THE THIRD BOOK:
ADMONITIONS USEFUL TO IMITATE THE MOST SACRED HEART
OF JESUS IN HIS LIFE OF SUFFERING
CHAPTER IX. HOW, AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, WE SHOULD BEAR TO BE FORSAKEN BY PERSONS WHO ARE SERVICEABLE OR NEEDFUL TO US
1. The voice of Jesus.-----When the crowds had drawn near, and laid hands on Me, behold! My Disciples all fled, and left me alone in the midst of My enemies.
Such are they, My Child, whom I had chosen; whom I had trained with all the care, solicitude, and love of My Heart; to whom I had made known all things whatsoever I had heard of My Father.
These are the very same, that, a little before, had all, in like manner, protested that, even if it were necessary to die with Me, they would not deny Me.
But now, when it was the power of darkness, and the time of trial, forgetful of Me, their Saviour and Father, they all became runaways.
Reflect, Child, how grievously this total dereliction on the part of My Disciples wounded My Heart.
Give heed also, and ponder, with what sentiments of Heart I bore this affliction.
2. If thou dost truly enter into these sentiments of My Heart, thou shalt be able to endure calmly and meritoriously for My sake, to be forsaken by all men whomsoever.
It happens not rarely, that man is suffered to be abandoned, even in his distress, by persons very useful or necessary to him, that thus he may be assimilated more perfectly to Me, and be raised higher in sanctity. This shows forth more gloriously the power of My love, which so strengthens weak man, that, though alone, he stands ever firm, even whilst the raging winds and storms of adversity are rushing upon him.
This, too, is oftentimes useful, that man may wholly free himself from creatures, and leave himself completely.
For when, on the one hand, he sees himself forsaken by men, he easily withdraws his heart from them to give it to Me, who abandon no one; and when, on the other hand, he perceives that he is unequal to the troubles which assail him, he comes, as it were of his own accord, to Me, and throws himself, and all he has, into My paternal bosom.
It is. indeed, heroic and worthy of the Divine approval, that a person abandoned by all, be equally satisfied with this dereliction,-----love the more purely those who forsake him, endure willingly, for My love, the loss of men's affections, and repose, amidst all accidents, in Me alone. This, surely, is the mark of a humble heart, which gives itself wholly to My love.
3. When one possesses the affections of another,-----although he may have a good enough object in view,-----he frequently allows much to creep in which is ill-regulated, or at least merely human.
But I,-----Who am a zealous lover of the heart, Who does not wish that man's heart should be busied except with Me or for Me,-----am wont so to arrange matters, that he is sometimes forsaken or discarded by mortals, even by those who it seems ought to have shared with him his weal or woe till death.
A person must contend much and long with himself, that he may order perfectly the desire of being loved by others.
The voice of the Disciple.-----But, O Lord, is it evil, without a bad intention, to desire, or even seek to be loved by others?
The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, it is one thing to wish or seek this for thyself, and another to desire, or to seek it, for My sake.
If thou seekest another's affections in order to delight or repose thyself therein: if thou desirest them on account of personal qualities to indulge thy own inclination: finally, if, in any manner, thou so wishest for them, as, either directly or indirectly, to finish with self-some gratification of nature: thou wouldst fain be loved for thy own sake.
If, on the contrary, thou desirest or strivest to gain the love of others in order to devote thyself to My interests, to secure their everlasting salvation, or to promote the perfection of souls,-----to extend the kingdom of My love, to win hearts for Me: behold! thou seekest to be loved for My sake.
Now, My Child, if, in a direct or indirect manner, thou aspirest to be loved for thyself; this, although it be done with no evil intention, is inordinate,-----since not thou, but I Myself am thy end: therefore, it is imperfect, and, what is more to be dreaded, it is wont not only to lead to sin, but also to entangle men therein.
But, if thou desirest to be loved for My sake, thy love is well-ordered, it is pure, it is love for Me; it is a love with which the Saints have loved, and sought to be loved; by means of which they have accomplished much good, and which thou, Child, shouldst employ in like manner.
