Be a Christian, Don’t Just Seem Like One
August 23, 2014. Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 23: 1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people´s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ´Rabbi.´ As for you, do not be called ´Rabbi.´ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ´Master´; you have but one master, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Introductory Prayer: Dear Lord, I believe in You because You became man in order to reveal the Father’s love and the way Your followers should live. I hope in You because You have promised to be with us until the end of time. I love You because You died in order to give me life.
Petition: Lord, help me to grow in my Christian identity and commitment.
1. Practice What You Preach: The world needs witnesses more than it needs teachers. It’s easy to remind others how things should be done; it is much harder to give witness of an authentic Christian life. One thing is content, and the other is personal example. When someone tells us the truth, we should accept it – even if that person doesn’t live the truth he preaches. Our following the truth should not depend on whether or not others live it. And, if we find ourselves in a position in which we have the responsibility of preaching or teaching catechism, we should sincerely try to live up to the doctrine that we preach, which is not ours but God’s.
2. Being Christian: In his epistle to the Romans, St. Ignatius of Antioch stated the importance of truly being Christian, not just being called one: “Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really found to be one. For if I be truly found a Christian, I may also be called one, and be deemed faithful.” Christianity does not consist in living our faith in an external or merely formal way, as the Pharisees lived their religion, but in loving God to the point of showing that love in our personal and public behavior. We should avoid in our behavior that which we deplore in others. To be truly Christian, it is necessary to strive to think, want, desire and love as Jesus did.
3. Being Humble: It’s all a matter of being humble. Once, St. Bernard of Clairvaux compared the proud man to the top of a snow-capped mountain at the beginning of spring and the humble man to the valley below. The melting snow, which is God’s grace, cannot flow upwards to the proud man: Through his attitude (he thinks he is at God’s level), he has put himself in a position in which he is incapable of receiving God’s grace. On the other hand, the humble man, since he is at the bottom of the mountain, fully receives the water of God’s grace, and therefore he can bear abundant fruit. Only the humble man can be truly in contact with God and let God’s grace work miracles in his life.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, help me to value my Christian identity. I know that to live in a Christian way does not come naturally to anyone. It can come only with Your light and grace. Give me the grace to contemplate You more deeply, so that You can be the standard for my actions and reactions.
Resolution: I will give true Christian witness at home, at school or at work.
Excerpts from the DIARY of Saint Faustina Kowalska
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."
O Divine Sun, in Your rays the soul sees the tiniest specks of dust which displease You.
72 O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equaled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God's mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages.
92 Humiliation is my daily food. I understand that the bride must herself share in everything that is the groom's; and so His cloak of mockery must cover me, too. At those times when I suffer much, I try to remain silent, as I do not trust my tongue which, at such moments, is inclined to talk for itself, while its duty is to help me praise God for all the blessings and gifts which He has given me. When I receive Jesus in Holy Communion, I ask Him fervently to deign to heal my tongue so that I would offend neither God nor neighbor by it. I want my tongue to praise God without cease. Great are the faults committed by the tongue. The soul will not attain sanctity if it does not keep watch over its tongue.
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.
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.
113 And again, I would like to say three words to the soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit; that is to say, benefit from confession.
First word-complete sincerity and openness. Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open. An insincere, secretive soul risks great dangers in the spiritual life, and even the Lord Jesus Himself does not give Himself to such a soul on a higher level, because He knows it would derive no benefit from these special graces.
Second word-humility. A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery.
Third word-obedience. A disobedient soul will win no victory, even if the Lord Jesus himself, in person, were to hear its confession. The most experienced confessor will be of no help whatsoever to such a soul. The disobedient soul exposes itself to great misfortunes; it will make no progress toward perfection, nor will it succeed in the spiritual life. God lavishes His graces most generously upon the soul, but it must be an obedient soul.
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.
