On Sitting and Serving
May 25, 2016. Wednesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time
Father John Doyle, LC
The disciples were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the Twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again." James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What is it you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many."
Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to You to pray. Even though I cannot see you, I trust that You are present and very much want to instruct me in Your teachings. In the same way that You demonstrate Your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for You by dedicating this time to You with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to You and respond with love.
Petition: Lord, help me imitate your example of loving service.
1. Jesus Sets His Face Toward Jerusalem: Jesus is walking ahead of his disciples, firm and determined. A few of those following him are growing uneasy, but James and John seem not to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Jesus is accompanied, but in a certain sense, he is alone. Again and again he has tried to explain to his followers that his mission will lead him to be rejected and mocked and eventually to suffer the cruelest of deaths. But they seem incapable of grasping the message; from their vantage point, none of this makes any sense. At times we, too, hear Christ’s words about taking up our cross daily and losing our life for his sake, and we are either terrified at the prospect or its meaning eludes us. Jesus, however, continues inviting us to follow in his footsteps and carry our daily crosses with our eyes fixed on our heavenly home, the New Jerusalem.
2. The Ambitions of James and John: James and John were hand-picked disciples of the Lord. Jesus had often allowed them to accompany him when he went off alone to pray. They both felt a deep affection for Our Lord, and so it is not surprising that they wished to be near him when he entered into his glory. Jesus doesn’t reproach them for their petition even though it comes at a moment when his heart is burdened with deeper concerns. Rather, Jesus invites them to reflect on the consequences of their request. To be on Jesus’ right and left in his glory means to pass through a similar trial as the one he must soon undergo –– they would have to be situated on his right and left on the day he is lifted up on the cross. Jesus also invites us to “seek the things above” and place our ambitions on heavenly sights and not earthly glory. If our love for Jesus is true, then it must withstand the test of trial and suffering.
3. The True Meaning of Authority: Most of us prefer to command than obey. Ambition quickly leads to rivalry and bitter feelings, as happened to the twelve apostles. Jesus quickly intervenes and gives us a valuable lesson on the meaning of authority, a lesson to be taken to heart. Authority of any kind has only one purpose: service. Do I view the authority that I have been given as a service? Am I more concerned about being obeyed –– immediately and exactly –– than about setting an example for others? How can I be more like Jesus in exercising my authority? Do I realize this is a specific way of picking up my cross and following after Jesus?
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, help me to be zealous for the things of above. Do not allow my heart to be ambitious but rather be meek and gentle like Yours.
Resolution: I will seek to serve others no matter who they are.
Excerpts from the DIARY of Saint Faustina Kowalska
36 Once I was summoned to the judgment [seat] of God. I stood alone before the Lord. Jesus appeared such as we know Him during His Passion. After a moment, His wounds disappeared except for five, those in His hands, His feet and His side. Suddenly I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God. I did not know that even the smallest transgressions will have to be accounted for. What a moment! Who can describe it? To stand before the Thrice-Holy God! Jesus asked me, Who are you? I answered, "I am Your servant, Lord." You are guilty of one day of fire in purgatory. I wanted to throw myself immediately into the flames of purgatory, but Jesus stopped me and said, Which do you prefer, suffer now for one day in purgatory or for a short while on earth? I replied, "Jesus, I want to suffer in purgatory, and I want to suffer also the greatest pains on earth, even if it were until the end of the world." Jesus said, One [of the two] is enough; you will go back to earth, and there you will suffer much, but not for long; you will accomplish My will and My desires, and a faithful servant of Mine will help you to do this. Now, rest your head on My bosom, on My heart, and draw from it strength and power for these sufferings, because you will find neither relief nor help nor comfort anywhere else. Know that you will have much, much to suffer, but don't let this frighten you; I am with you.
41 On one occasion I saw a servant of God in the immediate danger of committing a mortal sin. I started to beg God to deign to send down upon me all the torments of hell and all the sufferings He wished if only this priest would be set free and snatched from the occasion of committing a sin. Jesus heard my prayer and, that very instant, I felt a crown of thorns on my head. The thorns penetrated my head with great force right into my brain. This lasted for three hours; the servant of God was set free from this sin, and his soul was strengthened by a special grace of God.
55 1933. Spiritual Counsel Given Me by Father Andrasz, S.J.
First: You must not turn away from these interior inspirations, but always tell everything to your confessor. If you recognize that these interior inspirations refer to your own self; that is to say, they are for the good of your soul or for the good of other souls, l urge you to follow them; and you must not neglect them, but always do
so in consultation with your confessor.
Second: If these inspirations are not in accord with the faith or the spirit of the Church, they must be rejected immediately as coming from the evil spirit.
Third: If these inspirations do not refer to souls, in general, nor specifically to their good, you should not take them too seriously, and it would be better to even ignore them.
But you should not make this decision by yourself, either one way or the other, as you can easily be led astray despite these great favors from God. Humility, humility, and ever humility, as we can do nothing of ourselves; all is purely and simply God's grace.
You say to me that God demands great trust from souls; well then, you be the first to show this trust. And one more word-accept all this with serenity.
Words of one of the confessors: "Sister, God is preparing many special graces for you, but try to make your life as clear as crystal before the Lord, paying no attention to what anyone else thinks about you. Let God suffice you; He alone."
Toward the end of my novitiate, a confessor [perhaps Father Theodore] told me: "Go through life doing good, so that I could write on its pages: `She spent her life doing good.' May God bring this about in you."
Another time the confessor said to me, "Comport yourself before God like the widow in the Gospel; although the coin she dropped into the box was of little value, it counted far more before God than all the big offerings of others."
On another occasion the instruction I received was this: " Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from God; give, then, generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment. Keep well in mind the words I am telling you right now."
Still another time he gave me the following recommendation: "Let God push your boat out into the deep waters, toward the unfathomable depths of the interior life."
Here are a few words from a conversation I had with the Mother Directress [Mary Joseph] toward the end of my novitiate: "Sister, let simplicity and humility be the characteristic traits of your soul. Go through life like a little child, always trusting, always full of simplicity and humility, content with everything, happy in every circumstance. There, where others fear, you will pass calmly along, thanks to this simplicity and humility. Remember this, Sister, for your whole life: as waters flow from the mountains down into the valleys, so, too, do God's graces flow only into humble souls."
300 +Ask of my faithful servant [Father Sopocko] that, on this day, he tell the whole world of My great mercy; that whoever approaches the Fount of Life on this day will be granted complete remission of sins and punishment.
+Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.
+Oh, how much I am hurt by a soul's distrust! Such a soul professes that I am Holy and Just, but does not believe that I am Mercy and does not trust in My Goodness. Even the devils glorify My Justice but do not believe in My Goodness.
My Heart rejoices in this title of Mercy.
301 Proclaim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. All the works of My hands are crowned with mercy.
458 During the ten-o'clock meditation, Father [Rzyczkowski ] spoke about divine mercy and about God's goodness to us. He said that as we review the history of mankind, we can see this great goodness of God at every step. All the attributes of God, such as omnipotence and wisdom, serve to reveal to us the greatest of His attributes; namely, His goodness. God's goodness is the greatest of God's attributes. Many souls striving for perfection, however, are not aware of this great goodness of God. Everything that Father said in the course of the meditation about the goodness of God, was exactly what Jesus had said to me concerning (the Feast of Mercy. I have now come to understand clearly what the Lord has promised me, and I have no doubt about anything; God's language is clear and distinct.