4. There is hardly anything in the world, to which the human heart cleaves more feelingly, than to friendship, which-----full of change as it is-----is wont to be either very advantageous or very prejudicial.
A precious possession hard to find, more difficult to keep, is genuine, pure friendship, whereby one loves another sincerely for love of Me; whereby one seeks the true good of another as his own; whereby, without flattery, without human respect, one takes care to correct the faults of the other, to cheer him on and assist him to acquire virtue and sanctity; whereby one is faithful to the other in adversity and prosperity, in death, yea after death, as well as during life.
My Child, if thou lovest anyone, and so lovest him, that thou growest uneasy in consequence, that thou art moved rather frequently to occupy thy mind or heart with him, at proper and improper times; that thou desirest to hold long or frequent conversations with him; that thou givest heed to his outward accomplishments, and entertainest or directest thy affections by them; that thou makest bold to express thy admiration for him or to flatter him in his presence; that thou callest his defects by an honorable name, or excusest them, that thou takest ill that others be loved by him; that thou seemest in some sort inconsolable, or too unhappy, when thou must altogether part with him; then thy love, thy friendship, is not genuine nor pure, even if thou do not observe it, even if thou do not suspect it. But if, on the contrary, thou experiencest none of these things, thou hast a good sign in favor of thy love and friendship.
My Child, if thou hast a true and sincere friend, a rare treasure, deport thyself in a becoming manner in his regard, and so deal with him, that whether he remain faithful or prove faithless, thou never
regret to have so acted. But, although friendship, founded upon love for Me, is of itself good, thou shouldst, however, keep thy heart so free, that, if I so dispose things, thou art willing to possess Me alone, instead of all others, as the friend who suffices for thee.
Thy heart shall never be altogether quiet, nor prepared for an intimate union with Me,-----whatsoever else thou mayst do,-----unless, soaring beyond every natural affection, it love with My love alone, and repose in the sole love of Me.
Wherefore, Child, centre thy affections on Me bind thy heart to Mine, that it may neither fall nor shake, if men withdraw themselves.
5. What are men except pliant and frail reeds, whereon thou canst not lean securely, if thou wilt not expose thyself to the risk of reeling or falling?
Even should mortals not depart from thee, thou thyself must in a short time depart from them,-----since death separates each and all.
When thou art forsaken by men, thou shalt nowhere find a surer nor greater solace than near Me,-----Who was, for love of thee, treated in like manner.
Be not exasperated, Child, nor do thou complain, as if thou didst not deserve to be so dealt with, at least by this or by that one.
Ah, My Child! if thou art not willing to suffer, except from whomso it may please thee, what principle of virtue dost thou possess? And if thou art willing to suffer only what thou hast deserved, what is there great in that? or what therein is worthy of a Disciple of My Heart?
6. If any do, in some manner or other, fall away from thee, show to them by thy friendly disposition, thy mildness, and thy honorable treatment of them, what pure charity is able to do, which,-----overlooking all repugnances of natural feeling,-----devotes itself rather to their good than to thy own inclination, even after they have rendered themselves unworthy.
It is true, Child, it is difficult so to go against nature: but a humble Disciple of My Heart, one who is animated by love for Me, does not regard the opposition of nature, but the object of his love: and, whilst another, in his coldness and lukewarmness, remains hesitating, i.e., in his fervor, has already surmounted the difficulty.
Inflame thy heart with the fire of love, wherewith My Heart is burning: glow thou with that fire: love thou with that love: if thou do this, behold! all difficulties will flee before thee and disappear.
1. The voice of the Disciple.-----Blessed is he who, enkindled and enraptured with love for Thee, follows Thee, a Jesus, love of love, divine charm of the heart! He runs cheerfully through every hardship; and soon, rising above everything of man and self, with heart dilated, on the expanded wings of Divine love, is borne aloft with Thee,-----securely united to Thee.
O most sweet and bountiful Jesus! grant me, I beg and entreat Thee, this love so fervent, so efficacious, whereby I may love Thee for Thyself, and naught beside, save for Thyself: whereby I may endure it with ease, if Thou sufferest me to be forsaken by men.
