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THE THIRD BOOK:
ADMONITIONS USEFUL TO IMITATE THE MOST SACRED HEART
OF JESUS IN HIS LIFE OF SUFFERING
CHAPTER V. HOW AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, WE MUST
CONFORM OURSELVES AMIDST AFFLICTIONS TO THE DIVINE WILL
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, I had now enlightened the world by My doctrine, enkindled it with My love, and rendered it blissful, to a certain extent, by the perpetual gift of My Whole Self: nothing remained, except to complete all by undergoing the utmost sufferings through an excess of that same love.
Having, therefore, left the Supper-room, I went whither the Will of My Father called Me, whither also the desire of My Heart directed Me: to the mountain of the Olives.
Ponder well, My Child, what were the sentiments of My Heart, whilst I proceeded in the silence of the night, and beheld distinctly rushing upon Me all and each one of the torments of My Passion.
Sorrowful journey! journey filled with unutterable distress and anguish of Heart! Yet, I went
on courageously, because I was following the Divine good pleasure.
As throughout My life, so now, whilst sorrows were falling upon Me from every side, My Heart united with the Divine Will, generously and lovingly embraced adversity, as the gift of My Father's Will.
2. Thus also thou, My Child, when thou art suffering, do not regard the afflictions in themselves; but lift up thy eyes and consider the Divine Will, that sends them to thee for thy good, although thyself dost not see that they are for thy advantage.
Indeed, Child, except sin, nothing takes place without the Divine Will. But whatsoever happens, sin excepted, is good, not evil, since it proceeds from a Will essentially just, and is a divinely appointed means of sanctifying man.
For the Divine Will, which is guided by infinite Wisdom, sustained by infinite Power, moved by infinite Goodness, is indeed able to effect whatsoever it wills, but it can will nothing absolutely for mortals except what is good for them.
And since creatures, whatever they may wickedly attempt, cannot impede the Divine Will concerning thee; so often as anything, which is not sinful in any manner, befalls thee, it is manifest that it happens by the Divine Will, and is for thy good.
Sin, however, as He is infinitely good, God cannot will: but, in His infinite Providence, He may and does permit it,-----both that He may not take away man's free-will, and that, by a way which will be understood and admired in the other world, He may extol His Own perfections.
Infinitely perfect as He is, He knows how to draw good out of evil: and He judged it better to draw good out of evil, than not to permit that evil should be possible.
3. My Child, some things happen, which a person cannot avoid, and must endure, whether he likes it or not.
Happy he that, under these occurrences, resigns himself to the Divine Will, and strives to conform himself thereto, so that, uniting his own with the Divine Will, he suffers no longer through necessity, but of his own accord? By this voluntary resignation, tribulations become not only meritorious, out also lighter.
Would that thou didst well understand this, My Child, so that, when afflictions of this kind present themselves, thou do not, through a blameworthy opposition, lose all merit, and add misery to misery! For what can be more miserable in this life, than never to will what shall always be, and ever not to will what shall ever be?
Other things happen, which one cannot escape without sin; so that he must either endure them or incur guilt.
O how unwisely, how unbecomingly do they act, who, to be free from troubles, do not hesitate to have recourse to unlawful means! Is it proper so to use the portion of My chalice, which is truly a Divine gift, and which is never sent, before it has been tasted and seasoned by My Heart?
Lastly, other things again occur, which man may turn aside without guilt. Yet, when no virtue forbids, it is according to the Divine good pleasure to embrace the same cordially.
My Child, if thou art a true Disciple of My Heart, thou wilt allow no occasion of this kind to pass by: but, holding thy heart ever in readiness, when an opportunity presents itself of humbling and mortifying thyself without danger, thou wilt accept it as a gift from Me, and embrace it with the greater affection; because, as nature has no share therein, and thy heart is moved solely by My good pleasure, thou art able to display a pure love for Me.
Fervent Disciples of My Heart,-----not satisfied with things which present themselves,-----often, of their own accord, seek for opportunities of suffering something for Me, and of comforming themselves to Me; for they know that I delight especially in this likeness to Me, as in a perfect evidence of their love.
4. There are they, who, with their mind and heart, ever live in the past, or in the future: who are wholly taken up with thinking over the causes or circumstances of wrongs, which formerly have been done to them, or hail afar off future adversity, whilst they studiously avoid the present.
