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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez

“Josefa, spouse and victim of My Heart, we are going to speak of My Passion, that your soul may constantly feed on the remembrance of it, and that My souls may find in it food for their hunger and drink for their thirst.”
(Our Lord to Josefa, May 2nd, 1923)

THE great love-story of the Passion was about to be unveiled to Josefa stage by stage from the Cenacle to Calvary, during the Lent of 1923. We must not look for an account of facts of which the Gospels are, of course, the official and authorized record. Jesus meant to disclose to Josefa the secrets of His Heart’s depths, spoken to one who would understand and sympathize with His most intimate sufferings. This revelation was made, then, to every soul that longs to penetrate into the sacred depths of His Heart to share Its feelings and to refuse nothing that the Cross may demand of it.

Josefa was to be the first to enter into this sanctuary, treading in the footsteps of her Master, and while He discovered Himself to her in the solitude of her cell, she would continue recording the Message of a suffering love made manifest to the world.

A few days passed, however, before the divine promise was fulfilled. Our Lord was making His instrument pliant by keeping her waiting and abandoned to His Will. Three times every week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, Josefa had permission to offer herself to His good pleasure before retiring to rest.

After the night from Saturday to Sunday, February 18th, she wrote:

“I offered myself to His sweet will, but as I was afraid of falling asleep, I asked Him to be kind enough to wake me.

“Hardly had I gone to bed than I fell asleep . . . I do not remember what the time was when I awoke at the sound of His voice calling me. ‘Josefa!’

“Stupefied with sleep, I said: ‘O, my Jesus, forgive me. What time is it?’

“ ‘What does that matter, Josefa? . . . It is Love’s hour.’

“How beautiful Jesus looked. He was bearing His Cross. I renewed my vows and rose at once, and He continued: ‘It is the hour when Love comes in search of comfort and relief by leaving you My Cross. Let us go and beg for pardon and mercy for souls. . . . Take My Cross that I may rest a while.’

“He gave me His Cross, which weighed me down, and I also felt the pain in my side, and my soul was overwhelmed with anguish. . . . I longed to be able to comfort Him . . . but I felt so unworthy of bearing His Cross. . . .

“ ‘That does not matter,’ He said. ‘My Cross will lean upon your misery and I will rest in your littleness. . . . My Cross will strengthen you and I will support you.

“ ‘When a soul comes to Me for strength, I do not leave her to herself; I hold her up, and if in her weakness she stumbles, I will raise her.

“ ‘Now let us ask pardon for souls . . . let us repair the offenses committed against the Divine Majesty. Say with Me: “O God most holy and just . . . Father of all clemency and of infinite goodness, Thou who didst create man out of love and through love hast made him heir to eternal blessings; if he has sinned against Thee through frailty and if he deserves chastisement, accept the merits of Thy Son who offers Himself to Thee as a Victim of expiation. By those divine merits, forgive sinful men, and deign to reinstate them as heirs of Heaven. O My Father, pity and mercy for souls!’

“ ‘Josefa, I leave you My Cross, that you may ease My burden; I am your strength, console Me’ . . .

“Then He left me His Cross and went away.”

On Monday evening, February 19th, she renewed the same offering before falling asleep.

“I cannot tell whether it was His voice or His presence that woke me at about eleven o’clock. . . . Jesus was there, bearing His Cross, and I heard Him say: ‘Josefa, do you love Me?’

“Conscious of my misery and that I do not know how to love, I did not dare reply. . . . I asked Him to forgive me for letting myself be troubled by very small happenings which really are not worth it.

“ ‘Yes, make use of all these small occasions to win souls for Me.’

“Then with His usual kindness He went on: ‘Take My Cross, and we shall repair together the many sins committed at this hour of the night. . . . If you but knew how many throw themselves into sin.’

“He gave me His Cross and I humbled myself in His presence . . . I adored Him, for more than ever I realized my unworthiness in contrast with His greatness. He joined His hands and said: ‘Come, let us adore God’s Majesty, outraged by so many offenses. Let us repair this multitude of sins!