Be Thou only forever with me: Thou alone wilt be enough. Should all, abandoning me, betake themselves to flight, my heart shall not be troubled, if Thou art with me.
This alone do I crave, and will not cease to ask, that they who shun and forsake me, may not shun nor abandon Thee: but, on the contrary, may cling to Thee more closely, may love Thee more perfectly.
CHAPTER X. HOW WE MAY IMITATE THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS MADE A PRISONER
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, the soldiers and the attendants of the Jews, rising from the ground, rushed upon Me, and having seized Me, they bound Me.
Behold, Child, behold the Lamb of God in the hands of the executioners, bound for the sacrifice! bound, because He willed it; and He willed it because He loved.
For the chains of love pressed My Heart more tightly than the fetters of My enemies bound My hands.
And, unless My Heart, led captive by love, had hindered it, My almighty hands could have destroyed My enemies, and broken their chains.
But love endures all things: no humiliation does it think too great, no suffering does it consider excessive: whatsoever it wills, it seizes and holds, and remains itself ever free.
O if thou knewest, My Child, how great a blessedness it is, to be the captive of Divine love, assuredly thou wouldst not, wert thou able, even for a moment, desire to be thy own master; but thou wouldst willingly deliver up body and soul, thyself, and all thou hast, that by it thou mightest be bound and held!
2. He that lives under Divine love, thinks neither persecutions, nor chains, nor imprisonment, nor death itself, suffered for My sake, anything doleful or unfortunate; but he rather deems it a great gain, an object worthy of a holy ambition, to suffer all this for love of Me.
Why, thinkest thou, does it happen, that some, when, to keep the faith, they must suffer chains or
inconveniences, do not remain in the truth, but go after the inventions of men, and fall into the judgment of condemnation? Is it not because they are not impelled by pure love for Me-----so as to be willing to lose their life in this world, that they may save it in the next?
Hence, Child, as they are unwilling to be My fellow-captives, they become the prisoners of the devil; and as they desire to save their life in time, they lose it in eternity.
My Child, if ever it be thy lot to undergo chains or imprisonment for virtue, do not fear them that may kill the body, but can do naught beyond; but rather fear Him who can destroy body and soul forever.
3. It is a grace, a happiness, to undergo afflictions for My sake, if thou sufferest them unmeritedly. Whilst partaking of My sufferings, it behooves thee to rejoice, as about to exult in the revelation of My glory.
Let none suffer as a wrong-doer, a scoffer, or a criminal; but, if as My Disciple, let him not be ashamed, let him glorify Me in that name, by enduring courageously and perseveringly-----piously and humbly manifesting his joy, for that he is reckoned among them who were deemed worthy to suffer for My sake, and thus to become Saints.
Some of whom were racked; some underwent mockeries and stripes, beside chains and prisons;
others were stoned; others were tortured and cut asunder; others again perished by the sword; others, finally, wandered about in sheep-skins, and disguised in other garments, in want, distressed, afflicted; wandering over mountains, in dens, and in caves of the earth.
But to them, of whom the world was not worthy, because they persevered and overcame with Me by suffering-----I gave to sit with Me on a throne, as also I, by suffering, persevered and overcame, and am seated on a throne with My Father.
How blissful art thou, My Child, if, for My sake, thou becomest a partner in affliction with these! Because whatever there is of everlasting glory and honor, whatever there is of true virtue and holiness, whatever, finally, there is of the Spirit of My Heart, rests upon thee.
4. But not to every one is given an opportunity of suffering chains and tortures for virtue. All they, however, who strive after a perfect Imitation of My Heart, can and must, in some sort, become captives for the sake of virtue.
For who is there that cannot bring the senses of his body into captivity-----not merely that they may do no evil nor yield to vanity-----but that they may be held within restraint, and exercised in the practice of virtue?
Few, however, preserve their senses within the limits of reason; and fewer still mortify them ac- cording to the principles of faith.
