Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Eucharistic Spirit of Sacrifice

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

You may firmly believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, adore His Eucharistic face, but do you remember that with Him in the Blessed Sacrament is His spirit of sacrifice - that this sacrifice is communicated to your soul each time you receive Him?  Jesus your Sacrifice lives in you and so ought not His spirit of sacrifice also be yours?  You must be a lover of mortification, self-denial and penance and these things must shape your life.  

If your Communions are barren of fruit, your spiritual maternity will likewise bear no fruit of either holiness for yourself or healing for the priests for whom you pray.  If your Beloved embraces the Cross for you, mustn't you embrace every cross willingly and joyfully that comes to you.  How can you be averse to the very thing that has brought about your salvation, the very outpouring of love upon which you are now nourished?  In the most intimate way you receive the Lord in Communion, but for you the roads to Gethsemane and Calvary remain unfamiliar.  You so readily welcome Him into your hearts, yet hold no desire to receive His spirit of sacrifice.  "Only a little while ago your body was a sanctuary of God Himself! . . . and now you are in eager pursuit of all kinds of pleasures, worldly distractions, and sensual gratification; or, if you are not actually seeking them, you are at least making mental resolves to do your best to avoid every mortification, every humiliation, to keep as far away from them as possible . . . Jesus, all aglow with the spirit of mortification, has entered into your heart . . . and you?"

Do not fear suffering Daughters.  Your Beloved desires to give you this gift - His spirit of sacrifice.  Even if you have so often left Him on Calvary's dismal heights, He waits to bind you more closely to Himself.  He will transform your lives by the grace of participation in His sufferings.  He will teach you how to suffer as a Christian.  "Your Beloved will sweeten all sacrifices for you when your spirit gropes blindly in the darkness of this mystery."  

I am so accustomed to pronouncing the holy name of Jesus that I fear I do not sufficiently realize the mighty significance of that sweet name.  It means Savior - and, oh, what it cost Him to save us!  When I hear the music of that name in which alone men can be saved I must think, not only of Jesus, but also of His perfections.  I firmly believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament - it is true; but I may not forget that with Him in the Blessed Sacrament - inseparably one with Him - are His wisdom, His omnipotence, His beauty ever ancient and ever new - all His adorable perfections, in short . . . but more than all others, if that be possible, His spirit of sacrifice.  Yes; this perfection is there in a special way; and in a special way it is communicated to my soul each time I receive Holy Communion.

From this something important follows: Jesus, my Sacrifice, lives in me.  In Holy Communion I become one with Him.  Ought not, then, His spirit of sacrifice to be also mine?  Ought I not be a lover of mortification, self-denial, self-sacrifice, penance?  Surely, it ought to implant deep in my soul a spirit of sacrifice, a spiritual understanding of its value, a longing to shape my life according to its dictates . . . I mean the reception of that Body, torn, bleeding, mangled, and crucified for love of me . . . of that Blood which flowed in crimson streams in the scourging at the pillar, in the crowning with thorns, in the nailing to the cross, and in the agonizing three hours spent thereon.

But what am I in reality?   Am I a lover of mortification? of self-sacrifice? of the cross?  Do I actually find pleasure in submissive sufferings?

I wonder why my Communions seem to be so barren of spiritual fruits.  Why is it that, in spit of receiving my Jesus, I afterwards have the same aversion to suffering as I had before, the same love of personal comfort, the same desire to cater to the pleasures of sense? . . . Why is it? . . .  Surely,, when Jesus, the Model of mortification, enters into my soul, He must leave within it some of His spirit of sacrifice.  Then, why, O why, am I the same after Holy Communion as before? . . . Why am I then still averse to each and every sacrifice?

Oh I am all ashamed!  I have been going to Holy Communion for so many years . . . and yet the roads that lead to Gethsemane and to Golgotha are still so unfamiliar to me.  My Jesus is God, I know; and yet to me He is a God that has not suffered.  He is Beauty itself; and yet Beauty that was never disfigured, that was not struck in the face, that was not spit upon.  He is eternal Wisdom; and yet not Wisdom that was dressed in the purple garment of mockery and derided as the king of fools.  He is Omnipotence; and yet Omnipotence that was never bound with the degrading chains of a malefactor.  He is Goodness itself; and yet Goodness that was never loaded with shameless ingratitude.  He is Life itself; and yet Life that never drank to the dregs the bitter chalice of death.  He is Jesus; and yet not the cheerful Giver of Self in countless sacrifices . . . Is that what the Savior is to me? . . . Oh, I am so ashamed!

