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Saturday 1 August 2015

This Sermon Deserves A Large Audience

Thoughts on A Thursday on A Saturday

 Repeat from another blog from Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thoughts on A Thursday from A Guild Member

Years ago, the woman who stood up in my wedding as matron of honor told me to “transcend difficulties”. I had to do this, as circumstances forced me to do so.  This great lady was almost my mother’s age, but a good friend of mine. She had been raised in India, in the Raj. Her father died early. Then, she and her mother came back to London to live. She had to leave her mom and live on a farm, as she was young enough to be sent out of harm’s way during the Blitz of London. Later, she married a wonderful man, but only had two children.

She and her husband took care of her mother until that old woman died. Her mother never learned to cook, or sew, or clean, as when she grew up, she had seventeen servants and lived in the luxury of the English in India. My friend had to pay for all her mother’s many needs.  As a person with many hardships to bear, my friend knew how to “transcend” trials. She was “self-possessed”; that is, she had control over her emotions, mind, soul. She was a peaceful woman. Another friend of mine is the same way. She is in her nineties and had an extremely hard life, living with a husband who was ill all their married life. She, too, was and is, “self-possessed”, able to transcend all types of difficulties.

This type of transcendence and self-control only comes with humility and prayer. There is a reality about people who live transcendently. Garrigou-Lagrange writes that we must become closer to God daily in simplicity of heart, “…without which there can be no contemplation of God and no true love.”

What does he mean by this? The death of the ego is the beginning of this emptying of the heart. Egotism must go, must, as I have written many times on this blog.

If we are “too full of ourselves”, there is no room for God. We must not desire attention, or fame, or status, or riches. We must find contentment in what is given to us. We must transcend the trials put on our paths. We need to meditate, and then, to contemplate.

Contemplation is not meditation, again, as I have noted on this blog. Contemplation, whether active, or passive, demands focusing on God Himself, and not on ourselves.

Do we think of ourselves and our problem before Christ in Adoration, or do we immerse ourselves in Him? Do we come with the proverbial laundry list of prayers, or do we just, like Mary of Bethany, sit in His Presence?

Purity of heart, mind, and soul comes with a combination of prayer and sheer gift. Some great saints have these gifts early. Most of us must walk the road of travail and suffering to get to such purity.  We must choose mortification, however, as the given trials may not be enough.

We may not become great saints, few of us will be Padre Pios or Mother Teresas. However, all of us are called to be saints and that means we are all called to purification and perfection.

It is rather ironic that I always  think and sometimes write that “this is my last post on perfection” but I can now see that as I learn and grow, taking the long road through suffering and dying to self.  May God be patient with me. Let me return to Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

My favorite photo of Mother Teresa is not one of her with her beloved dying, or with St. John Paul II, but one of her alone in prayer. Like all saints, like Christ, she needed to be alone with God. Sister Agnes, her helper, said once,“Every day we have Mass, half an hour of meditation, morning prayer, afternoon prayer, and in the evening we have a full hour of Adoration. It would not be possible to work otherwise. There must be a spiritual motive. You can work only for God. You can never work for any man.”

Mother Teresa said, “That is why we begin and end the day with prayer, because, when we pray, we are touching the body of Christ.  You people in the world might not have the time or leisure to pray. It is a beautiful gift of God for us to have that amount of time.”

We must make time. We must.

Mother Teresa also said, “I am not afraid to say I am in love with Jesus because He is everything to me.”

For all Catholics, our work should be for Jesus, and He can be All in All.

Here is the voice of a simple heart. Mother Teresa states that chastity is “undivided love”, that poverty is “freedom”, that total surrender is “obedience”.

“If I belong to God, if I belong to Christ, then He must be able to use me. That is obedience. ….If you really belong to the work that has been entrusted to you, then you must do it with your whole heart.  And you can bring salvation only by being honest and by really working with God. It is not how much we are doing, but how much love, how much honesty, how much faith, is put into doing it. It makes no difference what we are doing. What you are doing, I cannot do, and what I am doing, you cannot do. But all of us are doing what God have given us to do. ….”

