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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez

“My words will have such power and be accompanied by such grace that even the most obdurate will be won by love.”
(Our Lord to Josefa, June 19th, 1923)

THE whole of Friday, June 15th, Our Lord did not appear. As usual Josefa had awaited His coming. “He did not come,” she wrote, and, ever fearful, she examined the inmost recesses of her heart, and thought to have discovered a momentary yielding to the never-absent distaste she could not completely overcome for all that was extraordinary in her life.

“Jesus had made me understand very clearly, that not only is His Heart saddened, but souls, waiting for the grace these little acts win for them, are left without the help they need. So when He came in the evening, I begged Him to forgive my want of generosity.

“Very tenderly, He replied: ‘Yes, Josefa, open your heart to the light. Nothing that is done in love is small. No, there are no small things in My sight, for the very force of love makes them great.’ ”

This was a lesson that we have heard from His lips before, and He was never tired of reiterating it that souls might, on their side, never tire of offering Him their smallest efforts.

After her return from Marmoutier, Josefa never had a full night’s rest. She spent them in moral and physical pain—for when Our Lord left her after renewing the gift of the flame of His Heart, she generally remained a long time under its influence. These sufferings of body and soul made it impossible for her to forget the crucifying fact that she had been chosen as God’s victim for the work of His Heart’s love.

However, each morning she was at meditation with the other Sisters and also at Holy Mass, after which she went through the whole round of her daily occupations about the house. Her energy was unconquerable and her smile endeavored to hide, not always successfully, the utter exhaustion of her body.

“Today,” she noted, Saturday, June 16th, “Our Lord came at eight o’clock, and showing me His Heart, said: ‘Behold this Heart; It is that of a Father, and is consumed with love for His sons; would that they knew It!’ ”

Then He explained to Josefa the different responses of mankind to God’s offer of love.

“Some have truly known Me, and urged by love, have ardently desired to make an entire sacrifice of themselves to My service, which is that of My Father. They begged to be told the greatest thing they could do for Him, and My Father answered thus: ‘Leave your home, give up your possessions, and having surrendered self, come, follow Me, and do whatever I tell you.’

“Others, moved by all that the Son of God had done for their salvation, offered themselves to Him, endeavoring with good will to make a return for His goodness, by working for His interests, but without entire renunciation of their own. To these My Father says: ‘Observe the law which the Lord your God has given you. Keep His commandments, and erring neither to right nor left, live in the peace which belongs to faithful servants.’

“There are others again who have little understanding of God’s great love, yet they have an upright will and live under the law, but without love.

“These servants have not volunteered to carry out all God’s orders . . . yet a slight indication of His Will is often enough to enlist their service, since they are men of good will.

“There are yet others who submit to their God, not so much through love as through self-interest, and only fulfill the law as far as is necessary to ensure their salvation.

“Yet, do all men offer God their service? Are there any who through ignorance of the great love of which they are the object, make no response to all that the Son of God has suffered for them?

“Alas! . . . there are many who know and despise it . . . but a far greater number are entirely ignorant of it. . . .”

For each of these Jesus Christ has a word of love:

“I will speak in the first place to those who do not know Me:

“My sons, who from infancy have lived apart from your Father, come, I will tell you why you do not know Me . . . for once you realize the affection I bear you, you will not resist My love.

“It is often the case that those brought up far from their parents have little affection for them; but when by chance the sweet love of father or mother is manifested to them, there awakens a keener appreciation of this warm devotion than is found in those who have never left home.

“To you, who not only do not love, but hate and persecute Me, I say: ‘Why this hatred? . . . What have I done to deserve persecution at your hands? . . . There are many who have never asked themselves this question. Today when I ask it, they will perhaps say: ‘We do not know.’ Behold, I will answer for you: ‘If from childhood you have never known Me, it is because no one has ever taught you about Me; and as you grew up, nature also was developing in you love of pleasure and enjoyment, a longing for wealth and freedom. Then came the day when first you heard of Me, and how to live according to My Will; that to do so you must love and bear with your neighbor, respect his rights and his goods and gain a mastery of your own nature, in a word, live subject to a law. Hitherto, subject only to your own natural inclinations, if not to your passions, not knowing even of what law there was question, to you I say, is it to be wondered at that you should protest, should wish to enjoy life, to be free, and to be a law unto yourself?

“In this lies the beginning of your hatred and persecution of Me. But I, your Father, love you, and even as I see your blind revolt, My Heart is filled with tenderness for you.

“So the years in which you led this life sped by, and they were, perhaps, many. . . .

