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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez

“The Holy Eucharist is the invention of Love, but how few souls correspond to that love which spends and consumes itself for them!”
(Our Lord to Josefa, March 2nd, 1923)

ON the First Friday, March 2nd, at about nine o’clock, Josefa, active and alert, hurried to her workroom. She had waited long for the coming of Our Lord in her cell, but once again He had not come. She wrote in all sincerity: “I was rather glad to have the time, for I had a lot of sewing to do. . . . At times I am haunted by the idea that I do no work at all, and that I am of no use, what with all those things. . . .”

This was a return of the old temptation which the devil never failed to suggest to her eager and devoted nature.

“On reaching the foot of the ‘Saint Michael’ staircase, I came face to face with Jesus. He stopped me and said: ‘Josefa, where are you going?’

“ ‘I am on my way to iron the uniforms in the linen-room, Lord.’

“ ‘Go to your cell,’ He said, ‘for I want you to write.’ ”

She smothered the secret wish she had to get on with her work, and went upstairs and found that Jesus had already preceded her.

“Who made you, Josefa?” was His first question after she had renewed her vows.

“Thou, Lord.”

“Has anyone shown you more love than I? . . . Who has forgiven you so often as I, and who will do so again? . . .”

Full of shame, she was at His feet in an instant.

“Yes, humble yourself, Josefa; kiss the ground, and never resist My Will. Now write for My souls:

“I want to tell them of the poignant sorrows which filled My Heart at the Last Supper. If it was bliss for Me to think of all those to whom I should be both Companion and Heavenly Food, of all who would surround Me to the end of time with adoration, reparation, and love . . . this in no wise diminished My grief at the many who would leave Me deserted in My tabernacle and who would not even believe in My Real Presence.

“Into how many hearts defiled by sin would I not have to enter . . . and how often this profanation of My Body and Blood would serve for their ultimate condemnation. . . .

“Sacrileges and outrages, and all the nameless abominations to be committed against Me, passed before My eyes . . . the long, lonely hours of the day and of the night in which I would remain alone on the altars . . . and the multitudes who would not heed the appeals of My Heart. . . .

“Ah! Josefa, let the thoughts of My Heart sink deep into yours.

“It is love for souls that keeps Me a Prisoner in the Blessed Sacrament. I stay there that all may come and find the comfort they need in the tenderest of Hearts, the best of Fathers, the most faithful of Friends, who will never abandon them.

“The Holy Eucharist is the invention of Love . . . Yet how few souls correspond to that love which spends and consumes itself for them!

“I live in the midst of sinners that I may be their life, their physician, and the remedy of the diseases bred by corrupt nature. And in return they forsake, insult and despise Me! . . .

“Poor pitiable sinners, do not turn away from Me. . . . Day and night I am on the watch for you in the tabernacle. I will not reproach you . . . I will not cast your sins in your face. . . . But I will wash them in My blood and in My wounds. No need to be afraid . . . come to Me. . . . If you but knew how dearly I love you.

“And you, dear souls, why this coldness and indifference on your part? . . . Do I not know that family cares . . . household concerns . . . and the requirements of your position in life . . . make continual calls upon you? . . . But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and your gratitude? Do not allow yourselves to be involved in useless and incessant cares, but spare a few moments to visit and receive this Prisoner of love! . . .

“Were you weak or ill in body surely you would find time to see a doctor who would cure you? . . . Come, then, to One who is able to give both strength and health to your soul, and bestow the alms of love on this Divine Prisoner who watches for you, calls for you, and longs to see you at His side.

“When about to institute the Blessed Sacrament, Josefa, these were My feelings, but I have not yet told you what My Heart felt at the thought of My chosen souls; My religious, My priests . . . but I will tell you all this later on. Go, now, and do not forget that My Heart loves you . . . and, Josefa, do you love Me? . . .”

It was by her courageous fidelity more than by her words of love that Josefa replied to this question of her Master. During the following night, which was more full of pain than ever, she gathered from the blasphemies of the devil that the three souls so specially dear to the Heart of Jesus and for which she had suffered so much during the past fortnight were about to return to Him. This encouraged her.

