Why the Fasting?
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Father Alex Yeung, LC
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, You know how much I need you and depend on You for everything. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in Your love and mercy. I wish to trust in Your power, Your promise, and Your grace every day. Today I intend, with Your help, to follow You along the way of the cross with love and generosity so as to draw close to You.
Petition: Lord, let me learn to embrace sacrifice as the way of reparation and purification.
1. Sharing in Christ’s Sufferings: Jesus said the time would come when his disciples would fast. Now that the Lord has returned in glory to the Father, it is up to us to continue the work of salvation, “what is lacking in Christ´s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24), as St. Paul says. We join our sacrifice to that of Jesus in order to imitate him and bring grace to ourselves and to others. Every Christian life must incorporate a healthy spirit of sacrifice and self-denial.
2. Physical and Spiritual Hunger: The hunger we experience when we fast is a symbol of the deeper spiritual hunger we should feel for God and for heaven. This world often makes us all too comfortable, and we easily forget that this is not our true home. We are pilgrims traveling through a foreign land, far from our final resting place. Fasting reminds us of the longing a traveler has to reach his destination safely and finally to rejoice in being home for good. The true Christian looks forward with hope toward heaven, where he will rest with God forever in true happiness. He knows that all the good things this world offers are only shadows of the wonderful things God has planned for those who love him (cf. Romans 8:28).
3. Thirst for Souls: From the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” That thirst was for all people to be reconciled to the Father. It was a thirst for souls to return to the love of God and find their way to the heavenly Kingdom. Voluntary sacrifice and self-denial, if we offer it for the conversion of the hearts of others, brings them the grace they need to change and turn back to God. No one can convert himself, and no one in serious sin can merit his way to the grace of God. We need to intercede by means of our personal prayer and sacrifice to gain others the supernatural grace they need to overcome their obstacles. The greatest act of charity we can perform and the greatest joy we can experience is to bring a soul back to the Lord. How many souls are waiting for our prayer and sacrifice?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, make me generous and joyful in sacrifice, knowing that sacrifice unites me closer to You and wins the grace of conversion for so many souls You love and for whom You died.
Resolution: I will choose one person I know who needs God’s grace and offer all my sacrifices today for them.
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.
38 In order to purify a soul, Jesus uses whatever instruments He likes. My soul underwent a complete abandonment on the part of creatures; often my best intentions were misinterpreted by the sisters, a type of suffering which is most painful; but God allows it, and we must accept it because in this way we become more like Jesus. There was one thing which I could not understand for a long time: Jesus ordered me to tell everything to my Superiors, but my Superiors did not believe what I said and treated me with pity as though I were being deluded or were imagining things.
Because of this, believing myself to be deluded, I resolved to avoid God interiorly for fear of these illusions. But the grace of God pursued me at every step, and God spoke to me when I least expected it.
39 + One day Jesus told me that He would cause a chastisement to fall upon the most beautiful city in our country [probably Warsaw]. This chastisement would be that with which God had punished Sodom and Gomorrah. I saw the great wrath of God and a shudder pierced my heart. I prayed in silence. After a moment, Jesus said to me, My child, unite yourself closely to Me during the Sacrifice and offer My Blood and My Wounds to My Father in expiation for the sins of that city. Repeat this without interruption throughout the entire Holy Mass. Do this for seven days. On the seventh day I saw Jesus in a bright cloud and began to beg Him to look upon the city and upon our whole country. Jesus looked [down] graciously. When I saw the kindness of' Jesus, I began to beg His blessing. Immediately Jesus said, For your sake I bless the entire country. And He made a big sign of the cross over our country. Seeing the goodness of God, a great joy filled my soul.
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.
46 I often felt the Passion of the Lord Jesus in my body, although this was imperceptible [to others], and I rejoiced in it because Jesus wanted it so. But this lasted for only a short time. These sufferings set my soul afire with love for God and for immortal souls. Love endures everything, love is stronger than death, love fears nothing...
56 O my God, I understand well that You demand this spiritual childhood of me, because You are constantly asking it of me through Your representatives.
At the beginning of my religious life, suffering and adversities frightened and disheartened me. So I prayed continuously, asking Jesus to strengthen me and to grant me the power of His Holy Spirit that I might carry out His holy will in all things, because from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness. I know very well what I am of myself, because for this purpose Jesus has opened the eyes of my soul; I am an abyss of misery, and hence I understand that whatever good there is in my soul consists solely of His holy grace. The knowledge of my own misery allows me, at the same time, to know the immensity of Your mercy. In my own interior life, I am looking with one eye at the abyss of my misery and baseness, and with the other, at the abyss of Your mercy, O God.
57 O my Jesus, You are the life of my life. You know only too well that I long for nothing but the glory of Your Name and that souls come to know Your goodness. Why do souls avoid You, Jesus?-I don't understand that. Oh, if I could only cut my heart into tiny pieces and in this way offer to You, O Jesus, each piece as a heart whole and entire, to make up in part for the hearts that do not love You! I love You, Jesus, with every drop of my blood, and I would gladly shed my blood for You to give You a proof of the sincerity of my love. O God, the more I know You the less I can comprehend You, but this "non-comprehension" lets me realize how great You are! And it is this impossibility of comprehending You which enflames my heart anew for You, O Lord. From the moment when You let me fix the eyes of my soul on You, O Jesus, I have been at peace and desired nothing else. I found my destiny at the moment when my soul lost itself in You, the only object of my love. In comparison with you, everything is nothing. Sufferings, adversities, humiliations, failures and suspicions that have come my way are splinters that keep alive the fire of my love for You, O Jesus.