525 O Holy Trinity, in whom is contained the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, eternal joy, inconceivable depth of love, poured out upon all creatures and constituting their happiness, honor and glory be to Your holy name forever and ever. Amen.
When I consider Your greatness and beauty, O my God, I rejoice exceedingly that the Lord I serve is so great. With love and joy I carry out His will, and the more I come to know Him, the more I desire to love Him. I burn with the desire to love Him ever more and more.
543 The duration of the postulancy. The postulancy will last one year. During this time, the candidate should examine whether she is attracted to this type of life and whether it is suitable to her. The directress should also diligently consider whether or not the person in question is suitable for this type of life. After a year, if the postulant shows evidence of a stable will and an earnest desire to serve God, she should be admitted to the novitiate.
573 December 21, 1935. One day my confessor [Father Sopocko] told me to go and look at a certain house to see whether it was the same house I had seen in my vision. When I went with my confessor to see that house, or rather those ruins, at a glance I recognized that they were the same as I had seen in my vision. The moment I touched the boards which had been nailed together in place of the doors, a strength pervaded my soul like a flash, giving me unshakable certitude. I went away quickly from that place, my heart full of joy, for it seemed to me that there was a certain force chaining me to that place.
I am very happy to see that everything agrees perfectly with what I saw in the vision. When the confessor spoke to me about the arrangement of the cells and other things, I recognized everything to be the same as had been told to me by Jesus. I am delighted that God is acting in this way through my confessor, but I am not surprised that God is giving him so much light; since God, who is Light itself, lives in a pure and humble heart, and all sufferings and adversities serve but to reveal the soul's holiness. When I returned home, I went immediately to our chapel to rest a while. Then suddenly I heard these words in my soul: Do not fear anything. I am with you. These matters are in My hands and I will bring them to fruition according to My mercy, for nothing can oppose My will.
634 March 22,. When I arrived at Warsaw, I went into the small chapel for a moment to thank the Lord for a safe journey, and I asked the Lord to give me the assistance and the grace necessary for everything that was in store for me here. I submitted myself in all things to His holy will. I heard these words: Fear nothing; all difficulties will serve for the fulfillment of My will.
764 November 24. Today, I received a letter from Father Sopocko.  I learned from it that God himself is conducting this whole affair. And as the Lord has begun it, so will He continue to carry it along. And the greater the difficulties which I see, the more am I at peace. Oh, if in this whole matter the glory of God and the profit to souls were not greatly served, Satan would not be opposing it so much. But he senses what he is going to lose because of it. I have now learned that Satan hates mercy more than anything else. It is his greatest torment. Still, the word of God will not pass away; God's utterance is living; difficulties will not suppress the works of God, but show that they are God's...
929 When I had rested near His sweetest Heart, I told Him, "Jesus, I have so much to tell You." And the Lord said to me with great love, Speak, My daughter. And I started to enumerate the pains of my heart; that is, how greatly concerned I am for all mankind, that "they all do not know You, and those who do know You do not love You as You deserve to be loved. I also see how terribly sinners offend You; and then again, I see how severely the faithful, especially Your servants, are oppressed and persecuted. And then, too, I see many souls rushing headlong into the terrible abyss of hell. You see, Jesus, this is the pain that gnaws at my heart and bones. And, although You show me special love and inundate my heart with streams of Your joys, nevertheless, this does not appease the sufferings I have just mentioned, but rather they penetrate my poor heart all the more acutely. Oh, how ardently I desire that all mankind turn with trust to Your mercy. Then, seeing the glory of Your name, my heart will be comforted."
Jesus listened to these outpourings of my heart with gravity and interest, as if He had known nothing about them, and this seemed to make it easier for me to talk. And the Lord said to me, My daughter, those words of your heart are pleasing to Me, and by saying the chaplet you are bringing humankind closer to Me. After these words, I found myself alone, but the presence of God is always in my soul.
948 February 13, . Today, during the Passion Service,  I saw Jesus being tortured and crowned with thorns and holding a reed in His hand. Jesus was silent as the soldiers were bustling about, vying with each other in torturing Him. Jesus said nothing, but just looked at me, and in that gaze I felt His pain, so terrible that we have not the faintest idea of how much He suffered for us before He was crucified. My soul was filled with pain and longing; in my soul, I felt great hatred for sin, and even the smallest infidelity on my part seemed to me like a huge mountain for which I must expiate by mortification and penance. When I see Jesus tormented, my heart is torn to pieces, and I think: what will become of sinners if they do not take advantage of the Passion of Jesus? In His Passion, I see a whole sea of mercy.
+ J.M.J. February 12, 1937
+ The Love of God is the flower - Mercy the fruit.
1000 In the terrible desert of life,
O my sweetest Jesus,
Protect souls from disaster,
For You are the Fountain of Mercy.
Let the resplendence of Your rays,
O sweet Commander of our souls,
Let mercy change the world.
And you who have received this grace, serve Jesus.
Steep is the great highway I must travel,
But I fear nothing,
For the pure fount of mercy is flowing for my sake,
And, with it, strength for the humble soul.
I am exhausted and worn out,
But my conscience bears me witness
That I do all for the greater glory of the Lord,
The Lord who is my repose and my heritage.
[End of Notebook Two of the Diary.]
1029 The doctor did not allow me to go to the chapel to attend the Passion Service, although I had a great desire for it; however, I prayed in my own room. Suddenly I heard the bell in the next room, and I went in and rendered a service to a seriously sick person. When I returned to my room, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus, who said, My daughter, you gave Me greater pleasure by rendering Me that service than if you had prayed for a long time. I answered, "But it was not to You, Jesus, but to that patient that I rendered this service." And the Lord answered me, Yes, My daughter, but whatever you do for your neighbor, you do for Me.
1286 + Thank You, O God, for all the graces
Which unceasingly You lavish upon me,
Graces which enlighten me with the brilliance of the sun,
For by them You show me the sure way.
Thank You, 0 Lord, for creating me,
For calling me into being from nothingness,
For imprinting Your divinity on my soul,
The work of sheer merciful love.
Thank You, O God, for Holy Baptism
Which engrafted me into Your family,
A gift great beyond all thought or expression
Which transforms my soul.
Thank You, O Lord, for Holy Confession,
For that inexhaustible spring of great mercy,
For that inconceivable fountain of graces
In which sin-tainted souls become purified.
Thank You, O Jesus, for Holy Communion
In which You give us Yourself.
I feel Your Heart beating within my breast
As You cause Your divine life to unfold within me.
Thank You, O Holy Spirit, for the Sacrament of Confirmation,
Which dubs me Your knight
And gives strength to my soul at each moment,
Protecting me from evil.
Thank You, O God, for the grace of a vocation.
For being called to serve You alone,
Leading me to make You my sole love,
An unequal honor for my soul.
Thank You, O Lord, for perpetual vows,
For that union of pure love,
For having deigned to unite Your pure heart with mine
And uniting my heart to Yours in the purest of bonds.
Thank You, O Lord, for the Sacrament of Anointing
Which, in my final moments, will give me strength;
My help in battle, my guide to salvation,
Fortifying my soul till we rejoice forever.
