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Jesus said to Sister Consolata Betrone: “The world is going to its perdition, but I love souls, I want to save them. I am constrained to be severe in order to attain My end; but believe Me, I do it out of pure mercy. If I permit so much sorrow, it is for that one purpose, to save souls for eternity.”1
For its own misfortune, humanity has turned away from the road that God had laid out for it. Like a good father, God is taking the necessary means
to bring His children back to the way of true happiness in His service. All the while striking, our heavenly Father wants to shower humanity with His gifts, like a father who, after having been severe, shows kindness to make his child forget the bitterness of the punishment. We will never be able to understand all the love that God puts into the chastisements inflicted on His children.
God wills or permits all the sufferings that happen. The finest example to illustrate this great truth is found in Jesus, God incarnate on earth. The Gospel relates that after the resurrection of Lazarus, the chief priests and the doctors of the law gathered together in the middle of the night, violating their own laws, going counter to every form of justice. “This Jesus is resurrecting the dead! If we let Him continue working His miracles, we are finished. We must eliminate Him!” It was a satanic resolution, directly inspired by the devil. And yet, it was the Plan of God! All the forces of evil banded together to destroy Jesus, break Him, annihilate Him. They executed their diabolical plot, they massacred Jesus: the Plan of God was accomplished!
Certain people are wondering: “Was the corona virus concocted by men?” What difference would it make to know its origin? In the case of Jesus, was His death the work of men or the work of Satan? Was His death on the cross divine or diabolical? Strange to say, it was both! The devils set everything in motion and gathered their attendants and henchmen in secret meetings to eliminate that Man. At the same time, never was a diabolical scheme so divine! Sometimes, it is quite surprising, you would say that the more a design is diabolical, the more it touches on the divine. There is a mystery in all of that. It is God who leads and directs everything to His end.
Once we have understood this, we see everything in another light. God leads, and He has the last word. Souls must enter into His plan, see His hand behind the most regrettable, terrible, evil, morbid events. The enemies of Our Lord coveted money and power, they wanted to establish their own reign, and our dear Jesus was frustrating their designs. All the forces of evil plotted to destroy and massacre Jesus: they succeeded in putting to death the Son of God incarnate! The devils were rubbing their hands in satisfaction. When Satan understood that they had executed the Plan of God, he bit the dust: it was his greatest defeat. The death of Jesus on the cross was the salvation willed, conceived by God from the beginning. It was the plan He had decreed for the salvation of man immediately following the sin of our first parents.
In these times, when diabolical hatred is reaching its culminating point, a mystery of love is in preparation for the salvation of humanity: Divine Love will also attain its apogee. How do we react when faced with these events? Let us be very careful to regard everything with views of faith. We need to have human prudence, of course, but above all we need to have faith and believe that it is God who is acting through all these events.
Churches are closed all over the world. Public officials prohibit all gatherings. They are afraid of the corona virus. Forbidding access to the sacraments, Holy Mass and Communion, cannot come from God. It is a diabolical phenomenon contrary to God. But God will draw glory out of it. It makes me enormously sad that the perpetual adoration by the faithful has stopped at Montmartre, where it had been maintained even during the bombardments of the Second World War. The situation could have been managed differently, by setting up a certain control the way it is done to keep other institutions and businesses open. Perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a lightning rod for the nations. The purpose of perpetual adoration is to assure an uninterrupted prayer for the Church, for the nation, for the world. I am certain that the adorers are suffering enormously over being deprived of it.
