The Book of Heaven

(revised)

 

O Lord, you know how much of a sacrifice this is for me.  It’s cost me a lot already.  I’d rather die than write a single line of what You’ve told me so far.  A thousand deaths would be better than revealing how pathetic my response to Your words has been up till now.  O God, my pitiful human nature trembles at the thought.  It’s a burden heavy enough to crush my spirit into the dust.  I’m coming undone.  Give me strength, I beg You.

 

Yes, I understand that I am sworn to holy obedience.  Regardless, You know that it’s impossible for me to refuse a command from the One Who is the Life of My life.  You have inspired my confessor to bring me the grace I need.  That’s the only thing that can give me the strength I need to execute the orders You’ve given me.

 

My Jesus, My Holy Spouse.  You are my strength.  Help me up and I will come into your arms.  My introduction to this task requires total abandonment.  I rest in Your Will.

 

Relieve my afflictions, I beg You.  Promise that You won’t abandon me.  I couldn’t bear it if You left me alone.  I would never have the strength to do this without your help.  I know It’s going to be hard, but I’ll do my best.  Unquestioned obedience doesn’t come natural to a wretch like me.  I only hope that I am strong enough to bear all the stress this will bring.  Though I risk being defeated by the enemy, my greater fear is that I will be crushed as justice demands if surrender to my cowardly disobedience.

 

I abandon myself in the arms of my Celestial Spouse.  Keep a close watch on me, please.  I’m afraid of the dark and the night surrounds me.  The gloom is so thick that that not a photon of light can penetrate.  You are the Mystic Sun.  Enlighten my feeble mind.  Dispel the darkness.  Help me remember the grace that Your generosity has allowed my soul.

 

Unleash the rays of Your Light, O Eternal Sun.  Send them piercing deep into my heart.  It lies in the mud, waiting to be purified by Your Grace.  Set my heart on fire with the flames of Your Love.  Having once experienced the sweetness of Your Love, my heart longs for ignition.  The least You could do is give me a clear understanding of my obligations. 

 

Jesus, sunshine of my life.  Send a ray of incandescent light to burn my lips so that they may only speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Otherwise, how could I be sure that it’s really You and not just an illusion conjured by the enemy.

 

Yet even in this dusky twilight I can still see myself in Your arms.  Please, make my anxious heart content.  I know how much You love me, but it would help if You could shed more light on my dim point of view.

 

Eternal Sun, my beautiful One, let me plunge into Your fiery core.  I long to be submerged in the depths of pure light and remain there forever.

 

O Divine Sun, shine Your Light ahead of me.  I’d feel safer if It could follow me too.  I want to be surrounded by light.  Let It shine on me from every direction.  Allow me the intimacy of Your piercing Light.  Penetrate the dark hidden depths of My soul.  Consume my earthly carcass with Your white-hot incandescence.  Evaporate My hapless being with dazzling flares of solar plasm.  Transfigure the gloomy mind of a beggar.  Sieve me into the purity of Your Divine Being.

 

Most Holy Virgin, Mother of Love, come to the aid of a helpless orphan.  The Holy Name of Jesus is my sweetness and my life.  All I ask is that You allow me the company of Your Beloved Son.  If You would be kind enough to share His Love, I would be forever grateful.  Give me the grace and fortitude to be an obedient child so that I may do His bidding.

 

Saint Joseph, protect me.  Help a woeful child in dire straits.  You have always been dear to me.  Saint Michael the Archangel, defend me from the infernal predator.  He does nothing but obstruct my mind.  He wants me to fail.  Obedience is his enemy.  Archangel Rafael, come to my assistance.  My dear guardian Angel, be with me wherever I go.  O Gabriel, Divine Messenger, guide my hand so that I write the unwavering truth.  Protect me from muddled confusion and error.  Let every word be for the honor and glory of God.  I can only take credit for the perplexity that ought to have been discarded and left unsaid.  That’s all I’m good for when left to my own devices.