“ ‘O God infinitely holy . . . Father infinitely merciful, I adore Thee. I long to expiate the insults heaped upon Thee by sinners all over the world and at every moment of the day and night. Would that I could at least repair for those being committed at this hour. O My Father, I offer Thee all the acts of adoration and reparation made by souls who love Thee. Above all, I offer Thee Thy Divine Son, immolated on the altar in every corner of the world . . . at every moment of this hour. O Father, infinitely good and compassionate, accept His pure Blood in reparation for all the outrages committed by mankind, wipe out their sins and have mercy on them.’

“Then we remained in silence. Jesus was looking towards Heaven. . . . My soul was in great anguish and my heart crushed with sorrow. . . . After a time He spoke again: ‘Offer your whole being in reparation for so many sins, and to satisfy the Divine Justice.’

“I told Him that I felt unworthy to do this, as I, too, am a great sinner.

“ ‘If your unworthiness and your sins are great, come and immerse them in the torrent of My Heart’s blood and let yourself be purified. Then accept generously all the sufferings My Will sends you, and offer them up to My Heavenly Father. Your heart should burn with desire to console an outraged God, and repair for so many sins through My merits.’ “

“Si tu indignidad y tus pecados son grandes, ven a sumergirte en el torrente de sangre de mi Corazón y déjate purificar! … y después acepta generosamente todos los sufrimientos que mi Voluntad te envia para ofrecerlos a mi Padre Celestial. Deja que tu alma se abrase en deseo de consolar a un Dios ultrajado y toma mis Méritos para reparar tantos pecados.”

As Jesus was about to go, Josefa ventured to remind Him of His promise to speak to her of His Passion.

“Yes, I will come back,” He said. “Meanwhile comfort My Heart and do all you can in reparation.”

These nights of reparation were renewed regularly, but they never prevented her from resuming her work as soon as it was light. During the night of Wednesday to Thursday, February 22nd, Our Lord again awoke her, for, worn out, she had fallen asleep quickly. “Here I am,” He said. “I have come to rest in you.”

Promptly she rose, renewed her vows, and offered herself to ease His divine shoulders of the heavy Cross. “Yes, I will give it to you, Josefa, and with it all the pain in My Heart.”

“At once,” she said, “He gave me His Cross . . . and I did my best to comfort Him. . . . He went on to say: ‘Tell Me, do you know a heart more loving than Mine, and any that meets with less response to Its love? Is there a heart to be found that consumes itself with greater willingness to forgive? And yet in payment for so much love I receive only great outrages. Poor souls . . . let us go and ask pardon, and repair for their sins.

“ ‘O My Father, have pity on souls. Do not chastise them as they deserve, but have mercy on them according to the entreaties of Thy Son. I long to make reparation for their sins, and render Thee the glory which is due to Thee, O God, infinitely Holy! But cast Thine eyes on Thy Son, He is the Victim who will expiate all these sins.’

“ ‘Remain united to Me, Josefa, and accept with entire submission the sufferings that are yours during this hour.’ ”

Jesus went away and an hour was spent by Josefa crushed by excessive pain. “Suddenly,” she wrote, “the devil appeared before me and with a shriek of rage he cried: ‘It is my turn now.’ ”

The rest of that night was passed under his blows, threats, and blasphemies. Exhausted, Josefa recovered only enough strength to drag herself to the chapel to receive Holy Communion. The time had come when, having brought her down to the very depths of her weakness and nothingness, Jesus would stoop, and use her as one uses a perfectly mended instrument. That very morning, Thursday, February 22nd, when she had gone to her cell to snatch a few moments rest in transcribing the prayers she had repeated after her Master the night before, suddenly He stood beside her: “Josefa, spouse and victim of My Heart,” He said gravely, “we are going to speak of My Passion, that your soul may constantly feed on the remembrance of it, and that My souls may find in it food for their hunger and drink for their thirst.”