And, I love Mother Teresa for saying this-as I have experienced the disrespect which comes to the poor, even from priests, sadly.

“The poor are not respected. People do not think that the poor can be treated as people who are lovable, as people like you and I. You know, the young are beginning to understand. They want to serve with their hands. And to love with their hearts. To the full, not superficially.”

I believe this as I believe that in the remnant will be many young people who have sought and found love.

And, Mother Teresa’s comment about doing the work God has called us to do is also a call to humility. Sometimes people want desperately to do something big for God. But, sometimes, we are called to do something small for God.

I blog. I pray. I do dishes, clean, do laundry, make coffee, take walks. Nothing grand in all of this… but more than that, I love. I am learning daily to live in love, to choose love, to walk, clean, make coffee in love. I blog in love, as that is what God wants me to do right now.

There is nothing to do but to love.

Some of us learn this by loving and being loved by another. Some of us learn this directly from Jesus, the Bridegroom. Either way, love hurts.

“True love hurts. It always has to hurt. It must be painful to love someone, painful to leave them, you might have to die for them. ….A young American couple told me once, ‘You know a lot about love; you must be married.’ And I said, Yes, but sometimes I find it difficult to smile at Him.”


There is a Doctors of the Church series on this blog.

On a particular doctor's day, just follow the tags.

Not reading mystical books

Both the great St. Teresa of Avila, and Saint Veronica Giuliani warn against the reading of mystical books. A priest told me years ago that it was dangerous for someone to read mystical writings on prayer as one could very easily think one is holier, more advanced that one actually is.

This advice proves to be ignored by the vast majority of Catholic women who think they can skip to contemplation, a point I have made on this blog many times, without developing meditation and without going through the levels of purification in the Dark Night.

My own unpacking of mystical texts has been mostly from the viewpoint of a teacher trying to slow people down by showing the great difficulties of each level of prayer. I myself, am a beginner.

To imagine one is holier and more advanced than one really is actually prevents one from growing in holiness. And, the real litmus test remains very simple. Is one actually loving as Christ loves? I would add, is one living the evangelical counsels as much as possible in the world?

Again, I have written many times on "middle-class" spirituality-that mind-set which many Catholic women adopt by wanting to be saints without suffering. They want all the consolations of life, no suffering, and yet, all the goodies God wants to give them.

I am reminded of a vision I had in England in 2011. I was frustrated by the lack of orthodoxy in a particular charismatic group, which, at that time, included some friends of mine. In this vision, I saw Christ on the Cross, suffering, with copious amounts of blood dripping from His wounds. His agony was occurring in a typical English field, not on Calvary. Strewn all over this field, and under His Cross, where thousands of those candies called Smarties. Charismatics were bending over picking up the Smarties instead of looking at Christ on the Cross.

I shared this with someone who acted almost immediately, left Charismatic prayer groups, knowing this was true-people wanted candy from God and not suffering, consolation and not the Cross.

One reason I used Garrigou-Lagrange in my long perfection series was that he presented the levels of prayer and the way to holiness rationally, and avoided, like a good teacher, falling into subjectivity.

His emphasis on purification and suffering can be found in the lectures of Father Chad Ripperger online, a priest who has told his audiences that most people have not even begun to follow the path of holiness and that most people think they are holier than they really are.

I began to read the mystics in my late twenties, and put St. Teresa back on the shelf, as I realized the danger of thinking I was making more progress than I really was. Then, the wise priest cautioned me and others not to get ahead of reality.

But, the real step in the right direction for me has been much suffering and the acceptance of that suffering, both physical and spiritual. Once one is pulled into the Dark Night, one knows where one actually is, and that is a good thing. If a person does not want to suffer that purification, he or she will fall back into the "candy seeking" stage again and again.

We do not have time for this waffling back and forth. We do not have time to look for Smarties, or read books beyond our ken.