 

Save me from disgrace, Holy Bridegroom and Spouse.  Considering all the graces You allow me, I am horrified by the repulsive image staring at me from the depths of my soul.  I’m frightened by my own confusion.  I just want to shrivel up with the shame when I face the ugly truth about myself.  I know that I’m a bad person, selfish, ungrateful.  I’m nothing but a shabby pauper who has nothing to offer in return for your kindness.

 

Sweet Jesus, forgive me.  You’re so lovable that I freeze at the thought that you might leave me all alone.  That you can love me at all is sign of Your triumphant mercy.  I’m red-faced with embarrassment to be claimed as a trophy by anyone, especially You. 

 

I might as well begin.  It all started with a Novena to commemorate the Sanctity of Christmas when I was seventeen.  To prepare my soul for this Holy Feast, I sought virtue through humility.  I’m always mortified by my life anyhow, so I’d already had a lot of practice.  I should have started nine months early, contemplating the time Jesus spent in His Mother’s Immaculate Womb.  But the best I could do was an hour staring aghast at all the usual defects in my life that had long ago become habitual.  ‘My Jesus, how can You have been so good to such a miserable creature?’

 

So I tried something else.  For an hour I imagined that I was in Paradise.  I thought about the Holy Trinity, the Father sending His Son down upon the earth, the Son promptly obeying His Father’s Will, the Holy Spirit nodding in approval, ready to proceed.  But my mind kept going in circles trying to imagine a mystery that far exceeded my grasp.  As far as I got was that their Love for each other was entirely mutual and equally strong.  Moreover, the Loved they harbored for all mankind was much the same as what they shared with one another.  And then there was humanity’s insufferable ingratitude, including my own.

 

I lost track of time.  An hour would have become a daylong venter had not my inner voice put a halt to it.  It said, “That’s enough for now.  Come and see some of the other extravagant ways My Love indulges Itself.”

 

I found myself in the Blessed Mother’s womb, stunned by the thought of Almighty God in Heaven recoiling from His Infinite Being into such an infinitesimally small lifeform.  His movements were suddenly restricted.  The Creator of the universe was so constrained that He could hardly move.

 

The inner voice spoke again.  “I’m showing you this to illustrate how much I loved you long before you were born.  This is My plea to open up a little place in your heart for Me.  You can make some room by throwing out everything that’s not Mine.  In need enough space to move around a bit.  I can’t abide being constrained like this.”

 

My heart was consumed.  I asked forgiveness and promised to be entirely His.  I cried my eyes out.  But I ended up more confused than ever.  Before I knew it, I was back to where I was, indulging the same old tawdry habits, personal defects grown threadbare with time.  “Sweet Jesus, I can hardly believe how good you have been to a miserable wretch like me.”

 

Anyhow, that’s what I tried to do in the second hour of my daily routine.  Every day was dedicated to one particular virtue.  I won’t bore you with too many details, but sometimes I prayed on my knees.  I had a lot of work to do after that, and my family was always checking in on me.  Regardless, no matter what I was doing, my inner voice was a constant distraction.  It was constantly nagging me about one thing or another.  But no matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t satisfied and wouldn’t let up.  Work itself was no hindrance, but you can see how everything else got in the way of what I should have been doing.

 

Moving on from the second to the third meditation, an inner voice spoke to me.  “My daughter, place your head upon the womb of my dear Mother and look inside it at My developing Humanity.  I was devoured by My own burning Love until there was nothing left but ashes.  Oceanic fires billowed to the edge of space and spread over the earth to ignite all generations ever to live, from Adam to the last man alive.”

 

My infant Humanity was devoured in the heart of this immense conflagration.  Eternal love urges Me to devour all souls.  It will never be satisfied until I have devoured them all and gestated each one in the Womb of My Divinity.  As God, I operate as God.  I had to take them all.  My Love would have given Me no peace, had I excluded anyone.” 