“Today I can no longer restrain My love for you, and the sight of you at war with your best friend compels Me to enlighten you as to Who I am.

“Dearly loved son, I am Jesus, which name signifies Saviour! why else are My hands transfixed with nails which fasten them to a cross? On it, for love of you, I died. My feet are wounded, My Heart wide open, riven by the lance after death. . . . Thus do I stand before you that you may know Who I am and what My law is. But do not fear—My law is one of love . . . and in knowing Me you will find peace and joy. It is sad to live as an orphan: come, My sons, come to your Father.

“Let us stop here, Josefa; we shall continue tomorrow, and do you, meanwhile, love your Father, and live by this love.”

At these words Our Lord disappeared, but Josefa, under the impression of the divine presence, remained for some time longer in silent recollection. After which she rose and, handing to the Mothers the notebook in which she had rapidly written Our Lord’s words for the whole world, she went back to the active labors of her workroom, no one there so much as suspecting the stupendous happenings of the morning.

But her strength was wearing out. Though sustained by her love, she was no longer able to withstand the overpowering lassitude which took possession of her at times, and which she condemned in herself with characteristic self-reproach as cowardice.

“Have no fear,” said Our Lord, when He came to her that evening. “If your weakness is great, My love for you is immense, and My strength will work on this very weakness.”

Again He tenderly addressed her on Sunday, June 17th:

“Josefa, if you knew that a sick person was about to die, would you not do your utmost to restore her to health? . . . Yet, what is the life of the body when compared to that of the soul? . . . And many, so many, will recover their life, thanks to the words I am confiding to you. . . . Think no more of yourself. . . .”

He then resumed the subject of the preceding day.

“Let us return to the souls who persecute Me because they do not know Me. I want to tell them Who I am and what they are:

“I am your God and your Father, your Creator and your Saviour. You are My creatures, My sons, bought at the price of My life and Heart’s blood, which I shed to free you from slavery and the tyranny of sin.

“You have souls great and immortal, destined for eternal happiness, wills capable of all good, hearts made both to give and receive affection. . . .

“The thirst for contentment and love can never be appeased by earthly and fleeting gains, which will always leave you hungry and unsatisfied. Perpetual conflict, sadness, anxiety, and affliction will still be your portion.

“If you are poor and have to earn a living by work, the miseries of life will embitter you; you will be hostile to your employers, and may even wish them ill, that like yourselves they may experience the hard grind of daily toil.

“Fatigue, disgust, even despair will weigh heavily on your spirits, for the way is rough and in the end comes death! . . .

“O! how great are these calamities when viewed from a human standpoint. But I come to show you life under a different aspect.

“All you who are deprived of this world’s goods and obliged to labor for your daily bread under a master, reflect that you are not slaves, but created for the freedom of eternity. . . .

“All you whose craving for affection is unsatisfied, remember that you were made to love that which is eternal, not that which passes with time.

“You who love your homes and labor to support your families and provide them with comforts and happiness, do not forget that though death will one day sever every tie, this is only for a time. . . .

“You who serve a master, and owe him respect, love, care for his interests, hard work and fidelity, forget not that he is your master only for the short span of a lifetime. How soon this will pass away and give place to an eternity, where you will no longer be workers but reign as kings forever and ever.

“Your souls, created by a loving Father who bears you a limitless and eternal affection, will find one day in the bliss of Heaven prepared for you a final answer to all your aspirations.

“There, every labor will be rewarded. . . .

“There, you will find your family for whom you worked so hard on earth.

“There, you will live eternally, for earth is but a passing shadow, Heaven will never pass away.

“There, you will be united to your God and Father. . . . O! if you but knew how great is the beatitude that awaits you. . . .

“Perhaps you will answer Me: ‘I have no faith, nor do I believe in a future happiness.’

“Have you no faith? Then how is it that you persecute Me? . . . Why do you rebel against My laws, and war against those who love Me? . . . And since you desire freedom for yourselves, why not grant it to others?

“You say you do not believe in a future life? . . . Tell Me, are you perfectly contented here and do you never feel a yearning for that which it is not possible to obtain here below?

“If after seeking for enjoyment, you succeed in obtaining it, does it satisfy your cravings? . . .

“If after pursuing riches, you at last possess them, have you ever enough? . . . If you feel the need of affection, and one day find it, are you not soon tired of it? . . .

“None of these things is what you long for, and here below you will never obtain all that your heart desires. Your craving is peace, not the peace of this world, but that of the children of God; and how do you expect to find it in the midst of rebellion? . . .