Thank You, O God, for all the inspirations
That Your goodness lavishes upon me,
For the interior lights given my soul,
Which the heart senses, but words cannot express.
Thank You, O Holy Trinity, for the vastness of the graces
Which You have lavished on me unceasingly through life.
My gratitude will intensify as the eternal dawn rises,
When, for the first time, I sing to Your glory.
1290 September 19, 1937. Today, my own brother, Stanley, visited me. I rejoiced greatly in this beautiful soul, who also intends to devote himself to God's service. That is to say, God himself is drawing him to His love. We talked for a long time about God, about His goodness. During this conversation with him, l learned how pleasing his soul was to God. I received permission from Mother Superior to see him more often. When he asked my advice about entering religion, I replied, "Surely you know best what God is asking of you." I mentioned the Jesuit Order, but said, "Enter wherever you like." I promised to pray for him, and I decided to make a novena to the Sacred Heart through the intercession of Father Peter Skarga with the promise of having it announced in the Messenger of the Sacred Heart,  because he is having great difficulties in this matter. I understood that, in this case, prayer was more useful than advice.
1343 Third day. In the meditation on death, I prepared myself as if for real death. I examined my conscience and searched all my affairs at the approach of death and, thanks be to grace, my affairs were directed toward that ultimate goal. This filled my heart with great gratitude to God, and I resolved to serve my God even more faithfully in the future. One thing alone is necessary: to put my old self to death and to begin a new life. In the morning, I prepared to receive Holy Communion as if it were to be the last in my life, and after Holy Communion I brought before my imagination my actual death, and I said the prayers for the dying and then the De Profundis for my own soul. My body was lowered into the grave, and I said to my soul, "See what has become of your body, a heap of dirt teeming with vermin-that is your inheritance."
1720 There are moments when Jesus gives me knowledge within my soul, and then everything that exists on earth is at my service: friends, enemies, success, adversity... all things, willing or not, must serve me. I do not think of them at all; I strive to be faithful to God and to love Him to the point of complete forgetfulness of self. And He Himself looks after me and fights against my enemies.
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-36, 41, 55, 300-301, 458)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-525, 543, 573, 634, 764, 929, 948)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-1000)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-III-1029)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-IV-1286, 1290)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-V-1343)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-VI-1720 )
I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory. (Notebook I-48)
I desire that you know more profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls, and you will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You."
I desire that you know more profoundly the love that burns in My Heart for souls, and you will understand this when you meditate upon My Passion. Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer: "O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You."
Mayo 25, 2016
Mayo 24, 2016
The Rewards of Self Denial
March 24, 2016. Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Peter began to say to Jesus, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first."
Introductory Prayer: Once again, Lord, I come to You to pray. Even though I cannot see You, I trust that You are present and want very much to instruct me in Your teachings. In the same way that You demonstrate Your love for me by spending this time with me, I want to express my love for You by dedicating this time to You with a spirit of faith, confidence and attention. Here I am, Lord, to listen to You and respond with love.
Petition: Lord, help me to have a pure intention in my acts of self-denial.
1. Peter’s Question: At first glance Peter seems to be selfish, as if he were saying, “We have given up everything, now what’s in it for us?” His question is not prompted by selfishness, but rather is a response to Jesus’ previous statement that it is very hard for a rich man to enter heaven. In light of the difficulty of riches, Peter wants to know what the chances of entering the kingdom of God will be for someone who has given up everything to follow Christ. How detached from material possessions must we be in order to be assured a place in heaven? Jesus does not give us a concrete answer to this question, but he does tell us that those who have given up everything will not only receive a reward of eternal life in the age to come, but also ample reward in this life.
2. The Real Motivation: Reward is not given only to those who simply give things up, but rather to those who give things up for the sake of Christ and for love of the Gospel. Sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice — or for that matter, sacrifice for a selfish reason — is worth nothing in God’s eyes. Sacrifice has value only when it is done for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, for love. Our intention in self-denial must be to glorify Christ or to witness to the Gospel message. Is this the real motivation of my self-denial?
3. Eternal Life: The reward for our self-denial begins in this life and has its culmination in the life to come. The difference between one and the other is that in this life there are also persecutions. In this life we enjoy both the love of Christ and suffering persecutions for his sake. This life is a life of purification of our love, purification of our intentions. By proving our love now, we will enjoy life with Christ for all eternity.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, You know how attached I am to myself, my possessions and my comforts. Help me to give up what I need to give up — out of love for You and Your Gospel, not out of love for myself or what I might get out of it. Help me not to be afraid to deny myself for the sake of drawing nearer to You.
Resolution: I will give up something that keeps me from drawing closer to God.
Excerpts from the DIARY of Saint Faustina Kowalska
Darkness and Temptations
77 My mind became dimmed in a strange way; no truth seemed clear to me. When people spoke to me about God, my heart was like a rock. I could not draw from it a single sentiment of love for Him. When I tried, by an act of the will, to remain close to Him, I experienced great torments, and it seemed to me that I was only provoking God to an even greater anger. It was absolutely impossible for me to meditate as I had been accustomed to do in the past. I felt in my soul a great void, and there was nothing with which I could fill it. I began to suffer from a great hunger and yearning for God, but I saw my utter powerlessness. I tried to read slowly, sentence by sentence, and to meditate in this way, but this also was of no avail. I understood nothing of what I had read.
The abyss of my misery was constantly before my eyes. Every time I entered the chapel for some spiritual exercise, I experienced even worse torments and temptations. More than once, all through Holy Mass, I had to struggle against blasphemous thoughts which were forcing themselves to my lips. I felt an aversion for the Holy Sacraments, and it seemed to me that I was not profiting from them in any way. It was only out of obedience to my confessor that I frequented them, and this blind obedience was for me the only path I could follow and my very last hope of survival. The priest explained to me that these were trials sent by God and that, in the situation I was in, not only was I not offending God, but I was most pleasing to Him. "This is a sign," he told me, "that God loves you very much and that He has great confidence in you, since He is sending you such trials." But these words brought me no comfort; it seemed to me that they did not apply to me at all.
One thing did surprise me: it often happened that, at the time when I was suffering greatly, these terrible torments would disappear suddenly just as I was approaching the confessional; but as soon as I had left the confessional, all these torments would again seize me with even greater ferocity. I would then fall on my face before the Blessed Sacrament repeating these words: "Even if You kill me, still will I trust in You!" [cf. Job 13:15] It seemed to me that I would die in these agonies. But the most terrible thought for me was the conviction that I had been rejected by God. Then other thoughts came to me: why strive to acquire virtues and do good works? why mortify and annihilate yourself? what good is it to take vows? to pray? to sacrifice and immolate yourself? why sacrifice myself all the time? what good is it - if I am already rejected by God? why all these efforts? And here, God alone knew what was going on in my heart.
93 +A Short Version of the Catechism of the Vows
Q. What is a vow?
A. A vow is a voluntary promise made to God, to carry out a more perfect act.
Q. Is a vow binding in a matter which is the object of a commandment?
A. Yes. The carrying out of an act which is the object of a commandment has a double value and merit; and the neglect of such an act is a double transgression and evil, because by breaking such a vow we add to the sin against the commandment, the sin of sacrilege.
Q. Why do religious vows have such value?
A. Because they are the foundation of the religious life approved by the Church, in which the members bound together in a religious community undertake to strive always for perfection by means of the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, observed according to the rules.