My Child, how art thou wont to deal with the senses of thy body? Dost thou not suffer them to be too free? Consider what, in regard to them, is desired for perfection.
5. As to the powers of the soul, canst thou not also, in some manner, bring them into captivity? Thy roaming imagination,-----so tenacious of the past, and so inquisitive as to the future,-----thou wilt force, by degrees, to be sufficiently subject to thee, if thou recallest her forthwith when she makes her escape; if at home, thou entertainest her constantly with things useful; if thou repressest assiduously her sudden impulses and triflings, until she be accustomed to remain quiet.
Keep thy mind wholly subject, as is proper, in obedience to faith; lest, perchance, becoming a searcher of Majesty, thou be overwhelmed by glory, or a fugitive from truth, thou become a slave of error.
Nay, more subdue thy opinions, and,-----unless some other virtue forbid it,-----subject the same, for charity's sake, to the judgment of others. By so doing thou shalt gain the more, the more truth-----like thy own opinion appears, and the more difficult it is, consequently, to subdue the same.
To be inwardly and outwardly unguarded and dissipated proceeds from the defect of a heart which is a slave, either to its enemies, to its passions, or even to itself.
Thy chief care, therefore, should be to keep thy heart free from the servitude of all things inferior. For only then wilt thou be able to devote it, in its vigor, with all its affections, to pure, supernal charity, and to become My fellow-captive in the chains of Divine love.
6. Marvelous is Charity in its workings. If thou servest Charity, behold! all things shall be turned for thee into blessings.
Love Me, Child, thy God and Saviour; by loving thou wilt learn to love Me more perfectly: love is better learnt and perfected by loving than by speculating.
If thy heart is wholly submissive to My love, thou wilt easily and carefully guard against that false freedom of thinking, of speaking, of acting according as thou feelest inclined.
This mad license-----not true freedom-----what else is it except a cloak of the passions, the bane of virtue, the realm of vice, the misfortune of families, the ruin of cloisters, the plague of society?
And the more widely this evil daily spreads among worldlings, the more plausibly it creeps in among the godly, the more cunningly it enters even among religious; with the more care oughtest thou to put thyself on thy guard, lest it also infect thy heart; and lest, under the appearance of good, it draw the same away from the servitude of humble love, to the freedom of the flesh, which leads to the slavery of Hell.
Thou canst not be thy own master, how much so ever thou mayst desire and strive to be so. Thou art bound to love, and, therefore, to devote thyself to some object, even in spite of thyself. But thou canst not give thyself up to anything created, without the most grievous injustice and the basest ingratitude to Me, and without manifold evil to thyself.
Wherefore, Child, be willingly Mine! give thyself up to My love; since, in order that thou mightst be Mine, I was willing to be a captive for thee.
How happy shalt thou be, when bound, inwardly and outwardly, by the same chains of love, that
unite with Me the Angels and Saints in Heaven!
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most loving Jesus! to what extent didst Thou love me, who didst condescend to become a captive for me,-----a captive of sorrows in the hands of Thy enemies, that Thou mightst allure and make me a captive of Thy love! O Lord, my Saviour! when I call to mind Thy chains, I utterly despise in my heart all worldly freedom-----desirous of being Thy fellow-captive in chains.
If the fetters of enemies are wanting to me, behold! I give myself up to the chains of love, that, all the senses of my body and the powers of my soul being seized and made subject, I may be so bound to Thee, as never to be separated from Thee.
Grant, I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus, that these may be no empty wishes, but efficacious resolves, which, with Thy grace, I may fulfill for the consolation of Thy Heart, and the sanctification of my soul,-----for which Thou hast so much suffered.
CHAPTER XI. HOW, AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS, IT BEHOOVES US TO BEAR FALSE ACCUSATIONS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, hereafter thou shalt see the Son of man, although the Supreme
Judge of the living and the dead, cited, accused, and condemned by sinners deserving everlasting
For behold! they led Me bound to the High-priest, where the other priests, and the Scribes, and Pharisees had assembled.
