change; if thou art delighted at having brothers according to the flesh, although their number divides and lessens thy earthly inheritance: how great must be thy joy that, by grace, thou hast the blessed Angels for companions, the chosen Saints of God for brothers, whose countless number neither divides nor lessens thy celestial inheritance, but, on the contrary, increases and multiplies the same!
And what brothers, too, My child! How innumerable, how illustrious, how mighty, how good! They are thy elder brothers: celebrated for their triumphs, crowned with the glory of beatitude, secure of themselves, solicitous for thee; they love thee in truth, encourage thee by their example, help thee by their prayers, invite thee by their rewards.
Blissful grace, which makes thee the brother of such heroes! Oh, My Child, would that thou didst fully understand this!
5. Moreover, by an effect of sanctifying grace, thou mayst, even in this life, enjoy true happiness. This grace is the foundation of interior peace: without it, there is no real peace: with it, an undisturbed calm pervades the soul.
Who, that resists sanctifying grace, has ever enjoyed peace? And what happiness can there exist, where there is no peace?
If thou rejoicest in the peace of grace, thou mayst justly and safely be glad amid prosperity, and thou canst easily and usefully find solace in adversity.
Preserve thyself in grace, and thou shalt always be enabled to possess peace and happiness. Witness all the Saints: yea, also they who, when once converted, kept carefully within themselves the grace of God. When they had this, and compared their present feelings with those of their former life, taught by experience, they could say to Me: Better is one day in Thy courts, Lord, than thousands in the dwellings of sinners.
6. Nay more, My Child, if thou livest in sanctifying grace, My kingdom is within thee; so that I repose and reign in thy heart as on My throne.
Now, My kingdom consists in the tranquility and joy of the Holy Ghost, who is a Spirit of charity and sanctification.
In this kingdom I hold sway, not as a Lord ruling My subjects, but as a Father training My Child, whom I design to reign with Me. So long, therefore, as thou continuest under this rule of grace, I guide thee specially by My Wisdom, I protect thee by My power, I attend and encompass thee by My love.
Neither hast thou aught to fear, My Child, for this kingdom so governed, so protected, so cherished; unless, indeed, thyself becomest its betrayer.
If thou art faithful, it shall, doubtless, stand firm and endure for evermore: nor can all its enemies combined overthrow, or even weaken the same.
How sweet, how consoling is this thought, My Child! How well suited to make thee esteem sanctifying grace above everything!
7. See now, My Child, how many, and what great possessions thou hast in this one good alone!
Does not this one good surpass, in excellence, all the riches of this world?
Pray, Child, that thou mayst ever understand better, and more perfectly the value of grace, and prize it in reality as highly as thou shouldst do.
If thou dost understand and appreciate it rightly, thou wilt deem it little, or certainly not too much, to sacrifice for its preservation not only fortune, fame, and all that is dear and pleasing, but even health, and, if it were necessary, life itself.
Did not My holy Martyrs, and all My sainted heroes, among whom thou beholdest so many children and tender Virgins, prize it thus? Did not thousands among them, when it was left to their choice, prefer to sacrifice, amid torments, all the blessings of life, yea, life itself, rather than lose the same, for any possession, however great, that was offered?
Thou, therefore, the child of such heroes, use thy every effort, constant watchfulness, and thy greatest care, to preserve grace, the most precious of all gifts; the more so, as the most powerful exertions of thy enemies are directed to despoil thee, and thus to accomplish thy destruction.
For the rest, dearly beloved, be thou strengthened in grace: increase in the same, and, by acts of true virtue, advance thou, even unto perfection.
Didst thou understand all these things, My Child?
The Voice of the Disciple
8. Yea, Lord. Would that I had understood all this before! Would I not then, after I had lost Thy grace, have wept and moaned more dolefully than Esau, when he had forfeited his birthright? For greater, beyond comparison, was my loss, and sustained too, for a far baser object.
Oh! Had I understood all this, would I, for aught here below, have cast away so great a treasure?
Lord Jesus, would that I had never lost this greatest of all possessions! One thing, however, brings me solace, it is not yet too late; I may still enjoy the privileges of Thy grace, and thereby sanctify myself.