Does not this prove that Jesus is only partly known to me, only half understood? . . . . How, then, can my heart be so prepared for His coming as He wishes it to be?  . . . I invite Him to enter under my roof, to come to me . . . I hold the door of my heart wide open . . . I long and pray and plead that He may fill me quite with all His perfections . . . . But I make no preparation whatever for the reception of His spirit of sacrifice.  And thus - maybe without thinking - I myself place bounds to His generosity in the distribution of His gifts.  And Jesus, Who knows no bounds when He would enrich us with His treasures, passes through my heart and is sad - sad because He can leave behind only a few little signs of His burning love for me.

Ah! this is the explanation of my continued spiritual poverty . . . Now I know why I am still but the merest novice in the way of perfection.

It is true enough that I have often gone to Holy Communion . . .but where are my sacrifices, my acts of self-denial?

My heart, as it were, is still warm from divine contact with the Precious Blood that I have just received in Holy Communion . . . and yet, already now I feel within me the promptings of self-love, contempt of others, anger, bitterness . . . And why?  All because of a mere nothing!  . . .  because of a slight difference in opinion, a little contradiction, a petty humiliation.  In a certain sense my lips are still purpled with the Blood of my Savior . . . .and I am already beginning to murmur and complain.  Why is this?  Merely because a tiny little cross has been placed upon my shoulder.  My eyes are still well-nigh dazed by the snow-white purity of the Sacred Host, and I already look down upon others with pride and disdain . . . and that only because they displeased me a little or simply because I cannot tolerate them.

Only a little while ago my body was a sanctuary of God Himself! . . . and now I am in eager pursuit of all kinds of pleasures, worldly distractions, and sensual gratification; or, if I am not actually seeking them, I am at least making mental resolves to do my best to avoid every mortification, every humiliation, to keep as far away from them as possible . . . Jesus, all aglow with the spirit of mortification, has entered into my heart . . . and I? . . . .I become impatient at the least discomfort, at the least suspicion of unfair treatment . . . The very thought that I might fall sick makes me feel uneasy . . .  I tremble at the mere imagination of death.

How different things would be if I only remembered that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the Lover of mortification!  To many souls sacrifice, self-denial, has become a real necessity, their joy and their glory.  I see them; admire them for it; but that is all.  Why do I not seek the reasons for their supernatural likings?  Why do I not search for the source of this their spiritual beauty?  Any why do I not try to find out in what school they were so well trained?  Of a truth, if I really had at heart the acquisition of that spirit of sacrifice which I admire so much to others, I would straightaway change my method in the reception of Holy Communion . . . .I would approach my Jesus with a generous heart . . . I would come with quite a different disposition to nourish my heart with a Body that was tormented and crucified for me, to quench the thirst of my soul with the Blood that was spilled for me at the hands of heartless executioners.  Then, indeed, would I be most satisfied and happy to receive my Jesus, even were He to let me feel the burning sharpness of the thorns and nails . . . .and the piercing point of the lance.  Then would I at once make Him the sole and supreme Lord and Master of my entire being and would give Him the full right to dispose of my faculties at His good pleasure, especially of the power that enables me to make sacrifices and to suffer . . . .Yes, to my shame I say it, I am always too mean and stingy towards my Savior.  And that is why the generous Lover of sacrifice has been less generous to me . . .  Suffering has always frightened me so! . . . And it is not my dearest Savior's way to frighten souls . . .  .

Sweetest Jesus, living Sacrifice of Love, too late have I known You!  In spite of my many Communions and my visits to the Blessed Sacrament, I do not yet understand the Holy Eucharist as I ought.  No; I have never realized how ardently You desire to give to the soul, together with Your own divine Self, Your spirit of sacrifice.  I have too often forgotten that the Blessed Sacrament is the living memorial of Your bitter passion and death.  I tried to receive You most devoutly, it is true; I tried to love You above all things; but deep down in my heart I cherished a hidden aversion to all suffering.  I sought You in that beautiful large upper room where You instituted the Blessed Sacrament; and all the while You were waiting for me on Calvary's dismal heights! . . . .Yes; that is where You were and where You so patiently waited for me in order to bind me more closely to Yourself with the bonds of suffering . . . .But I never had the courage to flow in those blood stained footsteps.

