Dear Parishioners +JMJ
Recently I read in Saint Faustina’s diary a description of a very big “consolation” she experienced from Jesus. She had the sense that Jesus was asking her to give him permission to use her however he wanted. Of course, you can imagine how much fear can come with such a sense: What if Jesus asks you to do something difficult or fearful? Saint Faustina, thankfully, ended up saying “yes” to Jesus’ request that she allow him to do anything with her life that he desires. In the paragraph below, she refers it to it as consenting “to the sacrifice with all my heart and my will”. The “sacrifice” is the living sacrifice of her life. She was was in adoration before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when this occurred. At the moment she finally consented, she was filled with an amazing consolation:
Suddenly, when I had consented to the sacrifice with all my heart and all my will, God’s presence pervaded me. My soul became immersed in God and was inundated with such happiness that I cannot put in writing even the smallest part of it. I felt that His Majesty was enveloping me. I was extraordinarily infused with God. I saw that God was well pleased with me and, reciprocally, my spirit drowned itself in Him. Aware of this union with God, I felt I was especially loved and, in turn, I loved with all my soul. A great mystery took place during that adoration, a mystery between the Lord and myself. It seemed to me that I would die of love [at the sight of] His glance. I spoke much with the Lord, without uttering a single word. And the Lord said to me, You are the delight of my heart; from today on, every one of your acts, even the very smallest, will be a delight to my eyes, whatever you do. At that moment I felt transconsecrated. My earthly body was the same, but my soul was different; God was now living in it with the totality of his delight. This is not a feeling, but a conscious reality that nothing can obscure. (137)
I would say there are two levels of consolation here to observe. There is consolation in the good feelings she experienced, the tangible movement in her soul that caused her such happiness. Although hers is certainly a dramatic case, I’m pretty convinced that the Lord wants some of this for each of us from time to time. Such movements of the Holy Spirit in us can really inspire us to keep pressing on, especially when the battle gets tough. That’s the first level of consolation – a tangible movement that causes quite a lot of emotion in us.
But, there is a second, deeper level of consolation that is very important to note. It’s not so much a tangible movement that comes and goes. Rather, it’s a deep connection to the Lord. It’s a peace that comes from knowing we belong to him, and that he is near. It’s the deep abiding joy the person experiences, who has given himself/herself to God. This consolation can exist – this deep knowledge of our connection to the Lord – even if the first type of consolation seems to be lacking.
I often refer back to the experience of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. After her death, we learned that she had experienced some 50 years of darkness… Some 50 years without the tangible movement, the first kind noted above, which often had emotion attached to it, and which she had experienced frequently before the darkness ensued. She sometimes spoke about Jesus drawing near and kissing her. But that all ended quite suddenly on a train ride to Darjeeling in 1949. Interestingly, Mother Teresa’s 50 year spell of darkness began very quickly, when on that train – like Saint Faustina – Mother Teresa agreed to let the Lord accomplish his will through her… which for Mother meant serving the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India.
Bottom line: I think at times we should expect movements that are tangible from the Holy Spirit, as we talk to the Lord – certainly as we say “yes” to Him! Notice what’s happening in your soul. Prayer is always a school. It’s worth paying attention to those movements as part of our prayer life. And I think we can expect an ever-increasing deep consolation from saying “yes” to him more fully throughout life. Even dark periods in life won’t rupture that deep connection with the Lord. Let’s say “yes” to Jesus always!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,