132 I must again mention that there are some confessors who seem to be true spiritual fathers, but only as long as things go well. When the soul finds itself in greater need, they become perplexed, and either cannot or will not understand the soul. They try to get rid of the person as soon as possible. But if the soul is humble, it will always profit in some little way or other. God himself will sometimes cast a shaft of light into the depths of the soul, because of its humility and faith. The confessor will sometimes say something he had never intended to say, without even realizing it himself. Oh, let the soul believe that such words are the words of the Lord himself! Though indeed we ought to believe that every word spoken in the confessional is God's, what I have referred to above is something that comes directly from God. And the soul perceives that the priest is not master of himself, that he is saying things that he would rather not say. This is how God rewards faith.
I have experienced this many times myself. A certain very learned and respected priest [probably Father Wilkowski, the sisters' confessor at Plock], to whom I sometimes happened to go to confession, was always severe and opposed to these matters [which I brought up to him]. But on one occasion he replied to me, "Bear in mind, Sister, that if God is asking this of you, you should not oppose Him. God sometimes wants to be praised in just this way. Be at peace; what God has started, He will finish. But I say this to you: faithfulness to God and humility. And once again: humility. Bear well in mind what I have told you today." I was delighted, and I thought that perhaps this priest had understood me. But it so turned out that I never went to confession to him again.
133 +Once, one of the older Mothers [probably Mother Jane] summoned me, and it was as if fiery bolts from the blue were coming down upon my head, so much so that I could not even discover what it was all about. But after a while I understood that it was about a matter over which I had no control whatsoever. She said to me, "Get it out of your head, Sister, that the Lord Jesus might be communing in such an intimate way with such a miserable bundle of imperfections as you! Bear in mind that it is only with holy souls that the Lord Jesus communes in this way!" I acknowledged that she was right, because I am indeed a wretched person, but still I trust in God's mercy. When I met the Lord I humbled myself and said, "Jesus, it seems that You do not associate intimately with such wretched people as I" Be at peace, My daughter, it is precisely through such misery that I want to show the power of My mercy. I understood that this Mother had merely wanted to subject me to a [salutary] humiliation.
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.
159 +O Blessed Host, in golden chalice enclosed for me,
That through the vast wilderness of exile
I may pass-pure, immaculate, undefiled;
Oh, grant that through the power of Your love this might come to be.
O Blessed Host, take up Your dwelling within my soul,
O Thou my heart's purest love!
With Your brilliance the darkness dispel.
Refuse not Your grace to a humble heart.
O Blessed Host, enchantment of all heaven,
Though Your beauty be veiled
And captured in a crumb of bread,
Strong faith tears away that veil
174 At that moment the priest came in and began the conference. He spoke for a short time, as if he were in a hurry. After the conference, he went over to the confessional. Seeing that none of the sisters were going there, I sprang from my kneeler, and in an instant was in the confessional. There was no time to deliberate. Instead of telling the father about the doubts that had been sown in me in respect to my dealings with the Lord Jesus, I began to speak about these temptations I have just described above. The confessor immediately understood my situation and said, "Sister, you distrust the Lord Jesus because He treats you so kindly. Well, Sister, be completely at peace. Jesus is your Master, and your communing with Him is neither daydreaming nor hysteria nor illusion. Know that you are on the right path. Please try to be faithful to these graces; you are not free to shun them. You do not need at all, Sister, to tell your superiors about these interior graces, unless the Lord Jesus instructs you clearly to do so, and even then you should first consult with your confessor. But if the Lord Jesus demands something external, in this case, after consulting your confessor, you should carry out what He asks of you, even if this costs you greatly. On the other hand, you must tell your confessor everything. There is absolutely no other course for you to take, Sister. Pray that you may find a spiritual director, or else you will waste these great gifts of God. I repeat once again, be at peace; you are following the right path. Take no heed of anything else, but always be faithful to the Lord Jesus, no matter what anyone says about you. It is with just such miserable souls that the Lord Jesus communes in this intimate way. And the more you humble yourself, the more the Lord Jesus will unite Himself with you." 175 176 177
178 Today we are beginning the third probation. All three of us met at Mother Margaret's, as the other sisters were having their probation in the novitiate. Mother Margaret began with a prayer, explained to us what the third probation consists of, and then spoke on how great is the grace of the perpetual vows. Suddenly I began to cry out loud. In an instant all God's graces appeared before the eyes of my soul, and I saw myself so wretched and ungrateful toward God. The sisters began to rebuke me, saying, "Why did she break out crying?" But Mother Margaret came to my defense, saying that she was not surprised.