We have made a call for more prayer. May each person do his part and give more time to adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, where Jesus is really present. If we pray humbly, salvation will come. Salvation is God. He is calling us. We must pray with humility, striking our breast. Let us make the humble prayer of the publican who struck his breast, not that of the Pharisee who found satisfaction in himself and condemned others: “Those people did this and that! But I am not like the rest of men.” Oh no! Let us examine our own life instead: Let us humble ourselves and weep over our sins before God. Considering the lights and graces we have received, we ought to be giants of sanctity. In the profoundest depths of our soul, let us be convinced that with all these graces we have received, we are worse than the others, guiltier before God. Much will be required of the one who has received much, says Jesus. All the more will be demanded of the one to whom more has been given.2
Let us frequent the sacraments – Mass, Communion, Confession – which are currently prohibited almost everywhere. To make up for this, we ought to frequent them more, multiply them here. We ought to compensate with more Masses, more Communions, more adorations, more confessions – always with humility, otherwise our prayer will be rejected by Heaven. God resists the proud and gives His grace to the humble.3 The Blessed Virgin sings in Her Magnificat: He who is mighty exalts the humble…But He deploys all the strength of His arm to scatter the proud in the conceit of their heart, and He puts down the mighty from their throne.4
With humility, let us ask pardon for ourselves, for the Church, for our brothers. Let us compensate, entreat, adore! When we are in front of the Blessed Sacrament, when we are praying alone in our room as the Gospel says5, let us enter into these dispositions. Thus the current woes will truly be a blessing that will transform our souls. In that case, this virus deserves to be crowned (corona virus): it will draw us nearer to God! Let us bless the Lord!
There is panic everywhere. The Church has always had its frailties, but it has never closed its doors, especially in times of calamities when the faithful had a greater need of divine assistance. Today, the doors to the sacraments are closed to almost everyone. Some good people are saying, “We follow Mass on television.” On the set, you are looking at the image of the Blessed Sacrament. It is not the Host you are looking at, it is an image that makes you think of Jesus in the Eucharist. But it is not the Eucharist. When I am in front of the Host, I am in front of God personally present. When I view Mass on television, I am not in the presence of the sacrifice of Calvary, I am in front of a representation. To really participate in the Mass, you have to leave your home – if possible – and go to attend it. The Blessed Sacrament is not an image or a representation, it is God really present.
In your home, you can adore Jesus Host in spirit, but you are not in front of the Real Presence. Still, it is better than nothing. If you look at an image of Jesus Host and it stimulates you to pray, that is fine, even very fine. But as the Authority of the Church, I cannot say that the image is the equivalent of the Real Presence. That is not what Jesus teaches us. We cannot institute things that Jesus has not instituted. Jesus wanted to abide with us by the Real Presence of the Eucharist, not only by an image on a screen or on paper. He wanted to conceal Himself in bread at the moment of the consecration, and it is in this form that He wants to be adored by His children.
The Church has always taught spiritual communion. I have recommended it to many of our friends myself. You can derive great profit from it if you are attentive in doing it. But it is not Sacramental Communion. When you make a Sacramental Communion, it is really Jesus that you receive in you. Jesus says, My Flesh is food indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me and I in Him.6
When the first Christians went to the catacombs to attend the Sacred Mysteries, each one of them was exposing himself to being arrested, recognized as a Christian and led to his death. It was a risk, an immediate danger, worse than the corona virus. They ran the risk of a death with extreme tortures. The case of Saint Tarcisius is not an isolated one. Christians exposed their lives to go and bring the Holy Eucharist – Sacramental Communion – to their brothers who were going to die. Certainly they already believed in spiritual communion, but they risked their lives for Sacramental Communion. Little Tarcisius died stoned to death, having exposed himself in this manner. That is the Church, that is its truth. The Church, especially in times of calamity, has the duty to proclaim the truth.
It is a Church effort that we are making, in a spirit of humility, to compensate, supplement, and touch the Heart of God with great love, great faith, great humility. I expose these facts to communicate my sorrow to you when I see the churches closed. I am not casting stones at the clergy, but it really hurts me. I have an immense sorrow for all the adorers who love God and are now deprived of adoring Him in His sanctuaries. They have no choice; on the other hand, these faithful will continue adoring in their homes. This gesture will be great before God. In their heart they will adore God, praying in front of a cross or a pious image. They will think of the Blessed Sacrament whom they adored at Montmartre or elsewhere.