Q. What is the meaning of the words, "strive for perfection?"
A. To strive for perfection means that the religious life does not in itself demand that perfection be already attained, but obliges, under the pain of sin, that we work daily to attain it. Therefore, a religious who does not want to become perfect neglects his principal duty of state.
Q. What are "solemn" religious vows?
A. " Solemn" religious vows are so absolute that, in extraordinary cases, only the Holy Father can dispense from them.
Q. What are simple religious vows?
A. These are vows which are less absolute - the Holy See dispenses from perpetual and annual vows.
Q. What is the difference between a vow and a virtue?
A. A vow pertains only to that which is commanded under pain of sin; the virtue goes beyond this and helps in the carrying out of the vow; on the other hand, by breaking the vow we fail in the virtue and do it damage.
Q. To what do the religious vows oblige us?
A. The religious vows oblige us to strive to acquire the virtues and to submit ourselves completely to our Superiors and to the Rules which are in force; thus the religious gives his own person to the Community, renouncing every right over himself and his actions, which he sacrifices to the service of God.
The Vow of Poverty
The vow of poverty is the voluntary renunciation of the right over property or to the use of such property with the purpose of pleasing God.
Q. What objects does the vow of poverty concern?
A. All those goods and those objects which appertain to the Community. We have no longer any right over anything that has been given to us, once it has been accepted, whether an article or money. All these donations and presents, which may have been given us out of gratitude or in any other way, belong by right to the Community. We cannot make use, without violating the vow, of any wages we may receive for work or even any annuity.
Q. When do we break or violate the vow in a matter which entails the seventh commandment?
A. We break or violate it when, without permission, we take for ourselves anything that belongs to the house; when, without permission, we retain something in order to appropriate it; and when, without authorization, we sell or exchange something that belongs to the Community. When we make use of an object for some other purpose than that intended by the Superior. When we give to, or accept from another, anything whatsoever without permission. When by negligence we destroy or damage something. When, in going from one house to another, we take something with us without permission. In a situation where the vow is broken, the religious is bound to restitution to the Community.
The Virtue of Poverty
This is an evangelical virtue which impels the heart to detach itself from temporal things; the religious, in virtue of his profession, is strictly obliged to it.
Q. When do we sin against the virtue of poverty? When we desire something, contrary to this virtue. When we become attached to something, and when we make use of superfluous things. How many degrees of poverty are there and what are they?
A. There are, in practice, four degrees of poverty for one who is a professed religious: to dispose of nothing without the consent of the Superiors (the strict matter of the vow); to avoid superfluities and be content with necessities (this pertains to the virtue); to readily content oneself with things of inferior quality in what concerns one's cell, clothing, nourishment, etc., and to experience this contentment interiorly; to rejoice in extreme poverty.
The Vow of Chastity
Q. To what does this vow oblige us?
A. To renounce marriage and to avoid everything that is forbidden by the sixth and ninth commandments.
Q. Is a fault against the virtue a violation of the vow?
A. Every fault against the virtue is at the same time a violation of the vow, because here there is no difference, as in the case of poverty and obedience, between the vow and the virtue.
Q. Is every bad thought a sin?
A. No, every bad thought is not a sin; it becomes so only when the acquiescence of the will and consent are joined to the consideration of the mind.
Q. Is there anything, over and above sins against chastity, which is detrimental to the virtue?
A. Lack of custody of the senses, of the imagination, of the feelings; familiarity and sentimental friendships are detrimental to the virtue.
Q. What are the means by which this virtue may be preserved?
A. To conquer interior temptations with the thought of the presence of God, and moreover to fight without fear. And for exterior temptations, to avoid occasions. There are, in all, seven principal means: to guard the senses, to avoid occasions, to avoid idleness, to remove temptations promptly, to remove oneself from all - and especially particular friendships, the spirit of mortification, and to reveal all these temptations to one's confessor.
Besides this, there are also five means of preserving this virtue: humility, the spirit of prayer, modesty of the eyes, fidelity to the rule, a sincere devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Vow of Obedience
The vow of obedience is superior to the first two. It is, to tell the truth, a holocaust, and it is more necessary because it forms and animates the monastic body.
Q. To what does the vow of obedience oblige us?
A. By the vow of obedience, the religious promises to God to be obedient to his legitimate superiors in everything that they will ordain in virtue of the rule. The vow of obedience makes the religious dependent on his superior in virtue of these rules for his whole life and in all his affairs. A religious commits a grave sin against the vow every time he disobeys an order given in virtue of obedience and of these rules.
The Virtue of Obedience
The virtue of obedience goes further than the vow; it embraces the rules, the regulations and even the counsels of the superiors.
Q. Is the virtue of obedience indispensable for a religious?
A. The virtue of obedience is so indispensable to a religious that, even if he were to perform good actions contrary to obedience, these would be evil and without merit.
Q. Can we sin gravely against the virtue of obedience?
A. We sin gravely when we scorn the authority or the order of the superior, or when spiritual or temporal harm to the community results from our disobedience.
Q. What faults endanger the vow?
A. To be prejudiced against the superior, or to harbor an antipathy for him - murmuring and criticism, tardiness and negligence.
The Degrees of Obedience
Prompt and complete fulfillment - the obedience of the will, when the will persuades the intellect to submit to the advice of the superior. To facilitate obedience, Saint Ignatius suggests, moreover, three means: always to see God in our superior, whoever he might be; to justify in itself the order or advice of the superior; to accept each order as an order from God, without examining it or reflecting on it. General means: humility. Nothing is difficult for the humble.
96 +Trials sent by God to a soul which is particularly loved by Him.
Temptations and darkness; Satan. The soul's love [for God] is still not such as God would have it. The soul suddenly loses the tangible perception of God's presence. Various defects and imperfections rise up within it, and it must fight them furiously. All her faults lift up their heads, but the soul's vigilance is great. The former awareness of the presence of God gives place to coldness and spiritual dryness; the soul has no taste for spiritual exercises; it cannot pray, either in the old way, or in the manner in which it had just begun to pray. It struggles this way and that, but can find no satisfaction. God has hidden himself from it, and it can find no consolation in creatures, nor can any of these creatures find a way of consoling it. The soul craves passionately for God, but sees its own misery; it begins to sense God's justice; it seems to it that it has lost all the gifts that God had given it; its mind is dimmed, and darkness fills it; unspeakable torment begins. The soul tries to explain its state to the confessor, but it is not understood and is assailed by an even greater unrest. Satan begins his work.
97 Faith staggers under the impact; the struggle is fierce. The soul tries hard to cling to God by an act of will. With God's permission, Satan goes even further: hope and love are put to the test. These temptations are terrible. God supports the soul in secret, so to speak. The soul is not aware of this, but otherwise it would be impossible to stand firm; and God knows very well how much He can allow to befall a soul. The soul is tempted to unbelief in respect to revealed truths and to insincerity toward the confessor. Satan says to it, "Look, no one understands you; why speak about all this?" Words that terrify it sound in its ears, and it seems to the soul that it is uttering these against God. It sees what it does not want to see. It hears what it does not want to hear. And, oh, it is a terrible thing at times like these not to have an experienced confessor! The soul carries the whole burden alone. However, one should make every effort to find, if it is at all possible, a well-informed confessor, for the soul can collapse under the burden and come to the very edge of the precipice. All these trials are heavy and difficult. God does not send them to a soul which has not already been admitted to a deeper intimacy with Him and which has not yet tasted the divine delights. Besides, in this God has His own plans, which for us are impenetrable. God often prepares a soul in this way for His future designs and great works. He wants to try it as pure gold is tried. But this is not yet the end of the testing; there is still the trial of trials, the complete abandonment of the soul by God.
