I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman

St. Louis de Montfort

There is a lot of enmity in the world today. With all that’s happened just in 2020, the preceding sentence could probably be called the understatement of the year.

With all of the contentions and divisions that we see in society today, especially between those who defy God’s laws and those who hold to the teachings of Christ and His Church, one can’t help but think of the words of Our Lord: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold”. (Matthew 24:12) 

Who would have thought that such an “advanced and civilized” society could be so divided on such obvious issues as whether an unborn child should or should not have the right to life? I am reminded of a writer that said that the more a civilization moves away from God, the more it falls back into barbarism.

It is important that we recognize that, ultimately, the struggle that is taking place in the world is “not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers,against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

It is the same struggle that has been going on since the fall of Lucifer and the other rebellious angels who were his first followers. Perhaps at no time in history has this struggle and the division between the followers of Christ and the followers of Lucifer – disguised though he be as an angel of light –  been more obvious.

The two standards as described by St. Ignatius of Loyola are unfurled and openly displayed.

Christ Himself has warned us that for everyone involved in this struggle, there can be no compromise      

He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23) 

 Now, enough of the doom and gloom for the present discussion. Such reflections are important and beneficial in their own right, but if we’re not careful can easily take over our thoughts, rob us of our peace of soul, and spread a shroud of gloom to those around us.

“Saints are not sad”, and joy is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Ghost, so let’s move on to a very bright, very cheerful subject: Mary, the Mother of God.

She is the “Cause of our Joy”, the “Comfort of the Afflicted” and the “Help of Christians”.

She is the solution to the problems that we face in the world today.

Pope St. Pius X said, “There is no surer or easier way than Mary in uniting all men with Christ.”

“I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman” 

Our Lady

This quote comes from the third chapter of the book of Genesis and are the words addressed by God to the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve. It is fascinating to consider that immediately following the first and most damaging victory of Satan over mankind, Almighty God pronounced Satan’s doom.

Satan may have thought that he had brought about the ruin of mankind, but God foretold that one of the daughters of mankind would bring about his complete and utter ruin.

The pride of Satan would be crushed by the humility of the Mother of God. The works of Satan would be brought to nothing by the handmaid of the Lord.

No doubt, most every Catholic has heard an explanation of this excerpt from Genesis. Many also know that when Christ spoke to his mother in the Gospels, he addressed her as “Woman” in order to point to her as the Woman foretold in Genesis.

He did this when he would work his first miracle, thus giving the first public sign of his divinity: “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.” He would again do this as He was hanging on the cross, accomplishing the Redemption of mankind: “Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold thy Mother.”

It was the will of God that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to have a very important role in the Redemption of man as well as a vital role in man’s sanctification and salvation. 

Perhaps no one explained this role better than St. Louis de Montfort. True Devotion to Mary is an incredible work, as is The Secret of the Rosary, and The Friends of the Cross.

Several Popes highly commended his writings and the special devotion to Mary that he practiced and preached. 

Pope Pius IX said that Saint Louis De Montfort’s devotion to Mary was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our Lady. 

Pope Leo XIII beatified him and granted a plenary indulgence to those who made the consecration to Mary that St. Louis promoted. 

Pope St. Pius X: “I heartily recommend True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin, so admirably written by [Saint] De Montfort, and to all who read it grant the Apostolic Benediction.”

Pope Pius XI  said that he had practiced this devotion from his youth.

Pope Pius XII canonized him a saint and declared that his “great secret of attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity was founded upon her, all his confidence rested in her. In opposition to the joyless austerity, melancholy fear and depressing pride of Jansenism, he promoted the filial, trustful, ardent and expansive love in action of a slave of Mary.”

The above examples show us how heartily the Church approves of this special devotion to Our Lady.

This is important.

The Church, the immaculate Bride of Christ, can only approve and promote that which is good and holy, for if She did otherwise, the promise of Christ to be with the Church would have failed.