My desires are mad and unattainable. I wish to conceal from You that I suffer. I want never to be rewarded for my efforts and my good actions. You yourself, Jesus, are my only reward; You are enough, O Treasure of my heart! I want to share compassionately in the sufferings of my neighbors and to conceal my own sufferings, not only from them, but also from You, Jesus.
Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love.
67 When I fell sick [probably the beginning of consumption] after my first vows and when, despite the kind and solicitous care of my Superiors and the efforts of the doctor, I felt neither better nor worse, remarks began to reach my ears which inferred that I was making believe. With that, my suffering was doubled, and this lasted for quite a long time. One day I complained to Jesus that I was being a burden to the sisters. Jesus answered me, You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will give them the light and strength to accept My will.
68 The heaviest suffering for me was that it seemed to me that neither my prayers nor my good works were pleasing to God. I did not dare lift up my eyes to heaven. This caused me such great suffering during the community exercises in the chapel that one day Mother Superior [Raphael] called me aside after the exercises and said to me, "Sister, ask God for grace and consolation, because I can see for myself and the sisters keep telling me that the very sight of you evokes pity. I really do not know what to do with you, Sister. I command you to stop tormenting yourself for no reason."
But all these conferences with Mother Superior brought me no relief, nor did they clarify anything for me. Rather, even greater darkness hid God from me. I looked for help in the confessional, but not even there did I find it. A saintly priest wanted to help me, but I was so miserable that I couldn't even define my trouble, and that vexed me even more. A deathly sadness penetrated my soul to such an extent that I was unable to hide it, and it was apparent to those around me. I lost hope. The night was growing darker and darker. The priest to whom I went to confession said to me, "I see very special graces in you, Sister, and I am not worried about you at all; why are you torturing yourself in this way?" But at that time I did not understand at all what he was saying and was extremely surprised when, by way of penance, I was ordered to say the Te Deum or the Magnificat, or to run fast around the garden in the evening, or else to laugh out loud ten times a day. These penances were very surprising to me; but even with that the priest was not able to give me much help. Evidently, God wanted me to give Him glory through suffering.
That priest consoled me, saying that in my present situation I was more pleasing to God than if I were filled with the greatest consolations. "It is a very great grace, Sister, "he told me, "that in your present condition, with all the torments of soul you are experiencing, you not only do not offend God, but you even try to practice virtues. I am looking into your soul, and I see God's great plans and special graces there; and seeing this, I give thanks to the Lord." But despite all that, my soul was in a state of torture; and in the midst of unspeakable torments, I imitated the blind man who entrusts himself to his guide, holding his hand firmly, not giving up obedience for a single moment, and this was my only safety in this fiery trial.
69 +O Jesus, eternal Truth, strengthen my feeble forces; You can do all things, Lord. I know that without You all my efforts are in vain. O Jesus, do not hide from me, for I cannot live without You. Listen to the cry of my soul. Your mercy has not been exhausted, Lord, so have pity on my misery. Your mercy surpasses the understanding of all Angels and people put together; and so, although it seems to me that You do not hear me, I put my trust in the ocean of Your mercy, and I know that my hope will not be deceived.
70 Only Jesus knows how burdensome and difficult it is to accomplish one's duties when the soul is so interiorly tortured, the physical powers so weakened and the mind darkened. In the silence of my heart I kept saying to myself, "O Christ, may delights, honor and glory be Yours, and suffering be mine. I will not lag one step behind as I follow You, though thorns wound my feet."
73 O my Jesus, despite the deep night that is all around me and the dark clouds which hide the horizon, I know that the sun never goes out. O Lord, though I cannot comprehend You and do not understand Your ways, I nonetheless trust in Your mercy. If it is Your will, Lord, that I live always in such darkness, may You be blessed. I ask You only one thing, Jesus: do not allow me to offend You in any way. O my Jesus, You alone know the longings and the sufferings of my heart. I am glad I can suffer for You, however little. When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence.
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.
78 Once when I was being crushed by these dreadful sufferings, I went into the chapel and said from the bottom of my soul, "Do what You will with me, O Jesus; I will adore You in everything. May Your will be done in me, O my Lord and my God, and I will praise Your infinite mercy." Through this act of submission, these terrible torments left me. Suddenly I saw Jesus, who said to me, I am always in your heart. An inconceivable joy entered my soul, and a great love of God set my heart aflame. I see that God never tries us beyond what we are able to suffer. Oh, I fear nothing; if God sends such great suffering to a soul, He upholds it with an even greater grace, although we are not aware of it. One act of trust at such moments gives greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations. Now I see that if God wants to keep a soul in darkness, no book, no confessor can bring it light.
90 One day, I saw interiorly how much my confessor would have to suffer: friends will desert you while everyone will rise up against you and your physical strength will diminish. I saw you as a bunch of grapes chosen by the Lord and thrown into the press of suffering. Your soul, Father, will at times be filled with doubts about this work and about me.
I saw that God himself seemed to be opposing [him], and I asked the Lord why He was acting in this way toward him, as though He were placing obstacles in the way of his doing what He himself had asked him to do. And the Lord said, I am acting thus with him to give testimony that this work is Mine. Tell him not to fear anything; My gaze is on him day and night. There will be as many crowns to form his crown as there will be souls saved by this work. It is not for the success of a work, but for the suffering that I give reward.
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.
94 O my Lord, inflame my heart with love for You, that my spirit may not grow weary amidst the storms, the sufferings and the trials. You see how weak I am. Love can do all.
95 +A Deeper Knowledge of God and the Terror of the Soul.