At the end of the hour, I went before the Blessed Sacrament and, like the greatest and most miserable of wretches, I begged for His mercy that He might heal and purify my poor soul. Then I heard these words, My daughter, all your miseries have been consumed in the flame of My love, like a little twig thrown into a roaring fire. By humbling yourself in this way, you draw upon yourself and upon other souls an entire sea of My mercy. I answered, "Jesus, mold my poor heart according to Your divine delight."
270 Without humility, we cannot be pleasing to God. Practice the third degree of humility; that is, not only must one refrain from explaining and defending oneself when reproached with something, but one should rejoice at the humiliation.
If the things you are telling me really come from God, prepare your soul for great suffering. You will encounter disapproval and persecution. They will look upon you as a hysteric and an eccentric, but the Lord will lavish His graces upon you. True works of God always meet opposition and are marked by suffering. If God wants to accomplish something, sooner or later He will do so in spite of the difficulties. Your part, in the meantime, is to arm yourself with great patience.
282 Once the Lord said to me, My Heart was moved by great mercy towards you, My dearest child, when I saw you torn to shreds because of the great pain you suffered in repenting for your sins. I see your love, so pure and true that I give you first place among the virgins. You are the honor and glory of My Passion. I see every abasement of your soul, and nothing escapes my attention. I lift up the humble even to my very throne, because I want it so.
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.
320 Jesus made known to me how very pleasing to Him were prayers of atonement. He said to me, The prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings. After the adoration, half way to my cell, I was surrounded by a , pack of huge black dogs who were jumping and howling and trying to tear me to pieces. I realized that they were not dogs, but demons. One of them spoke up in a rage, "Because you have snatched so many souls away from us this night, we will tear you to pieces." I answered, "If that is the will of the most merciful God, tear me to pieces, for I have justly deserved it, because I am the most miserable of all sinners, and God is ever holy, just, and infinitely merciful." To these words all the demons answered as one, "Let us flee, for she is not alone; the Almighty is with her!" And they vanished like dust, like the noise of the road, while I continued on my way to my cell undisturbed, finishing my Te Deum and pondering the infinite and unfathomable mercy of God.
346 December 24, 1934. The Vigil of Christmas. During the morning Mass, I felt the closeness of God. Though I was hardly aware of it, my spirit was drowned in God. Suddenly, I heard these words: You are My delightful dwelling place; My Spirit rests in you. After these words, I felt the Lord looking into the depths of my heart; and seeing my misery, I humbled myself in spirit and admired the immense mercy of God, that the Most High Lord would approach such misery.
During Holy Communion, joy filled my soul. I felt that I am closely united to the Godhead. His omnipotence enveloped my whole being. Throughout the whole day I felt the closeness of God in a special manner; and although my duties prevented me throughout the whole day from going to chapel even for a moment, there was not a moment when I was not united with God. I felt Him within me more distinctly than ever. Unceasingly greeting the Mother of God and entering into Her spirit, I begged Her to teach me true love of God. And then I heard these words: I will share with you the secret of My happiness this night during Holy Mass.
We had supper before six o'clock. Despite all the joy and the external noise accompanying the sharing of the wafer and the mutual exchange of good wishes, I did not for a moment lose the awareness of God's presence. After supper we hurried away to finish our work, and at nine I was able to go to the chapel for adoration. I was allowed to stay up and wait for the Midnight Mass. I was delighted to have free time from nine until midnight. From nine to ten o'clock I offered my adoration for my parents and my whole family. From ten to eleven, I offered it for the intention of my spiritual director, in the first place thanking God for granting me this great visible help here on earth, just as He had promised me, and I also asked God to grant him the necessary light so that he could get to know my soul and guide me according to God's good pleasure. And from eleven to twelve I prayed for the Holy Church and the clergy, for sinners, for the missions and for our houses. I offered the indulgences for the souls in purgatory.