The book which saved me from thinking I was holier than I was had to be The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence which I highlighted in the Framing Prayer series last month.
Such simplicity keeps one rooted in reality.

Again, taking up the holy priest and Fr. Ripperger's warnings about not thinking one is holier than one is, I caution readers not to read or study too much mysticism without truly, truly the daily examen of sin explained also in the Framing Prayer series.

Go back and look seriously at the levels of prayer from Garrigou-Lagrange in the long perfection series, and be honest about what level one finds one resting in.

Becoming holy is a full-time response to God's graces. The real key is saying yes to suffering, willing suffering and purification.

But, remember my most constant warning, one cannot become holy without first being completely orthodox in all things. One must conform one's mind to the teachings of the Church, all the teachings, before stepping on the ladder of the levels of prayer.

Without orthodoxy, there is no sanctity.

More later...

St. Veronica Giuliani's Trip to Hell

One day the devil showed her a vision of hell. “It seems that the tempter showed my soul hell being opened, and that in fact he had placed it (her soul) in it, and that only a small push was needed to cast it inside. It seemed then that I heard screams and voices of lamentation from the damned. I only saw infernal monsters, many serpents, many ferocious animals, and an infernal stench and extremely hot flames, which were so big that their height could not be measured. I could only compare it to the distance between heaven and earth. As far as the size of the place, one could not see the beginning or the end. You could hear many blasphemies and curses against God. How sad. What torment this caused my soul.”
She was shown hell once more: “At that moment I was once again shown hell opened; and it seemed many souls descended there, they were so ugly and black that they struck terror in me. They all dropped down in a rush, one after the other, and once they had entered those chasms there was nothing to be seen but fire and flames.” This vision led Veronica to offer herself as a victim of Divine Justice: “My Lord, I offer myself to stand here as a doorway, so that no one may enter down there and lose You.” Then she stretched out her arms and said, “As long as I stand in this doorway, no one shall enter. O souls, go back! My God, I ask nothing else of You but the salvation of sinners. Send me more pains, more torments, more crosses!”

The Blessed Virgin Mary speaking to Veronica about her trips to hell told her, “When you were going around hell, you came across torments and tormentors at every step; but that time when you went by the seat of Lucifer, you were terrified at seeing so many souls were on the seat of Lucifer himself. This is in the center of hell and is seen by all the damned, by all the devils, and this sight causes all of them great suffering. I also let you know that, in the same way that the sight of God in Paradise constitutes Paradise itself; down there in hell, the sight of Lucifer is what constitutes hell.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary also told her, “Many do not believe that hell exists, and I tell you yourself, who have been there, have understood nothing of what hell is.”

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More on Why Prayers Are Not Answered

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...

Why Prayers Are Not Answered

Many months ago, I wrote, in response to a reader's question on the efficacy of prayer, that the more one becomes holy and pure in heart, the more efficacious one's prayers become.

Thus, the saints in heaven can answer our prayers, according to God's Will, as they have merited eternal life and live in holiness and grace.

St. Catherine of Siena, a favorite on this blog, wrote in her Dialogue that the prayers for the evil and sinners in the world are not answered because those who are praying have not fulfilled the necessary steps to find holiness.

These steps form a little summary of the entire perfection series, but these are worth repeating in the context of the growing evil which is surrounding all of us.

First step: One must ask for self-knowledge, and the grace to see one's sins, imperfections and predominant fault. Only with self-knowledge can one be in the truly humble place before God in presenting prayers to Him.

Second step: Knowledge of God demands that we seek His Face, seek Him daily and answer His call to find Him in the desert of the Dark Night of both the senses and the spirit. True reparation follows this cleansing of the soul, mind, heart and body.

Here are a few selections from her work to underline these points:

Man is placed above all creatures, and not beneath them, and he cannot be satisfied or content except in something greater than himself. Greater than himself there is nothing but Myself, the Eternal God. Therefore I alone can satisfy him, and, because he is deprived of this satisfaction by his guilt, he remains in continual torment and pain. Weeping follows pain, and when he begins to weep, the wind strikes the tree of self-love, which he has made the principle of all his being.


