This is why such a soul experiences excessive sadness and despair soon as signs of its own lack of integrity show up, with the consequence that it immediately feels unacceptable to God.  That’s why a sick soul is always hiding the truth from itself, the mechanism for which is endless self-justification. And why the correction of such a soul is always taken as rejection.
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On Helping Souls That Are Being Tried
Do not lose your serenity on account of those who are being tried.  Pray for them; offer the sufferings of My Passion and some acts of self-denial, some self-imposed sufferings for them.”
Jesus to Sister Mary of the Holy Trinity
 
When souls are being tried, what they need from you is deeper love of Me—so that, through you, I may give them the grace they need.  So you see, you need your serenity even more at such times.  Do not try to buy peace for souls by losing your own!  Offer up your act of self-denial at such times, so that the soul who is suffering may get the grace to accept in joy what she cannot change—through your free offering of love.  You will see more and more how you are all instruments in the communication of My Love, for one another as for yourselves.  The more you will understand that, the more you will love one another.
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On Feeling Unloved
Only the realization that I love you now, I, Jesus, who know all your misery, all your sins, the failure of your whole life, only the knowledge that I Who know how underserving you are of anyone‘s love, yet love you nevertheless with the Love of God Himself, can take away the pain and anxiety of feeling unloved by so many persons, and not undeservedly.
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 The Age of St. Bernard’s is not like Ours.
St. Bernard, commenting on the Canticle (Song of Songs)

"Or perhaps, drawn away and seduced by his own concupiscence, he is still being dangerously tempted. Such a soul as this does not need a Bridegroom but a Physician, and for this reason receives, not kisses or caresses, surely, but only remedies for wounds in oil and ointments."

Yes, Bernard, in your time this was true — for the time had not yet come to force men willy-nilly from the highways and byways to the wedding feast. Men were still strong and able to overcome concupiscence with a help of the Physician less than the Kiss of His Mouth, less than the embrace of His intimacy. But now we are as children, impatient as we are weak, and needing, therefore, to be fondled and kissed by the Mother and her spouse, by Mary and Jesus.  0 Bernard, those of your age, who could help yourselves, needed the Physician only to supply the ointments of which you speak. But we need the Kiss of this Bridegroom who condescends to the weakness of little ones, like this little one who is too weak to help himself and therefore cries out:
"Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth, for thy breasts are better than wine.  For my justification now is not that I am healed by the ointments of the Physician, but that I am in the arms of His Mother, that it is her purity that makes me worthy of His embrace, not my virtue."
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If Something Is Painful
It seems I always assume that if something is painful, it is evil and to be avoided. Then, when I am suffering, I begin to think, and I do not rest until I have discovered some truth which I hope will remove the pain. But I do not think I do this only because I want to avoid suffering: it is rather that I look upon suffering as a sign that I am wrong somehow, that God is displeased with me, and therefore something in me must be changed.
    

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Posting 38   

A visitor to the site submitted the following question, shown immediately below along with a reply from the site's editor.  
 
How can my defects cause the Father to love me less? That is so contrary to everything I have learned, been told, and believed. I thought God's love was unconditional. Please do explain.
 
Reply
Thank you for your note and the question you asked, which is a good one.  I too believe that God's Love of us is indeed constant, as you rightly suggest.  He does not love us more at one time and less at another, not for any reason, least of all our defects. The example of Dismas, the Good Thief, tells us that.  What is variable in our love relationship to God is our disposition to receive His Love, and it is precisely our defects that keep us closed to that love. God does not love us less because of our defects, but our defects make us less open to receive His Love, makes His love less effective in our lives.
 
Ask yourself what is it that distinguishes the relationship a saint has with God from the relationship others have who are not (yet) holy?   It isn't that God loves the saint more than the rest of us, but that the saint loves God more than the rest of us, and in so doing receives more of God's love just because the saint is open to it.  And why does the saint love God more than most of us?  Because he or she is open to the grace that moves the saint to love God more.


And what is it that keeps us from loving God the way a saint loves God? It's our defects, our tendency to love self more than God, our failures with respect to the First Commandment, which is to make God first in our life and our love.  Our defects are what keep us closed.  It is important, too, to know what kind of defect it is that closes us to His Love. I believe it's simply misplaced love, our self-absorbtion.
 
Consider Jesus' own words, recorded in the Gospel of John:  If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and my  Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling place with him.  It seems pretty clear that someone who does not keep God's word, who does not love Him with all his or her heart and soul, will impede their relationship to God, not because God loves that person less, but because these shortcomings close us off to that love, cause us to love something else more.  I don't think it true that Jesus loved the bad thief less than Dismas; the bad thief simply did not let Jesus love him.  He did not turn to Christ, as Dismas did, and therefore could not receive the redeeming Love that Christ thirsts to give each one of us, good or bad. 
 