Give more and more time to adoration. Great graces come from silent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Something divine takes place in our soul. As Saint Louis Mary de Montfort said, “We can only conceive of this good from experience.” Words cannot explain it, you have to live it.
The rosary is also a wonderful devotion. There is nothing more beautiful than to meditate on the mysteries of the lives of Jesus and Mary. You say Hail Marys as you contemplate the mystery. Besides the fifteen traditional mysteries, you can also contemplate any other mystery of the life of Jesus and Mary. Say the Hail Marys slowly: that prayer will make you enter into contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament.
There is no set formula for everyone, each soul is different. Each one of you is a singular soul that God cherishes above all others. When you are with God, you are the only one who counts in His eyes. You are alone with Him, He attends to you personally. His treatment concerning you is specific. You must be attentive: what He does is made to measure for you. He is the One who makes you enter into contemplation. You cannot really pray unless God inspires you. God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying: Abba, Father!7
In adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, it is Jesus who comes to pray in you and offer you a special grace at that moment. We must enter into contact with God. We can take a guide, a means that helps us enter into contemplation, but the contact, the grace comes to us from Him.
Normally, it is the creature who ought to give himself to his Creator. When you are in adoration, you discover that it is the Creator who gives Himself to you. This thought mortifies you, it is a humiliation that fills you with love. Adoration makes us humble, we who are so proud by our fallen nature. God gives Himself to us! Our little gift is so meager, so puny compared to His divine gift. When you adore, when you are in contemplation, and you realize that it is God who is giving the gift, you are humbled, embarrassed, but it is an embarrassment full of love. We thought we had given something to God, and we discover our egoism, our pettiness, our egocentrism, our vanity, our lack of generosity. We contemplate the gift that God gives us, this God who gives Himself: the gift in essence. Adoration is done very simply, it is not a cerebral effort. We are in front of God to praise Him and adore Him, to glorify Him, to compensate.
It may happen that you have nothing to say. Then you get down on your knees and prostrate yourself. If you feel cold, prostrate yourself even more. Do not be shy to prostrate yourself, face to the ground. Oh! what a beautiful adoration! Prostrate yourself, adore, humble yourself. Then you get back up, you contemplate Jesus and you prostrate yourself again. You become aware of your nullity, this nothing, this coward that you are, and God gives Himself to you.
The Virgin Mary made this adoration, prostrating Herself before Her God, face to the ground. Then She would get back up so that She could prostrate Herself again, could make a complete adoration before God. She did it dozens and sometimes hundreds of times, continuing this practice until she reached an advanced age. Mary was already making these adorations prior to the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. After the death of Jesus, you can imagine the prostrations She must have made before the Real Presence, and with what reverence She made this gesture! She would rise and prostrate Herself again to make a physical act of humiliation, to lower Herself to the dust, serenely. She would remain for a moment and then rise again.
I recommend that you make this prostration thirty-three times, to honor the thirty-three years of the life of Jesus. Make these adorations unhurriedly. “Lord, what is my prayer worth? I want to do as the Virgin did, as Your Mother did.” There are various ways of doing adoration. Love will inspire you. Prostrating oneself stimulates our attention. We are fragile. This gesture keeps us alert, especially during nighttime adoration when, despite ourselves, fatigue can overwhelm us.
If you really enter into prayer, God will do the rest. He sees your good will: you want to love Him, you humble yourself before Him, and He will manifest Himself to you. God speaks to each person, not with sounds or noises; He speaks to the heart. He communicates Himself to the person who humbles himself, lowers himself before Him. The soul comes out more humiliated, even more mortified. It is in this spirit of adoration that we ought to compensate for others. Many graces depend upon it.
You adore in the name of the Holy Church, for yourselves, for all our brothers of the earth, in union with these dear men and women who no longer have this privilege, this pleasure, this joy they had of being in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, because so many churches no longer permit it. You offer their prayers, their sufferings to God. “My God, intervene! I offer You my adoration in union with these people who are suffering, who want to be in Your presence.”