“That is why I have come to show you where true peace and happiness are to be found, and where you can slake the thirst that for so long has consumed you.

“Do not rebel when I tell you that all these things are to be found in accomplishing My law. Do not fear this word law, for My law is no tyranny but a law of love, because I am your God and your Father.

“Listen while I explain this law to you, and the kind of Heart that imposes it on you; a Heart that you do not know and so often wound. You pursue Me to give Me death, while I seek you out to impart life. Which of us will prevail? And will your souls continue to harden themselves against Me who have laid down My life for you and given you all My love?

“Adieu, Josefa, love this Father who is your Saviour and your God.”

Josefa had no difficulties in that direction. . . . All through her long day’s work the thought of the souls who suffer through ignorance, error, or ingratitude, pursued her.

She had gone to rest at length, but had hardly laid her head upon her pillow, when Our Lord stood by her side on that Sunday night. She quickly rose and prostrated herself in adoration at His feet, renewing her vows:

“His wounds,” she wrote, “were open and from them issued flames. In one hand He carried the Crown of Thorns and the Nails; with the other He held up His Cross.

“ ‘Josefa, are you willing to listen to My desires? See My wounds! O! that I could draw in all sinners!

“ ‘Yes, into these wounds many sinners must be drawn this night. . . . Take My Cross, My Crown and the Nails . . . I go in search of sinners and I shall enlighten them when they are on the point of falling into the bottomless pit, that they may find their way home.

“ ‘Take My Cross, guard it well. . . . You know that it is a great treasure.’

“At the same moment,” she wrote, “I felt the heavy weight of the Cross on my shoulder.

“ ‘My Crown,’ and He pressed it down upon my head. ‘I crown you Myself, and the wounds caused by its thorns will obtain enlightenment for blind souls.’

“ ‘Take, too, the Nails. . . . See how I trust you; but then you are My beloved, so I have no fear in confiding them to your care. I know they will be safe.

“ ‘And now I go in search of souls, for I want them all to know and love Me!’

“And as He uttered these words, His Heart shone with incomparable brilliancy . . . and He continued speaking with the same vehemence:

“ ‘I cannot any longer restrain My love for them . . . love so strong must triumph over their callousness. O yes, they must love Me! I want to be their King. Let us draw them all into My wounds. . . . I go in search of them, and when I have found them I will return and take back My Cross. Suffer for Me, Josefa! . . . but wait, before I go, let Me sink the arrow of purifying love into you . . . for pure you must be, like all who are My victims.’

“The same flame issued from His Heart as on previous evenings; then I saw only His Sacred Heart, till gradually all faded away.”

Long hours of unutterable torment followed; her head, hands and feet, her whole body suffered from the Crown, the Nails and the weight of the Cross.

“The night seemed interminable,” wrote Josefa. “I was even under the impression that it had lasted for more than one. . . .

“Suddenly, He appeared in great radiance. Behind Him, on each side, in the light from His hands, came many souls.

“ ‘See,’ He said, ‘all these have followed Me.’

“ ‘They all recognized Me. Poor, poor, souls! They would have been lost had I not been at hand. . . . But I was there to cast light on their gloom. Now they will follow Me . . . and be faithful sheep in My fold.

“ ‘And now, give Me back My treasures and rest a while in My Heart. . . .

“He took the Cross and the Nails, but left me the Crown of Thorns.”

What energy Josefa needed when after such a night she threw herself into her usual work. None knew of the splendors which lighted up her poor cell that night, when she guarded her Master’s treasures, whilst He went in search of souls. What grace must have upheld her, so utterly worn out as she was!

Our Lord again sought her out in her cell, on Monday, June 18th, for another, by no means the last of her redemptive ventures. There was once more question of a soul to be saved.

“He appeared as one begging,” she wrote. “I cried out, ‘Lord, what has happened? Why art Thou like that?’ . . . I renewed my vows with fervor, and He replied: ‘Comfort Me, for I must give up a priest’s soul, a soul consecrated to Me!’

“ ‘O no, that is not possible, dear Lord. . . . Remember what Thou didst say about sinners . . . that Thou lovest them and art ever ready to forgive.’

“ ‘Look, though, and see the state to which he has reduced My Heart. I am about to leave him to his own efforts.’

“I was so sorely grieved to see His Heart covered with wounds, and above all to think that a poor sinner was to be given up, that I implored Him to be mindful of His mercy and love.

“ ‘If you can bear the pain,” He replied, “that this soul causes Me, I will entrust his soul to you.’

