‘Gold is purified in the fire.’ So tribulation purifies and fortifies the soul, and the time of temptation is of great profit both to you and to souls.’
(Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez)
Today, December 29, we mark the 95th anniversary of the death of Sister Josefa Menendez, the humble nun who wrote “The Way of Divine Love” in obedience to her superiors. In paperback from TAN, or on Kindle. We’ve written about the beautiful Way of Divine Love before (here) and about Sister Josefa’s deep devotion to the Divine Infant (here). But now, we will focus on the most often overlooked or misunderstood concept in Josefa’s writings: true humility.
The writings of Sister Josefa echo in many ways the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and one can discern a hint of them in Sister Lucia’s writings as well. I strongly suspect that the true writings of Sister Lucia would bear even more resemblance to both of them were we to have access to them. This is because Our Lord Jesus Christ has been telling us in no uncertain terms, what is necessary to counter-act the arrogant self-centeredness which prevails in the world today.
Tragically, this selfishness has so captivated the souls of mankind that today among the vast majority of people, there is a rigid resistance to Our Lord’s plea for humility of heart. Mankind has developed a resistance to the grace of God much as some disease bacteria develop a resistance to antibiotics, and now it is common in our culture to despise the “poor in spirit” as lacking in self esteem, and to care not a whit for the “Kingdom of Heaven”.
It is true that the Message of Divine Love is Christ’s plea for our love but it is also a valuable reminder that we must become truly as a little child, poor in spirit, meek and pure of heart in order to be able to receive His love, Otherwise we risk succumbing to the darkness that cannot grasp the light. The worldly are unable to grasp Our Lord’s words to St. Margaret Mary:
“If I had been able to find a creature more miserable than you,” He said to Saint Margaret Mary, “I should have chosen her….”
And to Sister Josefa:
“If I could have found a more wretched creature, I should have chosen her for my special love, and through her revealed the longings of My Heart. But I have not found one, and so I have chosen you.” (June 7th, 1923).
Why does Our Lord speak so? Think on it. The devil draws us after him with sweetness, flattery, for he knows that hides his poison best. And we are so easily lured away from Christ! Do we really think that Christ will try to out-flatter the devil in order to lure us to His side with sweet words? God forbid!
Our Lord Jesus Christ loves us despite the ingrained sins and weakness which so distort the beauty of our souls. He knows that flattering and praising us will not free us from these deep sins; in fact, will only confirm us in them. Through devotion to His Sacred Heart, He offers us the flame of His Divine love which consumes in us all these weaknesses and impurities to strengthen us against the false promises of the ancient deceiver, if we allow it.
It is with those few who have kept His grace in their hearts, who seek His “hard sayings” that we share the truth of the Way of Divine Love.