That which is taught and promoted by the Church can only be good and lead to holiness.  

If you have never read True Devotion to Mary or The Secret of the Rosary by this Saint, take the time to do so. One fantastic advantage we have in our day is such easy access to a plethora of  Catholic books and writings, and we ought to take full advantage of this opportunity.

When we stand before God to render an account of our life and how well or poorly we fulfilled our obligation to know, love and serve Him, we will not have the excuse that we couldn’t have learned any more because we didn’t have the opportunity. The internet ( and in particular, Amazon’s 99 cent digital books) has robbed us of this excuse. 

The insight of St. Louis de Montfort when speaking of the Mother of God and of the Rosary is powerful and inspiring. 

Here are a few excerpts from this great Saint:

“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”

“For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children – not only in what concerns their body – which would be of little account – but also in what concerns their soul.”

“One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, nor the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the Head and the members are born of one and the same Mother; and if a member of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ—that is to say, one of the predestinate—was born of any other mother than Mary, who has produced the Head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but simply a monster in the order of grace.”

“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-and mark well what I say-if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”

Pius x

 

Let’s follow the advice of this holy Saint and devote ourselves to the Mother of God. Let’s be sure to take the time every day to do spiritual reading and fill our minds with good things, instead of only letting in the things of the world. (Garbage in, garbage out.) 

Pray the Rosary every day. If we tell ourselves that we don’t have time for it, let’s take a look at the screen time on our phones or the amount of time that we spend on Youtube and ask ourselves if we can’t make a little time for the Queen of Heaven. 

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination.” 

–St. Bernard

Website Update Summer 2020

As there have been many people writing in and asking if the blog is still being maintained, I thought it might be a good idea to put up a quick post and letting the readers know what is going on.

I had a premonition that 2020 was going to be one of “those” years and it has certainly has been.  This year we had another child, worked on getting a private school going, set up a chapel, built a homestead and tried to keep sane.  Of course, dealing with all of the mess with covid hasn’t been fun either.  Satan has been up to his tricks and this has been annoying as most can imagine.

2020 has brought its difficulties, but it has also brought some great gains and one of them is help for this blog.  Fr. Geckle (CMRI) will now be making regular contributions to this blog and will be available to answer questions that our readers have.  He also might decide to correct all of my grammar as he is a bit of school teacher….

I have gotten to know Father and can attest to his love of God and his desire to help save souls.  I will welcome his help with the blog and his future posts as i’m sure you, the reader, will as well.

You can look for his first post sometime next week.  This post will be something dear to my heart and it is about a true devotion to Our Lady.

Giving Thanks

It is the time of year, in the US, that we cook (fry, smoke, etc.) the turkey, gather with family (if you have any nearby) and feast, nap, and typically watch football. It is an American Tradition! What usually is missing from this day is a quiet reflection on what we are thankful for.

I do remember a time growing up where we gathered as a family, and all said what we are thankful for. Usually, this was right before we said the “blessing” and ate, so everyone was very quick to throw something out there so we can get to the food.

This isn’t a bad thing, but I’m reminded it is little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. This thought, of course, brought to mind the subtle reality of just how much we owe to God and just how little we return thanks.

I started this year apart from God. I started this year in a false religion, a false faith, false sacraments, and I started this year with the intellectual pride that I knew better than the Popes, the Magisterium, and the Saints and what they taught. I started this year on the road to hell due to pride.

Yet

God, our Merciful, Kind, Benevolent, Faithful, and Tender Lord had mercy. Our Lady, through countless rosaries, said so badly, kept on praying for me. St. Philomena, our family patroness took pity on us and through the intercessions of the saints, angels and our immaculate Mother, God gave me and my family the gift to accept the Truth and to accept the Faith as it once was delivered.

I’m thankful that the Gates of Heaven have been opened. I am grateful that I know the sacraments I partake in are valid. I’m thankful that I can receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of our Blessed Lord at Mass.