How greatly are those persons to be pitied! for they are tormented by the past, and deluded by the future.
In imagination they endure much, attempt much: but in reality, they are wonderful self-tormentors, and vain dreamers.
How many of them resolve to endure one day hard things, and meanwhile do not even bear what is easy!
Beware, Child, of an imaginary perfection, which covers self-love, and is altogether an illusion.
Take advantage of the present, seize every opportunity, how little soever, of practicing virtue: great occasions rarely, ordinary ones frequently occur; and a small matter, rightly endured, is a preparation for what is great.
5. My Child, if, in every occurrence, thou beholdest My Divine Will, thou wilt heed little, through whom it is that things adverse come upon thee,-----whether through a Superior, an equal, or an inferior; whether through one who is good, or one who is wicked:-----but thou wilt receive them without distinction, regarding the Divine Will alone, which makes use of various instruments for its own most holy ends.
To help thy weakness: first, in suffering adversity, resign thyself, even unto patience; and, although thou neither lovest sufferings, nor art pleased with them, endure what is to be borne, without bitterness of heart, without uttering complaints.
Employ all the means in thy power, and persevere therein, until thou hast become accustomed to be patient, and to be resigned to the Divine Will, amidst troubles of ordinary occurrence.
Having attained to the first degree, conform thyself to My Will in every affliction; willing the same because I will it: unwilling to be freed therefrom, so long as I do not will that thou shouldst be free.
To arrive at this, thou oughtest to pray much, that thy intellect may be enlightened from above, and that, by the aid of grace, thy will,-----for supernatural motives,-----may be solidly conformed to Mine, so that thou feelest persuaded, both by faith and love, that there is naught better than the Divine Will.
After reaching the second degree, aim thou at the highest. Strive, with all thy strength, so to unite thyself with the Divine Will, as not only to be conformed thereto in suffering adversity, but to be the self-same with it.
Then, My Child, shall this union of wills exist between us, when thy heart,-----animated with the same sentiments toward the cross that possess Mine,-----rejoices, like Mine, in uniformity with the
divine good pleasure.
This union of wills is an important matter, is true perfection, solid sanctity. Pure love alone begets this holy union, which cannot exist without elevating and ennobling man, and rendering him blissful.
6. My Child, if thou lovest Me, thou wilt also love My Will. It is enough for him that loves, to know the desire of the one beloved, in order to execute it with a joyful heart.
Come, then, dearly beloved, embrace with thy heart's whole affection the Divine good pleasure; and prove, in this manner, that thou art a true Disciple of My Heart,-----a lover, not of thyself, but of Me.
So act, so live, that I may find in thee a man according to My Heart,-----one who accomplishes all My wishes, as well in adversity as in prosperity.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----Most bountiful and sweet Jesus, Whose only rule of life was the Divine Will, behold! by Thy grace, I resolve to strive ever to follow this most safe and most just rule.
How much soever nature may resist, I am willing to suffer everything Thou mayst permit to befall me, through the means of any creatures whatsoever, whether seen or unseen. Nothing except what is good can proceed from a Heart infinitely bountiful, Which loves me more and better than I either do or can love myself.
And I know, O Lord, that I shall have to undergo nothing which has not first passed through Thy Heart, and has thus become sweet.
If my vicious inclination rebel, and attempt to draw Thy Will toward itself, display, I beseech Thee, Thy Power: subdue the insolent foe, that he may not rise up again.
O most loving Jesus! O Thou fire that consumest what is defective, and injurest not what is good: O Thou flame gently burning, and happily destroying! destroy within me every evil and inordinate will: enkindle and nourish in me a good and well-ordered will, that may deem itself blissful, when in all things, even though adverse they be, it follows Thy Divine good pleasure.
CHAPTER VI. THAT THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS TEACHES IN AFFLICTIONS TO
HAVE RECOURSE TO PRAYER
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, when I had now entered the garden of Olives, whilst the earth was silent all around, behold! there rushed and pressed upon Me, on the one hand, all the sins of the world; on the other, the frightful tortures of My Passion: and with such violence did they crowd upon My Heart, that, although It is the strength of them that are weak, It began to fear, to grow weary, sad, disconsolate.
