How very pleasing to God is the willing desire to suffer for Him. "Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures, the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the offenses committed against Me. You asked Me to sustain you, and to punish the faults of others in you, and you did not remark that you were really asking for love, light, and knowledge of the truth, since I have already told you that, by the increase of love, grows grief and pain, wherefore he that grows in love grows in grief. Therefore, I say to you all, that you should ask, and it will be given you, for I deny nothing to him who asks of Me in truth. Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls." from the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.
This type of loving intercessory prayer is not the same as that of the victim souls. I believe victim souls are called to that special vocation from birth. We see this type of sublime holiness in the lives of such as Marthe Robin, Alexandrina da Costa, Gemma Galgani and Veronica Giuliani among others.
Victim souls have an entire life of intercession, usually through the joining of their bodies and souls to the Passion of Christ. One cannot choose to be a victim soul, as it is a vocation usually found at a very young age.
These souls are rare people. However, the suffering explained in St. Catherine's Dialogue is also reparatory intercession, but part of a more active, and not victim soul type of vocation, In other words, we can all pray in the manner explained by God above. One can choose to offer up one's life for another, like Michael Voris' mother did for her sons, and like someone I know, a local saint, did for the conversion of her husband. The proof of God's acceptance of these heroic gestures would be the ultimate conversions of those for whom the lives were offered, and, indeed, in both cases, two men were converted through the intercessory offering.
What God is revealing to St. Catherine would be more the "ordinary" manner of intercession, involving daily courage and suffering, as well as patience, perhaps for a husband, a wife or children.
Like St. Therese, one may choose a stranger for whom to pray, but one must be careful. Several friends have told me of situations in which they took on praying for people and in the process, it became clear that these good pray-ers, simply were not holy enough to take on the type of spiritual warfare necessary.
Sometimes one is tempted to take on praying for something or someone which is simply too difficult, even too evil.
Stories of people in hell who revealed that the reason they were there was that they did not listen to friends' exhortations, or storied of people in purgatory, who asked for prayers, indicate the seriousness and need for intercessory suffering.
This week, realizing that some intercession I was doing needed more prayer and fasting, I asked God what I could do more than what I have been doing. Within hours of this prayer, my doctor put me on a low carb diet. This will be very difficult, as I have been eating a lot of poor food, like Ramen noodles,potatoes, and cheap tortillas for quesadillas, I shall need to spend more money, which I do not have yet, for more protein and less carbs. So, this is a hardship, but I definitely know this is an answer to prayer. I shall have to eat even less than what I have been, which is only two full meals a day. But, God desires this suffering for souls for whom I am interceding daily. Souls are worth every bit of hardship.
God is calling all of us to love, love, love. Patience, suffering, love...
In these virtues, we are called to become more and more like Christ in this world, and closer to Him in the next.
To be continued...