I’m thankful that the Spirit of God has been given to me in Confirmation. I’m grateful for the few but faithful priests that travel all over, get very little to no sleep, that never stop just to provide us with the sacraments of our Faith.

This year, I could thank God for where I live, the home I have, the profession I am in, the income I have, the friend I have, and I should do so, but in reality, all of that is destined for burning.

The only thing that really matters is Our Lord Has shown Mercy. For that, I will praise the Lord and try my best for the rest of my life here on earth (and through God’s mercy hopefully one day in heaven) to give him a worthy return for all of the benefits he has bestowed upon me.

So I challenge you to take a moment today and say a prayer. Offer a rosary intention for those that don’t have the Faith and pray that they, too, may receive the grace to return to the Father.

Finally, never forget to return thanks for the Faith that you have been given and never do anything that might jeopardize it.

The Hands That Bring You Jesus

I have always found a lot of food for thought in contemplating hands: specifically, the hands of Christ. There are entire devotions devoted to the wounds of Christ, but for some reason, the hands of Christ have always fascinated me.  

The hands that gave blessings, that washed feet, that healed the sick, and were willingly laid out on wood and pierced all because Jesus desired to obey His Father and, simply put, loved me – and you – so much.  

They remind me much of the hands of an older woman; A grandmother that has given her life to serve her family. They are old and wrinkled. You will find evidence of scars, burns, bruises, and they aren’t really pretty anymore, but they also speak of a life of service.  

Christ’s hands weren’t worn out over 80 years of being on this earth. The 33 years were enough, and the passion itself was the final evidence of his supreme love and life of service for poor sinners. If we lift our eyes off of this world and behold the pierced hands, the hands that are full of life, of healing, and see them dripping with blood, blood that has purchased our salvation – we begin to glimpse just how precious the hands of Jesus are.  

In this same vein, the hands of those that are ordained are precious as well. In yesteryear, the faithful would kiss the hands of their Priest when they met. It wasn’t just the padre pio’s that have born the wounds of Christ visible, Catholics everywhere recognized just how special the gift of ordination was and what it truly meant. This sacrament was something that truly set these men apart spiritually and physically, and it had very real ramifications on how they were to be treated and reverenced. 

I was reminded of all of this yesterday. We invited our Priest over for an afternoon of southern food (it is our duty to fatten them up you know…), but prior to our feasting, we were privileged to have Mass celebrated at our home. This wasn’t the first time. In fact, it has occurred several times, and we are always excited and honored that we are able to do this. 

When you stop and consider what is going on – it is just such a special treat. Our Lord, Jesus, is shortly going to be in my home in a very real and visible way. My home is going to be a special place set apart for the Lord. The King is coming for a visit.  

It is a grand and humbling thought. It is also such an exciting thought. While many people would think of this as the King is coming – rolling out the red carpet – extra cleaning – making sure everything is in perfect order – and this is a good thought and thing to do, my mind wasn’t really going in that direction.  

I likened it to when Jesus went to visit His friends, Sts. Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazurus. We honor our King, but we relish that this King is also our Particular Friend. Our Friend, our Saviour, our Favorite, our delight was soon to be amongst us and who brings Him: our Priest.  

What a special privilege priest have; They bring Jesus with them. What great company priest have and what a joy it is that they can bring our beloved to us.  

So what has all of this to do with hands?

Ever since the time I started attending a Latin Mass, I always have had younger kids. Most of my time at Mass has been spent making sure the kids are behaving. If you have younger ones, you know how difficult it is. “Don’t touch your sibling.” “Sit up straight.” “No, you can’t go to the bathroom.” “Stop squirming.” You get the idea…  

Thankfully, I now have many older kids (who can also help with the younger ones), so I was almost left alone during Mass. I was able to observe the hands of our Priest during Mass – the very same hands that were bringing our best Friend to us to both see Him and to receive Him. 