“I did not dare interrupt Him,” she said. “However, I asked His leave to renew my vows.

“ ‘Yes, renew them; it gives Me glory when you tighten the bonds that unite Me to you, and I fill your soul with so much grace that not only is it as pure as on the day of your vows, but each time it gains a new degree of merit which makes it more pleasing in My sight. Thus, all souls united to Me by these close and sacred bonds clothe themselves in new merit and draw nearer to My Heart which delights in them, each time they renew their vows.

“ ‘And now, Josefa, I will begin by discovering to you the thoughts that filled My Heart, while I was washing the feet of My disciples.

“ ‘Mark how the whole Twelve were gathered together, none excepted: John the beloved was there, and Judas who was so soon to deliver Me to My enemies. I will tell you why I willed to have them all assembled together and why I began by washing their feet.

“ ‘I gathered them all together because the moment had come for My Church to be manifested to the world, and for all the sheep to have but one Shepherd.

“ ‘It was My intention, also, to show souls that I never refuse grace even to those who are guilty of grave sin; nor do I separate them from the good whom I love with predilection. I keep them all in My Heart, that all may receive the help required by their state of soul. . . .

“ ‘But how great was My sorrow to see in the person of My unhappy disciple Judas the throng of those who, though often gathered at My feet and washed with My blood, would yet hasten to their eternal perdition.

“ ‘I would have these to understand that it is not the fact of being in sin that ought to keep them from Me. They must never think that there is no remedy for them, nor that they have forfeited forever the love that once was theirs. . . . No, poor souls, the God who has shed all His blood for you has no such feelings for you!

“ ‘Come all of you to Me and fear not, for I love you all . . . I will wash you in My blood and you shall be made whiter than snow. All your offenses will be submerged in the waters in which I Myself shall wash you, nor shall anything whatsoever be able to tear from My Heart Its love for you.

“ ‘Josefa, let your soul be seized today by an ardent desire to see all souls, especially sinners, come and purify themselves in the waters of repentance . . . Let them give themselves up to thoughts of confidence, not fear, for I am a God of pity, ever ready to receive them into My Heart.’ ”

Here ended the first of Our Lord’s dictated messages. Josefa, who had written rapidly for some twenty minutes, said that He spoke “with such eagerness” that it seemed as if He were pouring out His Heart and taking intense pleasure in thus expressing His feelings. As quickly as she could, she committed to paper His burning words, which were only interrupted from time to time by a brief pause.

These are the burning outpourings of the Heart of Jesus taken down by Josefa whilst her Master spoke, and translated from the Spanish (through the French in this instance), large extracts of which will be found in the following pages. Our Lord did not exactly dictate, but He spoke with ardor and Josefa wrote down His words as they fell from the divine lips.

He then stopped, gave a long look at Josefa, who had put down her pen and was kneeling at His feet; a word of farewell, and He was gone.

Josefa, steeped in the thoughts evoked by what she had just heard and written down, remained a few minutes spellbound before her open notebook. She did not re-read it, but handed it to her Superiors, who were always present. Then she hurried off to the workroom, where her sewing awaited her, but all day she turned over in her mind the sorrowful secrets that Christ had confided to her.

Our Lord did not leave her long without asking her for more reparation for souls in peril. The evening of that same Thursday, February 22nd, as she was just finishing the Stations of the Cross, He came to remind her that He counted on her cooperation.

This time it was for three souls in peril “who are not only My own dearly loved ones, but especially singled out by My Heart’s affection.”

“That is why I come here to seek comfort in your midst . . . Notice, Josefa,” He added, “that what the devil said to you this morning is true: many souls find salvation here.”

Then after making His thought clear: “You attract them to truth, souls so loved of My Heart, by your miseries and your love.”

Josefa was surprised at these words: “Yes,” He continued, “two things predominate here: miseries and love. Love is the reason why so many souls find here new life, and it is misery that fixes the eye of God on this group of religious.”