But now You have conquered, my Savior.  No matter how painful it may be to my weakness, I lay bare my heart to You . . . And this is my prayer: O Jesus, give me the grace to make sacrifices for You!  Let me esteem it a rare privilege to do so.  Come, O ever living Sacrifice, Lamb of God, immolated on our altars from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof . . . come, transform my life through the grace of participation in Your sufferings.  Speak to my heart and convince me of the necessity of penance for the many sins by which I have stained my soul and made my life miserable. Teach me to suffer as a Christian, to suffer and not complain.  Teach me to subject all the sense of my body, all the powers of my soul, to the dominion of the cross.  Sweeten all sacrifices for me when my spirit gropes blindly in the darkness of this mystery . . . when my heart would grow hard and rebellious in the midst of tribulations . . . when my self-love rebels under the weight of humiliations . . . when my body is consumed by wasting illness.

Oh, come!  Oh, would that I could at length learn from You to preserve peace of heart in spite of all contradictions, to remain faithful in Your service despite the injustices of the world . . . and the deprivations of poverty . . . and abandonment by friends . . . and in the midst of the thorns of community life . . . and in the difficulties of obedience . . . and in the cruel assaults of calumny . . . despite each and all of the many trials that Your love could send me for the purification of my soul.

Come, my Jesus, unite me most intimately with You.  As two pieces of wax melted together are one, so may I from now on be one with You that both of us may be animated by one and the same spirit of sacrifice.  Utterly destroy within me every sinful earthly love, every inordinate attachment to myself and to whatever may displease You.  You die for my sins, dearest Savior; for my sins you offered the mighty Sacrifice of the Cross, continually renewed in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

"O Thou memorial of Our Lord's own dying," Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, how I pray that through the power of Your love I may ever be inflamed with the Eucharistic spirit of sacrifice!

Eucharistic Whisperings Vol. 6
Rt. Rev. Msgr. Guglielmo Reyna

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Prepare yourself for battle

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Your desire for intimacy with the Lord must be accompanied by the desire for virtue and the hatred of sin.  You must have clarity of vision when it comes to the nature of not only the spiritual battle that all Christians are called to in this regard, but the intensity of the struggle for those so deeply committed and consecrated to prayer.  The moment the commitment to adoration and to pray for priests is made Hell will unleash its forces against you - assailing you in all manner of ways. Habits of mind and behavior will conspire against you to resist the changes that you have resolved to make.  Have no illusions Daughters - the Evil One will seek to get his clutches on you and "leave nothing undone to ruin you."

Yet you must not give yourselves over to discouragement.  Keep before your mind always the love and life that your Lord promises.  Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more and where evil is present there also is God and His angels and saints.  Against the habit of mind and behavior that would lead to sin you have the habit of virtue strengthened by grace.  Let the pure and ineffable joys of the Holy Spirit spur you on to victory.

You will no sooner have resolved to give yourself to God than Hell will send out its forces against you. The flesh, corrupted from its birth by the poison of the serpent, will assail you with its insatiable desires and alluring pleasures. Evil habits as strong as nature itself will fiercely resist this change of life and exaggerate the difficulties which you will encounter. 

To turn a river from its course is hardly more laborious than to change a life confirmed by inveterate habits. The world, as powerful as it is cruel, will wage a fierce war against you. Armed with its pleasures and bad examples, it will hasten to compass your downfall. At one time it will seek to captivate your heart with its pomps and vanities. At another time it will strive to entangle you in the net of its ways and maxims. Again it will boldly attack you with ridicule, raillery, and persecution. The devil himself, the arch-deceiver, will renew his warfare and turn all his forces against you. Enraged at your desertion from his party, he will leave nothing undone to ruin you. . .  .

That you may not be discouraged, bear in mind that the prize for which you are striving is worth more than all you can ever give to purchase it. Remember that you have powerful defenders ever near you. Against the assaults of corrupt nature you have God's grace. Against the snares of the devil you have the almighty power of God. Against the allurements of evil habits you have the force of good habits confirmed by grace. Against a multitude of evil spirits you have numberless angels of light. Against the bad example and persecutions of the world you have the good example and strengthening exhortations of the saints. Against the sinful pleasures and vain joys of the world you have the pure joys and ineffable consolations of the Holy Ghost.