I have never served at Mass before – so this was the first time I was able to observe all of the rubrics up close. As I watched him go through the actions to confect the sacrament, I couldn’t help but envy him (in the best way). He holds power to bring Christ our Savior down – to hold Him physically in his hands and to give life to those that will receive Him. 

What struck me the most was the particular care in which Christ is reverenced on the Altar by the Priest. I never knew just how much time and care was taken to make sure not one piece; not one small particle was left. The linen is scraped as if someone was looking for the only thing that would save his life. I have never seen such care in my life. Excessive? No, not in the least.  

This speaks to what our Holy Mother the Church has decreed about Christ being truly present on the Altar. Our Church has commanded her sons to not just be careful, but to treat it as if a life is at stake. The holy hands of our Priest are making sure that the King will not be left to be mistreated, to be abused, to be ignored and that a sacrilege can not occur.

Throughout the Mass, the highest respect, reverence, and care is called for by the rubrics to be sure that Christ is honored, and that those that aren’t Priest – the laity – know by the rubrics that we, as Catholics, believe in transubstantiation. This didn’t happen by accident. Our Holy Mother the Church has faithfully passed down the Mass since the beginning. Our Church has faithfully guarded the Mass so that the average person in the pew will always know that Christ is with us.  

You see, only the Priest has this special gift. Only he can bring Christ to us. Through the gift of ordination, these hands are now different. They are set apart. They and they alone are fit and worthy to handle the most precious body and blood of Our Lord. 

I recall a story that encouraged Archbishop Sheen to spend 1 hour each day before our Lord In Adoration, and I will include it below then draw this post to a close. 

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The narrative that follows is an adaptation of the English translation of an unnamed priest’s first-hand account of the events that happened during the Communist takeover in China (presumably around 1949.

Uncertain times

When the Communists first came into town, the parish priest started to feel uneasy about his fate not knowing how the intruders would act. During each day that passed, he paid keen attention to every din or commotion that transpired outside the Church as he knelt in prayer inside. He was on edge expecting to be executed at any moment.

Just a day after the unwelcome band of soldiers arrived, someone paid him a visit. Thinking it was the police, he was struck with terror. Could this be his end? But contrary to his worst fears, the man at the door turned out to be cordial. As they conversed in Chinese, he was told to proceed with his daily routine. As they parted, his guest accepted a cigar, bowed and eventually left seemingly contented.

Days, weeks and months passed without any untoward incident. He would run into soldiers in the streets but they would only look at him with a straight, cold face but not without a dose of curiosity. Once, he felt perturbed when a certain inspector dropped by to see him. 

Turning the tables

One beautiful summer’s day, just when things seemed to be settling down, the dreadful gang of communists finally descended on the town to turn things upside-down. Four soldiers and the inspector unceremoniously barged into the Priest’s school house.

The inspector announced to the shocked schoolchildren that sweeping and drastic changes would be implemented from then on. In one fell swoop, the fearsome commander and his cohorts began tearing down the crucifix, holy pictures, blackboards and statues from the walls and laid them on the desks.

In a stentorian voice, he barked orders at the terrified children to put the articles in a box and to take them to the toilet while he threatened them with his handgun. In spite of the harsh treatment, the children resisted but eventually complied reluctantly. 

An icon of resistance

But deep back in the room, sat a little girl in her desk; unmoving, with hands folded, and lips tightly shut. As the inspector caught sight of her, he immediately rushed in her direction and shouted curses at her. Mad as hell, he threatened her, “Take this!” But the girl only looked down and hardly flinched thus sending the rest of the terrorized children to gawk with bated breath.

Amidst the ghastly silence, a shot rang out shattering glass and driving the children into tears and screams. The violent disturbance attracted curious townsfolk to gather in front of the school.

The inspector kept on shouting furiously. And yet the little girl remained silent, still frozen like a statue, a big tear rolling off her cheek. At the point of losing composure at the girl’s staunch yet quiet defiance, he turned his ire at the crowd and snapped, “Go find this girl’s father and bring the townspeople here in the church!” 

