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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez



As soon as Josefa had made her vows it became clear that God had chosen her with a view to a great plan of love. All the grace of her vocation, developed in her soul by divine love, had prepared her for this work.

As Spouse of the Heart of Jesus, she must be for Him a living response of love . . . and He had revealed to her the secret of the love that He looks for from His Society: “the most tender and most generous love.”

As Spouse of His Heart, she must penetrate into its wound, fathom its depths and unite herself with His sorrow at the blindness and loss of souls. . . . He had taught her that a life surrendered and united to Him in reparation had redemptive power.

As Spouse of His Heart, chosen by this God and Saviour to be an instrument of His love and mercy for souls whom He loves so tenderly, she must share His intense longing for them . . . and He had shared with her the burning zeal of His Heart, by showing her the whole world as the object of their mutual love.

During the years of her religious formation, therefore, she had penetrated deeply into the grace of the special vocation by which every religious of the Sacred Heart is called to live as spouse, victim, and apostle.

Jesus Christ had emphasized, in all His guidance of her, every point of the Rule and had also from the beginning of her religious life made clear to her His idea of this Society “founded on love,” as He said one day, “and whose life and end is love.” (June 12th, 1923).

But this was still only the preparation for a greater plan.

He had spoken to Josefa many times of these plans. In spite of her fear and resistance, He had led her powerfully though very gently towards unconditional surrender of herself to her mission, which He gradually explained. On the day of her Vows, after reaf-firming all His rights over her, did He not say these suggestive words: “And now, I shall begin my work”? (July 16th, 1923).

This work, which He Himself called the greatest of His love, was to become clear and be accomplished during the eighteen months that would complete Josefa’s short life on earth.

But He who was guiding her and was at work within her kept her ever conscious that she was a weak and worthless instrument such as God always prefers. This is why Our Lord allowed her to experience her weakness in the daily fight in which she would be faithful to the end: temptation, the devil, Hell itself would ever be the greatest of her sufferings. These God put in the balance against her graces, so that Josefa became rooted in the consciousness of her own lowliness and nothingness. These God used as a goad which gave her no moment of rest in view of the sins of the world, souls to be saved, and the fire that was consuming the Heart of her Master.

Before going on to the last and most important stage of Josefa’s life, ought we not to pause for a moment to look at the past and the future? . . . The design of this work of love then becomes clearer in a twofold plan which seems to summarize it and at the same time allow us to “admire all its details,” as Our Lord said.

What at once stands out in Our Lord’s teaching, as in His action on Josefa, is its doctrinal character which sets in relief the guiding principles of our Faith. He seems to have wished to remind souls of these principles by a divine object lesson.

The Sovereign Dominion of the Creator over His creature and what this implies of dependence on the Divine Will and surrender to His guidance appears in the first place as the solid foundation of true love.

At the same time the whole history of Josefa is indeed that of Divine Providence which makes no mistakes in its ways. “As you are very small,” Our Lord said to her one day, “you must let yourself be controlled and guided by My fatherly hand which is powerful and infinitely strong” (May 26th, 1923). “I will mold you as is best for My glory and for souls” (August 7th, 1922). “Do not fear, for I am looking after you with jealous care, such care as the tenderest of mothers takes of her little child” (May 3rd, 1923). Magnificent definition of divine fidelity, which can say to us at the turning-point of life, as He said to Josefa: “I never fail My word!”

We are constantly reminded of the presence of Grace giving life to the soul, the foundation of its incorporation with Christ. “I am in her,” He said. “I live in her; I delight in making but one thing with her” (December 5th, 1923). But in return He asks her never to leave Him alone . . . to consult Him about everything . . . to ask Him for everything . . . to clothe herself with Him and disappear beneath His life: “The more you disappear, the more shall I be your life” (June 5th, 1923). Is not this a commentary on the words of Saint Paul: “I live, now not I but Christ liveth in me”?

Then light is thrown on the value of this life­giving union with Him, transforming the least activities by gilding them with the supernatural. More than once and in tangible ways Our Lord showed Josefa what love can make of the most insignificant actions when they are united to Him. So, He wished to revive in souls the joy of believing in the wealth at our disposal. “How many souls would regain courage,” He said, “if they realized the results of their efforts” (August 7th, 1922). “And how great is the value of a day of divine life” (December 2nd, 1922).