So, that soul, wishing to know and follow the truth more manfully, and lifting her desires first for herself -- for she considered that a soul could not be of use, whether in doctrine, example, or prayer, to her neighbor, if she did not first profit herself, that is, if she did not acquire virtue in herself -- addressed four requests to the Supreme and Eternal Father. The first was for herself; the second for the reformation of the Holy Church; the third a general prayer for the whole world, and in particular for the peace of Christians who rebel, with much lewdness and persecution, against the Holy Church; in the fourth and last, she besought the Divine Providence to provide for things in general, and in particular, for a certain case with which she was concerned.


How the desire of this soul grew when God showed her the neediness of the world. This desire was great and continuous, but grew much more, when the First Truth showed her the neediness of the world, and in what a tempest of offense against God it lay. And she had understood this the better from a letter, which she had received from the spiritual Father of her soul, in which he explained to her the penalties and intolerable dolor caused by offenses against God, and the loss of souls, and the persecutions of Holy Church. All this lighted the fire of her holy desire with grief for the offenses, and with the joy of the lively hope, with which she waited for God to provide against such great evils. And, since the soul seems, in such communion, sweetly to bind herself fast within herself and with God, and knows better His truth, inasmuch as the soul is then in God, and God in the soul, as the fish is in the sea, and the sea in the fish, she desired the arrival of the morning (for the morrow was a feast of Mary) in order to hear Mass. And, when the morning came, and the hour of the Mass, she sought with anxious desire her accustomed place; and, with a great knowledge of herself, being ashamed of her own imperfection, appearing to herself to be the cause of all the evil that was happening throughout the world, conceiving a hatred and displeasure against herself, and a feeling of holy justice, with which knowledge, hatred, and justice, she purified the stains which seemed to her to cover her guilty soul, she said: "O Eternal Father, I accuse myself before You, in order that You may punish me for my sins in this finite life, and, inasmuch as my sins are the cause of the sufferings which my neighbor must endure, I implore You, in Your kindness, to punish them in my person."


Then, the Eternal Truth seized and drew more strongly to Himself her desire, doing as He did in the Old Testament, for when the sacrifice was offered to God, a fire descended and drew to Him the sacrifice that was acceptable to Him; so did the sweet Truth to that soul, in sending down the fire of the clemency of the Holy Spirit, seizing the sacrifice of desire that she made of herself, saying: "Do you not know, dear daughter, that all the sufferings, which the soul endures, or can endure, in this life, are insufficient to punish one smallest fault, because the offense, being done to Me, who am the Infinite Good, calls for an infinite satisfaction? However, I wish that you should know, that not all the pains that are given to men in this life are given as punishments, but as corrections, in order to chastise a son when he offends; though it is true that both the guilt and the penalty can be expiated by the desire of the soul, that is, by true contrition, not through the finite pain endured, but through the infinite desire; because God, who is infinite, wishes for infinite love and infinite grief. Infinite grief I wish from My creature in two ways: in one way, through her sorrow for her own sins, which she has committed against Me her Creator; in the other way, through her sorrow for the sins which she sees her neighbors commit against Me. Of such as these, inasmuch as they have infinite desire, that is, are joined to Me by an affection of love, and therefore grieve when they offend Me, or 16 see Me offended, their every pain, whether spiritual or corporeal, from wherever it may come, receives infinite merit, and satisfies for a guilt which deserved an infinite penalty, although their works are finite and done in finite time; but, inasmuch as they possess the virtue of desire, and sustain their suffering with desire, and contrition, and infinite displeasure against their guilt, their pain is held worthy. Paul explained this when he said: If I had the tongues of angels, and if I knew the things of the future and gave my body to be burned, and have not love, it would be worth nothing to me. The glorious Apostle thus shows that finite works are not valid, either as punishment or recompense, without the condiment of the affection of love.

Third step: Only when the soul is immersed in the love of God are prayers truly answered in power and according to His Will.