Desecration of the Hosts

As the Church filled with people, the little girl’s father was ushered in with hands bound behind his back and placed to the right of the communion rail. Immediately, the girl was forcefully shoved into the communion rail.

The inspector spoke to the crowd and mocked the people’s belief in the Real Presence. And in a malicious and sarcastic tone, he announced that they were tricked into believing that God is present in the tabernacle. In fact, he told them he and his gang of soldiers would stamp on the Hosts with their boots to show nothing would happen.

Then the soldiers rushed on to the tabernacle and forced it opened with their revolvers. The tense crowd watched in silent disbelief. The inspector seized the ciborium, took the lid off and scattered the Hosts on the sanctuary floor.

Egging on his soldiers, he ordered them to go and step on the Hosts. And without hesitation they carried out the dastardly act. Not content with that, he taunted the crowd, “Do you still believe in those fairytales your priest told you?”

Turning to the child’s father he asked him if he still believed. No sooner did the father say yes did the inspector order him to be hauled away.

Dispersal

A non-commissioned officer then entered the scene who spoke with the inspector. They reached an agreement and the inspector submitted to higher authority. The crowd was told to disperse leaving the little girl alone in the communion rail.

The soldiers incarcerated the Priest in the Church’s coal bin where a small opening allowed him to see the area of the sanctuary where the Hosts lay strewn on the floor as well as the little girl who was leaning on the wall.

A beautiful lady

While peering through the opening, the Priest saw a lovely young woman clad in beautiful garments enter and smile. As she hugged her, she said, “Poor child! Poor little one, what have these men done to you? Come with me. Will you?” The child broke into sobs and sought comfort in the woman’s arm and they left. 

Witnessing a marvel from his cell

As time went by, the Priest lost track of hours and days while imprisoned in the coal bin. He endured the stillness of the surroundings and at times he heard sounds he wasn’t used to. One morning, he heard the door open quietly. Through the little opening, the Priest saw the little Chinese girl sneaking ever so carefully into the sanctuary, kneeling and bowing in homage. As she lowered her head, she took a desecrated Host with her tongue. She raised her head, folded her hands, closed her eyes and prayed in silence. Several moments later, she arose and departed.

Every morning the Priest witnessed the uplifting scene that became a source of comfort inside the dark and somber environs of his makeshift prison cell. There he eagerly waited the break of dawn expecting to see the sweet, enchanting, little girl receive and adore the Host. Though it occurred many times, he couldn’t recall how often times she came to practice the soul-stirring daily ritual. 

A Heroic Death

But alas, the day of final reckoning arrived. As the little heroine went through her daily pious exercise one morning; knees bent, hands folded and absorbed in deep prayer, the church door behind her burst open. Tumultuous screams stirred the air and a shot rang out.

As the Priest hurriedly looked through his peephole, he saw the pallid little girl crawl agonizingly along the floor as she reached a Host to receive Holy Communion. When the soldier drew near to check on her, she tried in vain to pull herself up and to fold her hands. Instead she fell on her back and hit her head on the floor with a thud. The little Chinese girl-martyr lay dead motionless on the floor. For a moment, the soldier stood hesitant not knowing what to make of his deed and its fatal outcome. Finally, he turned around and stormed out of the Church.

Set free

The moving yet harrowing scene left the Priest in a state of shock. While he pondered on that painful experience, his prison door opened and the same soldier went in to announce that he was free to go.

Without any hesitation, he scampered towards the sanctuary to see the lifeless little girl. As he knelt besides her, the soldier approached him and uttered, “Sir, if in every town there was such a little girl, no soldier would ever fight for the Communists!”

Fortunately, the Priest still had time to give the little martyr a decent burial. As he left the cemetery and walked along the road, a man approached and invited him into his car. He dropped him off at the border.