Thanks to Thee, most sweet Jesus, for that Thou hast showed so great a mercy to me, so unworthy.
The ineffable kindness of Thy Heart, I will not forget forever.
O Jesus! Hereafter, grant me sooner to die than to lose Thy grace. By Thy most Sacred Heart, I beg and entreat Thee, hearken graciously to my petition.
Let others seek after silver and gold, honor and distinction, the joys of this world and its consolations: taught by Thee, Lord, this alone do I desire above all else, to preserve Thy grace, and to increase therein all the days of my life.
"Voice of Jesus" is taken from Arnoudt's "Imitation of the Sacred Heart", translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866
Voice Of Jesus 26: Of Heaven
My Child, there thou shalt behold Me as I am,
and gaze upon Me face to face, in the most
entrancing splendors of My Majesty.
(5 minute read...enjoy)
1.) The Voice of Jesus
My Child, the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, nor has the heart of man conceived, what things I have prepared for them that love and serve Me faithfully to the end.
Who can portray for those who have not experienced it, what heaven is, that blissful abode, from which all ills are banished, in which there is an overflowing of all good things?
No labor shall be there, no sorrow, no temptation, no danger: all these things have passed away with mortal life; they have given place to perfect rest, to endless joy, to a peace that cannot be disturbed, to a security that none can take away.
2. There shall be neither cold, nor heat; neither inclemency, nor change of seasons; neither unpleasant days, nor gloomy nights. Those realms of bliss are illumined by My everlasting glory, softened by the divine serenity of My countenance, enlivened by the infinite sweetness of My Heart, so that everything smiles in the purest light, in the newness of a heavenly spring, for evermore.
Blessed are they that dwell therein! They neither hunger, nor thirst, nor are they subject to aught that is unpleasant; nor shall they be weakened in vigor forever.
There they are replenished and inebriated from the torrent of the delights of God; they nourish in perpetual youth, and, immortal, they shine brighter than the sun for all eternity.
3. My Child, there thou shalt behold Me as I am, and gaze upon Me face to face, in the most entrancing splendors of My Majesty.
There, by the intuition of My infinite perfections, thou shalt be rapt with admiration, and overflow with bliss; in the excess of thy joy thou shalt, of thy own accord, burst forth in boundless praises and exaltation of My most lovely Attributes.
Then also thou shalt understand the mysteries of faith, and the secrets of nature.
All the science of philosophers is but ignorance, when compared with the knowledge possessed by the least of the Elect.
Then shalt thou view all the display of My everlasting kingdom, its unbounded treasures, its ever enduring dignities.
At the contemplation of a loveliness so varied, and so great, thou shalt be inflamed with an ineffable love for Me.
4. Then, My Child, then wilt thou love Me, in a perfect manner, without any division of thy affections, without remissness, without end.
Now, thou art sometimes in trouble, because thou knowest not whether thou art worthy of love or of hatred: then, to thy unutterable joy, thou shalt know with certainty, that thou lovest Me. and wilt love Me forever; and that, in return, thou art loved, and shalt be loved by Me, throughout eternity.
Then shalt thou repose on My Heart, with perfect security; and thou shalt taste how delightful it is, to love Me, and to melt away in My love.
Thou shalt be inebriated with an exceeding great sweetness, and rapt above thyself; thou shalt swim in an ocean of love, with the Angels and the Saints, amid jubilant hymns of love, for evermore.
Thus shalt thou spend ages, and while-away eternity, ever wishing, and ever longing, to love; and, at the same time, ever sated, and ever blissful, with love.
5. Then, at last, Child, shalt thou possess Me, and enjoy Me forever: which is the completing of beatitude.
Thou shalt be wholly Mine, and I will be wholly thine: thou shalt enjoy Me, in a manner ever new, ever most delightful.
In Me thou shalt possess every good, and have whatever thou canst wish or desire.
Let thy mind conceive, if possible, how beautiful, how wonderful, how charming, all things are there: how rapturous to behold the glory and exquisite adornment of the heavens, to be present among the choirs of the Angels, to exult unceasingly with the Saints, to contemplate and love the most Blessed Virgin, the glorious Queen of the heavenly kingdom and, in return, to attract Her sweet looks, and gain Her love.
