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The Way Of Divine Love
by -Sr. Josefa Menendez



CONCLUSION

IT is not fitting that I should write a conclusion to these wonderful conversations between Our Lord and the little Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart, but finding myself no longer able to refuse the repeated and urgent requests to express my opinions about these new appeals of God’s mercy, I can only beg my readers to forgive me for offering here only the response of a “poor sinner.” They will have the good sense to take it, not as the judgment of a connoisseur, but as a proof of my gratitude to Jesus Christ, Victim of Love for us, and to the Society of the Sacred Heart which has allowed us all to share in the most intimate thoughts of the Heart of Jesus.

In the unassuming and simple narrative of facts that we have read, it seems to me that the eminent virtues of the chosen bride of Christ so intimately associated with Himself have been sufficiently brought into relief, and it is therefore of set purpose, though with some reluctance, that I propose to pass over what relates to her personal holiness. Privileged as she was, and she will yet be glorified on earth as in Heaven, it seems best to me to allow her to remain completely in the background in these concluding remarks.

Our Lord’s aim was never to set her as an example to be imitated. He did not speak so much to her in order to draw down upon her the admiring gaze of the world. She was a voice . . . nothing more. She existed for the Message, the Message did not exist for her. Christ Our Lord willed that she should be a mere nothing. He never drew her out of her littleness; in fact, He continually and purposely laid stress on her nothingness, and that even when He showed Himself with the greatest radiance. Lux lucebat in tenebris.

Josefa’s one desire was to retire into completest obscurity. Nothing would please her more than if she were treated as an outcast today. It is because of this that the Message has some chance of reaching us untouched, as she hoped.

I will not hide the fact that when, following the instructions of the Master and of Josefa herself, I put her personality completely out of the picture I was overpowered by the Presence of the Living Christ. At once I was convinced that Our Lord Himself was speaking here. There was no possibility of mistake, no need for discernment of spirits; one had only to note the Voice of Jesus. In its clear simplicity I recognized it as the same Voice that souls hear at times of great grace, and above all the same that the Gospels and the Saints have let us hear throughout the ages.

Mistake is impossible. The Voice that entrusted to Josefa the secrets of the merciful Heart of Jesus is exactly the same as that of the Saviour in the Gospels and of the God of Love heard from all eternity. Deus Caritas est. From the beginning of time He has never ceased His Appeal of Love. Prior dilexit nos. If the Law proclaimed “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul and with all thy strength” (Deut. 6:5), it was He Himself, first, who urged us with infinite persistence to respond to His infinite love for each one of us. How often He has assured us that His love surpasses that of a mother. Was it only yesterday that we heard from His divine lips the almost foolish avowal: “Thou art My Spouse, and I thy Bridegroom.” “A voice of joy . . . the voice of the Bride and the Bridegroom, the voice of them that shall say: Give ye glory to the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good and His mercy endureth forever” (Jer. 33:11). When Our Blessed Lord tells the little Sister that He loves us “to folly,” we have already heard the Bridegroom of souls, par excellence, repeat the old prophecy in words that all can understand.