Venerable Louis of Granada. 
The Sinner's Guide (p. 183).

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Let not your heart be troubled

Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me.       (John 14: 1) 
Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

You must have no anxiety at all and let nothing disturb your interior quiet.  Do not try to control, manage or manipulate the realities of your daily life.  Rather, entrust yourself to the Providence of God.  You will be put to the test; if only to lead you to let go of the things that you tend to prefer more than His love.  Know that the Lord sees all of your needs more clearly than you do and there will be many occasions when you discover that your plans are foreign to His. You press to have your own designs fulfilled prematurely rather than according to God's mind and will.  

The call you have received from God is beautifully simple - to adore Him; but you seek to fill your days and nights with things and activities that bring you no closer to fulfilling His designs for you.  You must give first place to adoration and let the Lord accomplish what He desires in your life and the life of others.

Consecrate yourself to the time of prayer in the "rule" the Lord has given you.  This is how you cling to God and through this He can accomplish the impossible in you.  Place the things that weigh upon you the most or cause you the greatest anxiety in His hands, especially those individuals who cause you the greatest distress.  Otherwise work quietly in His presence through the day until you return to Him once again in prayer.  He will "order all things mightily and sweetly."
A troubled heart is always an indication of one’s lack of trust in Me. Trouble, interior disquiet, comes from wanting to control and manage the things that are better left to My Father’s providence. At every moment, I provide you with occasions to trust Me and to abandon to Me the things that you would prefer to see other than they are. Whenever you come up against something that contradicts your plans or fails to meet your expectations, give that thing, that situation, that disappointment to Me. Entrust it to My Heart, and then relinquish all worry over it. 

I am not distant from you nor am I removed from your life and all that makes up your days. Not a hair falls from your head without My Father permitting it. Make frequent acts of trust and abandonment. Let go of the things that you cling to most tightly. Come to Me with empty hands. Hold on to nothing, not even to your own plans and desires for good things. If the things that you want for yourself are good, know, beyond any doubt, that the things I want for you are infinitely better. 

When you find something difficult, or beyond your strength, ask Me to do it in you or even to leave it undone as I see fit. There are things that you would want to do that are alien to My plans, and there are things that I would have you do that you, of yourself, would never think of doing. It is your attachment to doing what you want that impedes the rapid fulfilment of My perfect designs for you and for this place. 

I called you here to adore Me. You have found other things to fill your days and your nights, but none of these will advance My plans, nor will they contribute to the unfolding of what My Heart has conceived for you. Give the first place to the adoration that I have asked of you, and still ask of you, and you will see wonders. 

The doing must be Mine. Yours it is to trust Me, to wait upon Me, to abide close to My Heart like the beloved disciple. When you are to do something that springs from My plan for you, you will find that thing easy to do, for I will give you light and strength and perseverance in the doing of it. 

Consecrate to Me the hours of prayer that I have asked of you. Follow your Rule, and all else will fall into place. When you are close to Me in the Sacrament of My love, you are working with Me, and I am working in you, and this in a way that is divinely efficacious and supernaturally fruitful. When the time to end your adoration comes, take leave of Me with the same freedom and joy with which you came into My presence. By following your Rule, you do not forsake Me; you cleave to Me and allow Me to speak, to act, to do in you things that would otherwise be impossible for you. 

The things that weigh upon you most heavily, the things that cause you the most anxiety and distress, are the very things that I want you to abandon to Me. When a particular people become for you a cause of worry and distress, give them to Me and represent them before My Eucharistic Face. You will see changes in them that only My grace can produce. When something becomes a cause of anguish, or makes you fearful, or robs your heart of peace, give that thing to Me immediately, and once you have given it to Me, think of it no more. I order all things mightily and sweetly. Carry out your duties with freedom and simplicity. Do one thing after another. Give all things to Me upon beginning them, and offer all things to Me upon completing them. Work quietly in My presence, and then return to My presence here in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar to find rest for your soul and to console My Heart with your friendship.

In Sinu Jesu
The Journal of a Priest at Prayer

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

sink into the ground of adoration

But Jesus answered them, saying: “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Amen, amen I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, itself remaineth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal. If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where I am, there also shall my minister be. If any man minister to me, him will my Father honour.” John 12: 23–26 
Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

Are you willing to follow the Lord into the hiddenness of prayer; allowing yourself to sink into the darkness of an absolute faith?  More, are you willing to completely die to self and to lose yourself in adoration?  For you must let go of all that the senses cling to and that to which reason and understanding hold fast for security; forgoing what even seems to be soundness and stability of mind.  