In the beginning, God lets himself be known as Holiness, Justice, Goodness - that is to say, Mercy. The soul does not come to know this all at once, but piecemeal, in flashes; that is to say, when God draws near. And this does not last for long, because the soul could not bear such light. During prayer the soul experiences flashes of this light which make it impossible to pray as before. Try as it may to force itself to pray as it did before, all is in vain; it becomes completely impossible for it to continue to pray as it did before it received this light. This light which has touched the soul is alive within it, and nothing can either quench or diminish it. This flash of the knowledge of God draws the soul and enkindles its love for Him.
But this same flash, at the same time, allows the soul to know itself as it is; the soul sees its whole interior in a superior light, and it rises up alarmed and terrified. Still, it does not remain under the effects of terror, but it begins to purify itself, to humble and abase itself before the Lord. These lights become stronger and more frequent; the more the soul is crystallized, the more these lights penetrate it. However, if the soul has responded faithfully and courageously to these first graces, God fills it with His consolations and gives himself to it in a perceptible manner. At certain moments, the soul, as it were, enters into intimacy with God and greatly rejoices in this; it believes that it has already reached the degree of perfection destined for it, because its defects and faults are asleep within it, and this makes it think that they no longer exist. Nothing seems difficult for it; it is ready for everything. It begins to plunge itself into God and taste the divine delights. It is carried along by grace and does not take account of the fact that the time of trial and testing may come. And, in fact, this state does not last long. Other moments will soon come. I should add here, however, that the soul will respond more faithfully to divine grace if it has a well - informed confessor to whom it can confide everything.
+ 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.
104 I want to add that, although my soul was already in the rays of His love, traces of my past tortures remained on my body for two days: a deathly pale face and bloodshot eyes. Jesus alone knows what I suffered. What I have written is very poor compared to the reality. I cannot put it in words; it seemed to me that I had come back from the other world. I feel an aversion for everything that is created; I snuggle to the heart of God like a baby to its mother's breast. I see everything differently now. I am conscious of what the Lord, by one single word, has done in my soul, and I live by it. I shudder at the recollection of this past torture. I would not have believed that one could suffer so, if I had not gone through it myself. This is a completely spiritual suffering.
105 However, in all these sufferings and struggles, I was not omitting Holy Communion. When it seemed to me that I should not communicate, I went, before Holy Communion, to the Directress and told her that I could not approach the Sacrament, because it seemed to me that I should not do so. But she would not permit me to omit Holy Communion, so I went, and I understand now that it was only obedience that saved me.
The Directress herself told me later that my trials had passed quickly, "and this solely because you were obedient, Sister; and it was through the power of obedience that you struggled through this so bravely." It is true that it was the Lord himself who brought me out of this torment, but my fidelity to obedience did please Him.
106 Though these are frightening things, the soul should not be too fearful, because God will never test us beyond what we are able to bear. On the other hand, He may never send us such sufferings, but I write this because, if it pleases the Lord to let a soul pass through such sufferings, it should not be afraid but, insofar as this depends on the soul itself, it should remain faithful to God. God will do a soul no harm, because He is Love itself, and in this unfathomable love has called it into being. However, when I was so tormented, I myself did not understand this.
109 After such sufferings the soul finds itself in a state of great purity of spirit and very close to God. But I should add that during these spiritual torments it is close to God, but it is blind. The soul's vision is plunged into darkness, and though God is nearer than ever to the soul which is suffering, the whole secret consists in the fact that it knows nothing of this. The soul in fact declares that, not only has God abandoned it, but it is the object of His hatred. With how great a malady are they eyes of the soul afflicted! When struck by divine light, the soul affirms that this light does not exist, although it is precisely because this divine light is so bright that it is blinded. Yet despite all, I learned later that God is closer to a soul at such moments than at others, because it would not be able to endure these trials with the help of ordinary grace alone. God's omnipotence and an extraordinary grace must be active here, for otherwise the soul would succumb at the first blow.
111 When, in the midst of these interior torments, I tried to accuse myself in confession of the smallest trifles, the priest was surprised that I had not committed graver faults, and he said to me, "If you are as faithful as this to God during these sufferings, this in itself is evidence to me that God is sustaining you, Sister, with a special grace, and it is a good thing that you do not understand this." It is a strange thing, nevertheless, that confessors could neither understand me nor set my mind at peace concerning these matters, until I met Father Andrasz and, later on, Father Sopocko.
114 +Oh, how pleasing are the hymns flowing from a suffering soul! All heaven delights in such a soul, especially when it is tested by God. It mournfully sings out its longing for Him. Great is its beauty, because it comes from God. The soul walks through the jungle of life, wounded by God's love. With one foot only it touches the ground.
115 + When a soul has come out of these tribulations, it is deeply humble. Its purity of soul is great. It knows better without need of reflecting, as it were, what it ought to do at a given moment and what to forbear. It feels the lightest touch of grace and is very faithful to God. It recognizes God from afar and continuously rejoices in Him. It discovers God very quickly in other souls and in its environment in general. The soul has been purified by God himself. God, as Pure Spirit, introduces the soul to a life which is purely spiritual. God himself has first prepared and purified the soul; that is, He has made it capable of close communion with himself. The soul, in a state of loving repose, communes spiritually with the Lord. It speaks to God without the need of expressing itself through the senses. God fills it with His light.
The enlightened mind sees clearly and distinguishes the various degrees of the spiritual life. It recognizes [that state] when its union with God was imperfect: where the senses were involved, and the spirit was linked with the senses in a manner-exalted and special, to be sure but not yet perfect. There is a higher and more perfect union with God; namely, intellectual union. Here, the soul is safer from illusions; its spirituality is purer and more profound. In a life where the senses are involved, there is more danger of illusion. Both for the soul and for its confessor, prudence must play a greater part. There are moments when God introduces the soul to a purely spiritual state. The senses dim and are seemingly dead. The soul is most closely united to God; it is immersed in the Deity; its knowledge is complete and perfect, not sporadic as before, but total and absolute. It rejoices in this. But I want to say more about those moments of trial; at those times the confessor must have patience with such a soul. But the soul must have even greater patience with itself.