"I have shown you, dearest daughter, that the guilt is not punished in this finite time by any pain which is sustained purely as such. And I say, that the guilt is punished by the pain which is endured through the desire, love, and contrition of the heart; not by virtue of the pain, but by virtue of the desire of the soul; inasmuch as desire and every virtue is of value, and has life in itself, through Christ crucified, My only begotten Son, in so far as the soul has drawn her love from Him, and virtuously follows His virtues, that is, His Footprints. In this way, and in no other, are virtues of value, and in this way, pains satisfy for the fault, by the sweet and intimate love acquired in the knowledge of My goodness, and in the bitterness and contrition of heart acquired by knowledge of one's self and one's own thoughts. And this knowledge generates a hatred and displeasure against sin, and against the soul's own sensuality, through which, she deems herself worthy of pains and unworthy of reward." The sweet Truth continued: "See how, by contrition of the heart, together with love, with true patience, and with true humility, deeming themselves worthy of pain and unworthy of reward, such souls endure the patient humility in which consists the above-mentioned satisfaction. You ask me, then, for pains, so that I may receive satisfaction for the offenses, which are done against Me by My Creatures, and you further ask the will to know and love Me, who am the Supreme Truth. Wherefore I reply that this is the way, if you will arrive at a perfect knowledge and enjoyment of Me, the Eternal Truth, that you should never go outside the knowledge of yourself, and, by humbling yourself in the valley of humility, you will know Me and yourself, from which knowledge you will draw all that is necessary. No virtue, my daughter, can have life in itself except through charity, and humility, which is the foster-mother and nurse of charity. In self-knowledge, then, you will humble yourself, seeing that, in yourself, you do not even exist; for your very being, as you will learn, is derived from Me, since I have loved both you and others before you were in existence; and that, through the ineffable love which I had for you, wishing to re-create you to Grace, I have washed you, and re-created you in the Blood of My only-begotten Son, spilt with so great a fire of love. This Blood teaches the truth to him, who, by self-knowledge, dissipates the cloud of self-love, and in no other way can he learn. Then the soul will inflame herself in this knowledge of Me with an 17 ineffable love, through which love she continues in constant pain; not, however, a pain which afflicts or dries up the soul, but one which rather fattens her; for since she has known My truth, and her own faults, and the ingratitude of men, she endures intolerable suffering, grieving because she loves Me; for, if she did not love Me, she would not be obliged to do so; whence it follows immediately, that it is right for you, and My other servants who have learnt My truth in this way, to sustain, even unto death, many tribulations and injuries and insults in word and deed, for the glory and praise of My Name; thus will you endure and suffer pains. Do you, therefore, and My other servants, carry yourselves with true patience, with grief for your sins, and with love of virtue for the glory and praise of My Name. If you act thus, I will satisfy for your sins, and for those of My other servants, inasmuch as the pains which you will endure will be sufficient, through the virtue of love, for satisfaction and reward, both in you and in others. In yourself you will receive the fruit of life, when the stains of your ignorance are effaced, and I shall not remember that you ever offended Me. In others I will satisfy through the love and affection which you have to Me, and I will give to them according to the disposition with which they will receive My gifts. In particular, to those who dispose themselves, humbly and with reverence, to receive the doctrine of My servants, will I remit both guilt and penalty, since they will thus come to true knowledge and contrition for their sins. So that, by means of prayer, and their desire of serving Me, they receive the fruit of grace, receiving it humbly in greater or less degree, according to the extent of their exercise of virtue and grace in general. I say then, that, through your desires, they will receive remission for their sins. 

The more I pray, the more I realize how unworthy my prayers are and how far I am from meriting good for myself and others. The sufferings endured by me are only good insofar as these are united in the love of God for myself and for others.

Prayers are not answered unless a person has been stripped of ego and the selfishness of certain desires not in keeping with God's Will.