On the evening of the First Saturday, March 3rd, she was in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, when Our Lord appeared to her with His Heart all gloriously aflame.

“Josefa,” He said with eager voice, “let Me rest a while in you, let Me tell you of My joy: those three souls that I had entrusted to you have come back to Me. . . .”

And He continued: “My Cross is heavy. . . . That is why I come here to rest and to give a share of it to each of My well-beloved souls. . . . My Heart is in search of victims to lead the world to love, and I find them here.”

With what joy Josefa joined in her Master’s exultation. She offered Him all the desires of the house, which she knew were sincere and ardent, that His Heart might find comfort and that many erring souls might return to Him. Then, as she could not forget what Our Lord dictated to her yesterday, she asked Him if He would not tell her for His chosen souls what He expected of them in the Holy Eucharist.

“Yes,” He answered, “I want to tell you this, that My best-loved and specially favored souls, My priests and My consecrated nuns, may learn it through you. If their infidelities wound Me deeply, their love consoles and delights My Heart to such a degree that I, so to speak, forget the sins of many others on their account.”

“Then,” said Josefa, “He spoke to me at length on that subject, but as we were in the Chapel, I told Him that I could not possibly remember it all so as to write it down afterwards.

“ ‘Never mind; let Me speak to you and pour out all that My Heart feels.’ ”

Towards the evening of Sunday, March 4th, just as she was finishing the Stations of the Cross, Jesus appeared.

“If you want to console Me,” He said, “now is the time. Tonight, very near here, they are holding a meeting in which I shall be much insulted. Offer yourself as a victim in such a way as to make reparation for the outrages committed by these souls. Poor souls! . . . How they sin against Me! . . . And afterwards . . . How will they manage to keep out of that place? . . .”

A few minutes later Jesus joined her in her cell, where already she was in prayer, interceding for those sinners. He gave her His Cross and Himself guided her prayer:

“ ‘O My Father! whilst these sinners offend Thy Sovereign Majesty and furiously outrage the Blood of Thy Son, look upon this willing victim which united to My Heart suffers and makes reparation. Deign to receive her sufferings in union with My merits, O Father of all goodness.’ Then He added: ‘Now let Me plunge your soul in the bitterness that is in My Heart.’

“And He vanished, leaving me in unspeakable anguish under the Cross.”

Night came down on this state of woe and distress which lasted till the Master returned.

“About ten o’clock,” she wrote, “He came back and said to me: ‘Give Me back My Cross. You have comforted Me.’

“I thanked Him for letting me know that He was somewhat comforted and I promised Him unconditional surrender. . . .

“ ‘Yes, whenever I need you, come and dress the wounds that sinners have caused.

“ ‘You have given Me to drink,’ He added finally, ‘and I will give you a share in the Kingdom of Heaven.’ ”

There followed a few days of interruption; then once more on Tuesday, March 6th, Jesus came at eight o’clock in the morning.

“ ‘Josefa, are you expecting Me?’ He asked. ‘I am going to reveal to you the greatest mystery of My love . . . of love for My chosen consecrated souls. Begin by kissing the ground. . . . When about to institute the Holy Eucharist, I saw the privileged throng who would be nourished by My Body and Blood; some would find there the remedy for their shortcomings, others consuming fire for their imperfections. . . . I likewise saw them gathered round Me as in a garden, each separately rejoicing Me with her flowers and their scent. . . . As a vivifying sun, My sacred Body gave them life, and warmed their cold hearts. . . . To some I went for comfort, to others for refuge, to others again for rest. . . . Would that all these cherished souls knew how easily they can console Me, harbor Me, or give rest to Me their God.

“ ‘It is this infinitely loving God who after freeing you from the slavery of sin has given you the incomparable grace of your vocation and has mysteriously attracted you into the enclosed garden of His delights. This God who is your Saviour has made Himself your Bridegroom.