And what of His mercy? Ought we not, since it is the Voice of God, to realize that it surpasses our wildest imaginings? Yes, Lord, “The earth is full of Thy mercies” (Ps. 118:64). Holy Scripture abounds in instances of God’s goodness to sinners, and the secret history of souls is a continuous record of forgiveness that nothing can discourage. Has not the world already received messages more eloquent perhaps than Josefa has conveyed to us? Witness the parable of the vintners of the “House of Israel.” When they had rid themselves of servants sent by the Father of the family, beating one, killing another, and stoning a third, the Master sent other servants in greater numbers, but they treated them in the same way. Then He sent them His Son, saying, “they will respect My Son.” But when these wicked men saw the Son, they exclaimed: “Here is the heir; let us kill him and the inheritance will be ours.” What was the message brought by the Son? That God is charity, that He so loves these sinners that He is sending them His well-beloved Son. And behold, we have crucified Him, because we have not understood His testimony. But before dying and sending His Holy Spirit (the substantial bond of the Blessed Trinity) this only Son revealed to us the depths of God. His Gospel overflows with acts of mercy and kindness, and is in reality from beginning to end the Gospel of mercy to sinners. Everywhere repentance is exalted. His preferences are clear: for the Publican, the Prodigal Son, the lost sheep, the sick, the woman taken in adultery, Mary Magdalen, all the humbled and contrite. In the Beatitudes, everlasting mercy is promised to the poor, the persecuted, victims of injustice, and mourners both for their sins and for their sorrows. Miracles, too numerous to count, are worked on the infirm and ailing multitude who from the depths of their misery call on Christ for help, and what more poignant than the appeal of Jesus in the marketplace, where, as a beggar among beggars who hunger for happiness and justice, He cried out on the last day of the feast, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink; He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” “Now this He said of the Spirit (that is the love of the Father and of the Son), which they should receive who believed in Him, for as yet the Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37–39).

He calls to Him the workers and the oppressed: “Come to Me all ye who labor and are heavy-burdened and I will refresh you” (Matt. 11:28). “I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And before dying at our hands, He sends forth a last cry of distress: “Sitio”—“I thirst.”

How seldom is this call, which should resound at all times and in all places, and above all in the depths of Christian hearts, accepted as a personal appeal! Some, indeed, have responded not only in words, but by their life and death “et nos credimus caritati . . . but a great number of Christians and especially multitudes of sinners have closed their ears to the entreaties of Love.

Following these heralds of God—Doctors, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, even children, comes Josefa Menéndez with a message more moving than ever. She is heir to an open secret, which throughout the ages has remained unaltered. This actual fact I am anxious to bring into relief. As I read the familiar talks she has with Our Lord, I seem to hear not only Margaret Mary and those like her, but the most illustrious Doctors and classical saints (if I may so name them) of the New Dispensation.

Was the Message delivered by the little Sister or by Saint Augustine? From the contents we could not tell, for the great Doctor also spoke of the goodness and mercy of God for sinners, only in his inflamed and more eloquent words: “O immense and Fatherly tenderness! O inestimable charity! that the sinner might go free, Thou hast delivered up Thine only Son. . . . O ineffable love! O charity supreme! Who hath heard the like? Who would not be dumbfounded at the depths of Thy mercy, at Thy loving-kindness? Who would not sing the excess of Thy tenderness?”

“O immensa pietas, o inestimabilis caritas! ut liberares servum, Filium tradidisti … O Caritas! o pietas! Quis audivit talia? Quis super tanta misericordiae Viscera non obstupescat? Quis non miretur? Quis non collætur propter nimiam caritatem tuam qua nos dilexisti.” (Meditation, Saint Augustine).

“I love Thee, O my God, I love Thee and would that I could love Thee more. Grant that I may desire Thee, that I may love Thee as much as I want and as I ought. O Thou who art Immensity, men should love Thee without measure, for Thou hast loved them without measure, hast saved them with a measureless love and hast given such boundless proofs of Thy charity.”

“Amo te, Deus meus, amo te et magis atque magis amare volo. Da mihi, ut desideram te, ut amem te, quantum volo et quantum debeo. Immensus es et sine mensura debes amari, praesertim a nobis, quos sic amasti, sic salvasti, quo quibus tanta et talia fecisti.” (Soliloquies, Saint Augustine).

These are the passionate tones of a mind in delirium, nay, intoxicated by grace, and we find more of them in the writings of Saint Augustine, perhaps, than in any other of the mystics.

If I read the lofty “Elevations” of Saint Bernard on the love of God or his commentary on the Canticle of Canticles, or the best known mystical writers of the Middle Ages, and immediately after open the little Sister’s book The Way of Divine Love, the disparity I find is only as it might be between a large consecrated Host and a small one!