But when I beheld distinctly, that,-----by the great sufferings taken upon Me with so much love, and offered up with so great a mercy for the salvation of all men,-----not a few would refuse to be saved, and would, by a willful hard-heartedness, misuse them for their deeper destruction, and return Me at last nothing, except the blackest ingratitude: then, My Child, My Heart, growing faint with anguish, forced Me to exclaim: My soul is sorrowful even unto death!
However, having withdrawn from My Disciples and advanced a little, kneeling down, I prayed.
Meanwhile,-----by the struggle between the superior and inferior part ot My Heart,-----My sorrows
increasing to such a degree that My sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground, I fell upon My face, and, being in an agony, I prayed the longer.
And as My agony, on account of that inward struggle, continued, I persevered in prayer: Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me; yet, not My Will but Thine be done. Yea, My Father, Thy Will be done!
Then, Child, sent from Heaven, an Angel appeared,-----not to take away the chalice of My Passion, which My Father willed Me wholly to drain-----but to strengthen Me; that, when joy was set before Me without My Passion, despising the shame, I might voluntarily endure the Cross.
Reflect, My Child, how painful a struggle My Heart underwent that night: a struggle, the like whereof is not found: a struggle, on the result of which hung the salvation of the world.
My Heart fought, laboring, wrestling, resisting even unto Blood, and overcame: but It conquered in prayer.
2. Behold, My Child, behold a source of varied consolation for thee: My Heart struggling with death and praying: fighting by love, triumphing by love.
For lo! to what extent I felt the hardship of My sufferings, to what an extent I tasted their bitterness. And all this, Child, to teach, to relieve, to encourage thee.
Be not then cast down, nor wonder, when thou feelest a repugnance to suffering. For, if My Heart, although holy and perfect, felt Its pains to such a degree, what wonder if thy heart feels them likewise?
But never shalt thou experience,-----never shalt thou feel so much as My Heart felt. Wert thou to endure at once in thy heart whatever thou shalt have to suffer during thy whole life, it would be no more than a little drop of the chalice which My Heart drained in the garden.
Whatever may be the reluctance which thou experiencest in thyself, follow My example; yield not to nature opposing, but go counter thereto. To this end, in every difficulty, in every anguish, hasten thou without delay to prayer.
3. If, when thou art troubled, thou hast recourse to prayer, distress will ever prove gainful to thee. By prayer thou shalt either be delivered from it with merit, or thou shalt be helped to endure it, for thy good. Come, then, Child, and with knees bent, or with thy heart at least humbly prostrate, pray thou like Myself: pray that, if it be the Divine Will, the cup of thy affliction may pass away; yet not so that thine, but the Divine Will be done. Pray if this chalice may not pass away, that thou obtain grace, to be resigned, to submit thyself to drink it. Be of good cheer, My Child; under no circumstances shalt thou ever have afflictions which will require thee to struggle so much, in order to be resigned, as I had to contend. Thou shalt never have a contest which will cause thee a bloody sweat.
Whatsoever difficulty thou mayst have, exert thyself, wrestle, fight with thyself, to overcome thy feeling. Struggling again and again, pray, and pray the longer, until thou hast rendered thy heart conformed to the Divine Will, and prepared it, in spite of nature, to follow Me through every hardship which may be sent it from above.
4. It is a great misfortune for thee, Child, that thou art wont to have recourse to prayer rather slowly, and first to try human skill; that thou sufferest the unwearied enemy of thy salvation, and the ill-regulated propensity of nature, to obtain too great a sway over thy heart.
Hearken not to the suggestions of the devil, nor of any passion whatsoever. For, by false reasonings, they seek to deceive, to injure thee. Forbidding thyself all reasoning, all intercourse with them, come thou forthwith to My Heart: here is thy counsel, here thy help, here thy comfort.
Even had an Angel visibly to be sent down from Heaven, thou shouldst not be left without consoling aid, if thou prayest, as it behooves thee.
And if, despite thy pious efforts, thou continuest to feel an opposition within thyself, be not on that account dejected. Provided thy will be resigned to the Divine Will, this repugnance felt, indeed, but not willed, so far from doing thee harm, shall, on the contrary, if thou strugglest against it, be of the greatest advantage to thee.
It is the characteristic of an heroic Disciple of My Heart, to pray and endeavor with all his strength to overcome himself completely,-----as well in those things from which nature shrinks, as in those to which it is prone.