“ ‘And He Himself feeds you with His immaculate Flesh, and slakes your thirst with His Blood. If you are sick, He will be your Physician; come to Him, He will cure you. If you are cold, come to Him, He will warm you. In Him you will find rest and happiness, so do not wander away from Him, for He is life, and when He asks you to comfort Him, do not sadden Him by a refusal. . . .

“ ‘Alas, what sorrow it is to see so many who have been endowed with My choicest graces become a cause of pain to My Sacred Heart! Am I not always the same? . . . Have I changed? . . . No, My love is unalterable and will endure to the end of time with the same tenderness and predilection.

“ ‘That you are unworthy I well know; but not for that do I turn away from you. On the contrary, with anxious solicitude I look for your coming, that I may not only ease your troubles, but also grant you many favors.

“ ‘If I ask your love, do not refuse it. It is so easy to love Love Itself.

“ ‘If I should ask you for things that cost, know that at the same time I will give you all the grace and strength you need to conquer yourself.

“ ‘I hope to find in you My comfort, therefore have I chosen you. Open your whole soul to Me, and if you are conscious of having nothing worthy of Me, say with humility and trust: Lord, Thou knowest both the flowers and fruits of my garden . . . come and teach me how I may grow what will please Thee most. To one who speaks in this way and has a genuine desire of showing love, I answer: Beloved, if such is your desire, suffer Me to grow them for you . . . let Me delve and dig in your garden . . . let Me clear the ground of those sinewy roots that obstruct it and which you have not the strength to pull up. . . . Maybe I shall ask you to give up certain tastes, or sacrifice something in your character . . . do some act of charity, of patience, or self-denial . . . or perhaps prove your love by zeal, obedience or abnegation; all such deeds help to fertilize the soil of your soul, which then will be able to produce the flowers and fruit I look for: your self-conquest will obtain light for a sinner . . . your ready patience under provocation will heal the wounds he inflicted on Me, will repair for his offense and expiate his fault . . . a reproof accepted patiently and even with joy will obtain for a sinner blinded by pride the grace to let light penetrate his soul and the courage to beg pardon humbly.

“ ‘All this I will do for you if you will give Me freedom. Then will blossoms grow quickly in your soul, and you will be the consolation of My Heart.’

“ ‘Lord, Thou knowest my readiness to let Thee do with me whatsoever Thou wilt. . . . Alas, I have fallen and displeased Thee . . . wilt Thou forgive me once again? I am so wretched and can do no good! . . .

“ ‘Yes, My beloved, even your falls comfort Me. Do not be discouraged, for this act of humility which your fault drew from you has consoled Me more than if you had not fallen. Take courage, go forward steadily, and let Me train you.

“ ‘All this was present to Me when I instituted the Blessed Sacrament, and My Heart glowed with desire to become the food for just such souls. If I have taken up My abode among men it is not merely to live among the perfect, but to uphold the weak, and sustain the lowly. I will make them grow and become strong. Their good resolves will be My solace and I will rest in their wretchedness. . . .

“ ‘But are there not some among these chosen souls who will inflict sorrow on Me? . . . For will they all persevere? . . . Such is the cry of grief that breaks from My Heart. . . . I want souls to hear it.

“ ‘Enough for today, Josefa. Farewell. You comfort Me when you entrust yourself entirely to Me. Let Me tell you My secrets for souls, since I cannot speak to them thus every day. Let Me make use of you whilst you are still alive.’ ”

The very next day, Wednesday, March 7th, Josefa heard the dolorous plaint of His Heart. “Kiss the ground in all humility,” He said as was His wont.