What delightful dwellings, O My Child what pleasant companionship! what charming beatitude! and all to endure forever and ever!
Behold, My Child, behold the exceeding great reward of those that serve Me with their whole heart. Can the world give such things? or even promise them?
Lift up thy eyes, therefore, and see what awaits thee, if thou art faithful to Me even to the end.
Be of good cheer, My Child; and as much as thou art able, with the divine grace and thy own co-operation, cleanse thy heart and preserve it pure. For nothing defiled, be it ever so little, shall enter into heaven.
But the purer thou art here, the more glorious shalt thou be there; and the nearer to Me, and the dearer to My Heart.
6. The Voice of the Disciple
O Jesus, how blessed are they, that dwell in heaven with Thee!
O happy mortals they, who serve Thee with a clean heart! What ineffable beatitude shall they enjoy in eternity! yea, who is more happy than they, even in time!
O bliss-creating service of Jesus, which gains such a reward! Thou renderest easy and pleasant all things that lead to so great a glory and blessedness.
O most sweet Jesus, bid me do, bid me suffer, for Thy sake, whatever Thou wilt: willingly and gladly do I embrace everything, that I may please Thee in time, and possess Thee in eternity.
By Thy most Sacred Heart, do I entreat Thee, lead me safe, through whatever way Thou mayst choose, into Thy kingdom; that, with the Angels and Saints, I may behold Thee, love Thee, enjoy Thee, for evermore. Amen.
"Voice of Jesus" is taken from Arnoudt's "Imitation of the Sacred Heart", translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866
Voice Of Jesus 27: Exertion In Practicing Virtue
In those who are advancing from good to better,
the good Spirit moves the soul peacefully,
calmly, gently: The evil spirit moves the
soul roughly, confusedly, violently.
"Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart,
and ye shall find rest for your soul." Matthew 11:29
With this issue #27, we begin the "Second Book" of the treatise "Voice of Jesus – Voice of the Disciple." It is called the "Directory for the Second Book" and, as such, it is a bit longer than normal – a 15 minute read.
But ever so worth the time to my serious readers!
(15 minute read...enjoy)
The Voice of the Disciple
1. The object of this Second Book is, to teach us – after we have become disengaged from our evil and inordinate affections, how we should exert ourselves, that, by the practice of virtue, we may be enabled to make our election sure. In order to do this the more efficaciously, and the more sweetly, at the same time, we should place before our eyes Jesus, with the inward dispositions of His Heart; because, by following Him who is the way, the truth, and the life, we shall proceed, with safety, certainty, and pleasure, from virtue to virtue, and secure our salvation.
The practice of the virtues, by which we may follow the Heart of Jesus, and express His interior life in ourselves, can, in every state and condition of life, be performed in two ways. The first, by practicing those virtues which are of precept and which the state and condition of every one requires.
The second, by exercising, according to the divine good pleasure, those virtues also, which are of counsel, whereby our salvation is better secured, and the divine glory and our merits are the more increased. But since both these ways contain limitless degrees, whereby virtue is ever practiced with greater perfection, there is no one, how perfect soever he may be, who cannot here occupy himself profitably, and gather more abundant fruit.
As, however, Jesus willed that, in the imitation of His virtues, we should, above all, be humble and meek of heart, we must diligently attend and take care, both that, whatever virtues we learn and imitate in Him, we place them upon true humility as their groundwork, and perfect them in a meek charity; and again, that, in the very manner of imitating His virtues, we be especially meek and humble of heart.
2. Nowhere can we learn virtues more safely, and more easily, than in the Heart of Jesus. For, as that Heart is the pattern of true virtue, by merely looking upon It with attention, we shall see what virtue is, and what qualities it ought to possess: neither shall we run the risk of erring in a matter which is to us of so much importance, both for time and eternity.
Thence shall we learn, to our unspeakable consolation, that virtue is a right affection of the heart for an object, which is, in some manner, good: and we shall perceive that this good object – which sometimes we call, figuratively, virtue – is not in truth virtue itself, but simply the object of virtue. Thence we shall likewise learn, that virtue, in order to be such as it ought to be in every Christian, must not be natural, but supernatural; and we shall clearly distinguish the difference between the two.