+ The Trial of Trials, Complete Abandonment - Despair
98 When the soul comes out victorious from the preceding trials, even though it may stumble here and there, it fights on valiantly, humbly calling upon God, "Save me, I am perishing!" And it is still able to fight on.
At this point, however, the soul is engulfed in a horrible night. It sees within itself only sin. It feels terrible. It sees itself completely abandoned by God. It feels itself to be the object of His hatred. It is but one step away from despair. The soul does its best to defend itself; it tries to stir up its confidence; but prayer is an even greater torment for it, as this prayer seems to arouse God to an even greater anger. The soul finds itself poised on the summit of a lofty mountain on the very brink of a precipice.
The soul is drawn to God, but feels repulsed. All other sufferings and tortures in the world are as nothing compared with this sensation into which it has been plunged; namely, that of being rejected by God. No one can bring it any relief; it finds itself completely alone; there is no one to defend it. It raises its eyes to heaven, but is convinced that this is not for her-for her all is lost. It falls deeper and deeper from darkness to darkness, and it seems to it that it has lost forever the God it used to love so dearly. This thought is torture beyond all description. But the soul does not agree to it and tries to lift its gaze toward heaven, but in vain! And this makes the torture even more intense.
If God wishes to keep the soul in such darkness, no one will be able to give it light. It experiences rejection by God in a vivid and terrifying manner. From its heart burst forth painful moans, so painful that no priest will comprehend it, unless he himself has been through these trials. In the midst of this, the evil spirit adds to the soul's suffering, mocking it: "Will you persist in your faithfulness? This is your reward; you are in our power!" But Satan has only as much influence over the soul as God allows him, and God knows how much we can bear. "What have you gotten out of your mortifications," says Satan, "and out of your fidelity to the rule? What use are all these efforts? You have been rejected by God!" This word, rejected, becomes a fire which penetrates every nerve to the marrow of the bone. It pierces right through her entire being. The ordeal reaches its climax. The soul no longer looks for help anywhere. It shrinks into itself and loses sight of everything; it is as though it has accepted the torture of being abandoned. This is a moment for which I have no words. This is the agony of the soul.
101 Jesus, You alone know how the soul, engulfed in darkness, moans in the midst of these torments and, despite all this, thirsts for God as burning lips thirst for water. It dies and withers; it dies a death without death; that is to say, it cannot die. All its efforts come to nothing; it is under a powerful hand. Now the soul comes under the power of the Just One. All exterior temptations cease; all that surrounds it becomes silent, like a dying person who loses contact with everything around it: the person's entire soul is in the hand of the Just God, the Thrice-Holy God,-rejected for all eternity! This is the culminating moment, and God alone can test a soul in this way, because He alone knows what the soul can endure.
When the soul has been saturated through and through by this infernal fire, it is, as it were, cast headlong into great despair. My soul experienced this moment when I was all alone in my cell. When my soul began to sink into this despair, I felt that the end was near. But I seized my little crucifix and clutched it tightly in my hand. And now I felt my body separate itself from my soul; and though I wanted to go to my Superiors, I no longer had the physical strength. I uttered my last words: "I trust in Your Mercy!"-and it seemed to me that I provoked God to an even greater anger. And now I was drowned in despair, and all that was left me was a moan of unadulterated pain which, from time to time, tore itself from my soul. The soul is in agony-and it seemed to me that I would remain in this state, because by my own strength I could not emerge from it. Every recollection of God opened up an unspeakable ocean of suffering, and yet despite this there is something within the soul which is drawn to Him, though it seems to her for this only-that she suffer more. The memory of the love with which God formerly surrounded it is still another kind of suffering. His gaze pierces it, and everything within the soul is burned by this gaze.
116 My Jesus, You know what my soul goes through at the recollection of these sufferings. I have often marvelled that the angels and saints hold their peace at the sight of a soul suffering like that. Yet they have special love for us at such moments. My soul has often cried out after God, as a little child who cries as loudly as he can when his mother covers her face and he cannot recognize her. O my Jesus, honor and glory to You for these trials of love! Great and incomprehensible is your mercy. All that You intended for my soul, O Lord, is steeped in Your mercy.
118 The tongue is a small member, but it does big things. A religious who does not keep silence will never attain holiness; that is, she will never become a saint. Let her not delude herself-unless it is the Spirit of God who is speaking through her, for then she must not keep silent. But, in order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God. One can speak a great deal without breaking silence and, on the contrary, one can speak little and be constantly breaking silence. Oh, what irreparable damage is done by the breach of silence! We cause a lot of harm to our neighbor, but even more to our own selves.
In my opinion, and according to my experience, the rule concerning silence should stand in the very first place. God does not give himself to a chattering soul which, like a drone in a beehive, buzzes around but gathers no honey. A talkative soul is empty inside. It lacks both the essential virtues and intimacy with God. A deeper interior life, one of gentle peace and of that silence where the Lord dwells, is quite out of the question. A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others. I have seen many souls in the depths of hell for not having kept their silence; they told me so themselves when I asked them what was the cause of their undoing. These were souls of religious. My God, what an agony it is to think that not only might they have been in heaven, but they might even have become saints! O Jesus, have mercy!
147 I recall that I have received most light during adoration which I made lying prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour every day throughout Lent. During that time I came to know myself and God more profoundly. And yet, even though I had the superiors' permission to do so, I encountered many obstacles to praying in such a way. Let the soul be aware that, in order to pray and persevere in prayer, one must arm oneself with patience and cope bravely with exterior and interior difficulties. The interior difficulties are discouragement, dryness, heaviness of spirit and temptations. The exterior difficulties are human respect and time; one must observe the time set apart for prayer. This has been my personal experience because, when I did not pray at the time assigned for prayer, later on I could not do it because of my duties; or if I did manage to do so, this was only with great difficulty, because my thoughts kept wandering off to my duties. I also experienced this difficulty: when a soul has prayed well and left prayer in a state of profound interior recollection, others resist its recollection; and so, the soul must be patient to persevere in prayer. It often happened to me that when my soul was more deeply immersed in God, and I had derived greater fruit from prayer, and God's presence accompanied me during the day, and at work there was more recollection and greater precision and effort at my duty, this was precisely when I received the most rebukes for being negligent in my duty and indifferent to everything; because less recollected souls want others to be like them, for they are a constant [source of] remorse to them.
151 +Once, when I was in the kitchen with Sister N., she got a little upset with me and, as a punishment, ordered me to sit on the table while she herself continued to work hard, cleaning and scrubbing. And while I was sitting there, the sisters came along and were astounded to find me sitting on the table, and each one had her say. One said that I was a loafer and another, "What an eccentric!" I was a postulant at the time. Others said, "What kind of a sister will she make?" Still, I could not get down because sister had ordered me to sit there by virtue of obedience until she told me to get down. Truly, God alone knows how many acts of self-denial it took. I thought I'd die of shame. God often allowed such things for the sake of my inner formation, but He compensated me for this humiliation by a great consolation. During Benediction I saw Him in great beauty. Jesus looked at me kindly and said, My daughter, do not be afraid of sufferings; I am with you.