So when Jesus said our defects prevent Him from loving us more, what He is referring to, I believe, is not that His Love is less because of our defects, but that the effects of His Love are less because of those defects.  If this were not so, than there is no difference between the two thieves, no difference between the saint and the one who is not (yet) a saint.  


Our defects should not discourage us.

Rather, they remind us of our need to turn to a Love that has no bounds, just as Dismas turned.  It's only in this turning that His Love becomes effective in us, real and personal.  Our defects in fact can encourage us to make that turn, the very moment we acknowledge  them and go to Him. That was why St. Paul could say, when I am weak I am strong.  And we should understand this for ourselves as well, that our very defects  can bring us to Jesus in the measure that they cause us to make that turn, like Dismas.  It's true that we can't overcome these defects ourselves, but Jesus can when we turn to Him,  acknowledging our defects in all simplicity, and trusting in His Love, as Dismas did, a bad thief who was made good, and as you have been doing. 
Blessings,
Editor
Servant’s Song   


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When I ask you to suffer for a soul,
it is not merely so that I may give grace
to that soul through you
as though you were merely a kind of aqueduct through which something passes without affecting you.  No!
I ask you to suffer for a soul because I love you so
much that I would use that soul as the occasion to
give you more grace — and then, by that grace, you love that soul in Me, so that I can in this way give grace to that soul.
I do not use you because you are perfect, but I
delight in My Omnipotence to use your very imperfec­tions to make you perfect. That, too, is why you should not allow yourself to become too
disturbed by the defects I show you in yourself as
you work for Me. Those defects are necessary. They are necessary for you because they enable Me to humble you as you work for Me, so that you always may see yourself as an unprofitable servant, and then I am always pouring more grace into your soul. And your very defects are useful for those with whom you work.
That is a secret of My Providence. And also
the remembrance of your sins against those you are bringing to Me is an occasion to pray more for them, so that I may turn your evil to their good.
 
Do you see how beautiful My Providence is?
How gentle, how graciously It takes you as you are, turns everything to your good and the good of your neighbor? Do you see how solicitous I am that you be always peaceful and contented in Me?
I desire you to despise your weaknesses, even your falls, in the trust you have in My Love as you work for Me. This does not mean that I want you not to resist temptation. The very contrary — you resist temptation by being with Me always, by trusting only in My Strength. But if, unfortunately, you should fall, I want you to trust in Me even more, because then you need Me more. It
is the devil who would use your sin to keep you from coming to Me, just when you need Me most — and he is clever enough to make it seem a pious thing to do — as though you would make yourself worthy of Me by your sadness, when the truth is that the Enemy is encouraging this sadness in order to lead you to despair, to give up your work for Me because you are not worthy of it.
But do you not see? It is just that which glorifies
Me, that I can use an instrument as corrupt as yourself for My glory and it is that which sanctifies you too — because not only do you receive the grace of working for Me, but I preserve you in this way from losing the graces you have won — even more, your peaceful turning to Me in your humiliations enables Me to give you
even greater graces than when you were unaware of your misery.
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"Let Him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth - for
thy breasts are better than wine."
0 Mary, my beloved Mother, it is you who are my justification with Jesus Whose Kiss I desire — it is the grace of your milk which is better than wine - because it lifts me out of myself, making me worthy of Jesus.
And I need the Kiss of Jesus, the wine of His Love,
or I will die. And yet there is nothing in myself to
merit that without which I cannot live.

But what is this Kiss of His Mouth? The mouth
signifies the part of the body by which love is
expressed as one mouth touches the other. It also signifies the organ of speech by which the word is spoken, and last, it is the organ by which nourishment is introduced into the body.  So here it seems that the "kiss of his mouth" signifies these three things,—
the union of love, for by the Eucharist I am united with Jesus in Love in His very Humanity, even as He communicates His Word to me, and in this very
communication my soul is nourished.

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I am like the air, the transparent medium through which all light comes to you,
but which itself is not seen.
I am like the light which causes everything else to be seen but which itself is not seen. When you seek Me you do not find Me because you look for Me as for a visible object. But you will know Me as the Principle from which everything good comes to you, Who loves you in each thing He sends you, and Who would be loved in each thing you receive. When you look for a formula through which to love Me, it is as though you should try to see light. When you seek a disposition in yourself by which you would feel worthy to approach Me, it is as if you were hoping to see the transparent medium through which light comes to you. When your mind rests on nothing, you are transparent to My Light, you want only what I want, as I want it. Then I take My delight in you, and others can see by My Light through you — because you do nothing to obstruct it with your ideas and desires. Then you love Me in perfect contentedness, and your happiness in Me is as the fragrance of the
rose — which is nothing more than its response to My Light and My warmth.

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