For it is only in imitation of your Beloved, by allowing yourself to be buried in the rich ground of faith, by dying to any sense of yourself outside of Him, will you bear much fruit. Can you let yourself consent to disappear, to become what you contemplate, to be forsaken by all and wrapped in silence?  It is only then that you will enter into the Silence that is Life and the glory that is not of this world.

There is a very real sense in which the prayer of adoration is a loss of one’s life. It is a kind of falling into the ground to die. Remember this when you come to adore Me. Look at the Sacred Host and see Me, who am the grain of wheat fallen into the ground and risen to life, and become the food of a vast multitude of souls, and this until the end of time. The grain of wheat that I was has become the Host that I am. 

When you adore Me, forgetting yourself and forsaking all things for Me, you imitate Me, for adoration is a kind of death. It is a passing out of everything that solicits the senses and a cleaving to Me alone in the bright darkness of faith. So it will be in the hour of your death. 

The more deeply you sink into adoration, the more deeply are you planted in the earth, there to die, and there to sprout, and finally to bring forth much fruit. 

Sink into the ground of adoration. Consent to disappear, to forsake appearances, and to die. Enter into the silence of the Host. Become by grace what you contemplate in faith. Here, I am hidden, silent, and forsaken by all, save a very few whom I have chosen to enter into My hiddenness, My silence, and My solitude. If you would serve Me, follow Me into My Eucharistic state. Lose all that the world counts as something and become with Me something that the world counts as nothing. 

“Where I am, there also shall my servant be.”  You are here because I am here and was here before you. Adoration is the humblest and, at the same time, the most fruitful expression of service. To adore Me is to serve Me, and “if anyone serve Me, my Father will honour him.”  When you adore Me, you serve Me, and in serving Me, you are united to Me who hide Myself, and give Myself, and reveal Myself in this Sacrament. This is the life of adoration: it is the mystery of the grain of wheat buried and hidden in the darkness of the earth. It is the promise of life in abundance and a foretaste of the face-to-face vision that awaits you in glory.

In Sinu Jesu
A Journal of a Priest at Prayer

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Know what you pray for Daughters!

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

You must understand well what it is that you pray for in order that you give yourself over fully to the life of Adoration and Reparation.  You must grasp in a way that even few priests do the significance of their calling and the magnitude of their identity.  Not only has the priesthood been stripped of its dignity in recent years, dimming the Face of Christ the Eternal Priest, but the impact of this on the life of the Church and the loss for the faithful has been incalculable.  The reflections below from In Sinu Jesu capture not only the beauty of the priesthood and the gift that it is for the Church but also the commitment and grace that is needed for men to be conformed to Christ in every way.  

Contrary to the attempts of the world to diminish the priesthood and make it invisible or absent altogether, the priest must give his whole self to God and allow himself to be shaped as God wills.  He must chose definitively to turn away from the vanities of the world and have eyes only for Christ and the holiness to which He has called Him.  A priest must live for the Blessed Sacrament as Christ keeps Himself present for us always in the Tabernacle.  A priest must truly put on the mind of Christ and live in complete docility to the Spirit of Lord in order that He might truly act and speak through him.  

A priest is not a functionary but rather an "alter Christus", an other Christ, in and through whom the Lord continues to speak to and heal His people.  He makes Christ present to others not in an abstract way but through his touching souls and comforting them.  The recent scandals may make many priests shrink back from making themselves so radically present to others, from loving them, and so build the walls high to protect themselves.  Yet they must not hide themselves and their identity from others but make themselves visible and vulnerable.  As Spiritual Mothers, you are poised to understand the importance of and the world's need of true fathers - fathers who heal the wounds of abuse and neglect and provide souls in their care with love, comfort, direction, guidance and courage.  The absence of true fathers has left so many with a distorted view of God and the world. And so you, Daughters, must bear priests in your hearts as you come before the Lord in Adoration and through your asceticism and sacrifices until through God's mercy the souls of true spiritual fathers are reborn.