5. When thou prayest in affliction, Child, thou oughtest so to pray, that thou art willing to be resigned,-----whether thou obtainest relief, or, in its stead, receivest something else, which is better for thee, because more conformable to the Divine Will; or whether thou tastest sweetness, or experiencest bitterness.
For that prayer is not the best, in which the greatest consolations are felt! Since what is sweet is not always useful, nor is that which is bitter always hurtful. Nay more, in man's present state sweetness is wont to do harm, bitterness to be advantageous.
That is the best prayer, from which thou goest with greater humility and greater charity, and feelest so disposed, that, in order to do the good pleasure of God, thou art willing to go efficaciously against whatsoever is pleasing to nature, and to embrace whatsoever is displeasing thereto.
How pitiful a sight before God, and Angels and men, to see persons, who daily pray long and much, go thence and carry naught away with them, except faults of negligence and abuse of grace, or a more delicate pride and self-love,-----having in no wise become better inclined toward their duties, nor abler to bear the defects of their neighbor, and still unwilling to curb their own inclination!
Thou, My Son, do thou pray better, as taught by My example. Pray, and overcome nature: pray, and resign and conform thyself to the Divine good pleasure.
These arduous efforts shall not long be needed. Yet a little while, and thou shalt not now prepare thyself for tribulations, nor encourage thyself in them: but thou shalt sing glad and glorious triumphs with the Saints, who all have come out of great tribulation, and who now, in their reward, are enraptured by the unbroken excess of rejoicings, and exult for evermore.
6. The voice of the Disciple.-----Thanks to Thee, most compassionate Jesus, true comforter of them that are in pain: thanks to Thee; for that Thou consolest me so disinterestedly and so gently, amid all the repugnance I am wont to feel in regard to sufferings; and for that, at so great a cost to Thyself, Thou didst open for me a source of remedies in every affliction.
By what Thou didst so mercifully deign to undergo, I see, with the greatest consolation, that natural reluctance can not hurt a good will-----which alone Thou regardest, and to which alone Thou grantest peace upon earth.
O Lord, O Thou the consolation of men, and the joy of Angels! Who, when afflicted, didst betake Thyself to prayer: grant, I beseech Thee, that, after Thy example, in every tribulation, I may forthwith have recourse to the remedy of prayer; thus to sacrifice the opposition of nature, and to cause myself to be resigned and conformed to the Divine Will.
Thy Heart, most benign Jesus, is the open and safe refuge of all them that are miserable: behold, I entreat Thee, my weakness; arouse me, impel me, that in every difficulty, under every circumstance, I may flee to the same-----may there find bliss, and derive thence strength and courage.
O sweet Jesus, my love and my every good! I beg and implore Thee, bestow upon me the grace always and everywhere to repose with Thee, in the Divine Will, and to continue thus with Thee forever.
CHAPTER VII. THAT THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS TEACHES US, AMID TRIBULATION, TO USE THE AID OF CREATURES
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, when I rose from prayer, following the good pleasure of My heavenly Father, I came to My Disciples, to teach thee by My example, as well as to obtain through them some comfort in My extreme affliction.
But alas! I found them heavy with sadness, and buried in sleep, so that, when awakened, far from offering Me any relief, they knew not what to say; and instead of giving Me comfort, they themselves
It was the bitterest bitterness to My Heart, Child, to see those very ones-----whom I had trained with more than a father's care, whom I had cherished with so great a love, whom I had solaced so often,-----now, during My Passion, so indifferent, so heedless, that they could not even for one hour watch with Me.
Where are now those promises, lately made, that they would be faithful to Me, even unto death? where is now their pledged word? where that constancy so solemnly avowed? All this has vanished; but it passed through My Heart; and oh! how deep a wound did it inflict!
However, since, whilst I was suffering, I did not go to My Disciples, except by the Will of My Father, according to the same good pleasure of My Father, I embraced, with My Heart resigned, the pains which followed My recourse to them.
2. It is not then forbidden, My Child, amid distresses, to resort for comfort to creatures, provided it be done in a befitting manner.
Now, thou wilt do it in this manner, if thou appliest to creatures solely as a means of conforming and uniting thyself more easily and more perfectly to the Divine Will.
It is peculiar to the more perfect Disciples of My Heart, to suffer, and to conceal, so far as allowed, their suffering from man; and to lay open and communicate to Me alone the afflictions of their hearts.