The next evening, Friday, February 23rd, at the end of the Stations of the Cross that Josefa and the Novices had just made, Our Lord became visible to her.

“He was standing in front of the altar rails,” she wrote. “He was bearing His Cross and His loving gaze was on us all. He said: ‘How much comfort you give Me! Ah! could you but see . . . what marvels you would discover. . . . How your prayers are transmuted into treasure for souls!”

“As He said these words, He came close to me . . . and gave me His Cross. I told Him my fears; these last nights the devil had never stopped insulting this house. . . .

“ ‘Have no fear, Josefa; he can only threaten you, for you are guarded by Me who am almighty. If he hates you, it is because I love you. Ah, if only you realized the important work that is carried out in this house, and how much is done for My Heart and for souls here. . . .

“After having thus poured out His overflowing Heart, Our Lord continued: ‘But now My Heart is deep in grief because of those three souls whom I entrusted to you. . . . I shall come here for consolation as long as they continue to offend Me . . . I leave you My Cross; do not leave Me alone.’ Then He added: ‘Love Me and comfort Me, Josefa.’ ”

The Cross in its most painful form was to weigh on Josefa, for the devil, who had been given special power at this time, continually vented his rage on her. She was expiating for those souls, Christ’s “specially loved ones,” who had allowed themselves to be seduced, and she was purchasing the light that would bring them back to the truth.

On Sunday, February 25th, Jesus visited her in her cell very early in the morning.

“Why do you fear?” He said gently to her. “Perhaps, because you have still many imperfections, but there is no question of the sins the devil accuses you of. . . . Yes, renew your vows strengthening the bonds that unite us. . . . And now, Josefa, do not forget that you are but a tool, and a very useless and wretched one.

“Kiss the ground and write . . . for we are going on with Love’s secrets.

“I will tell you My reasons for washing the feet of My Apostles before the Last Supper.

“In the first place I would teach souls how pure they must be to receive Me in Holy Communion.

“I also wished to remind those who would have the misfortune to sin that they can always recover their innocence through the Sacrament of Penance.

“And I washed the feet of My Apostles with My own hands, so that those who have consecrated themselves to apostolic work may follow My example, and treat sinners with humility and gentleness, as also all others that are entrusted to their care.

“I girded Myself with a white linen cloth to remind them that apostles need to be girded with abnegation and mortification, if they hope to exert any real influence on souls. . . .

“I wished also to teach them that mutual charity, which is ever ready to excuse the faults of others, to conceal them and extenuate them, and never to reveal them.

“Lastly, the water poured on the feet of My Apostles denotes the zeal which burned in My Heart for the salvation of the world.

“The hour of Redemption was at hand. My Heart could no longer restrain its love for mankind nor bear the thought of leaving them orphans.

“So, to prove My tender love for them and in order to remain always with them till time has ceased to be, I resolved to become their food, their support, their life, their all. Could I but make known to all souls the loving sentiments with which My Heart overflowed at My Last Supper, when I instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist . . .

“My glance ranged across the ages, and I saw the multitudes who would receive My Body and Blood, and all the good It would effect. . . . how many hearts I saw that from Its contact would bud forth virginity! . . . and how many others that It would awaken to deeds of charity and zeal! . . . How many martyrs of love did I see. . . . How many souls who had been enfeebled by sin and the violence of passion would come back to their allegiance and recover their spiritual energy by partaking of this Bread of the strong! . . .

“Who can describe the overwhelming emotions that filled My Soul? Joy, love, tenderness . . . but, alas, bitter sorrow also. . . .

“Later I shall continue, Josefa. Go now in My peace; console Me, and do not be afraid; the well-spring of My blood is not exhausted, and It will cleanse your soul.”

Here Jesus stopped.

“Adieu, kiss the ground. I shall return.”

She waited several days for this return. Every morning found her faithfully in her cell, but He did not come; the devil, on the other hand, tormented her ceaselessly.

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