 

Look, My daughter, look deep into My dear Mother’s womb.  Focus your eyes on My Humanity conceived there and gaze at your soul gestating within the devouring flames of My Love for you.  I have loved you so much, and I still do.”

 

I was dissolving in the cauldron of this great love, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I hear a loud voice.

 

You haven’t seen anything yet!  Hold on to Me tight!  Give your hand My Mom!  She will protect you in Her womb like a Mother!  While you’re there you can have another look at My infant Humanity and behold My Love’s fourth extravagant upsurge!”

 

My daughter, you are ascending from the cauldron of My devouring Love to Its field of operations so you can see how It works.  Each soul conceived brings Me her burden of weakness, passion and sin.  Love commands Me to lighten her load by taking them upon Myself.  These souls were conceived with their inherited pain.  The same conception brings full satisfaction to My Heavenly Father, each in their own way.  I was conceived with My own Sorrowful Passion.  If you look close, you can see Me suffering in the womb of My dear Celestial Mother.  My earliest infant Humanity was tortured by them.”

 

See the miniature crown of thorns on My little head?  There’s not much room in there and sometimes those needle sharp spines push down around my temples.  Rivers of tears come from my eyes and my tiny fingers get pricked when I try to rub them.  Please, if you want to show some compassion for Me then rub the tears from My little baby eyes.  Careful though, they hurt.”

 

The thorns on this crown are the evil thoughts that crowd the human mind.  They sting a lot worse than the thorns of any desert bush.  Gaze at them for a while.  A nine months’ crucifixion before I was born.  Fastened to a cross in the womb.  I couldn’t move.  All I could do is squirm.  Nails of evil deeds punctured my baby hands and feet.”

 

This nine month narrative seemed like an endless saga.  Volumes of martyrology could only summarize the prenatal tortures of His infant Humanity.  I broke down in tears as I listened to Him speaking inside me.

 

I wish I could hug you, My daughter, but I can’t move my little arms.  I’d come running into arms if I could.  But you can come to Me.  I need a hug.  I’ll gladly repay the favor when I leave My Mother’s womb, later.”

 

I hugged Him in the womb of my imagination.  I held Him tight and cried.

 

Enough for now, my daughter.  Let’s move on to the fifth overflow of My excess Love.”

 

The saga continues to unwind.

 

Don’t go away.  You’re My daughter, you can’t leave Me here all alone.  My Love needs your company.  It exceeds Its own capacity and gets desperate when left alone.  It yearns for human companionship.”

 

Look into My Mother’s womb.  You can see all creatures around Me.  They were conceived as part of My own Conception.  I am with them, for I am all Love.  I want to tell them how much I love them.  I want to tell them about all my joys and sorrows.  I came down into their midst to console them to make them happy.  We’re siblings, so I stay with them.  I tried to give them all of My belongings, including My Kingdom.  I was ready to give them everything I had.  I’d give My Life for them.”

 

I want to play with them and give them all My hugs and kisses each one of them.  Yet all I get in return is endless grief and sorrow.  They run away from Me.  If I catch up with any of them, they just ignore Me.  If I persist, they tell Me to shut up.  They’re disgusted with what I want to give them.  They don’t give a hoot about My Kingdom.”

 

My offer of hugs and kisses inspires boredom.  They act as if I weren’t there.  They still refuse to play with Me, and I start crying.  They just laugh.  I mingle with the crowd, all alone.  Solitude weighs on Me like a boulder.  I want to pour out My emotions, but I have no one to talk to.  My Love-Life interests no one.  No one listens to Me.  So, I keep quiet, as if shy or aloof.  But nothing can disguise My grief.”