Leave aside the things that distract you from Me. I am the one thing necessary to you in this life. Save your eyes, your ears, your mouth, your hands, and your heart, your whole being for Me, and I will unite you to Myself. Close your eyes to vanities, and your ears to flattery and deceit. Open your mouth to praise Me, to sing My glory, to speak of Me, and to speak good things to your neighbour. Keep yourself for Me, as I keep Myself for you in the Sacrament of My love. 
Know that I wait for you. There is a consolation that only you can give Me. It is your friendship that My Heart desires, and this friendship of yours cannot be replaced by any other. You are Mine and I am yours. Abide in Me and I will abide in you, speaking through you, and touching souls through your words. 
Allow Me to be the physician of souls and bodies through you. I want to live in you and pursue on earth all of those things that I did out of love and compassion when I walked among men in My flesh. You are My flesh now, and you are My presence in the world. It is through you that I make Myself visible to men. It is through you that I will speak to them, and comfort them, and heal them, and draw them to My Father in the Holy Spirit. 
There is nothing that I will not do for souls through My priests. Let them be visible and present in the world that needs them and, without knowing it, seeks them and waits for a word from them: a word of life, a word of hope, a word of compassion, a word of forgiveness. Let My priests be visible, not in order to make themselves seen and admired by men, but in order to make Me seen, and known, and loved in them and through them. 
The world is looking for fathers, and in My priests I have given souls the fathers whom they need. There are false fathers who would abuse souls and lead them along, and exercise seduction and power over them. These are not the fathers whom I am sending into the world. The fathers whom I send to souls are men in My own image and likeness: humble, meek, self-sacrificing, tender, and strong. I will give to these fathers, chosen and sent out by Me, a wisdom and a courage that the enemies of My Cross will not be able to confound. 
Let My priests forsake all selfishness and worldly aggrandisement, and so become fathers to souls in need of love, comfort, direction, guidance, and courage. It is through My priests—fathers in whom the tenderness and mercy of My own Father will be revealed to His children in this valley of tears—that the world will be healed of the sufferings inflicted upon it by the absence of true fathers. Let My priests be fathers! Let them beg Me for the grace of spiritual fatherhood, and I will give it to them in abundance.

Your prayers, Daughters, must be made with the clarity and courage of the Mother of our Lord; for you must desire that the hearts of the priests you support be shaped by the same self-emptying love of Christ.  In other words, you must pray that they be willing and able to become both priest and victim.  You must pray that they abandon themselves so completely to the embrace of Christ that they stretch themselves out with Him on the Cross.  They must bear within their bodies the marks of the Christ crucified.  In offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, they must allow the immolation of the Lamb to be renewed in their bodies and souls each day.  It is for this reason that they are ordained - to become living icons of the Christ crucified.  

It is normal that a priest be stigmatised; what is not normal, in fact, is that he not be. The real union with the Crucified each day at the altar should leave the traces of His holy wounds in his hands, in his feet, and in his heart. In offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priest is totally assimilated to Jesus crucified. This the Father sees; this the angels see; it is only men who do not see it. 
The depth of the impression of the wounds of Jesus in the heart and in the soul of the priest is proportionate to his degree of abandonment to the embrace of Jesus, who desires only to unite him to Himself. In some, the interior impression is so strong that it manifests itself even in the flesh of the priest; in others, the identification with the Crucified remains all interior and hidden; in still others, it is barely sketched in the soul of the priest, because he rebels against the idea of letting himself be crucified with Christ, and wants to keep his life for himself. 
To ascend to the altar to offer there the Holy Sacrifice is already to offer oneself to the piercing of the nails and of the lance, and to the crown of thorns. To offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is already to risk the secret interior stigmatisation that the Father sees, who sees in secret, and the angels who are admitted to contemplate the immolation of the Lamb renewed in the body and in the soul of a man. 
To offer oneself to the interior stigmatisation is entirely in the logic of priestly ordination. In some men, God permits it to be manifested visibly, with outpourings of blood. In others, the same mystery is lived in secret, without any outward manifestation. It remains that every priest is chosen to bear the marks of the Passion of Christ, and to be the living icon of His immolation each day upon the altar.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

to bear the wounds of Love

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

To make reparation is to bear the wounds of Love, to willingly and freely make yourself vulnerable to the word God speaks to you in the silence of prayer.  You must approach Him not only with the hope of being consoled but to console.  You must seek not only the strength, grace and forgiveness that flows from your Beloved's wounds but unite yourself so completely to Him so as to accept all that was inflicted upon Him in His most bitter Passion as your own.  Let yourself be made holy in the holocaust of divine love so that the world may be filled with the radiance of His Face and the priesthood would be healed by the love of His own Heart.