“I answered: ‘Gladly, if Thou wilt help me.’ And I did my best to console Him. I offered Him all the love He receives in this house, in the whole world, from holy souls, and from priests . . . then I kissed the ground many times, and recited the Miserere . . . and as I could think of nothing else, I begged of Him to tell me what I could do.

“ ‘Yes, I will tell you. Spare nothing to comfort Me,’ He answered, ‘since he spares Me nothing that wounds Me.’

“I went on offering Him whatever I thought might lighten His grief, and little by little He seemed to throw off His extreme sadness.

“ ‘The obstinacy of a guilty soul wounds My Heart deeply,’ He said. ‘But the tender affection of one who loves Me not only heals the wound, but turns away the effects of My Father’s Justice.’

“Then He vanished, and I endured great pain of body and soul all day.”

The succeeding night was one of the worst in Josefa’s long experience of making reparation for sinners. When at nightfall Jesus came, as was His wont, to purify her soul, He brought His Crown, His Cross, and the Nails:

“ ‘I will not only purify you,” He said, “but kindle in you the zeal that consumes My Heart.

“ ‘This night we shall have to suffer again for that priest’s soul, for he is flying from Me. . . . Take My Cross, My Crown and the Nails. Keep united to Me while I go once more in pursuit of him.’

“He left me . . . and when a long time after, He returned, He said: ‘You are in pain, Josefa, and that soul is still resisting. . . . I call him . . . he despises My love!’

“Then there was silence, and as if to Himself, I heard Him murmur:

“ ‘It is not so much an actual sin that wounds Me, but his obduracy. If he continues deaf to My appeals, I shall have to leave him to himself.

“ ‘Rest now, Josefa, while I make yet another appeal.’

“He took away His Cross, but how could I sleep, haunted as I was with the thought of His grief, and of that soul?”

While the next day, Tuesday, June 19th, she was making her thanksgiving, Our Lord showed Himself to her, resplendently beautiful, and said: ‘That soul is going to listen to My pleading, and though his mind is not yet quite made up, he is beginning to turn to Me . . . You are charged not only with his conversion but with his sanctity. . . . I want him to realize that no goods here below are comparable to those of eternity. . . . You must obtain him the grace to embrace all the mortifications of the hard way I want him to tread. Otherwise his peril will be very great. Poor, poor soul, he needs light.”

Josefa renewed the offering of herself for this soul so precious to Our Lord’s Heart. Emboldened by His kindness, she confided to Him her deepest aspirations. Since He had begun to transmit to her His Message for the world, she had often questioned in prayer if souls, all souls would respond to His appeals as He hoped. And the thought of possible heedlessness was a cruel torment to her loving heart. Jesus, she felt, must not be subjected to such a disappointment.

She had been for some days anxiously trying to find a solution, but had not dared to ask Him about it. Today, however, she could hide this trouble no longer.

Then in a voice of such grave and majestic dignity that she could not find words to express it, Jesus answered her:

“Have no fear, Josefa. You know what happens when a volcano is in eruption? So great is the force of the flowing lava, that it is capable of removing mountains and destroying them. Do men then need to be told that a devastating power has been unloosed? Such will be My words, accompanied by grace; a strength that will conquer even the most obdurate by love. Society becomes perverted, when those in authority do not act according to truth and justice. But if the ruling power knows how to govern, the majority will see and follow the light, though no doubt some will still fail to keep straight. . . . I tell you once more that grace will accompany My words and those who make them known. Truth will triumph and peace will reign over souls and the world . . . and My kingdom will come!”

Mi gracia acompañará a las palabras y a las personas encargardas de hacerlas conocer. La verdad triumfará … la paz gobernará las almas y en el mundo … y mi reino llegará.

Josefa was struck by the energy with which Our Lord uttered these words, her doubts were dispelled and her trust greatly reinforced. She knew that His promises would be accomplished, and each day she realized better that nothing would be able to hinder Love’s work with all its vast implications. No opposition could finally break the impetus of Divine Mercy, which would soon inundate the whole world. . . .

A few minutes later Our Lord dictated to her the final paragraphs of His appeal to souls:

“Josefa, do you love Me?” He asked earnestly, when He rejoined her in her cell.

“Lord, this is my only desire.”

Then, with ineffable tenderness, He replied:

“I, too, love you, because your lowliness is wholly Mine.”

Then: “Write:

“Come; My sons, and hear what your Father asks of you as proof of your love:

“You know that in a well-regulated army discipline must be maintained, just as in a household there must be established customs. So in the great family of Jesus Christ there must be law, albeit a law of love.