It is the self-same Heart of Jesus who has loved, sought, appealed, pardoned, and filled with benefits the most miserable sinners. I have no hesitation in saying that it is indubitably His Voice that has been calling to us across the ages, inviting us to His Banquet, offering us closest union with Himself, and the ineffable joy of espousals to His Heart.

I will give but one example among a thousand:

Josefa spoke with special love, not only of the Passion of Our Lord in general, but particularly of His Five Wounds.

“Behold these wounds,” Our Lord said to her one day, “pierced on the Cross to redeem the world from eternal death and give it life. It is they that win pardon and mercy for so many souls who rouse My Father’s wrath. It is they that, henceforth, will give them light, strength and love. . . .

“The wound of My Heart is the glowing brazier at which I want My chosen ones to be enkindled.”

But Saint Augustine had heard the same cry, for he writes: “The wounds of Jesus are brimming with mercy, full of tenderness, sweetness and charity. They have pierced His hands and His feet and opened His side with the thrust of the lance; through these channels I am permitted to taste how sweet is the Lord my God. . . . A copious Redemption is given us in the wounds of Jesus Christ our Saviour! A great immensity of sweetness, fullness of grace and perfection of virtues!”

“Vulnera Jesu Christi plena sunt misericordia, plena pietate, plena dulcedine et caritate. Foderunt manus ejus et pedes ejus et latus ejus lancea perforaverunt: per has rimas licet mihi gustare quam suavis est Dominus Deus meus … Copiosa redemptio data est nobis in vulneribus Jesu Christi Salvatoris nostri, magna multitudo dulcedinis, plenitudo gratiae et perfectio virtutum.” (Libellus de contemplatione Christi).

Not once, but hundreds of times does this great convert, this Doctor of God’s mercy, summon sinful souls, especially those who are tempted to despair, to trust in God’s compassionate forgiveness.

And who has not read the tender supplications of Saint Bernard? “Never say in thy desperation, my sin is too great for forgiveness! No, no, however great it is, much greater is the fatherly loving-kindness of thy God.”

“Major est iniquitas mea quam ad veniam merear—Absit. Absit. Major enim est ejus pietas quam quaevis iniquitas.” (Cantic. Cantic., sermo XI 13.)

“As for me, trustfully I fly to the Heart of my Jesus, there shall I find mercy, for grace flows from every one of His wounds. They have pierced His hands and His feet, they have opened His side; so now I can, by these Wounds, draw honey from the flint and oil from the stony rock, that is, taste and see how sweet is the Lord. His thoughts were thoughts of peace and I knew it not . . . the nails cry out, His wounds are clamorous. How truly in Christ, God is reconciling the world with Himself. Open is the sanctuary of His Heart whither all these bleeding wounds lead us. Open wide is the great sacrament of the love of the Father . . . draw near, and enter into this seat of mercy! It is visible through these wounds. Where, if not through these openings, could we have learnt the truth of how sweet the Lord is, how tender and rich in mercy? Who can show greater pity than to die for criminal man, condemned as a criminal to perish? Therefore, my merit is the mercy of the Lord.”

“Ego vere confidenter quod ex me mihi deest usurpo mihi ex visceribus Domini, quoniam misericordia affluunt, nec desunt foramina per quae effluant. Foderunt manus ejus et pedes, latusque lancea foraverunt: et per has rimas licet mihi sugere mel de petra oleumque de saxo durissimo, id est gustare et videre quoniam suavis est Dominus. Cogitabat cogitationes pacis et ego nesciebam … Clamat clavus, clamat vulnus, quod vere Deus sit in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi. Patet arcanum cordis per foramina corporis, patet magnum illud sacramentum, patent viscera misericordiae Dei nostri … Quidni viscera per vulnera pateant? In quo enim clarius quam in vulneribus tuis eluxisset, quod tu, Domine, suavis et mitis et multae misericordiae? Majorem enim miserationem nemo habet, quam ut animam suam ponat quis pro addictis mortis et damnatis. Meum proinde meritum, miseratio Domini.” (In. Cant. Cant.. sermo LXI, B.C.).