People ask me to pray for them daily, and I do. Yesterday, on my "down day",  I could get much more prayers said, more meditation and more affective contemplation done in the busy weeks prior. I thank God that I was ill so that I could be in His Presence as in the days before I came here to this little box room.

The purgation demanded by God must come before one experiences truly efficacious prayer. Here is St. Catherine again, from the words of God.

But I do not, in general, grant to these others, for whom they pray, satisfaction for the penalty due to them, but, only for their guilt, since they are not disposed, on their side, to receive, with perfect love, My love, and that of My servants. They do not receive their grief with bitterness, and perfect contrition for the sins they have committed, but with imperfect love and contrition, wherefore they have not, as others, remission of the penalty, but only of the guilt; because such complete satisfaction 18 requires proper dispositions on both sides, both in him that gives and him that receives. Wherefore, since they are imperfect, they receive imperfectly the perfection of the desires of those who offer them to Me, for their sakes, with suffering; and, inasmuch as I told you that they do receive remission, this is indeed the truth, that, by that way which I have told you, that is, by the light of conscience, and by other things, satisfaction is made for their guilt; for, beginning to learn, they vomit forth the corruption of their sins, and so receive the gift of grace. "These are they who are in a state of ordinary charity, wherefore, if they have trouble, they receive it in the guise of correction, and do not resist over much the clemency of the Holy Spirit, but, coming out of their sin, they receive the life of grace. But if, like fools, they are ungrateful, and ignore Me and the labors of My servants done for them, that which was given them, through mercy, turns to their own ruin and judgment, not through defect of mercy, nor through defect of him who implored the mercy for the ingrate, but solely through the man's own wretchedness and hardness, with which, with the hands of his free will, he has covered his heart, as it were, with a diamond, which, if it be not broken by the Blood, can in no way be broken. And yet, I say to you, that, in spite of his hardness of heart, he can use his free will while he has time, praying for the Blood of My Son, and let him with his own hand apply It to the diamond over his heart and shiver it, and he will receive the imprint of the Blood which has been paid for him. But, if he delays until the time be past, he has no remedy, because he has not used the dowry which I gave him, giving him memory so as to remember My benefits, intellect, so as to see and know the truth, affection, so that he should love Me, the Eternal Truth, whom he would have known through the use of his intellect. This is the dowry which I have given you all, and which ought to render fruit to Me, the Father; but, if a man barters and sells it to the devil, the devil, if he choose, has a right to seize on everything that he has acquired in this life. And, filling his memory with the delights of sin, and with the recollection of shameful pride, avarice, self-love, hatred, and unkindness to his neighbors (being also a persecutor of My servants), with these miseries, he has obscured his intellect by his disordinate will. Let such as these receive the eternal pains, with their horrible stench, inasmuch as they have not satisfied for their sins with contrition and displeasure of their guilt. Now, therefore, you have understood how suffering satisfies for guilt by perfect contrition, not through the finite pain; and such as have this contrition in perfection satisfy not only for the guilt, but also for the penalty which follows the guilt, as I have already said when speaking in general; and if they satisfy for the guilt alone, that is, if, having abandoned mortal sin, they receive grace, and have not sufficient contrition and love to satisfy for the penalty also, they go to the pains of Purgatory, passing through the second and last means of satisfaction. "So you see that satisfaction is made, through the desire  of the soul united to Me, who am the Infinite Good, in greater or less degree, according to the measure of love, obtained by the desire and prayer of the recipient. Wherefore, with that very same measure with which a man measures to Me, do he receive in himself the measure of My goodness. Labor, therefore, to increase the fire of your desire, and let not a moment pass without crying to Me with humble voice, or without continual prayers before Me for your neighbors. I say this to you and to the father of your soul, whom I have given you on earth. Bear yourselves with manful courage, and make yourselves dead to all your own sensuality.

Fourth step: One must pray in the Will of God. One prays for God's Perfect Will to be done, and not merely seeking one's or another's own will. Diligent prayer forms our will to God's Will. Then, things happen.

The more we have been purified, the more will be the efficacy of our prayers

to be continued...