362 +One day, during the morning meditation, I heard this voice: I myself am your director; I was, I am, and I will be. And since you asked for visible help, I chose and gave you a director even before you had asked, for My work required this. Know that the faults you commit against him wound My Heart. Be especially on your guard against self-willfulness; even the smallest thing should bear the seal of obedience.
With a crushed and humbled heart I begged forgiveness of Jesus for these faults. I also begged pardon of my spiritual director and resolved to do nothing rather than to do many things wrongly.
424 In the evening, I just about got into bed, and I fell asleep immediately. Though I fell asleep quickly, I was awakened even more quickly. A little child came and woke me up. The child seemed about a year old, and I was surprised it could speak so well, as children of that age either do not speak or speak very indistinctly The child was beautiful beyond words and resembled the Child Jesus, and he said to me, Look at the sky. And when I looked at the sky I saw the stars and the moon shining. Then the child asked me, Do you see this moon and these stars? When I said yes, he spoke these words to me, These stars are the souls of faithful Christians, and the moon is the souls of religious. Do you see how great the difference is between the light of the moon and the light of the stars? Such is the difference in heaven between the soul of a religious and the soul of a faithful Christian. And he went on to say that, True greatness is in loving God and in humility.
450 I was suffering very much, and it seemed to me I would not be able to make my adoration, but I gathered up all my will power and, although I collapsed in my cell, I paid no attention to what ailed me, for I had the Passion of Jesus before my eyes. When I entered the chapel, I received an inner understanding of the great reward that God is preparing for us, not only for our good deeds, but also for our sincere desire to perform them. What a great grace of God this is!
Oh, how sweet it is to toil for God and souls! I want no respite in this battle, but I shall fight to the last breath for the glory of my King and Lord. I shall not lay the sword aside until He calls me before His throne; I fear no blows, because God is my shield. It is the enemy who should fear us, and not we him. Satan defeats only the proud and the cowardly, because the humble are strong. Nothing will confuse or frighten a humble soul. I have directed my flight at the very center of the sun's heat, and nothing can lower its course. Love will not allow itself to be taken prisoner; it is free like a queen. Love attains God.
526 + The 14th. This Thursday, when we were having nocturnal adoration, at first I could not pray; a sort of dryness engulfed me. I could not meditate on Jesus' sorrowful Passion. So I lay prostrate and offered the most sorrowful Passion of the Lord Jesus to the heavenly Father in reparation for the sins of all the world. When I got to my feet after this prayer and walked to my kneeler, I suddenly saw Jesus next to it. The Lord Jesus appeared as He was during the scourging. In His hands He was holding a white garment with which He clothed me and a cord with which He girded me, and He covered me with a red cloak like the one He was clothed with during His Passion and a veil of the same color, and He said to me, This is how you and your companions are going to be clothed. My life from birth to death on the Cross will be the rule for you. Fix your eyes upon Me and live according to what you see. I desire that you penetrate into My spirit more deeply and understand that I am meek and humble of heart.
532 After Holy Communion, I saw the Lord Jesus, who said these words to me: Today, penetrate into the spirit of My poverty and arrange everything in such a way that the most destitute will have no reason to envy you. I find pleasure, not in large buildings and magnificent structures, but in a pure and humble heart.
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.
544 The novitiate  is to last one year, without any interruption. At this time the novice should be taught about the virtues relating to the vows and about the importance of the vows. The directress should do her utmost to provide a solid formation. Let her train the novices in the practice of humility, because only a humble heart keeps the vows easily and experiences the great joys that God pours out upon the faithful soul. The novices should not be burdened with duties that entail responsibilities, so that they may be free to devote themselves to their own perfection. They are obliged to observe the rules and statutes strictly, as are the postulants.
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.
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.