In quoting these beautiful passages, I want to remind the reader of the wealth that is available in the Church’s treasury; and there are an infinity of other passages as poignant, as moving, as those whose secret is divulged to us today. We are apt to forget them, as we forget the dead. They are now once more brought to our memory.

The disclosures of lowly Sister Josefa are the literal echo of a great and divine Voice, which in every age, with divine condescension and adorable patience reiterates for our benefit the old, old truth that He is love, disinterested love, liberal and merciful love, love divinely impatient to see all men one Body in Christ Jesus. When shall we realize this craving of His Heart?

By repeating what we hold from tradition, my object is not merely to attest the authenticity of the Message of the Heart of Jesus. I testify not for Sister Josefa, but against all of us. The perseverance of Christ shows us our spiritual deafness, our hardness of heart, our levity, ingratitude and tepidity, which are in reality astounding, terrifying!

By means of His little bride, Jesus bewails our indifference, as many a time before; as He did over the disciples of Emmaus: “O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.” (Luke 24:25).

This indifference ought to be a subject of deep concern to us. Possibly under the pretext that “idle tales” are not to be believed, that private revelations are not matters of faith, that imagination may have had a large share in the Message; or again, under the pretext that the diabolical apparitions render the heavenly ones suspect; or finally, that it is not possible to distinguish between what is true and what is false in mystical phenomena . . . it may happen, I say, that some are reluctant to spread abroad and give a world-wide diffusion to the revelations of Sister Josefa.

The Samaritan woman hastened to tell her compatriots what she had heard from the Master (John 4:28). Mary Magdalen ran to tell the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had entrusted a message to her (John 20:18). How can we allow ourselves to keep back from hungry souls the unfathomable riches of the Heart of Jesus?

It is no excuse to say that there is nothing new in these private revelations, for it is precisely because Our Lord lets us hear once more the age-long clamor of His love and mercy, that we are under obligation, today more than yesterday, not to allow their sound to be suppressed by doubts and superfluous discussions.

Shall we claim to put our hand into the wound of His side before we believe in His love? Rather let us remember the Master’s words: “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.”

The validity of Josefa’s Message does not depend only on its intimate connection with the eternal revelation of God’s infinite tenderness towards man, but also on its manifest timeliness, and this is a point that I should like to stress again for those who read this book.

The perfect harmony in thought between the Message of the Heart of Jesus and the recent encyclical of our Holy Father Pius XII on the Mystical Body of Christ, Mystici Corporis Christi, is most striking. The Message dates from 1922–3, the Encyclical, June 29th, 1943. In the course of the twenty years that have elapsed between the two, Pius XI has condemned modern heresies, the Second World War has set the globe on fire, Cardinal Pacelli has been elected to the See of Peter, and more than once His Holiness Pope Pius XII has condemned errors and enlightened the faith of Christians. What God prompts His Vicar to say in 1943 palpably confirms the desires expressed by Jesus Christ in the intimacy of a convent to His humble servant in 1923. The teaching of the two shows perfect consonance, harmony and congruity, by which the present tendency of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in the Church can clearly be discerned.