The chiefs of the priests and the whole council sought false witness against Me, that they might put Me to death.
And many, coming forward, bore false witness against Me.
But the High-priest rising up, said to Me: Answerest Thou nothing to the things which these men bring against Thee?
My Child, what, thinkest thou, did I reply to their false testimony, and to the saying of the High-priest, in order to defend Myself? What say the Scriptures? "But Jesus was silent."
So it is, My Child, I was silent with My tongue, as a man that has no disproof in his mouth; but with My Heart I spoke to My heavenly Father, conforming Myself to His good pleasure, and beseeching Him to have pity on those wretched men; to pour into their hearts the abundant grace of the Holy Spirit, in order to save their unhappy souls.
2. My Child, knowing that it is most painful to be assailed with false accusations; and most difficult
to bear them perfectly, I willed that My Heart should be in the highest degree assaulted and overwhelmed with unjust calumnies, that, when thou thyself art falsely accused, thou mayst find some solace in My Heart, which was similarly afflicted, and from Its example receive a secure guidance.
And truly, there is hardly anything more painful to the human heart than to be defamed with false
accusations. Hence, some persons are thereby so much disturbed in their reason, that, overcome by feeling, if they could lawfully choose, they would prefer to die rather than to live so dishonored.
My Child, take heed, lest thou suffer thyself to be troubled or be clouded in mind: but, with a calm heart, examine the matter better: act as a worthy Disciple of My Heart.
Remember, that neither the malice of those that defame thee by false reports, nor the error of those that believe falsehood, can make thee different from what thou art, nor take away the virtue of thy greatness of soul, which lifts itself above falsehood uttered and believed.
But, if thou viewest the matter in the light of faith, thou shalt see that its sublime excellence, heavenly honor, everlasting reward, correspond to the greatness of thy humiliation.
And although thou mayst be innocent of the faults objected to thee, as, however, thou hast, in many things, offended the divine Majesty, thou shouldst willingly embrace the opportunity of satisfying for those things in time, which otherwise may remain to be atoned for in eternity.
Moreover, even shouldst thou prefer to cleanse thyself of thy offenses, and to enter Heaven by other means; yet, do thou rather receive these things offered thee by Divine Providence, as both more
certain and more secure.
How painful soever these things may be to the feelings of nature, suffer them, My Child; undergo them for love of Me; bear them with Me.
And if thy heart almost fail thee for grief, come thou to My Heart, which suffered more painful things for thy sake: here strengthen thy heart, protesting that, in spite of nature, thou art willing, for love of Me, to be resigned.
3. I am absolutely unwilling, My Child, that thou shouldst hate thy neighbor, how much soever he may wrong thee. But, although I gave a command of loving even enemies, yet I insisted on no precept of being silent or of omitting to justify thyself against false accusations: a counsel, however, I give, unless silence be sinful.
He, therefore, who, when falsely accused, speaks with a sincere heart, and in a proper manner, in his own defense. sins not: but he that speaks not, does
It is certainly a very great perfection, to endure in silence false accusations: to suffer that men believe about thee whatsoever they may please; to entrust thyself wholly to Me alone, and resignedly to remain with Me.
Behold! herein does grace triumph: this fills the Angels with admiration; this unites thee in fellowship with the Saints; this gives glory to God in the highest; this proves thee truly a humble lover of Me, and a genuine Disciple of My Heart. This is the great secret of the interior life, drawn out of My Heart, which many hear, and many even admire: but which few relish, and fewer follow.
4. The Saints, however, appreciated this fully, and found it quite to their taste; burning with love for Me, and animated with a desire of following Me, they suffered, with a joyful heart, false testimonies of every kind.
And, when with one word they might have justified themselves and regained their good name,-----entrusting the care of their defense to Me,-----they preferred to be silent with Me, and tv be considered the outcast and offscouring of this world, lest they might be found unlike to Me, and display a doubtful love.
It is most true, My Child, that this is neither easy, according to human feelings; nor does natural reason alone furnish a sufficient incitement thereto: but feeling and reason must be transcended by means of faith and love, which present and press forward abundant and most powerful motives and incentives.