163 JMJ The Year 1937
+O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, as many times as my heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.
+I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors' souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors' needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moaning. Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.
+You yourself command me to exercise the three degrees of mercy. The first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy-if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The third: prayer-if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even there where I cannot reach out physically.
O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself, for you can do all things.
173 Satan's temptations during meditation. I felt a strange fear that the priest would not
understand me, or that he would have no time to hear everything I would have to say. How am I going to tell him all this? If it were Father Bukowski I could do it more easily, but this Jesuit whom I am seeing for the first time... Then I remembered Father Bukowski's advice that I should at least take brief notes of the lights sent to me by God during the retreats and give him at least a brief report on them. My God, for a day and a half all has gone well, and now a life and death struggle is beginning. The conference is to start in a half hour, and then I am to go to confession. Satan tried to persuade me into believing that if my superiors have told me that my inner life is an illusion, why should I ask again and trouble the confessor? Didn't MX [probably Mother Jane] tell you that the Lord Jesus does not commune with souls as miserable as yours? This confessor is going to tell you the same thing. Why speak to him about all this? These are not sins, and Mother X, told you that all this communing with the Lord Jesus was daydreaming and pure hysteria. So why tell it to this confessor? You would do better to dismiss all this as illusions. Look how many humiliations you have suffered because of them, and how many more are still awaiting you, and all the sisters know that you are a hysteric. "Jesus!" I called out with all the strength of my soul.
216 We have come to Cracow today [April 18, 1933]. What a joy it is to find myself again where I took my first steps in the spiritual life! Dear Mother Directress [Mary Joseph] is ever the same, cheerful and full of love of neighbor. I entered the chapel for a moment and joy filled my soul. In a flash I recalled the whole ocean of graces that had been given me as a novice here.
236 Oh, how misleading are appearances, and how unjust the judgments. Oh, how often virtue suffers only because it remains silent. To be sincere with those who are incessantly stinging us demands much self-denial. One bleeds, but there are no visible wounds. O Jesus, it is only on the last day that many of these things will be made known. What joy-none of our efforts will be lost!
241 Love of neighbor. First: Helpfulness towards the sisters. Second: Do not speak about those who are absent, and defend the good name of my neighbor. Third: Rejoice in the success of others.
279 God made known to me what true love consists in and gave light to me about how, in practice, to give proof of it to Him. True love of God consists in carrying out God's will. To show God our love in what we do, all our actions, even the least, must spring from our love of God. And the Lord said to me, My child, you please Me most by suffering. In your physical as well as your mental sufferings, My daughter, do not seek sympathy from creatures. I want the fragrance of your suffering to be pure and unadulterated. I want you to detach yourself, not only from creatures, but also from yourself. My daughter, I want to delight in the love of your heart, a pure love, virginal, unblemished, untarnished. The more you will come to love suffering, My daughter, the purer your love for Me will be.
294 +Once the Lord said to me, Act like a beggar who does not back away when he gets more alms [than he asked for], but offers thanks the more fervently. You too should not back away and say that you are not worthy of receiving greater graces when I give them to you. I know you are unworthy, but rejoice all the more and take as many treasures from My Heart as you can carry, for then you will please Me more. And I will tell you one more thing: Take these graces not only for yourself, but also for others; that is, encourage the souls with whom you come in contact to trust in My infinite mercy. Oh, how I love those souls who have complete confidence in Me. I will do everything for them.
296 +O Supreme Good, I want to love You as no one on earth has ever loved You before! I want to adore You with every moment of my life and unite my will closely to Your holy will. My life is not drab or monotonous, but it is varied like a garden of fragrant flowers, so that I don't know which flower to pick first, the lily of suffering or the rose of love of neighbor or the violet of humility. I will not enumerate these treasures in which my every day abounds. It is a great thing to know how to make use of the present moment.
343 True love is measured by the thermometer of suffering. Jesus, I thank You for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavors, for the hardships of communal life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans.
Thank You, Jesus, for interior sufferings, for dryness of spirit, for terrors, fears and incertitudes, for the darkness and the deep interior night, for temptations and various ordeals, for torments too difficult to describe, especially for those which no one will understand, for the hour of death with its fierce struggle and all its bitterness.
I thank You, Jesus, You who first drank the cup of bitterness before You gave it to me, in a much milder form. I put my lips to this cup of Your holy will. Let all be done according to Your good pleasure; let that which Your wisdom ordained before the ages be done to me. I want to drink the cup to its last drop, and not seek to know the reason why. In bitterness is my joy, in hopelessness is my trust. In You, O Lord, all is good, all is a gift of Your paternal Heart. I do not prefer consolations over bitterness or bitterness over consolations, but thank You, O Jesus, for everything! It is my delight to fix my gaze upon You, O incomprehensible God! My spirit abides in these mysterious dwelling places, and there I am at home. I know very well the dwelling place of my Spouse. I feel there is not a single drop of blood in me that does not burn with love for You.
O Uncreated Beauty, whoever comes to know You once cannot love anything else. I can feel the bottomless abyss of my soul, and nothing will fill it but God himself. I feel that I am drowned in Him like a single grain of sand in a bottomless ocean.
375 Particular interior practice; that is, the examination of conscience. Self-denial, denial of my own will.
I. The denial of my reason. Subjecting it to the reason of those who represent God to me here on earth.
II. The denial of my will. Doing the will of God, which is revealed in the will of those who represent God to me and which is contained in the rule of our order.
III. The denial of my judgment. Accepting immediately and without reflection, analysis or reasoning all orders given by those who represent God to me.
IV. The denial of my tongue. I will not give it the least bit of freedom; but in one case only I will give it complete freedom; that is, in proclaiming the glory of God. Whenever I receive Holy Communion, I will ask Jesus to fortify and cleanse my tongue that I may not injure my neighbor with it. That is why I have the greatest respect for the rule which speaks about silence.
383 At the beginning of the retreat, I saw, on the ceiling of the chapel, Jesus nailed to the Cross. He was looking at the sisters with great love, but not at all of them. There were three sisters at whom Jesus looked severely, for what reasons I do not know. I only know what a terrible thing it is to meet with such a look, which is the look of a severe Judge. That look was not directed at me, and yet I was paralyzed with terror. I still tremble as I write these words. I did not dare to say so much as a single word to Jesus. My physical strength failed me, and I thought I would not live to the end of the conference. The next day, I saw the same thing again, just as I had seen it the first time, and this time I dared to speak these words: "Jesus, how great is Your mercy!"
On the third day, that gaze of great kindness upon all the sisters, except the three, was again repeated. I gathered up my courage, which drew its force from love of neighbor, and I said to the Lord, "You, who are Mercy Itself, as You yourself told me, I beg You by the power of Your mercy, to look then with kindness at these three sisters as well. And if this is not in accord with Your wisdom, I ask You for an exchange: turn to them the kind look meant for my soul, and let Your severe gaze at their souls be turned on me." Jesus then said to me these words: My daughter, for the sake of your sincere and generous love, I grant them many graces although they are not asking Me for them. But I am doing so because of the promise I have made to you. And at that moment, He turned a merciful look towards those three sisters as well. My heart leapt with joy to see the goodness of God.