This you must do humbly and without the observation of others.  Enter, as your patron St. Philip Neri tells you, into His open side; so deeply as to never find your way from this hidden sanctuary.  There, in each of His wounds, you will find refuge from all evil.  Drink deeply of the springs of love that will refresh and delight your souls.

I who am here before you, I am the Word. No book, however beautifully written, can speak to your heart as I do, for I am eternal Wisdom, infinite Love, and uncreated Beauty in dialogue with your soul. My words are not like the words of men, My words surpass even the words of My saints, though I often speak through them and continue to touch souls through their writings. My words are like arrows of fire shot into the heart and wounding it so as to inflame it and heal it with divine love. Make yourself vulnerable to My words. Allow Me to speak to you in such a way as to wound you with the piercing of divine love. When you come before Me and wait upon Me in silence, you are, in effect, allowing Me, when I choose and in the way I choose, to wound you with an interior word and to set you on fire with a communication of divine love. Expect Me, then, to speak to you, to console you, and to enlighten you, but also to wound you.  Unless I wound you in this way, you will be incapable of withstanding the attacks of the enemy and of bearing witness to Me in the midst of darkness and tribulation. In the spiritual battle that is coming, only those wounded by Me will emerge victorious. This is why I call all My priests to seek and to accept the healing wounds of My love. Those who keep watch on behalf of My priests before My Eucharistic Face will be among the first to be so wounded. I have called you to adoration because I desire to wound you not once, but again and again, until your whole being is wounded, and so purified and set ablaze with the fire of My love. Would that your soul were wounded as many times as I was wounded in My body for love of you in the combat of My most bitter Passion! Allow Me, then, to pierce you through and through until, wounded by divine love, you are wholly sanctified and made fit for My purposes and designs. This I desire not only for you, but for all My priests. I would wound each one again and again with My burning love so as to purify the whole priestly order in My beloved Church, and present it to the eyes of the world as a victimal priesthood made holy in the holocaust of divine love. Until My bishops and My priests allow Me to wound them with the fiery arrows of My divine love, their own wounds— wounds of sin—will continue to fester and to spread a filthy infection of corruption and of impurity in the Church. Let each one of you beg Me to wound her, for in wounding you, I will heal My beloved priests, and in healing them, I will sanctify them, and in sanctifying them, I will offer glory to My Father and fill the world with the radiance of My own Face and the love of My own Heart. 

This, in truth, is who you are: a sinner held fast in the embrace of My divine friendship. When I withdraw this grace of conversation with Me for a time, it is so that you will not mistake it for the product of your own imaginings, and also so that you will not grow accustomed to My words and so, little by little, fail to take them to heart and to treasure them. I speak to you so that you might share My words when the occasion arises to do so. Share My words humbly, with no thought for yourself. Remain hidden in Me: I will hide you from the observations of men in the secret of My Face, I will prepare for you a secret place deep within the sanctuary of My pierced side.  There you can go to remain hidden and silent, sharing My words freely and without the fear of being noticed or praised. Ask Me to hide you in My wounds. There is a place for you in each of My five wounds; each of them represents a refuge against the temptations that threaten you, and the traps set by the devil, who would ensnare you and rejoice to see you fall. The wound in My right hand is your refuge from sins of disobedience and self-will. Take refuge there when you are tempted to take the path that is easy and broad. The wound in My left hand is your refuge from sins of selfishness, from directing all things to yourself, and grasping the attention of others by seeking to take to yourself what your right hand has given Me. The wound in My right foot is your refuge from sins of inconstancy. Take refuge there when you are tempted to be inconsistent, and when you waver in your resolutions to love Me above all things, and to place Me first in your affections and in your desires. The wound in My left foot is your refuge against sins of sloth and of spiritual lethargy. Take refuge there when you are tempted to give up the struggle and to consent to despair and discouragement. Finally, the wound in My side is your refuge from every false love and every fleshly deceit promising sweetness, but giving bitterness and death instead.  Take refuge in My pierced side when you are tempted to look for love in any creature. I have created you for My love, and My love alone can satisfy the desires of your heart. Enter, then, the wound in My side and, penetrating even into My Heart, drink deeply of the springs of love that will refresh and delight your soul and wash you in preparation for the wedding of your soul with Me, for I am the Bridegroom of your soul, your Saviour from all that would defile you, and your God who is love and mercy now and unto the ages of ages.