 

Ah, My daughter, I beg you, I implore you, don’t leave Me here so all alone.  There’s so many things I want to tell you.  Would you be kind enough to listen?  Lend an ear to my teachings.  As the Teacher of teachers, I can instruct you in every discipline.  All I need is a sympathetic ear to stop Me from crying.  We can play together too.  Would you play with Me?”

 

I lost myself in His loneliness.  Compassion welled up in my soul.  All He needed was a sympathetic ear.  “That’s Good, now let’s move on to the sixth overflow of My unmet Love.

 

Come, My daughter, pray to My darling Mother.  Ask her to save a little space for you in Her womb.  There’s room for everyone.  That way you’ll be close enough to get a good look at My pain.”

 

I imagined Our Celestial Queen humoring Her Son by opening up a little space for me to stay.  But it was too dark in there to see Him, though I could hear Him breathing next to me.  Then He spoke from within my mind.

 

My daughter, consider yet another amazing thing about My Love.  I have too much Love to hold inside, and the excess pours out, struggling to survive in the cold, dark night.  I am the Eternal Light.  The sun you see in the sky is merely a shadow of My Light.”

 

From there I followed all this excess Love pouring out of Me and found Myself in this dark prison.  There’s not a glimmer of light here.  It’s always night, not a star to be seen.  But there’s no rest.  I am eternally awake, and in pain!  My cell was short and narrow, so small that I couldn’t move a muscle.  In thick darkness I gasped for breath.  I could only breathe indirectly through My dear Mother’s lungs, a laborious process.” 

 

Yet even darkness dims in the presence of a creature involved in sin.  Each sin was a dark night of the Soul.  Sins gather in a swarm, forming a boundless abyss of darkness.  Such pain!  From the immensity of space, filled with Light, I followed My excess Love as It poured out into that abyss of thick darkness funneling into this dank cell, so small and narrow, losing My freedom to breathe.  I do this out of love for My creatures.”

 

I heard Him moaning and gasping for breath.  The space was so constricting that He could barely move a muscle.  I listened to His sobbing and started to bawl.  I was filled with compassion and thanked Him.  The least I could do was to give Him the little candle light of my love as He asked.

 

That’s but one brief excerpt from the sixth lesson.

 

That should do for time being.  Now to describe the seventh overflow of My surplus Love.”

 

Don’t leave Me, My daughter.  I’ve been lonely too long.  It’s dark in here.  Stay with Me in My Mother’s womb for a while and I’ll tell you about the seventh level of My overflowing Love.  Listen.”

 

I was as happy as can be in My Father’s Celestial Womb.  Happiness, joy, everything that is good was Mine to do with as I pleased.  I was surrounded by adoring Angels waiting to satisfy My slightest whim.  All the love in the universe was Mine, but it wasn’t enough, so it kept growing until it topped the groaning flood gates.”

 

The ensuing flood changed My Destiny.  The rising tide of love surrounded Me.  I was trapped on a prison island, a gloomy place indeed.  The raging flood tore off My clothes along with My happiness and joy.  My abundant goods were swept away, leaving me clothed in the rags of human misery.  It was a traumatic exchange.  My Destiny was suddenly theirs, along with all the joy of eternal happiness.”

 

I would have been fine with that if it weren’t for their craven ingratitude.  They’d just soon stab Me in the back than say hello.’  My Eternal Love was shocked by the insolence of their ingratitude.  I broke down crying in the face of their stubborn resolve to betray Me.”

 

I watched as razor sharp thorns pierced My Heart from the moment of My Conception until the final agonies of My earthly life.  Look at my infant heart!  Can you see the blood pouring out of My little wounds?  It hurts so much and the torture doesn’t ever let up.” 

 

You are My daughter.  I’m hoping that you won’t be ungrateful like them.  Human ingratitude is the sharpest pain I ever experienced in My life on earth.  They open the door to Jesus and then slam it in My face.  The Holy Infant is left to shiver in the numbing cold.”

