"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lenten Meditational Series: Imitation of the Sacred Heart Part 9 "Holy Suffering"

Lenten Meditational Series: Imitation of the Sacred Heart Part 9
"Holy Suffering"


1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, to thee it is given to understand the secrets of My Heart, to enter devoutly into them, to direct them fully to thy progress.

Hear, then, the secrets which are hidden from the world: learn thou the good things which worldlings understand not.

Behold, walking in the way of the Cross, I the Creator have gone before My creatures; I the Redeemer before those whom I had set free; I a Father before My children; and to all men have I made it known, that, whosoever is willing to be a partaker of the unutterable bliss which awaits Me, at the end of the journey, should, with the proper interior disposition of heart, deny himself, and follow Me.

But many hearing this, have said at all times: This is a hard saying, and who can hear it? And, thenceforth, many withdrew and walked with Me no more.

The Saints, however, and all they that were really willing to sanctify themselves, received My invitation with a thankful heart, and judged that their happiness, even upon earth, consisted in being with Me in suffering with Me, and in persevering with Me through every trial unto the end.

2. And, indeed, My Child, what good is there on earth, which may not be found in suffering with
Me? Here is true glory: a glory which is worthy ot the Divine approval: a glory which does not pass
away with this world: a glory which shall endure and be exalted for evermore.

This is the hidden treasure, wherewith is bought the kingdom of Heaven, with its entire unending blessedness.

This is the pure delight, exceeding all the feelings. For if thou arrivest at this, that thou rejoicest in suffering with Me, thou obtainest possession of a spiritual Paradise of delights upon earth.

3. Whilst everything flows on according to nature's inclinations, and whilst no trouble oppresses the heart, a person is wont to cling to creatures, to turn rarely toward Me, and to feel it irksome to busy himself with the things of eternity.

But when he labors under adversity, and is pressed by afflictions, he turns again to his heart; he perceives how vain, how perishable are all the things of this world; he flies for aid to Me, Whom he finds, by experience, most of all needed by himself.

Therefore, My Child, the kind Providence of My Heart is wont so to act, that they who are affluent with the possessions of this world, do not enjoy them without inconvenience, in order that thus they may be excited the more easily and effectively to seek the treasures of the life to come.

For, if they possessed a quiet and undisturbed felicity amid worldly riches, they would, perhaps. not even think of laying up heavenly treasures.

It is, then, a merciful dispensation, that evils abound in the world, lest the world might be loved, and its votaries might perish.

4. As fire consumes rust, and purifies gold, so sufferings exhaust and deaden the passions, and render virtues more pure and precious.

By tribulation properly endured, My Child, thou redeemest thy sins, and thou satisfiest the Divine justice, for punishments still due: in so much, that, in this manner, thou canst have here a slight and consoling Purgatory, from which, through the gates of death, thou mayst deserve to wing thy flight to joys everlasting.

What is there that can make thee merit more, than sufferings endured with a proper disposition of heart? For, behold! light and momentary tribulations work out for thee an ever-enduring weight of glory.

Every affliction will add a new jewel to thy heavenly crown, which shall glitter with as many rays as thou hast performed acts of virtue.

In adversity, man is freed from many false notions and errors, and instructed in many ways. Happy he that, in the school of affliction, is taught to be wise in all things!

What does he know, who has never experienced adversity, has never endured aught, either inwardly or outwardly? And wherein can he be useful in counselor guidance either to himself or to others?

5. Wherefore, Child, do not lose courage, when thou art tried or reproved by Me. For whomsoever I love, him do I lovingly reprove, in order to train him; and, in him, as a Father in His son am I well-pleased.

Thou shouldst, therefore, justly be glad amid sufferings, since therein thou mayst have an indication of My esteem for thee, and a token of the fatherly love of My Heart.

There is scarcely aught else to be found which produces a greater confidence in My Heart, or a freer access to It, than to suffer willingly for My sake.

When thou art about to die, My Child, thou wilt rejoice over no circumstance of thy life so securely, nor find so safe a consolation in aught else, as in the most agreeable remembrance of having suffered much with Me.

6. Very many study to shun the way of humiliation and affliction; pleading as an excuse, that they can both better glorify God and help their neighbor, in a more agreeable way.

What a delusion! They do not seek God nor their neighbor, but themselves. For the glory of God and the salvation of the neighbor are not to be promoted according to man's, but according to God's good pleasure.

Now, God indicated to His Son the manner of glorifying on earth His Majesty, and of saving the lost world. And this manner the Son followed by suffering and by suffering He made it known to man.

My Child, do thou follow this path which I Myself have trodden and showed to thee. And that thou mayst be able to keep it, pray thou frequently and fervently.

But whilst praying, ponder thou devoutly all My sorrows of every kind, and the supernatural dispositions of My Heart all the while.

Do not consult merely natural inclinations or purely human feelings; but, by means of supernatural principles, elevate thyself above sensible things, and view tribulations as sent by the Divine Will, and, inasmuch as thou art able, embrace them affectionately.

Courage, then, My Child; cheer on thy heart. Behold Me, and all the Saints with Me, cheerfully treading the path of sufferings. Be thou bold to follow. With Me nothing is to be feared; the company is select; the way safe; the goal certain; the reward everlasting.

7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Lord Jesus! who will not be roused up to follow Thee? Who does not feel his heart burning within him, whilst Thou utterest these things about the way?

But it is one thing to be enkindled by Thee, and another to follow Thee; it is one thing to meditate and quite a different one to act: yea, it is one thing to know virtue, and another to practice the same.

I acknowledge that the love of sufferings is a most excellent virtue; I admire it in my mind, I do even love it in my heart; but, when an occasion of actually practicing it presents itself, behold! self-love begins forthwith to torment me, secret pride darkens my understanding and forces upon me a thousand excuses, a thousand specious pretenses. Whilst thus I am miserably struggling with myself, the chance of suffering something for Thy sake flies away, and, I must confess it to my shame, I frequently wish myself joy if I escape unharmed from the struggle.

O most kind Jesus! look Thou graciously, I beseech Thee, upon this my misery and grant me in Thy mercy to be able, by Thy grace, to do that which, by my frailty, I cannot effect.

Great is my weakness, great the power of my refractory nature, which shrinks from the very thought of pain or humiliation.

But the reason why I am so weak and sluggish,
-----tso that I dare not go contrary to nature,-----tis that I do not love Thee sufficiently.

O most sweet Jesus! were I to love Thee, like Thy Saints, how easy, how pleasant even, would it be to triumph over the repugnance of nature!

Grant me, therefore, I pray Thee, this singular grace, that I may love Thee with a more perfect love,
-----with a love courageous and generous; that it may strongly attract me,-----despite the opposition of nature,-----through all hardships, to Thee, O Jesus, my life, my delight, my beatitude.


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