References/resources: 

  1. HARRER, Karl Maria, Die schönsten Eucharistischen Wunder, Heft 1-5 (je 48 Seiten) Miriam Verlag, The Little Chinese Girl-Martyr of the Holy Eucharist

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What a story – a true story of belief in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. What a story of love for Jesus, and I hope you noticed something. Even in that horrible environment, she refused to touch Our Lord with her hands. Such was the reverence, love, and devotion she had for our Lord she would only get on her knees and bow herself down to receive the Body of Our Lord with her tongue 

Why did she do this? She believed, and she wanted to protect our Lord from abuse. Our Holy Mother The Church has shown her the way, and even in those dire circumstances, she didn’t dare to pretend she had right to touch the Lord with her hands. 

This is the faith that was handed to us.  

So why bring all of this up?  

It is yet one more evidence that the novus order religion is not the Catholic Church. The Church can only bring us that which is Good. The Church can never – ever – approve of a rite that can lead us away from that which is Holy and God. The Church would never approve of a rite that devalues the sacrifice of the Mass. She would never approve of a rite that says the “priest is just a presider” and not make the central focus of the Mass the Emulation of Christ. 

Our Faith, Our religion, Our Church has spent 2,000 years living and dying to protect the Mass, protecting Christ in the sacrament so that no matter what, no sacrilege could ever occur. 

The novus ordo religion says I can receive Jesus in my hands. That is a lie from the pits of hell meant to send us to hell. If I can touch Jesus in the sacrament, if Priest aren’t special, then pretty soon no one believes in the real presence of Christ and that was the entire purpose of communion in the hands. 

Look around at those in the Novus Ordo – as a whole – they don’t believe anymore. 

The hands that bring us Jesus are special. They are ordained for that purpose. If I only had one reason for choosing the path that I have traveled and have accepted as true, namely, the sedevacantist position, this would have been enough right here.  

Any person that claims to be a pope, bishop, or a priest that tells us that we can do this – you can know for certain it didn’t come from God, and they are heretics that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