Whether we meditate on the words transmitted to us by the untaught little Sister, or on those of the Sovereign Pontiff, we find that both invite us to rebuild a crumbling Christian civilization on the foundations of Charity. This fact seems to me to lend great weight to the Message. Christians everywhere are to be convened to a more perfect restoration of the world. God wills the inauguration of a stage of progress in the development of the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Let me here show this harmony in at least a few points:

1) Our Lord seems to recommend devotion to the Sacred Heart more urgently than ever. The Revelations at Paray had dispelled the heresies of fear, especially Jansenism and Calvinism. We all know the incomparable and magnificent promises by which Our Lord had endeavored to attract timid souls. There is no doubt that, all over the world, the Church has gradually responded to His appeal. But it has taken two hundred years of persevering effort on the part of apostles of the Sacred Heart to make people, who for so long had regarded the devotion with misgivings, not only understand it, but love and appreciate it. Such are the difficulties which the love of Jesus meets with in stubborn man! And now He comes once more to let us know that He is far from satisfied with our grudging adoration and our niggardly sacrifices. His thirst is not slaked, far from it; He longs for ever more love and more trust. And He now solicits our affection in such passionate terms that we cannot doubt that He holds this devotion very dear, and that the Blessed Trinity Itself, which is pleased to take delight in it, considers it the most efficacious means of glorifying God and saving souls. The Message is new only in Christ’s insistence on the revelation of His love. Who has ever spoken of what he loves most with such force as Jesus does in telling us of His mercy? The only possible conclusion we can draw is that, alas, we do not show enough eagerness to listen to His pleadings!

Christianity today is being dragged into a catastrophe which threatens to overwhelm humanity with something akin to despair. Who will save us? Who can give an assurance that in the end faith will prevail? But once again, in the hour of stress, Christ makes Himself known to pure hearts, and tells us through them: “Respond confidently to the appeals of the Heart of Jesus, and salvation and victory will be yours.”

In his Encyclical Annum Sacrum of May 25th, 1899, H.H. Leo XIII, speaking of the signal victory expected by Constantine, of which the portent was the apparition of the Cross in the sky, said: “Today there is another divine symbol, a happy portent visible to our eyes: it is the Heart of Jesus, surmounted by the cross, and shining with incomparable effulgence in the midst of flames; from It we must expect salvation, and in It is our only hope.”

“ … in eo omnes collocandae spes: ex eo hominum perenda atque expectanda salus.”

Pius XII tells us in his last encyclical Mystici Corporis with what joy he has noticed an increase in devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the eagerness displayed by many to “meditate more profoundly on the unfathomable riches of Christ to be found in the Church,” for all our hope is in it.

2) Past ages have gone through periods of danger, and the bark of Peter has many a time been on the point of foundering. What then has happened that is extraordinary in our times that Our Blessed Lord should have sent us a new Message? This has happened: our age is one of blood and iron. It attacks charity directly, and is trying to set up a new idol, Force, in the place of its late one, Science.

Wild and lawless propaganda tries to persuade men that they will become as gods by armed force, for charity, they say, is paralyzing in its effects; they must treat it with contempt, as degrading, and leading mankind to a state of decadence. Happily the Law of the Jungle, in vogue among some today, is not God’s Law, for what could be easier for the Almighty than to banish humanity from the earth, as once our First Parents from the Garden of Eden, and condemn them to destruction or hell-fire for all eternity. But God’s strength lies in His love for erring men. He wants to have mercy on them, to forgive them and make them happy. Josefa Menéndez was charged to repeat His Message of love to them on the very eve of the disastrous war, into which we have fallen. Through her, Jesus speaks to those who have lost belief in Love. That is why He repeats hundreds of times: “Come to Me”—“Trust”—“I love you”—“I am Mercy itself.”

Likewise the Holy Father, at the same time and for the same cause, makes himself the echo of Christ’s voice, reminding us that charity is man’s supreme title to nobility and his highest endowment. If love is a very excellent thing in nature and the source of true friendship, what can be said of heavenly love, which God Himself has implanted in our souls? “God is charity, and he that abideth in charity abideth in God and God in him” (1 John 4:16). Consequently, according to God’s law, the effect of love is to establish him who loves in heavenly love, as He said: “If anyone love Me, My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him” (John 14:23). Thus only shall we become, not merely “as gods,” but one God with Himself in Christ Jesus. In the same way shall we overcome the nations and the whole of this lower world, and even the domain of the spirits of darkness, for thus we shall possess the strength not only of the super-man, but of the Holy Spirit Himself. The Holy Father continues: “It is in the glow of this heavenly flame that so many sons of the Church have rejoiced to suffer contempt, and to brave and overcome every danger even to their last breath and the shedding of their blood.” “O admirable condescension of divine tenderness! O incomprehensible plan of so immense a charity!”