But thou, Child, if thou art not yet able to reach so great a height of perfection, go thou, after having first prayed, go thou to some pious and interior person, not indeed to receive sensible comfort from him, but to be relieved and assisted, so as the better to come to My Heart, the fountain of true consolation. and to cling to Me rather than to any other solace whatever.
Indeed, if thou art truly wise, to cleave to Me ought ever to be thy greatest comfort. For, united to Me, even shouldst thou be deprived of all other solace, thou shalt calmly repose upon My Heart. And what can there be more sweet? what more secure?
3. So often as in thy troubles thou needest counsel or guidance, or art exposed to the danger of delusion, do not trust in thyself alone, lest thou err in thy own sense, and be deceived by the appearance of good.
For it is chiefly in these matters that I am wont to lead man by man; both that the order of My Divine Providence may shine forth the more clearly, and that men may love each other the more dearly- when they find, by experience, that they are not sufficient for themselves, but that each needs the assistance of the other.
And they who, under such circumstances, deem themselves too wise to need the direction of others, are wont to have a termination full of dangers.
Sometimes, also, to have recourse to created means is not only a counsel of security, but a precept of obligation.
It has been most wisely and properly established and ordained, that man should be helped by the
other creatures, which were made for his real good; that at one time, by abstaining from them, he may practice virtue; at another, that he may be exercised by them for his salvation and perfection; and again, that he may use them as means.
Marvelous is My Providence in all My works. All things serve Me: if thou lovest Me, Child, they shall also serve thee.
4. Now, when it behooves thee to use creatures as a means, this use should be carefully attended to, and the result should so be looked for, that, in whatsoever way the matter may turn out, thou art resigned to the Divine Will.
For, after having employed a sufficient diligence, the result, whatever it be, will be to thee a sign of
the divine good pleasure. Sometimes I inspire designs, to the execution whereof I will that men should apply themselves with courage and perseverance; although I do not will their success. In which event they obtain a two-fold advantage; on the one hand, the merit of the labor for a successful execution; on the other, the merit of resignation at the unfavorable result.
If any of thy affairs have an unhappy end, through thy fault, grieve thou for the fault, but accept with patience the pain of the misfortune, and bear it Willingly. For the fault is, indeed, contrary to My Will, but the pain consequent on the fault, is according to My Will: therefore, the fault must be grieved for and detested, but the pain should be embraced and lovingly undergone.
And, if any misfortune happen through another's fault, resign thyself even in such an event; neither do thou lose thy patience nor peace of heart.
For, if I permit the successful issue of anything to be hindered by the fault of others, this is itself a sign, that I do not will thou shouldst be successful. And as, whilst permitting the fault, I hate it, and will, at the same time, the unfavorable issue of thy undertaking: so do thou, with a similar disposition of heart, abhor that fault and embrace the unpropitious result.
5. My Child, were thy heart rightly disposed, thou wouldst be resigned under all circumstances; that thus thou mightst gather from each of them a new pearl to adorn thy heavenly crown.
Assuredly, a great and supernatural discernment is required for the right use of creatures: for even if one begins with a good intention to employ them, he may easily become entangled and go wrong.
Thou shouldst pray, therefore. and implore the light and assistance of grace, that thou mayst remain free; and neither fail by the neglect of created means, nor exceed in the use of them.
6. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Jesus, Thou the first and last refuge of the afflicted heart! what consolation can all creatures together afford, if the unction of Thy Heart's sweetness is wanting.
So often as, in my afflictions, through an ill-ordered inclination, or some reason contrary to Thy Will, I have had recourse to creatures and sought consolation in them, so often did I return from them more deeply afflicted and rendered desolate.
But this happened through the goodness of Thy Heart, that I might be happily pressed, and compelled, in some manner, to return to Thee, infinite sweetness, and pour out my sorrow-stricken heart before Thee,-----Who art ever near to them that are troubled in heart,-----and Who alone art mighty to give true consolation.
Thanks to Thee, most benign Jesus, for the great kindness of Thy Heart, whereby Thou didst deal so mercifully and so savingly with me.
O Lord, my light and my sawation! illumine my understanding, that in presence of creatures I may look upon Thee alone: purify my affections, that in the use of them I may ever love Thee; and grant that, disengaged from all, I may repose in Thee alone.
Guide me by Thy Spirit, Lord Jesus, and make me so use creatures, that I be pleasing to Thee; and so pass through the evils of time, that I obtain the good things of eternity.
