‘Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.’ (Rom 15:7)
To welcome our neighbor is certainly fundamental in order to live the commandment of God, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. But we must also remember that prudence must govern all of the other virtues, also and above all, charity. One sees clearly in the Gospels that Jesus welcomed people, byt also Jesus Who is Love incarnate, welcomed people for their true good and for the good of the community and for the good of the whole Church. At the beginning of the Gospels, at the beginning of the public life of Jesus, He preformed many miracles and healings. But slowly Jesus offered to the people and to His disciples the explanation of how one must live in order to follow Him totally in order to freely choose the way that leads to true happiness that lasts, true peace and in the end, eternal life. Many were very happy to be healed or to receive a lunch offered with the multiplication of the bread and the fish. But when Jesus explained what was needed in order to overcome our egoism and to truly love God and neighbor, that is, to follow Jesus to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the crucifixion, few remained faithful to Jesus.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Rarely affirm, seldom deny, always distinguish.” But more and more in our world today WE ARE DISCOURAGED TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, with the help of the supernatural virtue of prudence, especially regarding the essential things, which results in much evil and damage. In our secularized world today, which has entered very much into the Church, the values of true Christianity, which direct us toward God and to our true home in heaven, do not count for anything and are even criticized.
IT IS NECESSARY TO WELCOME THE NEIGHBOR IN A WAY THAT OFFERS TO THE NEIGHBOR HIS TRUE GOOD. How many people today offer the good to the neighbor only for this short life without any concern if that good, or welcome, helps the person to arrive to the happiness that lasts for eternity, and thus to help the person to welcome the Truth of God which truly makes us free (Jn 8:32), and not just happiness today but not tomorrow or after death? THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF GOD IN THE NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL REALMS, which one sees in the life of Jesus, is that first there is sacrifice, the passion, the crucifixion, and then the true fruits, the resurrection. Today, a great number of people believe, even and especially in the Church, that one can skip or jump over Calvary and paradise is automatic: for a great number of people today, there is no more sin which Jesus tells us does great harm, in fact, the evil for which Jesus came to offer us the possibility to free ourselves from the fundamental evil. As our grandparents told us: no cross, no crown; no pain, no gain! But today almost everyone believes that you can have the crown and the gain without the cross and without the pain with Jesus. In our world today there is needed a good amount of guts to say the Truth that makes us truly free (Jn 8:32), instead of only what people want to hear which does not help them to arrive at their true good!
Today there are a great number of priests and bishops who offer misguided compassion, false mercy, instead of: “ONLY WHAT IS TRUE CAN ULTIMATELY BE PASTORAL”.
Visit: “Who Decides The Truth?” (http://spir-food.blogspot.it/2014/06/who-decides-truth.html).
TRUE LOVE MEANS TO RESPECT ALSO OUR FREE WILL: each person is free to seek the uncomfortable Truth, tied to the cross, which leads to true freedom, or to freely deceive oneself pushing aside the Truth of God, the 10 Commandments explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to convince oneself that tomorrow does not matter! As Saint Augustine wrote: “God who made you without your consent, will not save you without your consent.”
Sometimes, depending on the situation, prudence tells us to do as the saints did in certain situations:
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you deep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us…” (2Thess 3:6).
IN THE DIARY OF SAINT FAUSTINA ONE FINDS:
“I will not speak with a certain person, because I know that Jesus does not like it and that she does not profit by it” (Diary, 277).
Regarding the Vow of Chastity: “To guard the senses, to avoid occasions, to avoid idleness, to remove temptations promptly, to remove oneself from all - and especially particular friendships, the spirit of mortification, and to reveal all these temptations to one's confessor” (Diary, 93).
“I will avoid sisters who grumble, and if they cannot be avoided, I will at least keep silent before them, thus letting them know how sorry I am to hear such things” (Diary, 226).
“There was a person who kept accosting me with flattering words, … When I left the chapel, they were there, armed and waiting for me to pass. This time, I was overcome with fear. Then Jesus stood by me and said, Do not fear. I am with you. Then I felt an extraordinary strength in my soul, which I cannot describe and, being a few steps from them, I said boldly and loudly, "Praised be Jesus Christ."And they, stepping aside, responded, "For ever and ever. Amen." As if struck by lightning, they bowed their heads, not even daring to look at me. After I had passed, I could hear some malicious comments. Ever since that time, when this person sees me, he runs away in order not to meet me and I, thanks to the Lord, have been left in peace...” (Diary, 1704).