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.
135 During the third probation, the Lord gave me to understand that I should offer myself to Him so that He could do with me as He pleased. I was to remain standing before Him as a victim offering. At first, I was quite frightened, as I felt myself to be so utterly miserable and knew very well that this was the case. I answered the Lord once again, "I am misery itself; how can I be a hostage [for others]? You do not understand this today. Tomorrow, during your adoration, I will make it known to you. My heart trembled, as did my soul, so deeply did these words sink into my soul. The word of God is living. When I came to the adoration, I felt within my soul that I had entered the temple of the living God, whose majesty is great and incomprehensible. And He made known to me what even the purest spirits are in His sight. Although I saw nothing externally, God's presence pervaded me. At that very moment my intellect was strangely illumined. A vision passed before the eyes of my soul; it was like the vision Jesus had in the Garden of Olives. First, the physical sufferings and all the circumstances that would increase them; [then] the full scope of the spiritual sufferings and those that no one would know about. Everything entered into the vision: false suspicions, loss of good name. I've summarized it here, but this knowledge was already so clear that what I went through later on was in no way different from what I had known at that moment. My name is to be: "sacrifice." When the vision ended, a cold sweat bathed my forehead. Jesus made it known to me that, even if I did not give my consent to this, I could still be saved; and He would not lessen His graces, but would still continue to have the same intimate relationship with me, so that even if I did not consent to make this sacrifice, God's generosity would not lessen thereby.
136 And the Lord gave me to know that the whole mystery depended on me, on my free consent to the sacrifice given with full use of my faculties. In this free and conscious act lies the whole power and value before His Majesty. Even if none of these things for which I offered myself would ever happen to me, before the Lord everything was as though it had already been consummated.
At that moment, I realized I was entering into communion with the incomprehensible Majesty. I felt that God was waiting for my word, for my consent. Then my spirit immersed itself in the Lord, and I said, "Do with me as You please. I subject myself to Your will. As of today, Your holy will shall be my nourishment, and I will be faithful to Your commands with the help of Your grace. Do with me as You please. I beg You, O Lord, be with me at every moment of my life."
137 Suddenly, when I had consented to the sacrifice with all my heart and all my will, God's presence pervaded me. My soul became immersed in God and was inundated with such happiness that I cannot put in writing even the smallest part of it. I felt that His Majesty was enveloping me. I was extraordinarily fused with God. I saw that God was well pleased with me and, reciprocally, my spirit drowned itself in Him. Aware of this union with God, I felt I was especially loved and, in turn, I loved with all my soul. A great mystery took place during that adoration, a mystery between the Lord and myself. It seemed to me that I would die of love [at the sight of] His glance. I spoke much with the Lord, without uttering a single word. And the Lord said to me, You are the delight of My Heart; from today on, every one of your acts, even the very smallest, will be a delight to My eyes, whatever you do. At that moment I felt transconsecrated. My earthly body was the same, but my soul was different; God was now living in it with the totality of His delight. This is not a feeling, but a conscious reality that nothing can obscure.
138 A great mystery has been accomplished between God and me. Courage and strength have remained in my soul. When the time of adoration came to an end, I came out and calmly faced everything I had feared so much before. When I came out into the corridor, a great suffering and humiliation, at the hands of a certain person, was awaiting me. I accepted it with submission to a higher will and snuggled closely to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, letting Him know that I was ready for that for which I had offered myself.
Suffering seemed to spring out of the ground. Even Mother Margaret herself was surprised. For others, many things passed unnoticed, for indeed it wasn't worth paying any attention to them; but in my case, nothing passed unnoticed; each word was analyzed, each step watched. One sister said to me, "Get ready, Sister, to receive a small cross at the hands of Mother Superior. I feel sorry for you." But as for me, I rejoiced at this in the depths of my soul and had been ready for it for a long time. When she saw my courage, she was surprised. I see now that a soul cannot do much of itself, but with God it can do all things. Behold what God's grace can do. Few are the souls that are always watchful for divine graces, and even fewer of such souls who follow those inspirations faithfully.
148 +A noble and delicate soul, even the most simple, but one of delicate sensibilities, sees God in everything, finds Him everywhere, and knows how to find Him in even the most hidden things. It finds all things important, it highly appreciates all things, it thanks God for all things, it draws profit for the soul from all things, and it gives all glory to God. It places its trust in God and is not confused when the time of ordeals comes. It knows that God is always the best of Fathers and makes little of human opinion. It follows faithfully the faintest breath of the Holy Spirit; it rejoices in this Spiritual Guest and holds onto Him like a child to its mother. Where other souls come to a standstill and fear, this soul passes on without fear or difficulty.
149 When the Lord himself wants to be close to a soul and to lead it, He will remove everything that is external. When I fell ill and was taken to the infirmary, I suffered much unpleasantness because of this. There were two of us sick in the infirmary. Sisters would come to see Sister N., but no one came to visit me. It is true that there was only one infirmary, but each one had her own cell. The winter nights were long, and Sister N. had the light and the radio headphones, while I could not even prepare my meditation for lack of a light.