In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart
The Journal of a Priest at Prayer 
A Benedictine Monk

Sunday, October 22, 2017

When you are before Me

You do not yet understand the value and the meaning of what you are doing when you abide in adoration before My Eucharistic Face.  You are participating in a divine work, in a work of grace.  You are before Me as an empty vessel to be filled with the power and sweetness of the Holy Spirit, that souls might drink of My love and, drinking, see that My love is sweeter than any earthly delight.

You are before Me as the intercessor in whose soul the Holy Spirit is sighing with ineffable groaning and you are obtaining from My Father, through Me, all that the Father desires to give My priests in this world and in the next.

You are the reparator opening yourself to receive the love that so many others ignore, refuse, or treat with indifference, coldness, and disdain.  By offering yourself to Me in an adoration of reparation, you console My Eucharistic Heart, which burns with love and so desires to fill souls with My tender mercy.

When you are before Me, you are the privileged friends of My Heart, keeping Me company in My loneliness and allowing Me to share with you My sorrows, My grieving over sin, and My designs for a priesthood made pure and radiant with holiness.

When you are before Me, you are with Me a victim of love, handed over and bound to remain at your place before the altar with no desires or plans other than to love, to adore, to make reparation, and to represent all priests in a prayer that is simple, confident, and life-changing.

When you are in adoration before My Eucharistic Face, you are not idle; you are working in a way far more efficacious than any human undertaking can be.  This is your work and it is My work in you.  This is a work that many will criticize and not understand.  You are here in a divinely active collaboration with Me, who from the Sacrament of My love continue My priestly mediation before the Father on behalf of poor sinners.

Never doubt of the value of your hours of adoration.  It is this that I have asked you to do, and I will draw from your presence in the sanctuary a great good and a superabundance of graces for My priests.  Now, by giving Me the better part of the day, you are beginning to realize that for which I called you here, and that for which I set you aside long ago.

O my beloved Jesus, show me how Thou wouldst have me spend this hour in Thy presence.

I leave you free.  You need not do anything.  You need not say anything.  All I desire is that you should be present, focused on My presence, and allowing Me to act in your soul.

I am pleased by every effort, no matter how humble or simple.  I prefer prayers of the humble and simple heart, prayer made without presence, in faith, hope, and in charity.

Learn from My saints.  Study them. Receive their teachings.  Draw inspiration from their friendship with Me.  But do not try to imitate them.  Each of My friends arrives at union with Me by the path traced for her by the Holy Spirit.  Even when two paths may appear similar, know that they are not identical.  All of these paths converge in union with Me, in the light of My Face, and all of them lead to the open door of My Sacred Heart.

Yours is the way of adoration.  I have called you to abide before My Eucharistic Face and to make it possible for others to follow that same vocation.  Even when many souls are called to the same way of life, each soul has its secret love, a way of experiencing My friendship most intimately, that can be shared with no one else.

My love is a personal love.  I love each soul that I have created as if that soul were the only soul in the universe, and I adapt My infinite love to the particular sensibilities and needs of that soul with all wisdom and tenderness of My divine Heart.

Trust in the path that I have opened before you and be faithful to it.  You are the first of a family of Daughters who will grow and flourish in the radiance of My Eucharistic Face.

Allow My love to direct all things.  Remain little and humble.  Prefer to stay in the background, allowing Me to direct and determine the course of events and the growth of this work of Mine.  The more faithful you are to adoring Me in the Sacrament of My love, the more will I be faithful to you in manifesting the wonders of My providence.

Your fatigue and your distractions in adoration are no impediment to My action in the depths of your soul.  I have assure you of this before.  Come before Me and remain before Me even when you feel that your adoration is no more than a struggle and a failure to remain attentive in love and focused on My Eucharistic Face.

Here, your feelings are of no importance.  What matters in My sight is your humility and your willingness to endure distractions, fatigue, and even sleepiness while adoring Me from the heart of your heart.  Know that even when you feel that your adoration has been a waste of time, in My plan it is something fruitful and it is very pleasing to Me.  I do not see things as you see them nor do I measure their value as you measure it.

In Sinu Jesu
Journal of a priest at prayer