The affections of the Heart of Jesus, which He reduced to acts, whether internal or external, did not spring from an impulse or motion of His human nature, but from a supernal or divine principle; they were not performed according to the sentiments of His human nature, but according to the divine good pleasure; they did not tend to some temporal delight of His human nature, but throughout to God, as to their last end.
Whence, if, from the impulse or emotion of mere nature, we strive after what is good; if we act simply according to the feelings of nature, whether of inclination or aversion; if we seek merely a natural end, we have only natural virtue, whereby we shall acquire no Christian perfection in this life, – no fruit of merit in eternity. But, if of the Heart of Jesus, we learn supernatural virtue, and the practice of the same; replenished with graces and merits, we shall lead an interior life, like to His own.
What is the interior life, – for which the life of the Heart of Jesus serves us as a model, – except to begin all our voluntary acts, internal as well as external, by the grace of God, or a supernatural principle; to perform them according to God's Will; to direct them to God and His interests, as to our end; to occupy ourselves in our Heart with God, our Savior; and to live for Him by love?
Now, all this he does, who begins all his voluntary acts by the divine good pleasure; who performs them according to the divine good pleasure; directs them to the divine good pleasure, as his end, – being most constantly occupied internally with the Lord, through love.
Behold the truly interior life, by which genuine and solid virtues are acquired; by which we may attain, safely and sweetly, to true sanctity and divine union. This life is fitted for every state and condition; it is adapted, not only to ecclesiastics and religious, but equally to all laics and persons in the world. Did not the first Christians generally lead this life? Does not the Gospel teach this life to all?
Whoever has a good will may lead this sanctifying life, practice supernatural virtue and attain to perfection. For, the acquiring, or not acquiring of virtue, does not depend on temperament, on a mild or passionate character, – as many seem to believe: but it depends on the grace of God, and the cooperation of man's will. For, since God gives grace, not in view of natural qualities, but first gratuitously, and afterwards also in consideration of supernatural merits and prayers; and since the human will, whatever be the natural disposition of a man, is truly free to co-operate, or not to co-operate with grace, it is evident, that virtue does not depend on temperament or natural disposition.
Wherefore, we acquire virtue the better, and the more perfectly, not in proportion as our natural disposition is yielding, but in proportion as our co-operation is more efficacious: we reach a more pure and more solid virtue, not by reason of the fewness of natural repugnancies we feel, but by means of the more generous acts of the will, which we perform, in spite of natural repugnancies. This doctrine, so full of consolation – which the Saints unanimously teach, and which they learned of the very Heart of Jesus – deserves our whole attention.
In the practice of virtue, we must guard against delusions, among which this one is the chief and most common: That we are satisfied with producing the object of a virtue, whilst we do not practice the virtue itself; or, that we believe that we practice a virtue, when we bring forward the object of virtue through a natural inclination or intention; or even that we think we can acquire true and solid virtue, without repeated and generous acts, whereby the emotions of the passions, and the impulses of nature are overcome or denied. They that neglect to cleanse their heart perfectly are especially wont to fall into this dreadful delusion.
Other delusions, which may occasionally occur in the practice of virtue, arise nearly all from the preceding. Such are: on the one hand, to grow despondent in mind, on account of the difficulties or oppositions of nature: to look upon these as obstacles to virtue, not as means, such as they may be in reality, if they are used with a generous heart, to acquire true and solid virtue: on the other hand, to deem the good qualities of nature, freedom from vices or temptations, a virtue; or, even, overlooking true and solid virtue, to aspire to divine union. Now, these, and other delusions, you will easily avoid, if, like a true Disciple of the Heart of Jesus, you lead an interior life.
3. When, therefore, you have come to that part of the spiritual life, which the Heart of Jesus teaches in this Book, you should direct your endeavors to this: to know and love Jesus as perfectly as you can, to learn and acquire, ever better and better, in thinking, in speaking, in acting, the dispositions of His Heart. To attain to this, besides the two methods of meditating – (which were given before the first Book) and which you may also employ here, if you find them useful – what follows, will enable you to understand more fully this matter.