Know, Child, if thou art not willing to act, except from feeling or natural reason, thou shalt not
only never be perfect, but not even saved. Live by faith; act out of love for Me. And if nature resists, because it dreads mortification or humiliation, let this itself be a new recommendation for thee to be silent, that thou mayst overcome ill-ordered nature.
5. Doubtless, the enemy of thy salvation and perfection,-----who is ever roaming about seeking whom to insnare,-----will draw near to thee, and suggest numerous, troublesome, and plausible things: but do not so much as hearken to his suggestions; yea, turn away thy mind from him, or say to him with scorn: Begone, Satan; for it is better to follow the Divine Saviour, who goes before and shows a safe and secure way, than to leave the company of Jesus, to search out another uncertain and dangerous road.
Perhaps, also, some one will ask thee: Answerest thou nothing to the things which are objected to thee by these persons? Neither do thou, My Child, make any reply to this question, but imitate Me, and be in like manner silent.
If they insist: Seest thou not that thy despised name, the edification of thy scandalized neighbor, the honor of insulted virtue, God's glory itself, demand of thee, that thou do justify thyself? Believe them not, Child, it is not so.
If at any time circumstances appeared to require that I should speak in My own justification, it was doubtless then, when I remained silent; they did not, however, require it; for had they so required, I would have spoken.
6. Let the matter rest therefore, My Child, and entrust it wholly to Me, that, in the wisdom and goodness of My Heart, I may do that which is best for Me and for thee.
Do thou, meanwhile, suffer with Me in silence and patience. I know the accuser and the accused, the judge and him that is judged,-----him that humbles and him that is humbled:-----I Myself will repay, at the proper time, and give to each according to his works.
That thou mayst the better persevere, frequently call to mind, with what feeling of pain I Myself endured greater humiliations; with how courageous a mind, and how generous a Heart I bore them for love of thee: and thou wilt surely not refuse to love Me in return, who loved thee so much; nor to undergo lesser humiliations for the sake of My love.
Do not fear confusion: embrace it with a noble heart; it will not lower thee; it will not harm thee; on the contrary, it will elevate thee, make thee alike to Me;-----it will adorn thee with merit and sanctity, it will replenish thee with the sweetest unction of consolation.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O most sweet and loving Jesus! have pity on me and help me. For behold! because I am still lukewarm in Thy love, and imperfect in humility, I find my heart ever ready to grow indignant, and my mouth prepared to justify myself, whenever anything displeasing is laid to my charge.
And what is worse,-----nor can I confess it without shame,-----often do I find myself inclined to seek excuses for real faults; and, how just soever the imputations may be, I am ever moved to defend, or at least to extenuate, the defects attributed to me.
Hence it appears, O Lord my God, how great a sway the world still exercises over me, since I am more anxious to be approved by men, than to be assimilated to Thee: yea, and how great a perverseness is still lurking within me, since I am desirous of being considered innocent, whilst I know myself to be guilty.
Woe is me! When at last shall I be humble? when shall I begin to love with a generous heart? I beg and beseech Thee, Lord, spare not my pride, however hidden it be: incite me by a fervent love, that, co-operating with Thee, I may root out that curse.
O Jesus so bountiful to me! I indeed am willing to follow Thee, and to bear with Thee, in silence and resignation, false judgments and insults: but for this, weak as I am, I need a powerful grace.
Strengthen me, therefore, with Thy most potent grace; that, for Thy love, I may remain with Thee, silent and patient, unto that end which Thou mayst be willing to appoint.
CHAPTER XII. THAT THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS TEACHES US HOW WE OUGHT
TO BEAR PERSONAL INSULTS
1. The voice of Jesus.-----My Child, when the testimony of them that accused Me did not agree the High-priest, that he might find a plea for condemning Me, addressed Me again, saying: Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed God? I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us, if Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.
