The Passion and Sufferings

One day the Lord caused me to hear these words at the foot of the tabernacle: "My son, he who embraces Me embraces thorns." Oh, what a grace! Oh, what a gift!

Through the divine operation which the Infinite Goodness has effected in your soul you call that sweet which is truly very sweet; but there will come a time when you will take your nourishment on the cross, feeding only on that which was your Saviour's food.

Nourish your soul generously, and sleep well, because this kind of food requires a prolonged sleep in interior solitude.

Meditation on Jesus Christ crucified is a precious balm which sweetens all pains.

What an honor God confers on us, when He calls us to travel the same road as His divine Son!

Make great account of your precious trials, both interior and exterior; it is thus that the garden of Jesus is adorned with flowers, that is, with acts of virtue.

The more deeply the cross penetrates, the better; the more deprived suffering is of consolation the purer it will be; the more creatures oppose us, the more closely shall we be united to God.

In the sweetness and delight of the soul there is always danger of the devil playing a wicked trick on us.

He who has not suffered and overcome some fierce temptation is unworthy of divine contemplation.

Adversities teach us and aid us to hold the just balance.

In consolations a child may be brave, but it is in serious tribulations that we distinguish the strong from the effeminate soul.

Believe me, afflictions, fears, desolations, dryness, abandonment, temptations, and other persecutions make an excellent broom, which sweeps from your soul all the dust of hidden imperfections.

To labor, to suffer, to be silent, to complain not, to bear no resentment - these are the maxims of the saints, the maxims of a high perfection.

Have you ever noticed rocks in the sea, beaten by the tempest? A furious wave dashes against the rock, another and yet another does likewise, yet the rock is unmoved. But look at it after the storm has subsided, and you will see that the flood has but served to wash and purify it of the defilement it had contracted during the calm.

Hereafter I wish you to be as a rock. A wave dashes against you? Silence! It assails you ten, a hundred, a thousand times? Silence! Say, at most, in the midst of the storm, "My Father, my Father, I am all Thine! O dear, O sweet will of God, I adore Thee!"

The statue must be chiselled with very sharp tools before it is fit to be placed in the grand gallery.

The holy gospel tells us that unless the grain of wheat, falling into the ground, die, itself remaineth alone, and does not bear fruit. The poor grain thus sown, how much must it not suffer to die and fructify! It must endure rain, snow, wind, and sun. The soul is a seed that God sows in the field of holy Church; to fructify, it must die by dint of pain, contradiction, and persecution.

All the little trials of body and mind are the first steps of that sublime and holy ladder which is mounted by great and generous souls. Step by step they climb to the top, on which is found pure suffering devoid of all heavenly and earthly consolation.

If they be faithful and seek no satisfaction in creatures, they pass from pure suffering to the pure love of God. But the fortunate souls who succeed thus far are very few.

Ah! picture a soul who has been favored with heavenly consolations finding herself afterwards long despoiled of all happiness. Imagine her, arrived at the point of believing herself forsaken by God, believing that God has no longer any regard for her, that He is incensed at her. The state of that soul is such that she sees evil in all she does. Ah! I cannot express myself as I would. Let it suffice for you to know that, in this state, the soul almost suffers the torments of hell - a trial surpassing every other. But if the soul will faithfully brave it, oh, what treasures she gains! The tempest will finally cease, and the soul will receive the sweet embraces of Jesus, her true friend. God then treats her as His spouse; there is then contracted between God and this favored soul a holy alliance of love.

Oh, what treasure! As for you, you are not yet on the first step of that golden ladder. However, I have written to you in this vein that you may not be frightened when God will be pleased to require of you some degree of pure suffering without consolation; then, more than ever, be faithful to God, and do not abandon your ordinary exercises.

Sufferings are the richest presents that the Divine Majesty bestows on you.

God wills that, like precious stones, you be firmly set in the golden ring of charity. He wills that you be so many victims, so many holocausts, sacrificed to the glory of the Most High in the sacred fire of suffering. He wills that through this sacrifice you may continually diffuse the good odor of virtues.

The soul that God would draw by means of prayer to a very close union with Himself ought, even in prayer, to pass by the way of suffering, of suffering divested of all consolation, the soul, in a certain sense, knowing not where she is; nevertheless, she understands, by the light infused into her from above, that she is always in the arms of her heavenly Spouse, sustained with the milk of His divine love.

I wish that all men could understand the great favor that God grants them when, in His goodness, He sends them suffering, and especially suffering devoid of all consolation; for then the soul, like gold which is purified in the fiery crucible, is cleansed, made beautiful, detached from earthly things, and united to the Sovereign Good, without even being conscious of it.

How happy you will be if you are faithful in combating and overcoming your natural inclinations, and do not allow yourself to be overcome by them, fixing your gaze on the face of Jesus, Who, as a special favor, invites you to follow Him!

- text taken from Flowers of the Passion, taken from the letters of Saint Paul of the Cross