This prayer will change the world more than any discourses. Discourses are necessary, but it is God who touches souls through our words. God uses our words, but it is always His grace that touches hearts, and not us or our words.
The first worship that man must render to God is to adore Him. Adoring is a lot more than prostrating oneself. Adoring is recognizing the sovereign domain of God, our Creator. In sorrow, in suffering, when we apply ourselves to recognizing the hand of God working and acting, and then we give thanks to God, that is the summit of adoration. Not only must we submit because we have no choice. To submit, to accept is already very good – but to enter so completely into the plan of God that we thank Him! “Lord, thank You! Thank You for this trouble that is happening to me, thank You for all the sorrows that come my way. Thank You, Lord!” When that Thank You is full of gratitude towards God, it is the summit of the adoration we can render to God.
God is waiting for this act of devotion from the Apostles of the Latter Times. We are going to spread this devotion all over the world. First we have to practice it. Are we hurting? Instead of complaining and murmuring in our heart, let us say: Thank You, Lord! The worst sins of the Jewish people, as related in the Bible, were idolatry and murmuring. By adoring God in suffering, we do the contrary. We adore God and we thank Him: “Thank You, Lord, for the least trouble that happens to me. It is not the devil or a human who is making me suffer, it is You, Lord, who are acting behind these instruments. Thank You!” Without others even noticing it, our heart rises up to God.
Beneath the eye of God, with tears of gratitude, let us say: “My God, You give this to me, a vile being like me? I can adore You like this… me? My God, You honor me too much!” God is waiting for this devotion from us to transmit it to the world. The world will live it. It will be something rarely seen in the history of humanity. Having lived it, we will be able to promote it. May God help you to do it good-heartedly. Give thanks to God for all the woes, in the name of our brothers of the earth: “Lord, thank You for these graces. It is mercy that You are sending us.” Over one-third of the world’s population is forced to stay home at the moment. “Lord, are we going to profit from it? My God, give us a powerful grace!”
Grace presents itself under two aspects: actual grace and habitual grace. Habitual grace is the life of God in us, the state of grace. Actual grace is the help that God gives us to accomplish at every moment the good that He expects of us. Grace is an infinite intervention of God. From moment to moment, grace is distinct for each one of the seven billion human beings on earth. All of us, sinners, at the very moment we fall into sin, God intervenes to pick us back up and draw us to Himself. His grace works in an infinite manner in each one of the scenarios of our life, especially in moments of suffering. But we have to pray.
We are living in a time of blessings such as humanity has not had for a long time. Let us pray, render this devotion to God: “My God, thank You! You are taking the means to bring us back to You, for we are too frivolous, we are distracted, we think only of having a good time. I want to enter into Your plan, I want Your grace, Your help for me, for my brothers. Thank You, Lord, for intervening.” The present sufferings are blessings from God. Many people, still too few, are taking advantage of this time of grace. The future will depend on our reaction.
The situation inspires gestures of charity, but above all else it inspires the thought of God. Many people talk about the charitable works that are being performed, but the media do not mention that people are thinking more about God. Families are uniting, and that is very good, but above all we must unite with God. If we were to make all these fine gestures without thinking about God, it would be worth very little. Charity always has great value, but we must practice it for the purpose of pleasing God. The first charity is to think of God and to serve Him. He is waiting for us to think of Him, to do something for Him. Considering the seven billion human beings on earth, there are too few who are turning to God. Since people are forced to stay home, they have the occasion to pray more, to reflect a little. We humans are so distracted, we do not think about our eternity. God is giving us a chance. “My God! What goodness! What mercy! We deserve to be struck with the rod, and You strike us gently, so gently.” Being forced to stay home disconcerts a lot of people. Even so, they can still eat and even have a little fun. If people react well, we could avert the worrisome scenarios that are looming on the horizon. It all depends on our comportment.