As I wrote in the Spiritual Food 1407:
MORE THAN EVERY BEFORE THE WORLD NEEDS THESE SPIRITUAL TREASURES OF GRACE AND GUIDANCE! This is similar to how so many families in Italy put the first priority in being together at table, at supper, while avoiding as taboo disagreements due to differences in belief in the Catholic religion or Catholic morality. In the USA, this would be analogous to setting aside the Truth in order to be “politically correct”! For the great majority of Catholics today, the first priority is human respect, and what God desires for our true good is not even considered.
THE ANGUISH OF THE PROPHET: “I have become a laughingstock all the day; every one mocks me” (Jer 20:7).
In my homily for November 1, 2013 at the cemetery of the parish I gave A FEW STRONG REPROACHES when I saw that at that Mass at the cemetery of the parish, there were more than 100 people, but at the Sunday Mass, there were less than 20. I said to them: “For your mother or your grandmother here in the cemetery, more than 100 people, but for Jesus Who gave you your mother and your grandmother and all the rest, less than 20 people at the Sunday Mass; it seems to me that it has become a religion of the dead instead of the living. Without gratitude, there is no salvation!...”
(If you understand Italian, you can read more at: “Attirare la Gente, a Chi?” (http://cibo-spir.blogspot.it/2014/01/attirare-la-gente-chi.html).
Is it not also necessary to welcome those who suffer much due to the diffusion of pornography? To read about my struggle against the selling of PORNOGRAPHY and the indifference of the owners of a bar in Italy, visit:
LET US WELCOME THE BROTHER WITH THE MOTIVE FOR HIS TRUE GOOD, which sometimes will not be what the brother wants and we will be even treated very badly (like Jesus and the prophets) for our true love and welcome of the brother!
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An Experience of Life:
I work in a prison, where there are difficulties. One evening, as I was leaving having completed my shift, I heard some cries. I kept walking because I was tired and wanted to get home right away, but screams continued. I thought: "No need to return, those who shift is now beginning will take care of it ...". But then I began to think; it could be something serious. In fact, some policemen were beating a man so that he might confess something that he did not know.
As soon as I entered they stopped, because they know that I do not agree with these methods. I stopped to talk with them and the atmosphere became more peaceful.
I accompanied the man in his cell, I washed him and I treated his wounds. Eventually it was discovered that he had nothing to do with the story and had not committed any crime. It was let go from prison. As he left the prison he hugged me crying. We remained very good friends.
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Father Joseph Dwight
A supplement to this “Spiritual Food 1409”, from the 100-page booklet, "Saint Veronica Giuliani - True Disciple and Apostle of Mary”, by Fr. Emmanuele of the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Mary.
(To see the first part, visit: http://wordbelife.blogspot.it/2014/08/sirach-282.html)
Part Two: Her Doctrine and Teaching
Chapter One: “The infinite and unspeakable love of God”
God is love (1Jn 4.8). And the truth most "true" - in the sense of the obvious - the most beautiful and comforting. It is the basis of the whole spiritual structure and of faith of the Christians, but also of all of mankind. God is love! God is good: "Only God is good" (Lk 18:19). He created everything for love and with love, and "does not despise anything that He has created" (Wis 11:24). It is the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI: “Deus caritas est”.
A true vision of God - especially after Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, true God and true Man, born as a baby and died poor for us, forgiving us and excusing us on the Cross – one cannot doubt the fact that the whole history of mankind, and of every person, should be read with this in mind: I have a good Father in heaven, Who is love in Himself, who is my father, Who watches over me, Who turns everything into good if I believe in Him, in His Word, if I turn to Him, if I place my trust in Him, if I invite Him to do so.
Without this vision of children who trust in God, you can not enter heaven: "Unless your turn and become like children, your will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 18:3). Now this Kingdom is Love in itself, it is the light in itself, it is peace in itself.
This is what the life of St. Veronica wants us to understand. She, trusting in God, knowing well her nothingness, in fact the nothingness of every creature before the "whole" of the Creator, was lead to "swim in God", to "merge herself in God" in Love to the point of concluding her blessed existence with these words, already quoted: "Love allowed Itself to be found! This is the secret of my suffering! Tell everyone, tell everyone!"