 

But they’re crazy if they thing that mere human ingratitude can stop the raging flood of My Love.  My Love cascades over cosmically huge flood gates that strain below the thundering roar.  Boulders of imploring groans tumble through the seething currents with heart-rending pleas for love.”

 

Now follow the flow downstream to the eighth level, the rising untapped reservoir of My Love.”

 

Don’t leave Me alone, My daughter.  Lay your head on My dear Mother’s womb and listen to My mournful pleas.  Centuries of cold-hearted indifference to the Child’s pitiful prayer for any sign of human kindness have left Him to starve in abject poverty.  See Me stretching out My little hands to beg for alms or any sign of affection.  Eyes searching desperately for a compassionate heart, His pitiful cries are ignored.” 

 

My Love was intent on conquering the human heart at any cost.  After witnessing the first seven levels of My excess Love, they were still reluctant.  That’s putting it kindly.  They acted as if they couldn’t hear Me.  They didn’t give a damn about Me or anyone else.  You’d think I was asking for blood.  Yet My Love pushed on nonetheless.  It wasn’t about to give up.”

 

Realistically speaking, perhaps My Love should have stopped.  But no, It kept piling up, straining to burst through the levies.  A Voice cried out from My Mother’s womb, trying anything that might reach the human heart, with piercing eloquence, urgent appeals and fervent pleas.”

 

Give Me your heart, My child.  Ask for whatever you want, and I’ll agree to a more than fair exchange.’ 

 

Swooping down from heaven in search of prey, Love’s talons came up empty.”

 

Please, how can you refuse?  Don’t make hope a delusion.’

 

It was more than human reluctance.  They’d turn their backs on Me as I trudged on weeping and moaning.  I’d put my little hands together in a woeful plea for mercy, My plaintive voice choking in tearful sobs.”  ‘Have pity on Me.  I’m only a little kid with no one to love Me.  Is there no charity at all in your heart?’

 

That’s what I get for having too much Love.  What a dilemma.  The Creator has to approach them as a little baby so they won’t get scared and run away.  He asks them to have a heart for a little beggar and they just stare.  He pleads and moans and breaks down in tears.”

 

Baby Jesus was sobbing and could barely get the words out.  “And you, My daughter, won’t you give Me your heart for charity’s sake?  Or do I have to moan and beg and cry for it.  Here I am, pleading for alms.  How can you refuse?”

 

Don’t cry, my Baby.  You can have my heart, and everything else too.  I’m all Yours, my darling.”  I heard His baritone voice inside me.  “It’s time to move on to the ninth flood level of My excess Love.”

 

The pain get worse as we go along.  If you love Me, you’ll keep your gaze fixed on Me and ignore the world.  Let’s see if you can relieve some of My pain.  I am your Christ, Jesus.  It’s the least you can do.  A few little words of love, a kiss, a gentle caress, that would ease My anxiety and stop Me from crying.”

 

My daughter, you’ve heard Me describe the first eight levels of unrequited Love and how badly I’ve been let down by humankind.  But I took a deep breath and decided to go for broke by unleashing one last flood, the ninth onslaught of Love looking for love.  The pressure keeps rising and there’s nowhere to go but out.  A tsunami is imminent and unavoidable.  The cosmic dam holding back My longing for love has now burst.  A lonely sigh explodes in billowing flames of desire.  The Christ Child strains to leave His Mother’s womb.  He reaches out, yearning to embrace mankind.”

 

Agonizing effort wrings the last breath from My unborn infant Humanity.  The gravelly sound of death’s rattle alerts My Divinity.  It bends low to give Me a few little sips of Life.  I come to My senses only to continue My agony.  I sink back again to death’s door.  This ninth outburst of superfluous Love has nowhere to go.  I’m forever on the verge of an agonizing death, all because of My Love for these mortal creatures.”

 

Nine long months of agony in the womb.  It seems an eternity.  I choke on My own Love until I’m about to die.  It was only the Divinity of My Godhead that revived Me when I thought I was finished for sure.  It was a cyclical event that took on a rhythm of its own.  Love consumed Me until I was squeezed out into the light of day.”