4. The proper method of using this second Book is twofold: the one of meditating, the other of contemplating: both agree entirely with what the Saints have taught us concerning mental prayer.
If you meditate, let the memory represent to you some virtue of the Heart of Jesus, and let it retain the same, after the meditation; so as to put it in practice.
Let the understanding consider the qualities of the virtue proposed; then, let it compare your own heart with the Heart of Jesus, in regard to the virtue considered; afterwards, let it recall your past life, whether and how far you have practiced this virtue; if sufficiently, return thanks, and give honor to God, your Savior; but, if the contrary, grieve and ask pardon; lastly, let it look forward into the future, considering when, and how, you can improve this virtue.
Let the will embrace the same virtue, excite internal acts of the same; yea, conversing with Jesus Himself, let it utter the sentiments of the heart: for what it is sorry, what it proposes; what it fears, what it hopes; what it dislikes, what it loves; nay, let it devoutly communicate its every desire, and, finally, ask much.
But, if you contemplate, see in the mystery, or in the particular subject which you propose to contemplate, what are the sentiments of the Heart of Jesus, or of Jesus in His Heart, concerning all and each of the things that occur in the subject; what He esteems, and how highly; what He condemns and how greatly; what He shuns, and what He embraces.
Then, give heed, in this matter, to the words which issue from the Heart of Jesus, and what words are not even thought in His Heart, much less uttered.
Lastly, observe, in the same manner, what kind of acts proceed from the Heart of Jesus, and with what virtues they are adorned.
And, throughout the whole contemplation, according to your devotion, or your wants, or the motions of grace; indulge and persist in acts, that is, pious affections and petitions.
Learn, in this manner, by contemplation, to feel, and speak, and act like Jesus Himself.
The acts, specially recommended in this part of the interior life, besides acts of the theological virtues, are frequent acts of that virtue to which you are applying yourself, of generous self-abnegation of your ill-ordered nature, of a noble love of Jesus. Repeat these constantly.
But, whether you meditate, or whether you contemplate, you ought so to consider the mysteries of the life of Jesus, as if you were present at them: which is expressly taught by St. Bonaventure: "If you desire," says he, "to derive fruit from these things, you must, with all the affection of your mind, setting aside all other cares and anxieties, represent yourself as present at what is related to have been spoken or done by the Lord Jesus Christ; in such a manner as if you heard them with your ears, saw them with your eyes."
5. The Saints, who were skilled in the interior ways of the spiritual life, teach us, that the demon, the evil spirit, is more wont to tempt, under the appearance of good, those who, leading a life already exempt from sins, exercise themselves in acquiring virtues. Wherefore, to such persons, they recommend the following rules, to enable them to discern between the good and the evil spirit, and between the suggestions of either.
I. In those who are advancing from good to better, the good Spirit moves the soul peacefully, calmly, gently: The evil spirit moves the soul roughly, confusedly, violently.
But on those who proceed from bad to worse, the said spirits act in a contrary manner. For the good Spirit stings them inwardly, disquiets and arouses them that he may bring them to conversion.
And the wicked spirit endeavors to make them quiet in sin, caresses, and flatters them, that he may keep and push them onward in evil.
II. It is peculiar to God, as well as to every good Spirit, in His motions, to give to them that act rightly, or use sincere efforts, true joy and spiritual consolation, and to remove the sadness and trouble, which the evil spirit causes.
And it is the characteristic of the evil spirit to fight against such joy and consolation, by adducing specious reasons, subtleties, and various fallacies.
III. The evil spirit observes very much, whether a soul possesses a delicate or a loose conscience: If it is a delicate one, he strives to render it still more delicate, even to scrupulousness and every extreme, so that he may the more easily trouble and overcome her: thus, if he sees that a soul commits no mortal sin, nor venial, nor any voluntary defect, the evil spirit, as he cannot make her fall into some sin, tries to cause her to judge and think that it is a sin which is not a sin.