It is at this critical moment, in order to thwart the machinations of Satan, that the Message reaches us. It invites us to imitate the tenderness of Our Saviour for sinners, for the sick, the infirm, the wounded, and for children whom He so particularly loves. It reminds us of the saying of Saint Paul whose words the Holy Father quotes: “It is those parts of our body which seem most contemptible, that are necessary to it; what seems base in our bodies we surround with special honor, treating with special seemliness that which is unseemly in us.” (1 Cor. 12:22, 23).

“This, says Pius XII, is a very grave affirmation, and we remind you of it with a heart full of sorrow, aware as we are of our compelling obligation towards many hapless beings, for do we not see that the deformed, the demented, and those afflicted with hereditary diseases are being considered as a burden to society. This is not the way of Jesus who wished the law of charity to govern the mutual intercourse of men in the same way as He Himself dealt with them.”

3) That is why at the solemn moment when, amid the ruins of a society that seemed utterly destroyed, hope awakened in the hearts of the sons of God that a more lasting and solid civilization would take its place, it was a matter of urgency that Christ should reanimate our faith through Sister Josefa. We needed to hear the call of His Love, to remind us that the true society of men must be founded on a “very glorious fellowship of love,” and that Christian brotherhood must exist between nations. Mere justice, divorced from charity, will never solve international and social problems, so varied and obscure. There is but one solution for all these questions, one that removes all obstacles: it is faith in charity.

There is only one barrier that prevents the happy and fruitful understanding that should exist between workers and employers, races and their home countries; it is egoism, and so strong is this passion of egoism, that it can be overcome only by the love of Christ, by the union of all the members in one Body, whose Head is Jesus Christ.

Pius XII again tells us, following the trend of the Message of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: “The love of the divine Spouse is so widespread that it embraces as its spouse the whole human race. If Our Saviour shed His Blood on the Cross it was to reconcile to God all mankind, even if they were separated by nationality and blood, and to unite them into one single body.” And the Holy Father is not afraid of including in this charity the very enemies of the Church. “True love . . . demands that in other men not yet united to us in the body of the Church, we should recognize brothers of Christ, called to the same eternal salvation as ourselves. Doubtless there are plenty of men, especially today, who proudly vaunt war, hatred and jealousy as a means of exalting the dignity and the strength of man. But we, seeing with sorrow the wretched results of this theory, follow our King of peace who teaches us to love not only those who do not belong to the same nation (Luke 6:33–37), but even our enemies (Luke 6:27–35; Matt. 5:44–48). Convinced by this doctrine of love, let us rejoice with Saint Paul in the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (Eph. 3:18): A love whose bonds no difference in race or customs can break, no distance set by the immensity of oceans lessen, no wars, or undertakings be they just or unjust diminish.

4) But this charity which is to reconcile all men, even those whose antagonisms are most deeply rooted, can only act efficaciously by blood shed in a Spirit of Reparation. One of the most important points of the Message, the most important, perhaps, is the appeal of the Sacred Heart for collaboration through suffering in union with His Passion, to fill up what is wanting to the fruits of His Passion. By means of Josefa, Our Lord returns repeatedly to the necessity and power of our reparation.

“How much suffering must go to the saving of a soul. . . . Men rush to perdition and My Blood is wasted for them! But those who love Me and offer themselves as victims of reparation, draw down God’s mercy. That is what saves the world! . . . Glorify Me through My Heart. Make reparation and satisfy God’s justice with It. Offer It up as a victim of love for souls, and especially for those that are consecrated to Me. Live with Me as I live with you. . . . Your suffering will be Mine, and Mine will be yours.”