Here we reach the dogma which seems central in this wonderful teaching, participation in the infinite merits of Jesus Christ. Our Lord constantly reminds Josefa of this power over the treasures of His redemption given to the baptized soul. If He asks her to complete in herself what is wanting in His Passion, to repair for the world and to satisfy the Father’s justice, it is always with Him, through Him, in Him. “My Heart is yours, take it and repair with it” (October 15th, 1923). Then He makes those offerings all powerful over the Heart of the Father, which Josefa heard and passed on to us: “Good Father, Holy Father, Merciful Father! Accept the Blood of Your Son . . . His Wounds . . . His Heart! Look upon His head pierced with thorns . . . do not allow His Blood to be once more useless” (September 26th, 1922). “Do not forget that the time for justice has not yet come, but that now is the hour of mercy” (February 11th, 1922).

Lastly the great reality of the communion of Saints runs through the warp and weft of Josefa’s vocation and forms the background of the picture of her life. Our Blessed Lady, Mediatrix of all Grace and Mother of Mercy, has her special place in the center of this wonderful exchange of graces and merits, between the Saints in Heaven, the souls in Purgatory and the Church Militant on earth. . . . Only Hell is excluded. Josefa, a tiny member of the Mystical Body of Christ, learns from Him the repercussions in the world of souls of fidelity, sacrifice, suffering, and prayer.

But beyond these doctrinal lessons which seem already very valuable, the Direct Message which the Heart of Jesus will entrust to her to pass on to the world is an appeal of Love and Mercy. One day she said to her Master: “Lord, I do not understand what this work is that you are always telling me about.” “You do not know what My work is?” He answered. “It is love . . . I want to use you to reveal more than ever before the mercy and love of My Heart. The words or desires that I give to the world through you will rouse zeal in many souls and will prevent the loss of many others, and they will gain an ever fuller realization that the mercy of My Heart is inexhaustible” (November 22nd, 1922).

“From time to time,” He said on another occasion, “I long to make a new appeal of love . . .” (August 29th, 1922). “True, I have no need of you . . . but let Me ask you for love and let Me show Myself once more to souls through you” (December 15th, 1922).

This great plan of love was, indeed, entrusted to Josefa by means of heavenly conversations carried on with her from time to time during the last months of her life. Jesus would choose the day and the time to meet her in the little cell where so often already He had shown her His Heart or brought her His Cross. She could not foresee His calls. Now He wanted her to be ready to write at His dictation on several consecutive days, now He would give her no more of His message for some weeks. Sometimes He would dictate only a few lines hastily, and at others He would keep her a long while on her knees gathering from His sacred lips the secrets of His Heart.

The book, Un Appel à l’Amour (Soeur Josefa Menéndez, Religieuse coadjutrice de la Société du Sacré­Coeur de Jesus, 1890–1923), has already given these words grouped in such a way that their meaning is brought out. In the present book the natural framework of the day to day writing will make the words themselves stand out more clearly. But it seems good to preface them with a broad preliminary synthesis so that souls may more easily grasp the meaning of this new manifestation of the Heart of Jesus.

He wants to reign in souls by giving them a more secure knowledge of His goodness, His love and His mercy. This is the testimony that He came on earth to give to His Father: Deus Caritas est, and this is what He wants His followers to know and say of Him.

He wants by this new outpouring of His love to gain not only their love in return for His own but the trust that He values still more because it proves the tenderness of their affection and is the source of the most generous love.

He wants to attract and revivify souls by faith in the merciful kindness of His Heart which is so little understood, and believed in still less.

He wants chosen souls to have their sense of security in His love strengthened by deeper experimental knowledge of His Heart, and He expects them to spread the knowledge thus acquired to those who know Him but little or not at all.

He wants His appeal to waken slumbering souls . . . to raise the fallen . . . to appease the cravings of the hungry . . . and that everywhere, even to the ends of the earth. . . . And He expresses this desire so positively that one cannot remain insensible to this burning appeal of His love.

At the same time He stresses the fact that in the order of God’s Providence His plans depend, in part, on the free cooperation of men, a cooperation which He asks of all who have understood the meaning of His plans, the eagerness of His expectations and the significance of the redemptive means He employs. “When souls know My wishes,” He said, “they will spare nothing, neither trouble, nor effort, nor suffering” (December 5th, 1923).

This is exactly how Josefa had understood the divine hunger and thirst which were to consume her life in a very few months.








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