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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez



“The procession winds its way to Calvary; Josefa, follow Me still.”
(Our Lord to Josefa)

EARLY on Monday in Holy Week, March 26th, 1923, Our Lord summoned Josefa to meet Him in her cell, for He had other secret sorrows to confide to her.

“Kiss the ground and acknowledge that you are nothing,” He began. “Adore the power and majesty of your God, but do not forget that if He is infinitely just and powerful, He is also infinitely merciful.

“And now let us go on, Josefa. Follow Me, bowed under the weight of the Cross, to Calvary.

“While the loss of the soul of Judas was filling Mine with sadness, the executioners, devoid of every feeling of humanity, now placed a hard and heavy Cross upon My lacerated shoulders. I was to consummate on the Cross the mystery of man’s redemption. “Angels of Heaven! look on the God before whom you are ever prostrate in adoration . . . See the Creator of all the world’s wonders going to Calvary carrying that holy and blessed Cross on which He is to die.

“O souls who desire to imitate Me faithfully, gaze on Me likewise: wearily I dragged Myself forward, for My body was broken by many torments and bathed in sweat and blood. I suffered, but there was none to compassionate Me. The crowd followed Me, the soldiers pitiless as ravening wolves surrounded Me, no one had pity on Me. So great was My exhaustion and so heavy the Cross that I fell on the way. . . . See how roughly the inhuman soldiery raised Me to My feet once more . . . one seized an arm, another My garments which clung to My open wounds . . . a third grasped hold of Me by the neck . . . and another by the hair. Some showered blows on Me with their clenched fists and others brutally kicked My prostrate body. . . . The Cross which fell upon Me crushed Me with its weight. My face bruised and torn, mingled the blood which covered it with the dust of the highway, blinding My eyes and adhering to My sacred face. I became the vilest and most contemptible of all creatures!

“Come a little further with Me. . . . There you will see My blessed Mother, whose heart is pierced with grief.

“Consider the martyrdom of these two Hearts. What does this Mother love more than her Son? . . . And far from being able to help Him, she knows that the sight of her anguish increases His.

“And I, what do I love more than My Mother? Not only can I offer her no comfort, but I know that the terrible plight in which she sees Me pierces her heart with a sorrow like My own; for if I suffer death in the body, she suffers death in her Heart.

“See those eyes fixed on Mine, as Mine dulled and blinded with blood are fixed on hers! No word is spoken, but what a world of intercourse our two Hearts exchange in one heart-rending glance. . . .”

There was silence. . . . Jesus appeared absorbed by the memory of His Mother’s agonized look. . . . Josefa was penetrated by this long silence, which at last she broke timidly by asking Him if Our Lady knew of His sufferings during those dreadful hours?

“Yes,” He answered, “My Mother was present in spirit at all the torments of My Passion by divine revelation. Some of the disciples, though afar off for fear of the Jews, also tried to find out what was going on in order to report it to her. As soon as she knew that My death sentence had been pronounced she came forth to meet Me and did not leave Me any more till I was placed in the tomb.

“Meanwhile the procession advanced on the way to Calvary. . . .

“Fearing that I might die before crucifixion, those wicked men inspired by hatred, not compassion, looked around for someone to help Me carry the Cross, and for that purpose, offering a small reward, seized on a man of that neighborhood, called Simon. . . .

“This is enough for today, Josefa; we shall continue tomorrow. Go and ask whether you may make a Holy Hour every day this week and also whether I may be free to call you whenever I want you.”

Josefa felt an instinctive hesitation rising within her at these words, but her Master spoke forcibly: “Do not forget that I have every right over you. Your Superiors alone who represent Me can dispose of you, and they grant Me full liberty.”

“Full of confusion,” wrote Josefa humbly, “I fell at His feet and begged His forgiveness.”

The cause of this momentary weakness was never the fear of suffering but her vehement desire to work and to serve—a desire she was never quite able to extinguish. To the very end, this would be to her a source of renunciation and food for her love.

That evening, according to Our Lord’s desire a series of magnificent Holy Hours was inaugurated, and during them His Heart again revealed Itself to souls.

He was waiting for her at nine o’clock in the little tribune of St. Bernard. His whole appearance bore the impress of one under the burden of overwhelming sadness. His face was covered with dust and blood.

“Josefa,” He said, as soon as she had renewed her vows, “I want you to keep Me company during this hour, and share My sorrow in the prison. See Me in the midst of that insolent group. . . . Look into and penetrate My Heart deeply . . . watch It, consider how It suffers from loneliness, for all have forsaken Me. . . . My friends have all abandoned Me.

“O Heavenly Father, I offer Thee the sadness and solitude of My Heart, that Thou mayest deign to be the companion and support of those who are facing the passage from time to eternity.”

“I adored Him,” she wrote, “and then begged Him to let me have His Cross.

“Yes,” He said, “I will give it to you and your heart will be pierced with the same sadness as Mine.

“O how great is your littleness, Josefa, when you are one with Me. . . . Fill your heart with sentiments of humility, of zeal, of submission and of love, just as I did when bearing the affronts to which I was subjected during My Passion. My only object was to glorify My Father, to give Him the honor of which He had been deprived by sin, and to repair for the many offenses committed against Him. That was why I lowered Myself in such profound humility, by submitting to all that His good pleasure demanded and full of zeal for His glory and of love for His Will, I accepted such suffering with complete resignation.”

Again there was a long pause, then Jesus continued:

“My God and My Father, may My dolorous solitude glorify Thee! May My patience and submission appease Thee. Restrain Thy just wrath against sinful souls and look upon the face of Thy Christ.

“See His hands bound by the chains with which His executioners loaded Him. In the name of the admirable patience with which He bore such tortures, forgive sinners, support them, permit them not to fall under the weight of their iniquities, be with them in the hour when they suffer imprisonment, and give them the grace to bear up under the miseries and misfortunes of this life, perfectly submissive to Thy holy Will.”

After a long silence, Jesus finally said: “Go now, Josefa; take My Cross and do not leave Me alone this night, but keep Me company in My prison.”

“How shall I manage, Lord?” she asked diffidently. “I am afraid of falling asleep and of not being able to think of Thee any more.”

With divine condescension Jesus replied:

“Yes, Josefa, you must sleep and you can do so without leaving Me alone. When souls are unable to remain long hours in My presence as they would like to, either because they must take their rest or go to preoccupying work which takes up all their attention, there is nothing to prevent their making a convention with Me, for when love is ingenious it can prove its worth in this way even more than by the ardor of its devotion when free and tranquil.

“So go to rest as you must, but before doing so, lay on the powers of your soul the obligation of rendering Me all night the worship of your love. Set the tenderest affections of your heart free, that through the slumber of your senses, they may not cease to remain in presence of the only object of your love. One instant is enough to say to Me: ‘Lord, I am going to sleep or to work, but my soul will keep Thee company. Its activity alone will rest tonight, or is engaged in this work, but all my powers will still belong to Thee and my heart keep for Thee its tenderest and most constant affection.’

“Go in peace, Josefa, and may your heart remain attached to Mine.”

This direction, carefully preserved by Josefa, was to be one of her great comforts during her last months here below. Her wording is perhaps unskillful, but faithful souls will know how to draw from these lines the value that lies in intention when it is directed to the ever-present Guest within, who in all the wealth of His life dwells there. Hours that otherwise might seem to be wasted will acquire, through union with Him, full redemptive significance.








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