But if the soul is of lax conscience, the evil spirit strives to make her still more lax and gross; so that, if before she made no account of venial sins, he endeavors to induce her now to make light of mortal sins; and, if before she cared little for grievous sins, he uses his efforts to make her now care much less, or even nothing at all, for them.
IV. A soul that desires to make progress in the spiritual life, must always proceed in a manner contrary to that by which the evil spirit proceeds. Wherefore, if he tries to make the soul more lax, she must take care to render herself more delicate: in like manner, if he endeavors to make her so delicate, as to lead her to extremes, or to scruples, she should manage to place herself firmly in the golden mean, so that she may render and keep herself altogether quiet.
V. It is the characteristic of the evil spirit, who transforms himself sometimes into an angel of light, to begin by thrusting in thoughts conformable to the pious soul, and to finish, by suggesting his own wicked ones.
VI. The soul should rightly attend to the course of the thoughts suggested: for if the beginning, the middle, and the end are good, and tend to a good object, it is a sign that the thoughts suggested come from the good Spirit: but if in the succession of thoughts, which the spirit suggests, he ends with something bad, or which turns away from a certain good, or even with a less good than that which the soul had before resolved to do: or, if he renders the soul restless, or disturbs her, by taking away the tranquility and peace which she enjoyed before, it is an evident sign, that those thoughts come from the evil spirit.
VII. When the enemy has been discovered, and is known by the evil, to which he leads, it is then useful, that the soul consider the course of thoughts suggested to her, under the appearance of good; and that she review from the beginning, how the enemy tried to overthrow, and take away by degrees, her interior peace and tranquility, until he brought in his own wicked intention. Taught by this experience, the soul will for the future guard more easily against the deceits of the evil spirit.
St. Ignatius, St. Bernard, St. Gertrude
"Voice of Jesus" is taken from Arnoudt's "Imitation of the Sacred Heart", translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866
Voice of Jesus 25: Of Hell
Whoever does not willingly serve My goodness in
time, shall unwillingly serve My justice in eternity.
No one goes to the torments of hell against his will:
all the reprobate rush thither of their own free choice;
therefore, they complain of no one, except themselves.
(6 minute read...enjoy)
1. The Voice of Jesus
My Child, so long as men live, I do, in some manner, love them all; the good I cherish with a divine affection; the wicked I tolerate, because I await their conversion; and I go in search of those that are straying.
My Heart, wherein I bear them all written, devises and uses a thousand ways and means to save all.
But, if there are any who disappoint the hopes of My mercy, if they come to judgment laden with the guilt of grievous sin, confirmed in their obstinacy; I will blot them altogether out of My Heart, and, with the thunderbolts of My justice, I will hurl them into the depths of hell.
2. There, they are bereft of heaven and all its delights, and never shall they behold My countenance in the kingdom of My glory.
They endure an infinite punishment: because they have lost an infinite good.
Plunged in a shoreless lake of fire, they burn and suffer for evermore; and the smoke of their tortures mounts up unendingly.
All evils rush upon them. There, every sense of the body, every power of the soul, shall have its own and proper punishment.
In that, whereby each has sinned, shall he be specially tormented: as much as he has delighted in evil, so much is he tortured with pain.
There, the unclean are forever devoured with a burning heat, overwhelmed with intolerable stench, gnawed by never-dying worms.
There, the wickedly rich are oppressed by extreme want; and suffer a most frightful hunger and thirst, nor shall they find relief forever.
There, they that wrongly sought after honors, are infinitely debased, and despised and trodden under foot by the very demons.
There, no interruption is felt in torments, not even for a moment; but they continue, and shall continue forever and ever.
There, every one receives according to his desserts.
3. The place, the masters, the company, everything superadds to the punishments, in an inconceivable manner.
What can there be more terrible than the dungeons of hell, where no ray of light, no order, but continued darkness and everlasting horror dwell?
What more cruel than the demons, who exhaust their arts to invent new tortures, and their strength to inflict them?
What more gloomy than that wretched throng of sufferers, howling endlessly, hopelessly? As many companions as there are suffering, so many new torments are experienced.
4. Behold! So shall he be punished, who is unwilling to serve Me, his God, his Creator, his Redeemer, his unwearied Benefactor.