“In the order of nature sons are not recognized as such unless they bear their father’s name; so My sons bear the name of Christian given them at their birth in Baptism. All ye who bear this name are My sons, and as such have a right to your Father’s estate.

“I realize that you do not know Me or love Me, but rather detest and persecute Me. On My part, I love you with an infinite tenderness, and I want you to know this heritage which is yours by right, and know also the means to acquire it:

“Believe in My love and My mercy.

“You have sinned against Me; I forgive you.

“You have persecuted Me; I love you.

“You have wounded Me both by word and deed; still I wish to do you good and to let you share all My treasures.

“Do not imagine that I am ignorant of your state of soul. I know that you have despised my grace, perhaps even profaned My Sacraments. Yet you have from Me a full pardon.

“If then you would be happy in this world and at the same time secure your eternal salvation, do as I tell you:

“If you are poor, do the work that necessity forces on you with submission, and remember that I, too, lived for thirty years in subjection to the self-same law, for I was needy and poor.

“Do not consider your masters as tyrants. Banish all hatred from your hearts. . . . Never wish them ill, but further their interests and be faithful to them.

“If, however, you possess this world’s goods and employ workers and servants, be fair to them in all your dealings; pay them a just wage, and show them both gentleness and kindness. If you have an immortal soul, so too have they, and if you abound in wealth, it is not for your sole comfort and enjoyment, but that you may administer it wisely and practice charity to your neighbor. Both employer and employed must accept the law of labor with submission, acknowledging a Supreme Being over all created things, who is both your God and your Father.

“As God, He demands of you the accomplishment of His divine law.

“As your Father, He asks you to accept His commandments in a spirit of filial piety.

“Thus, when you have spent a week in the pursuit of work, business or sport, He claims but one half-hour, that you may fulfill your Sunday duty. Is this excessive?

“Go then to your Father’s House, where day and night He awaits your coming, and as Sundays and Holy Days recur, give Him the homage of this half hour by assisting at the Mystery of Love and Mercy, that is, Holy Mass.

“Tell Him about everything: about your families, your children, your business, your desires. . . . Lay at His feet your sorrows, difficulties and sufferings . . . believe in the interest and love with which He listens to your prayer.

“You may perhaps say to Me: ‘I have not entered a church for so many years that I have forgotten how to hear Mass.’ Do not be afraid on that account. . . . Come, spend this half-hour with Me; your conscience will tell you what to do, and be docile to its voice. . . . Open your soul wide to grace, and it will inspire you. . . . Gradually it will teach you how to act in a given circumstance, how to treat with your family, what to do in regard to your business . . . how to bring up your children, love those who depend on you, and honor those in authority over you. . . . It may make you feel that such and such a concern must be given up, such a friendship relinquished, or such a meeting avoided. . . . Again, it may tell you that you are hating a certain person quite unreasonably; or it may put it into your mind to sever your connection with some person you feel drawn to and whose advice is doing you harm. Only give grace a chance, and gradually its power will grow stronger in you, for just as evil increases insensibly, once it is given in to, so will each new grace prepare your soul for a still greater one. If today you listen to My voice and let grace act, tomorrow its influence will be stronger and so steadily increase as time goes on; light will grow in your soul, peace envelop you, and the reward will be eternal bliss.

“Man was not created to live forever here below. He was made for eternity. . . . If then he is immortal, he should live, not for the passing things of time, but for that which will never die.

“Youth, wealth, wisdom, human glory, all that is nothing, it will all end with this life; God only will endure forever.

“The world is full of hate, races are in perpetual conflict with one another, so are nations, and even individuals, and all this is due to the decay of faith. Only let faith reign once more over the world and peace and charity will return to it.

“Faith in no way impedes civilization and progress. The more it is rooted in individuals and peoples, the more wisdom and learning increase, for God is infinite in wisdom and knowledge. But whenever faith is completely lacking, peace, civilization and true progress likewise vanish . . . for God is not in war . . . and in their place come enmities, clash of opinions, class wars, and within man himself, rebellion of passions against duty. All that is noble in humanity is exchanged for revolt, insubordination and warfare. . . .

“Let yourselves be convinced by faith and you will be great. Let yourselves be ruled by faith, and you will be free; live by faith, and you will escape eternal death.”

Such were the last words of Christ’s Message to the world.

Then He looked down at Josefa and said: “Adieu. You know that I expect reparation and love from you all. Love is proved by deeds, so let all your works prove your love. Be messengers of love in things great and small. Do all for love. Live by love.”

He vanished.

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