Yes, only for love one accepts and one understands suffering.
Why is that?
Because God is Holy; and eternal life is union with God, with "The Holy One", with Holiness Itself. We can not unite ourselves with Him, if we are still stained. That is the reason for pain, for suffering, that cleanses us in order to unite ourselves to God, to merge ourselves and bask in Him for all eternity; but even now, in the measure of our acceptance and tolerance of this purification, due to sin.
With this in mind, humble and true, one understands the judgment of God on the first man, after original sin, should not be seen as punishment, but as a remedy: it is the indispensable way for the purification of the disastrous effects of sin.
That is also the reason of purgatory, toward which - in the words of the Saint – the happy souls run, in spite of the pains, to purify themselves and be able to enjoy as soon as possible the embrace of an eternal God so beautiful, so good, so pure, so Holy. The souls in purgatory behave like this because they have seen, in the particular judgment immediately after death, the truth of this good God, merciful, offended by sins, and have seen clearly the horror of sin that stains the soul, rendering it unable to draw near to "The Holy One".
It is this that the experience of Saint Veronica reveals to us better. Happy are we if, despite not seeing, believe in this: "Blessed are those who believe without seeing" (Jn 20:29).
This is also the motive of the same hell, which is not punishment, but it is an inevitable consequence for those who refuse this love, who do not believe, who do not accept to let themselves be purified, who do not want the "order" established by God for eternal Life, by way of His Commandments and His laws which are laws of life, of love, and neglecting them they loose their life because they refuse to accept the rules of Heaven.
God, in His infinite love, does not compel man Who He created free (because in His image and likeness), but neither to destroy it, because life is a gift, and "the gifts of God are irrevocable" (Rom 11:29), but teaching him the Truth, invites man to choose life: "I have put before you life and death; choose life” (Dt 30:19); and in this truth, He presents to him also hell, not to threaten him, but to let him know the result of his choices, of his disobedience, to help him reject sin, to push him to fight, for his own good ... thus He presents this to him "out of love, out of mercy, for justice", so that no man may one day complaining of God, accusing Him of not having made it known this, to have left him in the dark, without the light of the full truth.
Here is the important role of Saint Veronica! Here is her contribution to the “triumph of love” Yes, God is Love; yes, Heaven is stupendous; but, at the same time there is also hell for those who do not believe in Heaven, for those who do not think about it and do not desire it and do not want to sacrifice certain vanities to earn it for themselves, for those who reject this Love, which is also order, obedience: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word" (John 14:23). "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's Who sent Me” (Jn 14:24).
But the devil and our human proud nature want to make us see things in reverse.
And why is this?
The devil, because he is the "father of lies" (Jn 8:44), hates us and wants us to believe that God is not Love if he creates hell, or, even worse, that God is false - as with Eve (Gen 3.5) - and that hell does not exist.
Our human nature, because it is haughty, self-sufficient and undisciplined and seeks a false freedom that does not want to submit to the laws of God, because it is wounded and weak and does not want to leave out the delights, the so-called "pleasures" joys ...
Yes, man is created for happiness, and therefore he seeks it spontaneously; but reading the writings of the Saint, and marveling about this reigning God, dominant, active, infinite ocean of love, light, peace ... we will begin to see much more as petty and ephemeral our "joys", our "pleasures", to see rather their dangers, the poison hidden as in the fruit of the Garden of Eden that was “nice and pleasant" (Gen 2:6), and to convince ourselves of the vanity of this passing world; and then we will begin to say with St. Francis: "So much is the good that waits for me, that every pain is a delight to me”.
How true are these words! How well the Saint lived them!
She, too, by excess of light and love and knowledge of God, wept as St. Francis because "Love is not loved." She wanted to run through the whole world to cry out that God is Love, God the Creator, Redeemer, Who, by His nature, can not but give, love, even to madness, to the folly of the cross that Veronica touched and described; and to shout also penance and conversion, in order to enjoy this: "Repent, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 3:2).
Let us help to bring forth this anguished cry by citing some passages of this "love poem" almost unique that is sprinkled in the Diary of this "chosen one among the chosen”:
- "... The more the abyss of my nothingness is deep, the more I rest in the consideration of the divine attributes. I pause on that of mercy and, as in a mirror, I see with what kind of love God has loved me and still loves me. I hope in this love ...”.