As I live, every knee shall be bent to Me, and all nations shall serve Me.
Whoever does not willingly serve My goodness in time, shall unwillingly serve My justice in eternity.
Be not amazed, My Child, at the punishment of the damned: they themselves are not astounded, but confess that they receive things worthy of their deeds.
No one goes to the torments of hell against his will: all the reprobate rush thither of their own free choice; therefore, they complain of no one, except themselves.
They confess, that I am infinitely bountiful, and acknowledge, that they are exceedingly wicked.
5. The gate of hell is sin; the paths that lead to the same are whatever allures man to sin.
How many have perished by an unlawful desire for pleasure, by an inordinate love of riches, by a wicked pursuit of honors!
Long thou for naught, My Child, which may entangle thee in its toils, and afterwards hurl thee into the abyss.
Nor is it less dangerous, in all things to seek thyself. How many, alas! there are, who seem to begin well, but who, because they do not abandon self, relapse at length – are thrust into deeper evils, and, finally, are miserably lost!
To escape hell, therefore, it is not enough to have begun well, but it is necessary to have persevered in well-doing.
Forsake sin and the world forever, lest thou be in the end forsaken by Me: forsake, moreover, thy self, lest by thy own weight, thou be dragged down to the lowest depths.
Do all, dearly beloved, endure all, that thou mayst avoid never-ending torments. All the labors and afflictions of this life, are as naught, when compared with the sufferings of hell.
Here upon earth, in a short time, there shall be an end to labors and sorrows: but there is no being redeemed out of hell.
6. The Voice of the Disciple
O Lord, our God! How awful is Thy justice in eternity! Nevertheless, Thy judgments are just, yea, acknowledged just by the reprobate themselves.
But, although nothing terrifies me more than hell, yet, I know of nothing better adapted to awaken in my heart a love for Thee.
How, indeed, O Lord Jesus, can I think of the fire of hell, without being inflamed with love for Thee?
What is there, that manifests, in a more sensible manner, the bounty of Thy Heart towards me? What is there, that presses me more forcibly to love Thee in return?
Behold! If Thou shouldst free some reprobate soul from the torments of hell, and if to her, thus restored to this life, Thou shouldst give most plentiful means, whereby she might not only save herself, in an easy manner, but also gain an everlasting throne of glory in heaven, O how would that soul love Thee! Would she think that she could ever be able to show Thee sufficient thankfulness? Could she ever think of hell, without wholly melting with love for Thee? O how pure would she keep her heart for Thee! How saint-like would she live for Thee!
Now, O Lord, I am indebted to Thee for much more than that soul should be. By preserving me from the pains of hell, Thou didst far greater and better things for me. For, is it not a greater and better blessing to be entirely kept from an evil, than to be released from it, after having undergone its pangs?
Yet, these things, so astonishing, so wonderful, so sweet, Thou didst do for me; not once, not twice, not thrice, but as often as I committed mortal sin.
Had I committed no mortal sin, my obligation should still be greater, my debt of gratitude should be increased, as well as my reasons for loving Thee. For I should be infinitely more obliged to Thee.
Had not the infinite goodness of Thy Heart preserved me by grace, how long ago might I have fallen into a sin deserving of hell! For there is no sin which one commits, which another may not also commit, unless Thou prevent him by a special grace.
Whatever, then, I may have been, this most O sweet Jesus, this I owe, first of all, to Thee, that I am not now in hell, that I am still able to gain heaven. Thou hast freed me from destruction: Thou hast freed me, according to the multitude and greatness of the goodness of Thy Heart, from the depth of hell, from the hands of them that lay in wait for my soul.
Come ye, therefore, and I will tell you all ye that fear the Lord, what great things He has done for my soul.
Should I, then, not love Thee, O Jesus, infinite Goodness! Should I not cherish Thee! Yea, I love Thee, I love Thee above all things; and I will continue to love Thee thus, as long as I have being, forever and ever. Thou alone shalt possess all my affections: for Thee, Jesus, will I live, for Thee alone, to whom I owe my all.
DAILY QUOTE for January 24, 2021
SAINT OF THE DAY
St. Francis de Sales
Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.