587 Once, I suddenly saw Jesus in great majesty, and He spoke these words to me: My daughter, if you wish, I will this instant create a new world, more beautiful than this one, and you will live there for the rest of your life. I answered, "I don't want any worlds. I want You, Jesus. I want to love You, with the same love that You have for me. I beg You for only one thing: to make my heart capable of loving you. I am very much surprised at Your offer, my Jesus; what are those worlds to me? Even if You gave me a thousand of them, what are they to me? You know very well, Jesus, that my heart is dying of longing for You. Everything that is not You is nothing to me." -At that moment, I could no longer see anything, but a strange force took over my soul, a strange fire sprang up in my heart, and I entered into a kind of agony for Him. Then I heard these words: With no other soul do I unite myself as closely and in such a way as I do with you, and this because of the deep humility and ardent love which you have for Me.
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.
771 In that same moment, the soul drowns entirely in Him and experiences a happiness as great as that of the chosen ones in heaven. Although the chosen ones in heaven see God face to face and are completely and absolutely happy, still their knowledge of God is not the same. God has given me to understand this. This deeper knowledge begins here on earth, depending on the grace [given], but to a great extent it also depends on our faithfulness to that grace.
However, the soul receiving this unprecedented grace of union with God cannot say that it sees God face to face, because even here there is a very thin veil of faith, but so very thin that the soul can say that it sees God and talks with Him. It is "divinized." God allows the soul to know how much He loves it, and the soul sees that better and holier souls than itself have not received this grace. Therefore, it is filled with holy amazement, which maintains it in deep humility, and it steeps itself in its own nothingness and holy astonishment; and the more it humbles itself, the more closely God unites himself with it and descends to it.
The soul, at this moment is, as it were, hidden; its senses are inactive; in one moment, it knows God and drowns in Him. It knows the whole depth of the Unfathomable One, and the deeper this knowledge, the more ardently the soul desires Him
778 And God has given me to understand that there is but one thing that is of infinite value in His eyes, and that is love of God; love, love and once again, love; and nothing can compare with a single act of pure love of God. Oh, with what inconceivable favors God gifts a soul that loves Him sincerely! Oh, how happy is the soul who already here on earth enjoys His special favors! And of such are the little and humble souls.
792 I must never speak of my own experiences. In suffering, I must seek relief in prayer. In doubts, even the smallest, I must seek only the advice of my confessor. I must always have a heart which is open to receive the sufferings of others, and drown my own sufferings in the Divine Heart so that they would not be noticed on the outside, in so far as possible.
I must always strive for equanimity, no matter how stormy the circumstances might be. I must not allow anything to disturb my interior calm and silence. Nothing can compare with peace of soul. When I am wrongfully accused of something, I will not explain myself; if the superior wants to know the truth, whether I was in the right or not, let her find out from others rather than from me. My concern is to accept everything with a humble inner disposition.
I will spend this Advent in accordance with the directions of the Mother of God: in meekness and humility.
838 + I marvel at how many humiliations and sufferings that priest accepts in this whole matter.  I see this at particular times, and I support him with my unworthy prayers. Only God can give one such courage; otherwise one would give up. But I see with joy that all these adversities contribute to God's greater glory. The Lord has few such souls. O infinite eternity, you will make manifest the efforts of heroic souls, because the earth rewards their efforts with hatred and ingratitude. Such souls do not have friends; they are solitary. And in this solitude, they gain strength; they draw their strength from God alone. With humility, but also with courage, they stand firmly in the face of all the storms that beat upon them. Like high-towering oaks, they are unmoved. And in this there is just this one secret: that it's from God that they draw this strength, and everything whatsoever they have need of, they have for themselves and for others. They not only carry their own burden, but also know how to take on, and are capable of taking on, the burdens of others. They are pillars of light along God's ways; they live in light themselves and shed light upon others. They themselves live on the heights, and know how to show the way to lesser ones and help them attain those heights.
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.]
1092 April 16, 1937. Today, as God's Majesty swept over me, my soul understood that the Lord, so very great though He is, delights in humble souls. The more a soul humbles itself, the greater the kindness with which the Lord approaches it. Uniting himself closely with it, He raises it to His very throne. Happy is the soul whom the Lord himself defends. I have come to know that only love is of any value; love is greatness; nothing, no works, can compare with a single act of pure love of God.