When nearly two weeks had passed in this way, I complained to the Lord one evening that I was suffering so much and that I could not even prepare my meditation because there was no light. And the Lord said that He would come every evening and give me the points for the next day's meditation. These points always concerned His sorrowful Passion. He would say, Consider My sufferings before Pilate. And thus, point by point, I meditated upon His sorrowful Passion for one week. From that moment, a great joy entered my soul, and I no longer wanted either the visitors or the light; Jesus sufficed me for everything. The superiors were indeed very solicitous for the sick, but the Lord ordained that I should feel forsaken. This best of masters withdraws every created thing in order that He himself might act. Many a time, I have experienced such sufferings and persecutions that Mother M. [probably Mother Margaret] herself said to me, "Sister, along your path, sufferings just spring up out of the ground. I look upon you, Sister, as one crucified. But I can see that Jesus has a hand in this. Be faithful to the Lord."
150 + I want to write down a dream that I had about Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I was still a novice at the time and was going through some difficulties which I did not know how to overcome. They were interior difficulties connected with exterior ones. I made novenas to various saints, but the situation grew more and more difficult. The sufferings it caused me were so great that I did not know how to go on living, but suddenly the thought occurred to me that I should pray to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I started a novena to this Saint, because before entering the convent I had had a great devotion to her. Lately I had somewhat neglected this devotion, but in my need I began again to pray with great fervor.
On the fifth day of the novena, I dreamed of Saint Therese, but it was as if she were still living on earth. She hid from me the fact that she was a saint and began to comfort me, saying that I should not be worried about this matter, but should trust more in God. She said, "I suffered greatly, too," but I did not quite believe her and said, "It seems to me that you have not suffered at all." But Saint Therese answered me in a convincing manner that she had suffered very much indeed and said to me, "Sister, know that in three days the difficulty will come to a happy conclusion." When I was not very willing to believe her, she revealed to me that she was a saint. At that moment, a great joy filled my soul, and I said to her, "You are a saint?" "Yes," she answered, "I am a saint. Trust that this matter will be resolved in three days:" And I said, "Dear sweet Therese, tell me, shall I go to heaven?" And she answered, "Yes, you will go to heaven, Sister." "And will I be a saint?" To which she replied, "Yes, you will be a saint." "But, little Therese, shall I be a saint as you are, raised to the altar?" And she answered, "Yes, you will be a saint just as I am, but you must trust in the Lord Jesus." I then asked her if my mother and father would go to heaven, will [unfinished sentence] And she replied that they would. I further asked, "And will my brothers and sisters go to heaven?" She told me to pray hard for them, but gave me no definite answer. I understood that they were in need of much prayer.
This was a dream. And as the proverb goes, dreams are phantoms; God is faith. Nevertheless, three days later the difficulty was solved very easily, just as she had said. And everything in this affair turned out exactly as she said it would. It was a dream, but it had its significance.
208 O you small, everyday sacrifices, you are to me like wild flowers which I strew over the feet of my beloved Jesus. I sometimes compare these trifles to the heroic virtues, and that is because their enduring nature demands heroism.
367 +On one occasion, Jesus gave me to know that when I pray for intentions which people are wont to entrust to me, He is always ready to grant His graces, but souls do not always want to accept them: My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You, at least, come to Me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console My Heart. Oh, how indifferent are souls to so much goodness, to so many proofs of love! My Heart drinks only of the ingratitude and forgetfulness of souls living in the world. They have time for everything, but they have no time to come to Me for graces.
So I turn to you, you-chosen souls, will you also fail to understand the love of My Heart? Here, too, My Heart finds disappointment; I do not find complete surrender to My love. So many reservations, so much distrust, so much caution. To comfort you, let Me tell you that there are souls living in the world who love Me dearly. I dwell In their hearts with delight. But they are few. In convents too, there are souls that fill My Heart with joy. They bear My features; therefore the Heavenly Father looks upon them with special pleasure. They will be a marvel to Angels and men. Their number is very small. They are a defense for the world before the justice of the Heavenly Father and a means of obtaining mercy for the world. The love and sacrifice of these souls sustain the world in existence. The infidelity of a soul specially chosen by Me wounds My Heart most painfully. Such infidelities are swords which pierce My Heart.
482 O my God, I am conscious of my mission in the Holy Church. It is my constant endeavor to plead for me mercy for the world. I unite myself closely with Jesus and stand before Him as an atoning sacrifice on behalf of the world. God will refuse me nothing when I entreat Him with the voice of His Son. My sacrifice is nothing in itself, but when I join it to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, it becomes all-powerful and has the power to appease divine wrath. God loves us in His Son; the painful Passion of the Son of God constantly turns aside the wrath of God.
483 O God, how I desire that souls come to know You and to see that You have created them because of Your unfathomable love. O my Creator and Lord, I feel that I am going to remove the veil of heaven so that earth will not doubt Your goodness.
Make of me, Jesus, a pure and agreeable offering before the Face of Your Father. Jesus, transform me, miserable and sinful as I am, into Your own self (for You can do all things), and give me to Your Eternal Father. I want t become a sacrificial host before You, but an ordinary wafer to people. I want the fragrance of my sacrifice be known to You alone. O Eternal God, an unquenchable fire of supplication for Your mercy burns within me. I know and understand that this is my task here and in eternity. You yourself have told me to speak about this great mercy and about Your goodness.
485 I accept joy or suffering, praise or humiliation with the same disposition. I remember that one and the other are passing. What does it matter to me what people say about me? I have long ago given up everything that concerns my person. My name is host-or sacrifice, not in words but in deeds, in the emptying of myself and in becoming like You on the Cross, O good Jesus, my Master!