CHAPTER VIII. HOW, AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, WE SHOULD SUFFER THE OPPOSITION AND PERSECUTION OF MEN
1. The voice of Jesus.-----Dearly Beloved, the hour had now come when the Son of man would be delivered into the hands of sinners.
Behold, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve Apostles, and with him a great multitude with lanterns and tools, with clubs and swords.
And he went before them, as the leader of My persecutors: and accosting Me with a false heart: Hail, Rabbi, said he: and forthwith he kissed Me; and so betrayed Me to them.
But I, knowing all that was to come, was more intensely grieved, in My innermost Heart, at the wretched fate of My unhappy Disciple and of the crowd, than at My own suffering.
Wherefore, I began to try My utmost, and leave naught undone, to soften and win their hearts.
Disregarding altogether the insult offered, with a friendly countenance, and a more loving Heart, I kindly addressed that Apostle: Friend, whereto art thou come?
His heart remaining insensible to so great a goodness,-----to make him enter into himself, I urged him gently, and powerfully at the same time, to cause him to understand that I knew his crime, and to induce him to reflect on the enormity thereof: Judas, said I, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
When he heeded not My saving voice, but, on I the contrary, hardened his heart, then, at last, I had recourse to My omnipotence, yet so as not to interfere with his free-will. Behold now, by a miracle, at the mere sound of My voice, as if struck by lightning, I laid prostrate the treacherous Disciple and his whole crowd; and sent, at the same time, a powerful grace to his heart. That unfeeling heart was moved; but he was unwilling to hearken to its emotion; he felt the grace, but he would not yield to the same.
2. My Child, if by meditation thou wert able, to some extent, to understand with how great a love My Heart had, at all times, pursued them, from whom I received such things in return, and how It had ever heaped new favors upon them; thou shouldst comprehend how unutterable were the sorrows which, like torrents, rushed upon and overflowed My Heart.
When thou hast anything similar to suffer, Child, do not lose courage: but let the example, which I gave thee for thy instruction and comfort, animate and console thee.
Verily I say to thee, Child, thou shalt suffer distress in the world: but have confidence and fear not, because I am with thee.
Remember My saying: The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, what wonder if they also persecute thee? If the world hate thee, call to mind how it hated Me first.
3. Know this, My Child, so long as thou art the Disciple of My Heart,-----so as to abhor the world and its sentiments,-----that wicked enemy will oppose thee.
Thy manner of acting it will call hypocrisy, singularity, or some other vice.
At one time, it will pretend that it pities thee: at another, it will make a mockery of thee.
When thou withdrawest into solitude, it will accuse thee of melancholy or sourness of temper: if thou appearest in public, it will endeavor to blacken thy virtues; and thy faults it will either exaggerate beyond measure, or flatter thee for them unto thy destruction.
If, according to the zeal of thy charity, thou laborest for the salvation of the world; thou shalt, for the most part, find an unfeeling indifference, or receive in return bitter ungratefulness.
These things, and the like, will the votaries of the world do to thee,-----not the open ones alone, but also they that are secretly such; not only they that publicly persecute Virtue, but also they that apparently seem to reverence piety, but, in reality, think hardly otherwise than the very worldings.
Behold, Child, these things I have foretold thee that when they come to pass thou mayst remember My Word; and, cheered on by My example, remain firm in thy resolve, and be enabled to feel compassion for them that affiict thee, to pray for them, and even to be zealous for their salvation.
Assuredly, such wretched men are deserving of all pity; they injure themselves rather than thee.
4. My Child, thou must expect this during thy lifetime, that thou shalt often experience that men will oppose thee, and that they who once were for thee,-----being now unaccountably changed,-----will be against thee.
Beware, then, of men; do not rely upon them; whilst they favor thee, nor be thou troubled when they go against thee. If thou deportest thyself so toward others as to keep thy heart pure and free, thou wilt resign thyself to Me with more ease and profit when they trouble thee, and thou shalt preserve thy peace and gain merit.
Go, Child, dwell among men wheresoever thou wilt: thou shalt find everywhere those that will try thy patience. Shouldst thou deal with the devout only; shouldst thou live among persons secluded from the world, and with body and soul consecrated to Me, even there thou shalt not be secure against opponents.
If among My twelve Apostles there was one who persecuted Me, wonder not that among them that profess a life of piety, yea, even the religious state, there be found some who oppose thee.