Since all things in Heaven, in earth, and under the earth, had borne evident and superabundant
witness to My Divinity, there was no need of answering the High-priest, who was tempting Me; however, to manifest the reverence due to the living and blessed God, My Father; to give testimony to the truth, even at the risk of My life; to move the hearts of these wretches, if, perhaps, they might be willing to hearken to grace, I replied: I am. Nevertheless I say to you: Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Power of God, and coming in the clouds of Heaven.
My Child, had they heeded these clear and sacredly terrific words, would they not-----suddenly changed from judges into suppliants,-----have cast themselves at My feet, imploring pardon and mercy?
But the unhappy High-priest, with his council, spurned both the proffered grace, and the salutary
warnings. For the wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sins, contemneth.
2. Then the chief of the priests rent his garments, exclaiming: He has blasphemed. Behold! now ye have heard the blasphemy. What think ye? But they all cried out together, that I was guilty of death.
After this iniquitous and cruel insult, at which all Heaven was horrified, behold! more atrocious and painful things awaited Me. For, as it was now late, the High-priest and his associates retired to rest, and left Me in the hands of the rabble, to be tortured during the remainder of the night.
Whatsoever thou mayst do, My Child, how intently soever thou mayst meditate, thou canst not fully understand the sufferings of My Heart during that saddest of nights.
Then, Child, they spit in My face,-----that face whereon the Angels long to gaze:-----and they, that held Me, vied with each other to mock and insult Me.
And, that they might act with more freedom, they covered My face: and, casting aside all restraint, some buffeted Me, others struck My face with the palms of their hands, insolently saying: Prophesy to us, O Christ, who is he that struck Thee? Others, in fine, uttered many other blasphemous things, and heaped many indignities upon Me.
Behold then, behold the Son of God, as it were a worm and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people!
3. Meanwhile, My Child, I was like a lamb before its shearer, neither opening My mouth, nor showing any sign of revenge, of anger, or impatience.
But, drowning in My Heart the intense sorrows, I displayed, in look and gesture, an invincible meekness, in order that My enemies themselves, struck with so great an example of forbearance, might be converted: and that thou, Child, being thus encouraged, mightst not refuse to imitate Me through love.
For if I, the Son of the living and blessed God, endured, for love of thee, such cruel and incomprehensible tortures, is it too much that, for love of Me, thou shouldst bear some insulting word, some ignominious appellation, or some reproachful action?
If thou art unwilling, for My sake, to undergo similar things,-----little, indeed, in comparison of what I suffered for thee,-----canst thou believe that thou hast a true love for Me, a love worthy either of Myself or of a Disciple of My Heart?
Ask the Saints. Even the least among them will answer thee by deeds, glorious both to themselves and to Me. Assuredly, those generous hearts would have been ashamed, and would have deemed their love either of no account or false, and thought themselves undeserving of the special affection of My Heart, had they not lovingly undergone the humiliations presented to them by Me.
Do not say, that thou art unable to endure such humiliations, because thou art not a Saint. For thou art able, if thou wilt, with the aid of My grace-----which shall not be wanting. If, then, thou dost not undergo them, thou provest by the fact, not indeed that thou art unable, but that thou art not really willing. If thou art not a Saint, act in concert with grace, and willingly suffer humiliations, and behold! thou wilt become a Saint.
4. My Child, whether thou art willing or not, so long as thou livest among mortals, thou canst not be safe from every kind of humiliations; therefore, thou shouldst have thy heart ever in readiness, that, whensoever any do come upon thee, thou mayst forthwith have recourse to Me and implore My help.
Yea, it will happen, and even for thy good, My Child, that men do not only oppose, or overlook thee, but even that, before thy face, they provoke or insult thee. Then, if thou do not come speedily to Me by means of prayer, thou shalt find thyself exposed to great trouble and danger.
They that are still beginners in the interior life, and little advanced in mortification of heart, are easily disturbed by violent affronts; because unsubdued nature, when an opportunity presents itself, rebels, and excites a great dread of humiliation, and a lively feeling of worldly honor.
Yet all worldly honor is mere emptiness: for it rests not upon truth, but depends on the voluble tongues of men, who flatter or speak evil at pleasure.