392 The Lord God grants His graces in two ways: by inspiration and by enlightenment. If we ask God for a grace, He will give it to us; but let us be willing to accept it. And in order to accept it, self-denial is needed. Love does not consist in words or feelings, but in deeds. It is an act of the will; it is a gift; that is to say, a giving. The reason, the will, the heart-these three faculties must be exercised during prayer. I will rise from the dead in Jesus, but first I must live in Him. If I do not separate myself from the Cross, then the Gospel will be revealed in me. Jesus in me makes up for all my deficiencies. His grace operates without ceasing. The Holy Trinity grants me Its life abundantly, by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Three Divine Persons live in me. When God loves, He loves with all His Being, with all the power of His Being. If God has loved me in this way, how should I respond I, His spouse?
462 Now I understand well that what unites our soul most closely to God is self-denial; that is, joining our will to the will of God. This is what makes the soul truly free, contributes to profound recollection of the spirit, and makes all life's burdens light, and death sweet.
538 There will be no distinction between the sisters, no mothers, no reverends, no venerable, but all will be equal, even though there might be great differences in their parentage. We know who Jesus was, and yet how He humbled himself and with whom He associated. Their habit will be like that worn by Jesus during His Passion, and they will not simply wear the robe [He wore]; they must also seal themselves with the marks He bore: suffering and scorn. Each one will strive for the greatest self-denial and have a love of humility, and she who will distinguish herself most in this latter virtue will be the one who is capable of leading the others.
549 Work. As poor persons, the nuns themselves will do all the work in the convent. Each one should be glad when she is given some work which is humbling or which goes against her nature, as that will greatly help her interior formation. The superior will often change the sisters' duties, and in this way help them to detach themselves completely from the little details to which women have a great attachment. Truly, I often find it amusing to see with my own eyes souls who have forsaken really great things only to attach themselves to fiddle faddle; that is, trifles. Each sister, including even the superior, shall work in the kitchen for a month. Every one should take a turn at every chore which is to be done in the convent.
571 O my Jesus, Eternal Truth, I fear nothing, neither hardships nor sufferings; I fear only one thing, and that is to offend You. My Jesus, I would rather not exist than make You sad. Jesus, You know that my love knows no one but You. My soul is absorbed in You.
590 When I receive Holy Communion, I entreat and beg the Savior to heal my tongue, that I may never fail in love of neighbor.
648 Good Friday. At three o'clock, I saw the Lord Jesus, crucified, who looked at me and said, I thirst. Then I saw two rays issue from His side, just as they appear in the image. I then felt in my soul the desire to save souls and to empty myself for the sake of poor sinners. I offered myself, together with the dying Jesus, to the Eternal Father, for the salvation of the whole world. With Jesus, through Jesus and in Jesus is my communion with You, Eternal Father. On Good Friday, Jesus suffered in His soul in a way which was different from [His suffering on] Holy Thursday.
679 Good night, my Jesus; the bell is calling me to sleep. My Jesus, You see that I am dying from the desire to save souls. Good night, my Beloved; I rejoice at being one day closer to eternity. And if You let me wake up tomorrow, Jesus, I shall begin a new hymn to Your praise.
692 + O Jesus, I understand that Your mercy is beyond all imagining, and therefore I ask You to make my heart so big that there will be room in it for the needs of all the souls living on the face of the earth. O Jesus, my love extends beyond the world, to the souls suffering in purgatory, and I want to exercise mercy toward them by means of indulgenced prayers. God's mercy is unfathomable and inexhaustible, just as God himself is unfathomable. Even if I were to use the strongest words there are to express this mercy of God, all this would be nothing in comparison with what it is in reality. O Jesus, make my heart sensitive to all the sufferings of my neighbor, whether of body or of soul. O my Jesus, I know that You act toward us as we act toward our neighbor.
My Jesus, make my heart like unto Your merciful Heart. Jesus, help me to go through life doing good to everyone.
700 + Once, when I was very tired and in much pain, I told Mother Superior [Irene] about it and received the answer that I should get used to suffering. I listened to everything that Mother told me, and then I went out. Our Mother Superior has great love of neighbor and especially great love for the sick sisters, as everyone knows. And yet, as regards me, it is extraordinary that the Lord Jesus has permitted that she not understand me and that she test me much in this respect.
704 I spend every free moment at the feet of the hidden God. He is my Master; I ask Him about everything; I speak to Him about everything. Here I obtain strength and light; here I learn everything; here I am given light on how to act toward my neighbor. From the time I left the novitiate, I have enclosed myself in the tabernacle together with Jesus, my Master. He himself drew me into the fire of living love on which everything converges.
735 + I will enclose myself in the chalice of Jesus so that I may comfort Him continually. I will do everything within my power to save souls, and I will do it through prayer and suffering.
+I try always to be a Bethany for Jesus, so that He may rest here after all His labors. In Holy Communion, my union with Jesus is so intimate and incomprehensible that even if I wanted to describe it in writing I could not do so, because I lack the words.
742 My daughter, if I demand through you that people revere My mercy, you should be the first to distinguish yourself by this confidence in My mercy. I demand from you deeds of mercy, which are to arise out of love for Me. You are to show mercy to your neighbors always and everywhere. You must not shrink from this or try to excuse or absolve yourself from it.
I am giving you three ways of exercising mercy toward your neighbor: the first-by deed, the second-by word, the third-by prayer. In these three degrees is contained the fullness of mercy, and it is an unquestionable proof of love for Me. By this means a soul glorifies and pays reverence to My mercy. Yes, the first Sunday after Easter is the Feast of Mercy, but there must also be acts of mercy, and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted. By means of this image I shall grant many graces to souls. It is to be a reminder of the demands of My mercy, because even the strongest faith is of no avail without works. O my Jesus, You yourself must help me in everything, because You see how very little I am, and so I depend solely on Your goodness, O God.
+ Particular Examen
Union with the merciful Christ. With my heart I encompass the whole world, especially countries which are uncivilized or where there is persecution. I am praying for mercy upon them.
745 During Holy Mass, I was so enveloped in the great interior fire of God's love and the desire to save souls that I do not know how to express it. I feel I am all aflame. I shall fight all evil with the weapon of mercy. I am being burned up by the desire to save souls. I traverse the world's length and breadth and venture as far as its ultimate limits and its wildest lands to save souls. I do this through prayer and sacrifice. I want every soul to glorify the mercy of God, for each one experiences the effects of that mercy on himself. The Saints in heaven worship the mercy of the Lord. I want to worship it even now, here on earth, and to spread devotion to it in the way that God demands of me.
791 Hide me, Jesus, in the depths of Your mercy, and then let my neighbor judge me as he pleases.
856 During the morning meditation, I felt an aversion and a repugnance for all created things. Everything pales before my eyes; my spirit is detached from all things. I desire only God himself, and yet I must live. This is a martyrdom beyond description. God imparts himself to the soul in a loving way and draws it into the infinite depths of His divinity, but at the same time He leaves it here on earth for the sole purpose that it might suffer and die of longing for Him. And this strong love is so pure that God himself finds pleasure in it; and self-love has no access to its deeds, for here everything is totally saturated with bitterness, and thus is totally pure. Life is a continuous dying, painful and terrible, and at the same time it is the depth of true life and of inconceivable happiness and the strength of the soul; and because of this, [the soul] is capable of great deeds for the sake of God.