Words like these are said a hundred times to Josefa, as if it was too easy to forget them. Anyone who reads the revelations attentively will note how Our Lord appeals to His little victim to sacrifice herself with Him for the redemption of the world, or for the salvation of certain specified sinners who are placed by Him in her charge. These words, which recur time after time in the confidential communications He made her, express a very important doctrine which cannot be sufficiently meditated on or made known. We do not live, we do not suffer, we do not die for ourselves alone: Christ, our Head has established a solidarity of the closest and profoundest kind between the members of His Mystical Body, and the inter-communication of prayer and immolation is so perfect that we can, if we please, draw our own profit from the redemption of Jesus, and anyone, no matter who, can avail himself of the mercy and grace gained for him by a voluntary victim, united to the one unique Victim of Calvary. Here indeed we can see the originality and supereminence of Christianity. Now, the Sovereign Pontiff enunciates the same doctrine, and makes the same pressing supplications. His encyclical on the Mystical Body which is reminiscent of Pius XI’s Miserentissimus teaches that reparation is an urgent duty for the salvation of nations at war. He begs us to follow in the bloodstained footsteps of our King, to die with Him that we may live with Him, to share devoutly, daily, if possible, in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to lighten, when we can, the misfortunes of so many who are very poor, to subdue our flesh by voluntary penance, in short, to “fulfill what is wanting in the Passion of Christ in our own bodies, for His Body the Church.” “His Body the Church” includes all sinners, be it this or that one in particular, for, by reason of our inter-dependence, there is none which is beyond being revivified, restored and saved by those who suffer in Christ Jesus for their salvation.

5) To Reparation, which ought to be a veritable obsession with us, is united both in the Message of Jesus and in the Pope’s Encyclical on the Mystical Body, the idea of constant recourse to Mary, Co-Redemptrix. This concordance of thought in both is striking and very significant.

In the familiar converse between Jesus and His little bride, Our Lady constantly intervenes, to console Josefa when she is sad, or to reassure her when afraid, to prepare her to receive Jesus, to guide her when she wanders from the right path, to strengthen her in timidity, to encourage her when her weakness overwhelms her, to give her fresh confidence in her hesitations, to help her against the attacks of the devil, and above all to teach her to follow the way of the Cross when some fresh object of compassion or reparation is presented to her. In a word, the Message taught this lesson, that the word of God will not bear fruit in a human soul unless it be by the help of the Blessed Virgin. Her intercession is at all times necessary.

The Holy Father says: “If we really have at heart the salvation of mankind which has been redeemed by Christ’s Blood, we must put into Mary’s hands the desires we hold dear.” There are so many reasons for confidence in her intercession! “Did she not, exempt from every personal and hereditary sin and ever closely united to her Son, as a new Eve, present Him on Calvary to God the Father, sacrificing her own rights and making a holocaust of her love, offering Him for all the sons of Adam who have been corrupted by original sin? Therefore, she who was His Mother in the flesh, becomes spiritually the Mother of all who are His members, and that by a new title acquired by suffering and glory.” Reparation is easier when the example of Mary and her prayers support us.

6) Had not directors and militant members of Catholic Action special need to study these doctrines? One of the reasons which induced the Holy Father to publish an encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ on June 29th, 1943, notwithstanding the fact that war, at that very moment, threatened not only Italy but even Rome itself, was that “erroneous ideas were beginning to spread” and had become a danger to the faithful. The Pope warned the members of Catholic Action to guard against such mental aberrations, all the more that owing to the sublime doctrine of the Mystical Body, they were united to all Christians, to the ecclesiastical Hierarchy, and to the Holy Father himself.