507 I desire, O my Jesus, to suffer and burn with the flame of Your love in all the circumstances of my life. I am Yours, completely Yours, and I wish to disappear in You, O Jesus, I wish to be lost in Your divine beauty. You pursue me with Your love, O Lord; You penetrate my soul like a ray of the sun and change its darkness into Your light. I feel very vividly that I am living in You as one small spark swallowed up by the incomprehensible fire with which You burn, O inconceivable Trinity! No greater joy is to be found than that of loving God. Already here on earth we can taste the happiness of those in heaven by an intimate union with God, a union that is extraordinary and often quite incomprehensible to us. One can attain this very grace through simple faithfulness of soul.
509 In the adversities that I experience, I remind myself that the time for doing battle has not yet come to an end. I arm myself with patience, and in this way I defeat my assailant.
530 To the Glory of the Holy Trinity.
I asked Mother Superior [Borgia] to permit me to make a forty-day fast, taking once a day a piece of bread and a glass of water. However, following the advice of my confessor [Father Sopocko], Mother Superior did not agree to forty days, but to seven. "I cannot take you away from your duties completely, Sister, because of the other sisters who might notice something. I give you my permission to devote yourself to prayer and to note down some of these things, but it will be very difficult for me to protect you as regards the fasting. Really, I can think of no solution to this," and she said, "Go now, Sister, and perhaps some light will come to me." On Sunday morning, I understood that when Mother Superior assigned me as portress during mealtime, she was doing so with the thought of giving me the opportunity to fast. In the morning, I did not go to breakfast, but, a little while later, I went to Mother Superior and asked her whether I had been assigned as portress in view of making it possible for me to fast unnoticed. Mother replied, "When I assigned you,  Sister, it was with this in mind." I then saw that this was the same thought that I had had interiorly.
531 November 24, 1935. Sunday, first day. I went at once before the Blessed Sacrament and offered myself with Jesus, present in the Most Holy Sacrament, to the Everlasting Father. Then I heard these words in my soul: Your purpose and that of your companions is to unite yourselves with Me as closely as possible; through love You will reconcile earth with heaven, you will soften the just anger of God, and you will plead for mercy for the world. I place in your care two pearls very precious to My Heart: these are the souls of priests and religious. You will pray particularly for them; their power will come from your diminishment. You will join prayers, fasts, mortifications, labors and all sufferings to My prayer, fasting, mortification, labors and sufferings and then they will have power before My Father.
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.
540 In the evening when I was writing, I heard a voice in my cell which said, "Do not leave this Congregation; have mercy upon yourself, such great sufferings are in store for you." When I looked in the direction of the voice, I saw nothing, and I continued to write. Suddenly I heard a noise and the words: "When you leave, we will destroy you. Do not torture us." I glanced around and saw many ugly monsters. So I mentally made the sign of the Cross and they disappeared immediately. How terribly ugly Satan is! The poor damned souls that have to keep him company! Just the sight of him is more disgusting than all the torments of hell.
546 Meals. We will have no meat. Our meals shall be such that not even the poor will have any reason to envy us. Still, feast days may differ slightly from regular days. The sisters will eat three times a day. Fasts, especially the two great ones, will be observed strictly, according to the original spirit. The food should be the same for all the nuns without exception so that communal life may be kept pure. This refers not only to food but to clothing and the furnishing of cells as well. However, if a sister should fall ill, she should receive every consideration.
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.
572 Oh, how great should be the ardor of every soul who will live in that convent, since God desires to come and live with us! Let everyone remember that if we religious do not intercede before God, who will? Each of us should burn like a pure sacrifice before the majesty of God, but to be pleasing to God, each one should unite herself closely to Jesus. It is only with Him, in Him and through Him that we can be pleasing to God.
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.
575 Midnight Mass. During Holy Mass, I again saw the little Infant Jesus, extremely beautiful, joyfully stretching out His little arms to me. After Holy Communion, I heard the words: I am always in your heart; not only when you receive Me in Holy Communion, but always. I spent these holydays in great joy.
576 O Holy Trinity, Eternal God, my spirit is drowned in Your beauty. The ages are as nothing in Your sight. You are always the same. Oh, how great is Your majesty. Jesus, why do You conceal Your majesty, why have You left Your heavenly throne and dwelt among us? The Lord answered me, My daughter, love has brought Me here, and love keeps Me here. My daughter, if you knew what great merit and reward is earned by one act of pure love for Me, you would die of joy. I am saying this that you may constantly unite yourself with Me through love, for this is the goal of the life of your soul. This act is an act of the will. Know that a pure soul is humble. When you lower and empty yourself before My majesty, I then pursue you with My graces and make use of My omnipotence to exalt you.
593 O my Jesus, nothing is better for the soul than humiliations. In contempt is the secret of happiness, when the soul recognizes that, of itself, it is only wretchedness and nothingness, and that whatever it possesses of good is a gift of God. When the soul sees that everything is given it freely and that the only thing it has of itself is its own misery, this is what sustains it in a continual act of humble prostration before the majesty of God. And God, seeing the soul in such a disposition, pursues it with His graces. As the soul continues to immerse itself more deeply into the abyss of its nothingness and need, God uses His omnipotence to exalt it. If there is a truly happy soul upon earth, it can only be a truly humble soul. At first, one's self-love suffers greatly on this account, but after a soul has struggled courageously, God grants it much light by which it sees how wretched and full of deception everything is. God alone is in its heart. A humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God. God defends the humble soul and lets Himself into its secrets, and the soul abides in unsurpassable happiness which no one can comprehend.