Union Of Our Will With God During Tribulations – St. Francis De Sales

THAT THE UNION OF OUR WILL WITH THE GOOD-PLEASURE OF GOD TAKES PLACE PRINCIPALLY IN TRIBULATIONS.
PAINFUL things cannot indeed be loved when considered in themselves, but viewed in their source, that is, in the Divine Will and Providence which ordains them, they are supremely delightful.
Look at the rod of Moses upon the ground, and it is a hideous serpent; look upon it in Moses’s hand, and it is a wand of miracles. Look at tribulations in themselves, and they are dreadful; behold them in the will of God, and they are love and delights. How often have we turned in disgust from remedies and medicines when the doctor or apothecary offered them, which, being offered by some well-beloved hand (love surmounting our loathing), we receive with delight. In truth, love either takes away the hardship of labour, or makes it dear to us while we feel it.
It is said that there is a river in Bœotia wherein the fish appear golden, but taken out of those their native waters, they have the natural colour of other fishes: afflictions are so; if we look at them outside God’s will, they have their natural bitterness, but he who considers them in that eternal good-pleasure, finds them all golden, unspeakably lovely and precious. If Abraham had seen outside God’s will the necessity of slaying his son, think, Theotimus, what pangs and convulsions of heart he would have felt, but seeing it in God’s good-pleasure, it appears all golden, and he tenderly embraces it.
 If the martyrs had looked upon their torments outside this good-pleasure, how could they have sung, in chains and flames? The truly loving heart loves God’s good-pleasure not in consolations only but in afflictions also; yea, it loves it better upon the cross in pains and difficulties, because the principal effect of love is to make the lover suffer for the thing beloved.
The Stoics, especially good Epictetus, placed all their philosophy in abstaining and sustaining, bearing and forbearing; in abstaining from and forbearing earthly delights, pleasures and honours; in sustaining and bearing wrongs, labours and trials: but Christian doctrine, which is the only true philosophy, has three principles upon which it grounds all its exercises,—abnegation of self, which is far more than to abstain from pleasures, carrying the cross, which is far more than tolerating or sustaining it, following Our Lord, not only in renouncing our self and bearing our cross, but also in the practice of all sorts of good works. But at the same time there is not so much love shown in abnegation or in action, as in suffering.
The Holy Ghost in Holy Scripture certainly signifies the death and passion which our Saviour suffered for us, to be the highest point of his love towards us.
1. To love God’s will in consolations is a good love when it is indeed God’s will that is loved, and not the consolation which is the form it takes: however, this is a love without contradiction, repugnance and effort: for who would not love so worthy a will in so agreeable a form?
2. To love the will of God in his commandments, counsels and inspirations is a second degree of love, and much more perfect, for it leads us to the renouncing and quitting of our own will, and makes us abstain from and forbear some pleasures, though not all.
3. To love sufferings and afflictions for the love of God is the supreme point of most holy charity, for there is nothing therein to receive our affection save the will of God only; there is great contradiction on the part of nature; and we not only forsake pleasures, but embrace torments and labours.
 Our mortal enemy knew well what was love’s furthest and finest act, when having heard from the mouth of God that Job was just, righteous, fearing God, hating sin, and firm in innocence, he made no account of this, in comparison with bearing afflictions, by which he made the last and surest trial of the love of this great servant of God.
To make these afflictions extreme, he formed them out of the loss of all his goods and of all his children, abandonment by all his friends, an arrogant contradiction by his most intimate associates and his wife, a contradiction full of contempt, mockery and reproach; to which be added the collection of almost all human diseases, and particularly a universal, cruel, offensive, horrible ulcer over all his body.
And yet behold the great Job, king as it were of all the miserable creatures of the world, seated upon a dunghill, as upon the throne of misery, adorned with sores, ulcers, and corruption, as with royal robes suitable to the quality of his kingship, with so great an abjection and annihilation, that if he had not spoken, one could not have discerned whether Job was a man reduced to a dunghill, or the dunghill a corruption in form of a man.
Now, I say, hear the great Job crying out: If we have received good things from the hand of the Lord, why shall we not receive also evil? O God! How this word is great with love! He ponders, Theotimus, that it was from the hand of God that he had received the good, testifying that he had not so much loved goods because they were good, as because they came from the hand of the Lord; whence he concludes that he is lovingly to support adversities, since they proceed from the hand of the same Lord, which is equally to be loved when it distributes afflictions and when it bestows consolations.
Every one easily receives good things, but to receive evil is a work of perfect love, which loves them so much the more, inasmuch as they are only lovable in respect of the hand that gives them. The traveller who is in fear whether he has the right way, walks in doubt, viewing the country over, and stands in a muse at the end of almost every field to think whether he goes not astray, but he who is sure of his way walks on gaily, boldly, and swiftly: even so the love that desires to walk to God’s will through consolations, walks ever in fear of taking the wrong path, and of loving (in lieu of God’s good-pleasure) the pleasure which is in the consolation; but the love that strikes straight through afflictions towards the will of God walks in assurance, for affliction being in no wise lovable in itself, it is an easy thing only to love it for the sake of him that sends it.
The hounds in spring-time are at fault at every step, finding hardly any scent at all, because the herbs and flowers then smell so freshly that their odour puts down that of the hart or hare: in the spring-time of consolations love scarcely recognizes God’s good-pleasure, because the sensible pleasure of consolation so allures the heart, that it troubles the attention which the heart should pay to the will of God.
S. Catharine of Siena, having from our Saviour her choice of a crown of gold or a crown of thorns, chose this latter, as better suiting with love: a desire of suffering, says the Blessed (S.) Angela of Foligno, is an infallible mark of love: and the great Apostle cries out that he glories only in the cross, in infirmity, in persecution.
Treatise on the Love of God ~ St. Francis De Sale ~ Page 275-277