- "I have experienced love. My soul is immersed in the immensity of this sea; love transforms my soul in love itself. My soul is in God. God is in my soul. God speaks with the voice of silence, the soul responds, but its response is the echo of God's voice, which in her loves herself. It seems that my soul, with love, knows God in God Himself and shares His eternal happiness. God draws the soul to Himself with transport, impulses, raptures, fruits of love, and the new knowledge of God produces a new transformation in God. "
- "O Father of my life, Spouse of my soul, heart of my heart, return into my heart!... stars that shine before Him, tell Him that I languish with love ...".
God enjoyed the ardor of the Saint, He would return, He consoled her: "I am Love in person; I love you and I carry you in my heart. My Heart is the life of yours. You are the Bride of My Heart. "He asks her: "This heart that I see in your chest, whose is it?”. "Yours or the Lord." "Then I take it." And He places it on the Heart of Mary who is present; then He puts it on His chest. "And now which is My heart?", He asks the Saint. And Jesus replied, "Your heart is Me ... I have transformed you into Me; you have become Myself".
How many times she would arrive to union: first she speaks of "the closest union" in which the soul feels attracted as iron by the magnet, sweetly "tied", "flooded" in the ocean of God's love; later she will add the experience of feeling "uniformed", "transformed" in God; and in the last stage, when she receives in each communion the "grace of the three graces", she will reach the peak of the wise ones of union of the blessed in heaven: it is the moment of "intimate communications" which pass between God and the soul, thus ineffable. “You can not describe them”, "she affirms, but she succeeds in referring to the confessor the effects that they leave in the whole person.
"... in a moment it seemed that the Divine Love was infused in my whole soul; and it became the same thing with the Divine Love ... I do not know if I was in heaven or on earth; I had cognition of myself, it seemed to me that I was the most vile worm of the earth ... I saw that I was nothing. To this was added the sight of so much ingratitude ... a God so beneficial, so great, so merciful to have been so offended by an ungrateful creature! ... I was absorbed in God ... I saw the divine attributes of God .. . God was my memory, God was my understanding, God was my will; all God in the soul, and my whole soul in God. What I felt in these moments, one can not express ... my soul remained more detached away from all that is not God ...it seemed to me to be in a furnace ..."
"The humanity (of the person) suffers so much in these operations of Divine Love ... it wanted to complain ... but it was placid, and the spirit cried aloud, O Love! O Love! O Love, so little known by the creatures and by me, in particular! No, No; I will no longer be like this, because I want only You and with You I remain ...
- "... the soul has experienced in itself, at that point, certain operations of Divine Love ... I seemed to notice that God in His infinite immensity of love that manifested itself in this soul; and it, by way of those intimate communications between God and the soul, remained wholly united to the Supreme Good ... it was all, in all, transformed in its God of love ... and the same love operated within it, and for it all immersed in God Who communicated all to it ... these things you can never explain with words ... I only say that the soul, at that point, remains so absorbed in God, that, having returned to its feelings , everything seems new to it! Oh! What a pain it is to see itself imprisoned in this mortal body! There remains a nausea of all earthly things ...
- "... while the soul was all swimming in the vast sea of the Divinity, in that instant, there was represented before the soul my Jesus, in the way that He came into the light in order to redeem us sinners ... at that point there was something in this soul I could not understand; it seemed to me I changed into another; and it seems to me that, at that same point, God put me in Himself and filled this heart and this soul full of love. I felt certain impulses that lifted me from myself, and at the same time I felt like I wholly united to the Supreme Good".
Dear reader, the Diary is extremely full of this sublime language. To get to so great a good, it is worth some penance, some abstinence, some detachment… in a word, purification.
And if it will not be possible to imitate the Saint in many things, may God will it that these writings help us to humble ourselves deeply, realizing to what sublime levels that God calls and draws man, created in His image and likeness, and how instead we are still crawling in the mud of false pleasures that the world and the prince of this world offers. And this humility will be the first step ... and God, in His love, will help us do more ...
"No more senses, no more humanity;
God only: this I want to love.
Come all, oh foolish creatures, come,
love the highest Good:
convert yourselves to God.
He is the greatest charity,
His mercy is infinite:
stop offending Him,
come back to God.
He is all love;
He will give you His same love,
to those who might love Him.
As He does with me,
He will do also with you;