She fell down in adoration at His feet, and when she had risen, He spoke: “Write today concerning the pain endured by My Heart, when being constrained by the fire that consumed It, I devised the marvel of love, the Holy Eucharist. And while I looked at those many souls that would feed on this Heavenly Bread, I could not but see also the indifference by which so many others . . . consecrated souls . . . priests . . . would wound Me in this Sacrament. There were those who would grow cold . . . gradually yield to routine . . . and worse than routine . . . to weariness and lassitude, and little by little to tepidity. . . . Still, I wait all night and watch in the Tabernacle for that soul . . . fervently hoping that she will come and receive Me . . . that she will converse with Me with all the trust of a bride . . . telling Me of her sorrows, her temptations, her sufferings . . . asking My advice and begging for the graces she needs for herself or others. . . . Perhaps she has dependent on her or in her family souls that are in danger and far from Me? . . . ‘Come,’ I say to her, ‘let us discuss everything with perfect freedom . . . Be concerned about sinners. . . . Offer yourself to make reparation . . . Promise Me that at least today you will not leave Me alone . . . then see if My Heart is not asking something more of you to comfort It. . . . ’ This is what I hoped to obtain from that soul and from many another. . . . Yet when she receives Me in Holy Communion she barely says a word to Me . . . she is distracted, tired or put out . . . her whole mind is absorbed by her occupations . . . her family cares . . . her acquaintances . . . or maybe anxiety for her health . . . she does not know what to say to Me . . . she is indifferent, bored . . . wishes it were time to go. . . . Is it thus that you receive Me, O soul whom I have chosen and for whom I have watched with all the impatience of love throughout the livelong night?

“Yes, I yearned for her coming that I might rest in her and share her anxieties. . . . I had prepared fresh graces for her, but she does not want them . . . she has nothing to ask of Me, neither advice nor strength . . . she just complains to herself without so much as addressing Me. . . . It seems then that she has come simply out of routine, to go through a customary formality, or perhaps because no grave sin prevented it. But it is not love nor a true desire for close union with Me that has impelled her coming. Alas, that soul does not possess the delicate love I had hoped to find in her. And priests? . . . Who can express all I expect from each of My priests. . . . They are invested with My own power, that they may forgive sin. . . . I Myself am obedient to their word when they summon Me from Heaven to earth. . . . I am totally surrendered into their hands; they may confine Me to the tabernacle or give Me to the faithful in Holy Communion. . . . They are, so to say, My almoners.

“To each I have entrusted souls that by their preaching, their direction and above all their example, they may guide them in the path of virtue.

“What response do they make? . . . Do they all fulfill Love’s mission? . . . Will this My minister at the altar confide the souls of his charges to Me today? Will he make reparation to Me for the offenses I receive, the secret of which has been entrusted to him? . . . Will he entreat of Me the strength he needs to carry out in holiness his sacred ministry? . . . zeal to work for the salvation of souls. . . . courage in self-sacrifice, more today than yesterday? . . . Will he give Me all the love I expect . . . and shall I be able to rely entirely on him as on My dear and well-beloved disciple? . . . O what cruel sorrow for My Heart, when I am forced to say: ‘The world wounds Me in My hands and in My feet and it sullies My countenance. . . . My chosen souls and My consecrated religious, My priests, they rend and break My Heart. . . . How many priests after giving back grace to many souls are themselves in a state of sin! . . . How many say Mass thus . . . receive Me thus . . . live and die thus! . . .

“Now you know what anguish oppressed Me at the Last Supper when I saw in the midst of the Twelve the first unfaithful Apostle . . . and after him so many more who would follow him in the course of the ages.

“The Blessed Sacrament is the invention of Love. It is life and fortitude for souls, a remedy for every fault, and Viaticum for the last passage from Time to Eternity. In it sinners recover life for their souls; tepid souls true warmth; fervent souls, tranquility and the satisfaction of every longing . . . saintly souls, wings to fly towards perfection . . . pure souls, sweet honey and rarest sustenance. Consecrated souls find in it a dwelling, their love and their life. In it they will seek and find the perfect exemplar of those sacred and hallowed bonds that unite them inseparably to their heavenly Bridegroom.

“Indeed, O consecrated souls, you will find a perfect symbol of your vow of Poverty in the small, round, white and smooth Host; for so must the soul that professes poverty be: no angles, that is to say no petty natural affections, either for things used nor for her employments, nor for family or country . . . but she must ever be ready to leave, or give up, or change. . . . Her heart must be free, with no attachments whatever. . . .

