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.
(more)
___________________
 
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.
_____________________
 
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.
_____________________
 
 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."
_____________________
 
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.
    

Heading 3

Heading 2

 
   
A visitor to the site submitted the following message, shown immediately below, 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.
                                                                                                   B.
 
Dear B,
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 suggest.  He does not love us more at one time and less at another, not for any reason, not even for 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 keeps us closed to receiving the fullness of God's love. God does not love us less because of our defects, but our defects make us less open to receive His Love. 
 
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 doing so receives more love.  And what is it that makes the difference?  What 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 make God first in our life and our love.  Our defects, basically our self-absorption, keep us closed.  It is important to know what kind of defect it is that closes us to His Love. I believe it's simply misplaced love.
 
 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, does not love Him with all his heart and soul, will impede his relationship to God, not because God loves him less, but because these shortcomings, defects cause us to love him less than we should. Jesus did not love the other thief less than Dismas, but the other thief did not turn to Christ, as Dismas did, and therefore could not receive the redeeming Love of Christ. 
 
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. 
 
The difference between the two thieves is instructive, I think.  Dismas' lifetime of defects (and they must have been pretty serious) did not keep Jesus from loving him and making of this thief the first fruit of His redemptive Love. No. But what makes Christ's redemptive Love effective for the good thief is Dismas' sudden love of Christ, expressed when the thief suddenly turns to Jesus and acknowledges Him.  This turning is what allowed Christ's Love to save him.  This complete and absolute turning to Christ is what distinguishes the life of a saint. The rest of us are just learning how to turn, how to turn with full understanding that our life and salvation depends upon it.  Tradition has it that the Good Thief's turning to Christ was in response to Mary's prayers for him. The other thief remained closed to grace, to Christ's Love and Mary's prayer.
 
Our defects should not discourage us. Rather, they remind us of our need to turn, as Dismas did, to a Love that has no bounds.  It's only in this turning that we discover Christ's Mercy, and His Love then becomes very real and experiential.  That was why St. Paul could say, when I am weak I am strong. And it should be our understanding, too, of how we are to go to Jesus Christ in our very weakness, with these very defects. We can't overcome these defects ourselves, but He can overcome them in us when we turn to Him acknowledging them, acknowledging them in all simplicity, trusting in His Love, as I believe you have been doing.
 
Blessings,

Editor
Servant’s Song