5. Yea, Child, all they that desire to lead an interior life shall suffer persecution. For to an interior and devoted Disciple of My Heart, persecution is never wanting.
And, indeed, persecution is manifold; just as martyrdom is manifold. For there is persecution from enemies, and from friends: there is persecution from visible foes, and from the invisible as well: there is persecution from the wicked, and also from the good.
So, there is a martyrdom of faith, there is also one of charity: there is a martyrdom of the body, there is also one of the soul; lastly, there is a great martyrdom of the heart.
My Child, if thou desirest to become a perfect Disciple of My Heart, thou must, in some manner or other, be a martyr.
For, as such a Disciple, thou art a companion of the Saints. Gaze, therefore, upon that mighty host which no one can count, standing before the throne of the Divine Majesty, with palms in their hands, the symbol of martyrdom.
Although the Saints did not all shed their blood, all did, however, undergo sufferings, that they might obtain the palm of some martyrdom.
6. But observe, My Child, that no one, who is truly a martyr, chooses for himself, by his own will, his own martyrdom; but that he suffers that one which has been inspired, or appointed him from above.
Believe thou, therefore, that to be thy martyrdom, whatsoever has been presented to thee by Divine Providence in thy state, employment, or other circumstances, wherein thou art placed.
To obtain an opportunity of suffering martyrdom, it is not necessary to betake thyself to infidel and barbarous nations, or to look for an avowed persecutor of the Church.
The world persecutes thee: man troubles thee: one betrays thee: another mocks and derides thee: this one humbles thee: that one opposes thee: corrupt nature, or an ill-regulated propensity, resists thee: something else is a source of grief to thee: lo, My Child, here is thy persecutor.
Despite the contradiction of men and their opposition; despite their sayings and annoyances, thou keepest bravely and generously the precepts of religion and thy rules, thou practicest virtue, and employest thyself in piety: behold thy martyrdom of faith.
Thou prayest for thy persecutors: thou lovest and helpest, in spite of natural repugnance, thy neighbors who are ill-affected toward thee: thou art zealous for their salvation, and offerest up for them thy prayers, labors, and sufferings: behold thy martyrdom of charity.
Sickness torments thee: thy head, thy breast, thy limbs are aching: hard work is killing thee: behold the martyrdom of the body.
Thou sufferest interior anguish: thou feelest racking temptations: or such things as divine love employs to purify altogether, and to perfect thy soul: behold the martyrdom of the soul, and of the heart.
But remember, My Child, that for those who have attained to the use of reason an unwilling martyrdom, or one which they endure for some cause or reason whatsoever it may be, is of no avail; for it must be undergone willingly, with resignation, or, at least, with patience, for the love of God. It is not enough, then, to suffer, but thou must suffer voluntarily for My love. A martyrdom, not quickened by Divine love, is dead and worthless.
Behold! Child, a manifold crown is offered to thee, one which thousands of mortals of every state and condition of life have eagerly sought for, one which so many youths and maidens have exultingly borne off: and art not thou also able and willing to pursue and obtain the same?
Look up to Heaven: contemplate the glory of the Saints, and their blessedness; remember that they are thy brothers and sisters: raise thy courage, secure for thyself a crown and palm, that thou mayst be received among them.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most sweet Jesus, Thou Who art the Chief and Crown of Martyrs, the Comforter of mortals! I frequently experience that men are opposed to me, and I feel it deeply.
If, however, I be sincere, I am forced to confess that I have no cause of complaint: for I, the meanest and most ungrateful of men, have followed Judas and his throng against Thee, my Lord and God.
Hence, I own it, I truly deserve to be abhorred by every creature. Hence I am every way unworthy to be loved by Thee, or to be admitted among the sainted Disciples of Thy Heart.
Yet, since Thou hast a Heart so kind that Thou didst desire to admit even Judas, and didst use every endeavor to gain him! how can I distrust or fear! On the contrary, how great a hupe and confidence should I not have, that, how wretched soever I may be, Thou wilt not cast me off, when I come to Thee, but wilt mercifully receive and help me!
Relying, therefore, upon the goodness and grace of Thy Heart, I resolve to make atonement for my past infidelity by my persevering love; to undergo for love of Thee the martyrdom graciously offered to me; and thus, finally, to sanctify myself to the everlasting joy and glory of Thy Heart.