“This by no means signifies insensibility of heart; no, for the more it loves the more it will preserve the integrity of the vow of Poverty. What is essential for religious souls, is first, that they should possess nothing without the permission and approbation of Superiors; and secondly, that they should possess and love nothing that they are not ready to give up at the first sign. Later, Josefa, I will tell you the rest.”

Several days passed without any mitigation of her suffering state. It seemed to her that several times she had yielded to the violent rebukes of the enemy, and she trembled lest she should have wounded her Master.

“I even lost a Communion,” she wrote sorrowfully.

On Laetare Sunday, March 11th, Jesus returned once more, and gave her the full sense of security that she was forgiven.

“Take My Crown and have no fear,” He said. “The mercy of God is infinite and never refuses to forgive sinners, and more especially when there is question of a poor little creature like you.”

Then alluding to the Communion she had missed: “O, Josefa, if only you had known how I was longing for you to hide Me in your heart!”

She could think of nothing to say to make Him forget that pang.

“You will make amends,” He said with the utmost kindness, “by preparing yourself today with very fervent longing for tomorrow’s Communion. My Heart is consoled each time you tell Me of this longing . . . and then,” He went on, “the spirit of faith and blind obedience always.

“Continue now to write for My souls: Tell them how they will find in the small white Host a perfect symbol of their vow of Chastity. For under the species of bread and wine the Real Presence of God lies concealed. Under this veil, I am there whole and entire, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

“It is thus that one consecrated to Jesus Christ by the vow of Virginity must be hidden under a veil of modesty and simplicity, so that under the appearances of her humanity, a purity like that of the angels may be concealed.

“And understand well, you who form the court of the Immaculate Lamb, that the glory you give Me surpasses incomparably that of the angelic spirits; for they have never experienced the frailties of human nature, and have neither to struggle nor to conquer in order to remain pure.

“You thus acquire a relationship with My Mother, who being a mortal creature was nevertheless of spotless purity . . . subject to all human miseries, yet at every instant of her life absolutely immaculate. She has glorified Me more than all the celestial spirits, and God Himself, drawn by her purity, took flesh of her and dwelt in His creature.

“Further, the soul that is consecrated to Me by the vow of Chastity resembles Me, her Creator, as far as it is possible for a human being to do so, for when I clothed Myself in human nature, its miseries not excepted, I lived uncontaminated by the slightest blemish.

“That is how the soul by its vow of Chastity becomes a pure white host, which unceasingly renders homage to the Divine Majesty.

“Religious souls, you will find in the Holy Eucharist the model of your vow of Obedience.

“For hidden and annihilated there, are the greatness and power of God. There, you see Me apparently lifeless, who nevertheless am the life of souls and the support of the world. I can no longer go away or remain, be alone or surrounded: Wisdom, Power, Liberty, all are hidden beneath the Host. . . . The species of bread are the bonds that chain Me and the veil that covers Me.

“In like manner, the vow of Obedience is the chain that binds a religious soul, and the veil under which she must disappear, so that she no longer has either will, judgment, choice or liberty, except according to the good pleasure of God as manifested to her by her Superiors.”

Our Lord then stopped after this long discourse and Josefa allowed her heart to speak:

“This morning there was a ceremony of First Communion,” she wrote, “and I reminded Him of the consolation He doubtless felt in these pure and innocent souls.

“His Heart was moved at the remembrance: ‘Yes,’ He said tenderly, ‘it is in souls such as these and in those of My nuns that I take refuge in order to forget the iniquities of the world. The children are like fair rosebuds to Me, where I seek shelter. As for My religious, I hide and rest in them, for they are full-blown roses who defend Me by their thorns, and comfort Me by their love. And you, Josefa, give Me that love. Be ready to follow Me to Gethsemane. There I will teach you how to suffer, and I will strengthen you by the sweat of blood drawn from Me by the sins of men. Meanwhile console Me by your desire to hide Me in your heart. In that way you will repair for that lost Communion.

“ ‘Adieu, do not forget Me. Long for Me as I long for you. . . . Love Me as I love you. . . . Seek Me as I seek you. . . . You see that I never forsake you.’ ”

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