1293 It so happened that I fell again into a certain error, in spite of a sincere resolution not to do so-even though the lapse was a minor imperfection and rather involuntary-and at this I felt such acute pain in my soul that I interrupted my work and went to the chapel for a while. Falling at the feet of Jesus, with love and a great deal of pain, I apologized to the Lord, all the more ashamed because of the fact that in my conversation with Him after Holy Communion this very morning I had promised to be faithful to Him. Then I heard these words: If it hadn't been for this small imperfection, you wouldn't have come to Me. Know that as often as you come to Me, humbling yourself and asking My forgiveness, I pour out a superabundance of graces on your soul, and your imperfection vanishes before My eyes, and I see only your love and your humility. You lose nothing but gain much...
1306 + O humility, lovely flower, I see how few souls possess you. Is it because you are so beautiful and at the same time so difficult to attain? O yes, it is both the one and the other. Even God takes great pleasure in her. The floodgates of heaven are open to a humble soul, and a sea of graces flows down upon her. O how beautiful is a humble soul! From her heart, as from a center, rises a varied and most pleasing fragrance which breaks through the skies and reaches God himself, filling His Most Sacred Heart with joy. God refuses nothing to such a soul; she is all-powerful and influences the destiny of the whole world. God raises such a soul up to His very throne, and the more she humbles herself, the more God stoops down to her, pursuing her with His graces and accompanying her at every moment with His omnipotence. Such a soul is most deeply united with God. O humility, strike deep roots in my whole being. O Virgin most pure, but also most humble, help me to attain deep humility. Now I understand why there are so few saints; it is because so few souls are deeply humble.
1321 Hail, most merciful Heart of Jesus,
Living Fountain of all graces,
Our sole shelter, our only refuge;
In You I have the light of hope.
Hail, most compassionate Heart of my God,
Unfathomable living Fount of Love
From which gushes life for sinful man
And the Spring of all sweetness.
Hail, open Wound of the Most Sacred Heart,
From which the rays of mercy issued forth
And from which it was given us to draw life
With the vessel of trust alone.
Hail, God's goodness, incomprehensible,
Never to be measured or fathomed,
Full of love and mercy, though always holy,
Yet, like a good mother, ever bent o'er us.
Hail, Throne of Mercy, Lamb of God,
Who gave Your life in sacrifice for me,
Before whom my soul humbles itself daily,
Living in faith profound.
[End of Notebook Four]
1361 This firm resolution to become a saint is extremely pleasing to Me. I bless your efforts and will give you opportunities to sanctify yourself. Be watchful that you lose no opportunity that My providence offers you for sanctification. If you do not succeed in taking advantage of an opportunity, do not lose your peace, but humble yourself profoundly before Me and, with great trust, immerse yourself completely in My mercy. In this way, you gain more than you have lost, because more favor is granted to a humble soul than the soul itself asks for...
1415 I desire, My dearly beloved daughter, that you practice the three virtues that are dearest to Me-and most pleasing to God. The first is humility, humility, and once again humility; the second virtue, purity; the third virtue, love of God. As My daughter, you must especially radiate with these virtues. When the conversation ended, She pressed me to Her Heart and disappeared. When I regained the use of my senses, my heart became so wonderfully attracted to these virtues; and I practice them faithfully. They are as though engraved in my heart.
1436 + Lord, although You often make known to me the thunders of Your anger, Your anger vanishes before lowly souls. Although You are great, Lord, You allow yourself to be overcome by a lowly and deeply humble soul. O humility, the most precious of virtues, how few souls possess you! I see only a semblance of this virtue everywhere, but not the virtue itself. Lord, reduce me to nothingness in my own eyes that I may find grace in ' Yours.
1564 Jesus, hide me; just as You have hidden Yourself under the form of the white Host, so hide me from human eyes, and particularly hide the gifts which You so kindly grant me. May I not betray outwardly what You are effecting in my soul. I am a white host before You, O Divine Priest. Consecrate me Yourself, and may my transubstantiation be known only to You. I stand before You each day as a sacrificial host and implore Your mercy upon the world. In silence, and unseen, I will empty myself before You; my pure and undivided love will burn, in profound silence, as a holocaust. And may the fragrance of my love be wafted to the foot of Your throne. You are the Lord of lords, but You delight in innocent and humble souls.