 

Take a good look at Me, the agony on My face and the bodily contortions.  Can you hear Me panting?  Listen to My heartbeat.  It’s burning with Love.  Now watch Me die.”

 

We both watched in silence.  Thunder filled the vacuum in my mind.  I was dying.  The blood froze in my veins.  Every muscle in my body trembled.

 

My Love, my Life.  Please don’t die.  Don’t leave me all alone.  You want love.  I will love You.  I’ll never leave You again.  Add the flames of Your Love to mine until I am consumed.  Let my love for You be an acceptable burnt offering.”

 

That’s how I spent, or misspent, nine days in what passed as a novena.  But the closer I got to Christmas Eve, the more my fervor grew until it burned like an altar full of candles.  There was something unusual happening, perhaps supernatural.

 

I was alone in the room when, all of a sudden, the little Baby Jesus appeared before me.  He was so beautiful.  But He was shivering as if He were cold.  I could tell He wanted a hug, so I ran over and picked Him up.  I held the holy infant in my arms and the moment I hugged Him, He disappeared.  When I let go, there He was, lying quietly in my arms.  So I hugged Him, but He disappeared again just as suddenly.

 

When it happened a third time, I stood there a bit confused.  I felt a warm flush of religious fervor come over me that I couldn’t explain.  After a while I put the whole episode behind me without telling anyone.  It wasn’t long before I fell back into my old bad habits.  But from then on, my inner voice never went away.  It continued offering suggestions along with a few encouraging words now and then. 

 

The Lord treated me like a good father would when his child strayed from the path of upright behavior.  He showed patience, but was diligent about restraining her when she tended to indulge her impulses.  He wants His children to uphold the family’s honor.  He hopes that one day they will grow up to be His crowning achievement.  He dreams of the glory their lives would bring to His Name.  ‘O Lord, forgive me if I’ve seemed ungrateful.’

 

Right from the beginning, the Divine Master began to strip my heart of worldly attachments.

 

He spoke to me through my inner voice, saying, “I am all that is beautiful and deserving to be loved.  Step back from this lowly world that surrounds you.  Divest yourself of these human thoughts about what they imagine to be real.  Nothing should get between us or otherwise keep Me from having free access to your heart.”

 

The murmuring babble in your mind prevents you from hearing My Voice with sufficient clarity.  It gets in the way as I attempt to pour grace into your heart.  It distracts you when I’m trying to make you fall head over heels in love with Me.  If you promise Me that you will be all mine, I’ll help you with the work at hand.  You’re absolutely correct when you admit that you can do nothing on your own.  Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything.  Just hand over your will, that’s all I ask.”

 

At first He would mostly speak only during Holy Communion.  I promised that I would be His alone and asked forgiveness.  I’d never said anything like that before.  I would say that I really wanted to love Him and begged that He would never leave me.  He had begun speaking more often lately.

 

He said, “I won’t.  I’ll always be close by, watching everything you do.  I want to follow your desires and see where they lead.”

 

There were days when He’d watch me for hours on end.  Sometimes He seemed to disapprove of everything I did.  For instance, I’d often get carried away and get to chatting with my family about nothing in particular and waste an entire afternoon.  That’s when He’d speak through my inner voice to reprimand me.

 

These long meandering conversations fill your mind with things that have nothing to do with Me.  They just kick up the dust around you heart.  They dilute the graces I give you until they are bland or completely tasteless.  Now please.  I want you to act like Me when I lived in Our little house of Nazareth.  My mind was occupied with nothing but My Father’s glory and the salvation of souls.  Nothing came out of My mouth that was not holy discourse.