God asks us for little things: a certain restriction that is going to last a little longer. Will there be anything else? No matter. What would it be worth to spend a lot of time on earth without preparing for eternity while I am here? What would it be worth to live a long time if I do not think about my eternity? The current pandemic is the finest scenario possible if it leads me to a blessed eternity, if it leads me to do a little more for God. The martyrs rejoiced in times of persecution: “We will do a little more for God, perhaps we will have the chance of being martyrs. What a bargain!” As for us, we are afraid of suffering: “Will there be less food on the table?… Will I lack anything?” We are afraid of going hungry, afraid of being cold, afraid of being tired, afraid of everything; we are afraid of being afraid.
We ought to give thanks to God when He gives and also when He takes: “Lord, if You take this thing from me, thank You in advance. I am ready, but come to my assistance! I am a coward, I am afraid of suffering. But I trust in You, for I know that You will help me and that Your grace will act in me.” Just saying thank You to God in every circumstance will lead you to a summit in this cult of adoration that we owe Him. God is waiting for a sacrifice of praise from His children, especially in trials. He sends us chastisements a little unwillingly: “Thank You, my God. It is for our good, You are too kind. We have abandoned You. You are taking things in hand, and we complain.”
Some go to the point of blasphemy. If there is anything that hurts God, it is blasphemy. People even blaspheme Him when they are in abundance. God acts gently, because humans will blaspheme Him. As for us, let us bless Him in these little sufferings and in any other suffering, which may well be more considerable. “My God, we do not deserve so much attention on Your part. We ought to be attentive to You, and it is You who are attentive to us.” The roles are reversed. The creature should be totally attentive to his Creator. God is attentive to the good of His creature, His child, and the creature is fickle, distracted, frivolous, occupied with earthly things, as if there were nothing more after death. If we do not take care, distractions and complaints can arise even with the elite among humans, those who make a profession of serving God.
May our lives be lives of Magnificat, of gratitude in all sorts of sufferings. Let us show it good-heartedly, more and more. Praising God when you suffer is more than prostrating yourself before the Blessed Sacrament. To adore God, to bless Him in suffering, to thank Him, is an apogee of adoration. God is inviting us to do it with love. He is observing us to see whether we are going to profit from this pandemic, which is a divine blessing.
All sorts of little sufferings are going to come. We are at the beginning of the first phase. Don’t be afraid. Put your trust in God. If we do not praise God at this start of the test, soon we will not be praising Him at all. If we complain when God barely starts to intervene for our good, what will we do later? I know that your heart wants it, so let us do it all together according to God’s expectation, according to the expectation of His Infinite Love. If we do it, the world will do it. We are already doing it, but we will do it even better.
1 Extracts of messages by Jesus to Sister Consolata Betrone – Aug. 24, 1934; Nov. 15, 1935; Apr. 29, 1942; see page 119 of the present issue.
2 St. Luke 12:48.
3I St. Peter 5:5.
4Cf. St. Luke 1:51-52.
5Cf. St. Luke 1:51-52.
6St. John 6:56-57.
7St. Paul, Galatians 4:6.
Sign of the Cross
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Mother of God. Amen.
O Jesus! We are going to walk with You on the road to Calvary which was so painful for You. Make us understand the greatness of Your sufferings, touch our hearts with tender compassion at the sight of Your torments, in order to increase in us the regret of our faults and the love we wish to have for You.
Deign to apply to all of us the infinite merits of Your Passion, and in memory of Your sorrows, show mercy to the souls in Purgatory, especially to those who are most abandoned.
O Divine Mary, who first taught us to make the Way of the Cross, obtain for us the grace to follow Jesus with the sentiments Your Heart was filled with as You accompanied Him on the road to Calvary. Grant that we may weep with You, and that we may love Your divine Son as You do. We ask this in the name of His adorable Heart. Amen.