605 O Holy Trinity, Eternal God, I thank You for allowing me to know the greatness and the various degrees of glory to which souls attain. Oh, what a great difference of depth in the knowledge of God there is between one degree and another! Oh, if people could only know this! O my God, if I were thereby able to attain one more degree, I would gladly suffer all the torments of the martyrs put together. Truly, all those torments seem as nothing to me compared with the glory that is awaiting us for all eternity. O Lord, immerse my soul in the ocean of Your divinity and grant me the grace of knowing You; for the better I know You, the more I desire You, and the more my love for You grows. I feel in my soul an unfathomable abyss which only God can fill. I lose myself in Him as a drop does in the ocean. The Lord has inclined himself to my misery like a ray of the sun upon a barren and rocky desert. And yet, under the influence of His rays, my soul has become covered with verdure, flowers, and fruit, and has become a beautiful garden for His repose.
606 My Jesus, despite Your graces, I see and feel all my misery. I begin my day with battle and end it with battle. As soon as I conquer one obstacle, ten more appear to take its place. But I am not worried, because I know that this is the time of struggle, not peace. When the burden of the battle becomes too much for me, I throw myself like a child into the arms of the heavenly Father and trust I will not perish. O my Jesus, how prone I am to evil, and this forces me to be constantly vigilant. But I do not lose heart. I trust God's grace, which abounds in the worst misery.
607 In the midst of the worst difficulties and adversities, I do not lose inner peace or exterior balance, and this discourages my adversaries. Patience in adversity gives power to the soul.
611 O my Jesus, I implore You by the goodness of Your most sweet Heart, let Your anger diminish and show us Your mercy. May Your wounds be our shield against Your Father's justice. I have come to know You, O God, as the source of mercy that vivifies and nourishes every soul. Oh, how great is the mercy of the Lord; it surpasses all His other qualities! Mercy is the greatest attribute of God; everything that surrounds me speaks to me of this. Mercy is the life of souls; His compassion is inexhaustible. O Lord, look on us and deal with us according to Your countless mercies, according to Your great mercy.
615 March 1, 1936. Today during Holy Mass I experienced a strange force and urge to start realizing God's wishes. I had such a clear understanding of the things the Lord was asking of me that truly if I were to say that I do not understand what God is demanding from me, I would be lying, because the Lord is making His will known to me so clearly and distinctly that I do not have the least shadow of a doubt about them. I realized that it would be the greatest ingratitude to delay any longer this undertaking which the Lord wishes to bring to fulfillment for His glory and the benefit of a great number of souls. And He is using me as a miserable tool through which to realize His eternal plans of mercy. Truly, how ungrateful my soul would be to resist God's will any longer. Nothing will stop me any longer, be it persecution, sufferings, sneers, threats, entreaties, hunger, cold, flattery, friendships, adversities, friends or enemies; be it things I am experiencing now or things that will come in the future or even the hatred of hell-nothing will deter me from doing the will of God.
I am not counting on my own strength, but on His omnipotence for, as he gave me the grace of knowing His holy will, He will also grant me the grace of fulfilling it. I cannot fail to mention how much my own lower nature resists this thing, manifesting its own desires, and there results within my soul a great struggle, like that of Jesus in the Garden of Olives. And so I too cry out to God, the Eternal Father, "If it is possible, take this cup from me, but, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done, O Lord; may Your will be done." What I am about to go through is no secret to me, but with full knowledge I accept whatever You send me, O Lord. I trust in You, O merciful God, and I wish to be the first to manifest to You that confidence which You demand of souls. O Eternal Truth, help me and enlighten me along the roadways of life, and grant that Your will be accomplished in me.
My God, I desire nothing but the fulfillment of Your will. It does not matter whether it will be easy or difficult. I feel an extraordinary force driving me to action. One thing alone holds me back, and that is holy obedience. O my Jesus, You urge me on the one hand and hold me back and restrain me on the other. In this, too, O my Jesus, may Your holy will be done.
I continued in this state, without a break, for many days. My physical strength declined, and though I did not speak to anyone about it, nevertheless Mother Superior [Borgia] noticed my pain and remarked that I had changed in appearance and was very pale. She told me to go to bed earlier and to sleep longer, and she had a cup of hot milk brought to me in the evening. She had a motherly heart, full of care, and tried to help me. But in the case of spiritual sufferings, external things have no influence, and they do not bring much relief. It was from the confessional that I drew my strength and the consolation of knowing that it would not be long before I could begin to act.
633 I am greatly surprised at how one can be so jealous. When I see someone else's good, I rejoice at it as if it were mine. The joy of others is my joy, and the suffering of others is my suffering, for otherwise I would not dare to commune with the Lord Jesus. The spirit of Jesus is always simple, meek, sincere; all malice, envy, and unkindness disguised under a smile of good will are clever little devils. A severe word flowing from sincere love does not wound the heart.
638 Jesus, drive away from me the thoughts that are not in accord with Your will. I know that nothing now binds me to this earth but this work of mercy.
639 Thursday. During the evening adoration, I saw Jesus scourged and tortured. He said to me, My daughter, I desire that even in the smallest things, you rely on your confessor. Your greatest sacrifices do not please Me if you practice them without the confessor's permission; on the other hand, the smallest sacrifice finds great value in My eyes, if it is done with his permission. The greatest works are worthless in My eyes if they are done out of self-will, and often they are not in accord with My will and merit punishment rather than reward. And on the other hand, even the smallest of your acts, done with the confessor's permission is pleasing in My eyes and very dear to Me. Hold firmly to this always. Be constantly on the watch, for many souls will turn back from the gates of hell and worship My mercy. But fear nothing, as I am with you. Know that of yourself you can do nothing.