861 Particular examen: remains the same; namely, to unite myself with the Merciful Christ (that is; what would Christ do in such and such a case?) and, in spirit, to embrace the whole world, especially Russia and Spain.
I. Strict observance of silence - interior silence.
II. To see the image of God in every sister; all love of neighbor must flow from this motive.
III. To do the will of God faithfully at every moment of my life and to live by this.
IV. To give a faithful account of everything to the spiritual director and not to undertake anything of importance without a clear understanding with him. I shall try to clearly lay bare to him the most secret depths of my soul, bearing in mind that I am dealing with God himself, and that His representative is just a human being, and so I must pray daily that he be given light.
V. During the evening examination of conscience, I am to ask myself the question: What if He were to call me today?
VI. Not to look for God far away, but within my own being to abide with Him alone.
VII. In sufferings and torments, to take refuge in the tabernacle and to be silent.
VIII. To join all sufferings, prayers, works and mortifications to the merits of Jesus in order to obtain mercy for the world.
IX. To use free moments, however short, for prayers for the dying.
X. There must not be a day in my life when I do not recommend to the Lord the works of our Congregation. Never have regard for what others think of you [for human respect].
XI. Have no familiar relationships with anyone. Gentle firmness toward the girls, boundless patience; punish them severely but with such punishments as these: prayer and self-sacrifice. The strength that is in the emptying of myself for their sake is for them a [source of] constant remorse and the softening of their obdurate hearts.
XII. The presence of God is the basis of all my thoughts, words and deeds.
XIII. To take advantage of all spiritual help. To always put self-love in its proper place; namely, the last. To perform my spiritual exercises as though I were doing them for the last time in my life, and in like manner to carry out all my duties.
871 + My Master, cause my heart never to expect help from anyone, but I will always strive to bring assistance, consolation and all manner of relief to others. My heart is always open to the sufferings of others; and I will not close my heart to the sufferings of others, even though because of this I have been scornfully nicknamed "dump"; that is, [because] everyone dumps his pain into my heart. [To this] I answered that everyone has a place in my heart and I, in return, have a place in the Heart of Jesus. Taunts regarding the law of love will not narrow my heart. My soul is always sensitive on this point, and Jesus alone is the motive for my love of neighbor.
944 + There are moments when I mistrust myself, when I feel my own weakness and wretchedness in the most profound depths of my own being, and I have noticed that I can endure such moments only by trusting in the infinite mercy of God. Patience, prayer and silence-these are what give strength to the soul. There are moments when one should be silent, and when it would be inappropriate to talk with creatures; these are the moments when one is dissatisfied with oneself, and when the soul feels as weak as a little child. Then the soul clings to God with all its might. At such times, I live solely by faith, and when I feel strengthened by God's grace, then I am more courageous in speaking and communicating with my neighbors.
993 + I asked the Lord to have a certain person come to visit me today so that I could see her one more time, and that would be a sign for me that she was being called to the convent which Jesus is having me establish. And, O wonder, the person in question came, and I tried to form her a bit, spiritually. I began to show her the way of self-denial and sacrifice, which she readily accepted. However, I have placed this whole matter in the hands of the Lord, that He may direct everything according to His good pleasure.
1032 + During Holy Mass, I saw the Lord Jesus nailed upon the cross amidst great torments. A soft moan issued from His Heart. After some time, He said, I thirst. I thirst for the salvation of souls. Help Me, My daughter, to save souls. Join your sufferings to My Passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners.
1039 + I suffer great pain at the sight of the sufferings of others. All these sufferings are reflected in my heart. I carry their torments in my heart so that it even wears me out physically. I would like all pains to fall upon me so as to bring relief to my neighbor.
1074 When I went for adoration, I heard these words: My beloved daughter, write down these words, that today My Heart has rested in this convent [the Cracow house]. Tell the world about My mercy and My love.
The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause Me when they do not want to accept them!
My daughter, do whatever is within your power to spread devotion to My mercy. I will make up for what you lack. Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it -with peace.
Tell [all people], My daughter, that I am Love and Mercy itself. When a soul approaches Me with trust, I fill it with such an abundance of graces that it cannot contain them within itself, but radiates them to other souls.
1075 Souls who spread the honor of My mercy I shield through their entire lives as a tender mother her infant, and at the hour of death I will not be a Judge for them, but the Merciful Savior. At that last hour, a soul has nothing with which to defend itself except My mercy. Happy is the soul that during its lifetime immersed itself in the Fountain of Mercy, because justice will have no hold on it.
1076 Write this: Everything that exists is enclosed in the bowels of My mercy, more deeply than an infant in its mother's womb. How painfully distrust of My goodness wounds Me! Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully.
1409 + Today the Lord Jesus is giving me an awareness of Himself and of His most tender love and care for me. He is bringing me to understand deeply how everything depends on His will, and how He allows certain difficulties precisely for our merit, so that our fidelity might be clearly manifest. And through this, I have been given strength for suffering and self-denial.
1645 March 25, 1938. Today, I saw the suffering Lord Jesus. He leaned down toward me and whispered softly, My daughter, help Me to save sinners. Suddenly, a burning desire to save souls entered my soul. When I recovered my senses, I knew just how I was to help souls, and I prepared myself for greater sufferings.
1662 + O Christ, suffering for You is the delight of my heart and my soul. Prolong my sufferings to infinity, that I may give You a proof of my love. I accept everything that Your hand will hold out to me. Your love, Jesus, is enough for me. I will glorify You in abandonment and darkness, in agony and fear, in pain and bitterness, in anguish of spirit and grief of heart. In all things may You be blessed. My heart is so detached from the earth, that You Yourself are enough for me. There is no longer any moment in my life for self concern.
1663 Holy Thursday [April 14, 1938]. Today I felt strong enough to take part in the ceremonies of the Church. During Holy Mass, Jesus stood before me and said, Look into My Heart and see there the love and mercy which I have for humankind, and especially for sinners. Look, and enter into My Passion. In an instant, I experienced and lived through the whole Passion of Jesus in my own heart. I was surprised that these tortures did not deprive me of my life.
1664 During adoration, Jesus said to me, My daughter, know that your ardent love and the compassion you have for Me were a consolation to Me in the Garden [of Olives].
1665 During Holy Hour in the evening, I heard the words, You see My mercy for sinners, which at this moment is revealing itself in all its power. See how little you have written about it; it is only a single drop. Do what is in your power, so that sinners may come to know My goodness.
1797 Today, the Lord came to me and said, My daughter, help Me to save souls. You will go to a dying sinner, and you will continue to recite the chaplet, and in this way you will obtain for him trust in My mercy, for he is already in despair.
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-77, 93, 96-98, 101 116, 118, 147, 151)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-163, 173, 216, 236, 241, 279, 294, 296)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-343, 375, 383, 392, 462, 538)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-549, 571, 590, 648, 679, 692, 700, 704)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-735, 742, 745)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-791, 856, 861, 871, 944, 993)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-III-1029, 1032, 1039, 1074-1075)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-V-1409)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-VI-1645, 1662-1663, 1797)