But to endure, by virtue, the humiliation of an affront, is true glory; because it renders man similar to Me, and deserves an imperishable diadem.
5. The best defense of honor is an heroic generosity of heart. And, with men, is not meekness or clemency of more avail to protect or regain a good reputation, than anger or revenge? The latter betrays a little mind, and openly displays a heart enslaved to the passions: the former proves a great soul, a noble heart, and claims perforce the Silent admiration of enemies, in spite of themselves.
Hence, even a pagan said: "To conquer one's self . . . not only to raise an opponent, but even to load him with favors . . . Whoso does this, him I do not compare to the greatest men, but I judge him most like to God."
Upon these things, however, Child, I will that thou shouldst look as secondary only, and that thou shouldst ascend higher,-----to supernatural motives,-----lest thou reap no fruit for eternity from thy arduous efforts and painful sufferings.
There are many persons to whom worldly vanity is more palatable than My example; and who prefer to be slaves of their passions, rather than to be assimilated to Me.
Yea, to such a degree do some allow themselves to be carried away by their passions, that, when calumniated, they rather inflict death on their own soul, and expose themselves to the torments of Hell; than let the offender go unpunished, or generously to pardon the injury of a moment.
Woe to men endowed with Divine faith who live worse than the heathen, guided by reason alone! Unhappy men! they shall see at last how foolishly, how wickedly they are acting, who,-----when an opportunity is given them of appeasing God, of expiating their sins, of gaining merits, instead of so doing,-----provoke God to wrath, heap up sins, and aggravate the torments they shall have to undergo.
6. The more courageous anyone is to conque. himself, and the more numerous and difficult the victories he gains, the stronger shall he become against himself, and the more easy and fruitful shall he render future victories.
Wherefore, My Child, cheer up thy courage: overcome thyself, that thou mayst ascend to Me, that thou mayst follow Me. By this do thou judge thy virtue, the sincerity of thy love for Me: by this do thou distinguish whether thou art a true Disciple of My Heart.
Mark this well: if, in order to follow the Divine Will, thou dost not go counter to the repugnance of nature; even shouldst thou work miracles, shouldst thou daily soar off into ecstasy, know, that all thy piety is nothing more than simple delusion.
Be generous and follow Me, thy Leader, and Protector, and Comforter: care not for what men may do to thee, or what may be the feeling of rebellious nature.
If thy heart does not reproach thee, when, with a meek and lowly heart, thou endurest wrongs done, have thou confidence, My Child; for thou hast a sign of My grace present and abiding in thee.
For a representation of fire burns not; neither does a mere simulation of love thus suffer.
7. The voice of the Disciple.-----O Jesus, God of supreme Majesty! truly incomprehensible is the excess of Thy humiliations: incomprehensible the excess of Thy love.
Every knee bends before Thee in Heaven, in earth, and in Hell: and behold! Thou art overwhelmed by the insults of fiend-like men, Thou art sated with revilings!
O Jesus, truly meek and humble of Heart! for, like a lamb in the midst of wolves, cruelly torn to pieces, Thou desirest, by a miracle of meekness, to move, convert, save even them! Woe is my heart, if, after such things, it refuses to humble itself, or desires to avenge any wrong whatsoever. For, if it is unwilling to yield to so great an example and to so great a love of its God, so humbled for its sake, what can it expect, if not the rigor of justice?
I entreat Thee, Lord God, righteous Judge and Retributer, enter thou not into judgment with me, but compassionately forgive me whatsoever I have done wrong through anger or revenge.
Behold, now, in Thy presence, most sweet Jesus, I lay aside and offer up forever, in spite of the feelings of nature, every desire of wrathful retribution, of vengeance, of every thing contrary to charity.
By whatsoever is dear to Thee, I beg of Thee, O Lord, favorably accept this sacrifice, which I unite with the sufferings of Thy Heart, and thus offer to Thee: I implore Thee, do Thou unite and bind to Thee forever, by the one bond of Thy Divine love, all them that injure me.
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