642 Palm Sunday. This Sunday, I experienced in a special way the sentiments of the most sweet Heart of Jesus. My spirit was there where Jesus was. I saw Jesus riding on a donkey's foal, and the disciples and a great multitude with branches in their hands joyfully accompanying the Lord Jesus. Some strewed them before His feet where He was riding, while others raised their branches in the air, leaping and jumping before the Lord and not knowing what to do for joy. And I saw another crowd which came out to meet Jesus, likewise with joyful faces and with branches in their hands, and they were crying out unceasingly with joy. There were little children there also. But Jesus was very grave, and the Lord gave me to know how much He was suffering at the time. And at that moment, I saw nothing but only Jesus, whose Heart was saturated with ingratitude.
644 When I left the confessional, a multitude of thoughts oppressed my soul. Why be sincere? What I have told is no sin, so I have no duty to tell it to the confessor. And again, what a relief that I do not have to heed my interior any more as long as things are all right on the outside. I do not have to pay attention to anything or to follow the inner voices that have often cost me so much humiliation. From now on, I will be free. And again, a strange pain seized my soul: can I not, then, commune with the One whom I desire so greatly? The One who is the whole strength of my soul? I began to cry out, "To whom shall I go, O Jesus?" But from the moment of the confessor's prohibition, great darkness fell upon my soul. I feared lest I hear some inner voice, which would occasion the breaking of my confessor's prohibition. And then again, I die of longing for God. My interior is torn asunder, not having any will of its own, since it has been turned over completely to God.
That was on Wednesday of Holy Week. The suffering intensified on Holy Thursday. When I came to make my meditation, I entered into a kind of agony. I did not feel the presence of God, but all the justice of God weighed heavily upon me. I saw myself as if knocked down for the sins of the world. Satan began to mock me, "See, now you will no longer strive to win souls; look how you've been paid! Nobody will believe you that Jesus demands this. See how much you are suffering now, and how much more you are going to suffer! After all, the confessor has now released you from all these things." Now I can live as I like, as long as things are all right outwardly. These dreadful thoughts tormented me throughout the whole hour.
When it was almost time for Holy Mass, my heart was seized with pain; am I, then, to leave the Congregation? And since Father has told me that this is a kind of heresy, am I to fall away from the Church? I cried out to the Lord with a sorrowful interior cry, "Jesus, save me!" Still, not a single ray of light entered my soul, and I felt my strength failing, as if the body were separating itself from the soul. I submitted to the will of God and repeated, "O God, let whatever You have decided upon happen to me. Nothing in me is any longer my own." Then, suddenly, God's presence enveloped me and penetrated me through and through. This was just as I was receiving Holy Communion. A moment after Holy Communion, I lost all awareness of everything around me and of my whereabouts.
645 Then I saw the Lord Jesus, as He is represented in the image, and He said to me, Tell the confessor that this work is Mine and that I am using you as a lowly instrument. And I said, "Jesus, I can no longer do anything You command me to do, because my confessor has told me that all this is an illusion, and that I am not allowed to obey any of Your commands. I will do nothing that You will tell me to do now. I am sorry, my Lord, but I am not allowed to do anything, and I must obey my confessor. Jesus, I most earnestly ask Your pardon. You know how much I suffer because of this, but it can't be helped, Jesus. The confessor has forbidden me to follow Your orders." Jesus listened to my arguments and complaints with kindness and satisfaction. I thought the Lord Jesus would be grievously offended but, on the contrary, He was pleased and said to me kindly, Always tell your confessor about everything I say to you and command you to do, and do only that for which you obtain permission. Do not be upset, and fear nothing; I am with you. My soul was filled with joy, and all those oppressive thoughts vanished. Certitude and courage entered my soul.
646 But after a short while, I entered into the sufferings which Jesus underwent in the Garden of Olives. This lasted until Friday morning. On Friday, I experienced the Passion of Jesus but, this time, in a different way. On that day, Father Bukowski came from Derdy. Some strange power pushed me to go to confession and tell him about everything that had happened to me and about what Jesus had said to me. When I told Father, he was quite different and he said to me, "Sister, don't be afraid of anything; you will come to no harm, for the ' Lord Jesus will not allow it. If you are obedient and persevere in this disposition, you need not worry about anything. God will find a way to bring about His work. You should always have this simplicity and sincerity and tell everything to Mother General. What I said to ; you was said as a warning, because illusions may afflict even holy persons, and Satan's insinuations may play a part in this, and sometimes this comes from our own selves, so one has to be careful. And so continue as you have thus far. You can see, Sister, that the Lord is not angered by this. And Sister, you can repeat these things that have happened to you at present to your regular confessor [Father Sopocko]."
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.
650 O my Jesus, my Master and Director, strengthen and enlighten me in these difficult moments of my life. I expect no help from people; all my hope is in You. I feel alone in the face of Your demands, O Lord. Despite the fears and qualms of my nature, I am fulfilling Your holy will and desire to fulfill it as faithfully as possible throughout my life and in my death. Jesus, with You I can do all things. Do with me as You please; only give me Your merciful Heart and that is enough for me.
O Jesus my Lord, help me. Let what You have planned before all ages happen to me. I am ready at each beckoning of Your holy will. Enlighten my mind that I may know Your will. O God, You who pervade my soul, You know that I desire nothing but Your glory.
O Divine Will, You are the delight of my heart, the food of my soul, the light of my intellect, the omnipotent strength of my will; for when I unite myself with Your will, O Lord, Your power works through me and takes the place of my feeble will. Each day, I seek to carry out God's wishes.
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-36, 28-39, 41, 46, 56-57, 67-70, 73, 77)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-78, 90, 93, 94-95, 98, 101, 104-106)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-109, 111, 114-116, 135-137-138)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-148-150, 208, 367, 482-483, 509)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-485, 507, 530-531, 538, 540, 546)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-571-573, 575)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-576, 593, 605-607, 611, 615, 633, 638)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-639-642, 644-646, 648, 650)
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."