Militant members of Catholic Action who study the Message of the Sacred Heart, will find that they are able to obtain a marvelous grip of modern errors and of the doctrinal truths on which the encyclical throws so much light. A more and more trustful recourse to the merciful Heart of Jesus, a conviction that Christ’s love is the source of all spiritual good, and that we must not count on our own merits, nor despair on account of our demerits (for divine love uses our very faults to extend His reign but is hindered by our pretentious pride) . . . lively faith in the constructive power of charity to establish among men a society founded on love . . . incontrovertible hope, that one day all that exists on earth and in Heaven will be brought into the unity of the Mystical Body . . . the urge of the Holy Spirit, directing our cooperation by prayer, sacrifice, penance, mortification, disinterested and generous efforts to the redemption of guilty humanity . . . filial piety towards the Mediatrix of all graces—these and many other benefits shall we draw from meditating on the words of Christ, and they will at the same time guard us against false mysticism, which instead of humbling man and glorifying Christ, tends rather to clothe man in divine attributes which of right belong to God; guard us too against false quietism, which leaves to Christ alone the salvation of the world, excluding and neglecting man’s cooperation; against naturalism which places its faith in the social and juridical force of the Church and human action, instead of in the divine assistance of the Holy Spirit—and lastly all those systems that disparage supernatural means, such as prayer, Confession, suffering, charity to the poor, and laud instead, man-made means, discounting the communion of Saints and of all the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s Message contains the antidote to all the errors that, according to the warning of the Pope, threaten the faithful.

Its opportuneness, its novelty, therefore, become self-evident. All who are not blind to the evils of our times will realize that The Way of Divine Love is by no means a mere edifying biography. On the contrary (unless we are deaf to His voice), it will stand out in the history of spirituality in France and of apostolic Catholicity.

There remains for me only to state my own private reflections, suggested by Josefa’s Message, concerning the future of the Society of the Sacred Heart:

When Our Blessed Lady visited her cousin Saint Elizabeth, this holy woman exclaimed loudly: “Exclamavit voce Magna.” “Blessed art thou,” she said, “amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” And she added these words, which were a prelude to the Magnificat: “Blessed art thou who hast believed, for those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.”

I should be wanting in faith did I not believe that the Message is inaugurating a new era of sanctity and apostolic fruitfulness in the Society of the Sacred Heart. It is undoubtedly true that however liberal God’s Will may be, it produces results of mercy only under certain conditions. His wishes must be responded to with confidence and entire generosity, if even the firmest promises are not to fall short of accomplishment. Is it possible that anyone will not do all he can to carry out God’s plan which has been designed with so much love by the Bridegroom of souls, and which I have tried to sketch in outline?

Ah! who would not love with a measureless love Him who has so loved mankind? How could any religious of the Sacred Heart fail to engrave on her heart the great words written large in letters of fire in the Message: Devotion to the Sacred Heart, charity, kindness, confidence, abandonment, total gift of self, humility, compassion, reparation, the salvation of souls, and the mediation of Mary? How could these virtues, so characteristic of Saint Madeleine-Sophie and her supernatural family not be practiced by them with heroic fidelity?

The mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the Church and in Catholic Action, depends on its trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and consequently on the importance it will give to His Message.

Christ could have addressed souls by means of a contemplative. He chose—in order the better to attain His object—to seek for the collaboration of an Order devoted to the education of youth. This was no mere chance election. Doctrines with a moral and a spiritual bearing can only penetrate the body and soul of humanity by the education of the young generation who will be leavened by its strong principles, for it takes leaven to make the dough rise! I reflect with immense gratitude on the grace received by the Society of the Sacred Heart . . . that of training militant members of Catholic Action and future mothers of families, who, in this age of diabolic terror when some are crushed by fear and others exalted by presumption, will find in their unshakable Faith courage to win back many souls by their reparation in union with the pierced Heart of Jesus. The Message has been confided first of all to this Society. God grant that it may in no way minimize its grave importance at the present moment, but that through its means the seed may bear fruit a hundredfold!

REV. FATHER FR. CHARMOT, S. J.








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