1586 O my Jesus, You see how very grateful I am to Father Sopocko, who has advanced Your work so much. That soul, so humble, has had to endure all the storms. He has not allowed himself to become discouraged by adversities, but has faithfully responded to the call of God.
1602 Today the Lord said to me, Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself entirely in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls.
1605 Write down everything that occurs to you regarding My goodness. I answered, "What do You mean, Lord, what if I write too much?" And the Lord replied, My daughter, even if you were to speak at one and the same time in all human and angelic tongues, even then you would not have said very much, but on the contrary, you would have sung in only a small measure the praises of My goodness-of My unfathomable mercy.
O my Jesus, You Yourself must put words into my mouth, that I may praise You worthily.
My daughter, be at peace; do as I tell you. Your thoughts are united to My thoughts, so write whatever comes to your mind. You are the secretary of My mercy. I have chosen you for that office in this life and the next life. That is how I want it to be in spite all the opposition they will give you. Know that My choice will not change.
At that moment I steeped myself in profound humility before God's majesty. But the more I humbled myself, the more God's presence penetrated me...
1701 I asked the Lord today that He might deign to teach me about the interior life, because of myself I can neither understand nor conceive anything perfectly. The Lord answered me, I was your Teacher, I am and I will be; strive to make your heart like unto My humble and gentle Heart. Never claim your rights. Bear with great calm and patience everything that befalls you. Do not defend yourself when you are put to shame, though innocent. Let others triumph. Do not stop being good when you notice that your goodness is being abused. I Myself will speak up for you when it is necessary. Be grateful for the smallest of My graces, because your gratitude compels Me to grant you new graces...
1711 When I was left alone with the Blessed Virgin, She instructed me concerning the interior life. She said, The soul's true greatness is in loving God and in humbling oneself in His presence, completely forgetting oneself and believing oneself to be nothing; because the Lord is great, but He is well pleased only with the humble; He always opposes the proud.
1734 O my Jesus, You know that there are times when I have neither lofty thoughts nor a soaring spirit. I bear with myself patiently and admit that that is just what I am, because all that is beautiful is a grace from God. And so I humble myself profoundly and cry out for Your help; and the grace of visitation is not slow in coming to the humble heart.
1742 Be praised, merciful God, One God in the Holy Trinity,
Unfathomable, infinite, incomprehensible,
immersing themselves in You, their minds cannot comprehend You,
So they repeat without end their eternal: Holy.
Be glorified, O merciful Creator of ours, O Lord,
Omnipotent, but full of compassion, inconceivable.
To love You is the mission of our existence,
Singing our eternal hymn: Holy...
Be blessed, merciful God, Eternal Love.
You are above the heavens, the saphires, the firmaments.
The host of pure spirits sings You praises,
With its eternal hymn: Thrice Holy.
And, gazing upon You, face to face, O God,
I see that You could have called other creatures before them.
Therefore they humble themselves before You in great humility,
For well they see that this grace comes solely from Your mercy.
One of the most beautiful spirits would not recognize Your mercy,
And, blinded by his pride, he drew others after him.
Angel of great beauty, he became Satan
And was cast down in one moment from heaven's heights into hell.
Then the faithful spirits cried, "Glory to God's mercy!"
And they stood firm in spite of the fiery test.
Glory to Jesus, the Christ abased,
Glory to His Mother, the humble and pure Virgin.
After this battle, the pure spirits plunged into the ocean of Divinity;
Contemplating and praising the depths of His mercy,
They drown in His mercy and manifold light,
Possessing in knowledge the Trinity of Persons, the Oneness of Godhead.
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-55, 72, 93, 95, 113-115, 132-133, 138)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-159, 174, 178, 270, 282, 294, 320, 346)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-I-362, 424, 450)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-526, 532, 538, 544, 573, 576, 587, 593)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-II-771, 778, 792, 838, 1000)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-III-1092)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-IV-1293, 1306, 1321, 1361)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-V-1415, 1436, 1564, 1586)
(Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska Notebook-VI-11602, 1605, 1701, 1711, 1734, 1742)
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."