 

The language I used was meant to counteract the mealy words spoken in His Presence by creatures.  My words would dart through human hearts and draw them to My Love.  That how I would talk with My Mother and My earthly father who you know of and venerate as St Joseph.  Everything We said invoked God.  All that We did was for God.  Our entire lives were lived in reference to Him.  There’s no reason why you can’t do the same.”

 

I was speechless and thoroughly confused.  Trying to be alone as much as possible, I confessed my weakness and asked for His help.  His grace would be crucial if I was to do what He asked.  Without Him I would be condemned by the tyranny of my own evil disposition.

 

Whenever my thoughts hovered around the people I loved, He got jealous and began to scold me.  He’d say, “That’s no way to love Me.  No one has ever loved you the way I do.  If you don’t shape up, I’ll leave.”  These bitter accusations would always make me cry. 

 

Then one morning, after receiving Holy Communion, my mind lit up and it was suddenly clear just how much He loved me.  But that same light put the disloyalty of fickle creatures in sharp contrast.  My heart was convinced.  From then on I was incapable of loving anyone else.

 

He made me start over and learn how to love people without being detached from the Lord.  He taught me how to look at other creatures as multiple images of God.  Whenever someone was good to me, He would remind me that He is the Author of all benevolent acts.  Creatures were merely the couriers that brought them to me.  Thinking like this would tighten the heartstrings that bind me to God.

 

If anyone acted disrespectfully towards me, I was to be thankful to be mortified as I deserved.  As uncomfortable as they may be, they are instruments in God’s hands that are used for my sanctification.  My heart needs to be tuned so that I don’t get huffy with my neighbor.  That’s what enables me to look at all creatures through the eyes of God.

 

Regardless of their many defects, I’ll should never lose my esteem for them.  If they mock me, I should thank them for advancing the development of my soul.

 

If I am praised, I should ignore them with the contempt they deserve.  I should think, ‘Maybe today, but tomorrow they just as likely to despise me for who I am.’  I know how fickle they can be. 

 

I really can’t explain the sense of sheer freedom He put into my heart.  When the Divine Master freed me from the constraints of outer world, He reached inside my soul to clean out all the filth.

 

Then He spoke to me through my inner voice.

 

We are alone now.  There’s no one around to disturb us.  You’re obviously a lot happier now than you were when you thought that pleasing everyone was an obligation.  It’s much simpler just to please the One Who truly loves you.  You should behave as if you and I were alone in the world.  Promise Me that you will always be faithful.  You’ll be amazed at how many different kinds of grace I can pour into your heart.”

 

He let me think about that for a moment and then continued.

 

I have great designs for you.  Do whatever you see me doing and I’ll mold you into a perfect image of your Creator, one that mirrors everything I did from birth to death.  I’ll show you how a little bit at a time.”

 

He followed up on that every morning after Holy Communion by telling me what I was supposed to do that day.

 

I’ll give you a brief description so I won’t take up too much of your time.  Besides, it’s been such a long time that I couldn’t to tell you everything He said anyhow.  I don’t remember exactly, but He said something about how my priority should be purifying my heart from the inside out.  The annihilation of my false sense of being starts with humility.

 

He tried to teach me something new every day.  For instance, He’d begin by saying something like, “I’ll show you how I pour My graces into your heart as soon as you understand that you can’t do anything yourself.”

 

Beware of souls who claim they can do it themselves.  Would be thieves, they’d steal my grace if they could, but they can’t.  But I am generous with those would know themselves.  Torrents of graces pour into their hearts.  They know very well that they can’t take credit for any of it.  That’s why they’re so grateful.  They hold it with all due esteem.  They have a constant holy fear that they will lose it they don’t meet My expectations.  They know it’s not theirs.”

 

When a heart reeks of pride, it’s a disaster.  I couldn’t squeeze anything into their hearts if I tried.  They’re too swollen with themselves.  There’s no room for Me there.  They’re miserable.  My grace doesn’t count for much them.  They fall, scramble to get up, and fall even further into their ruin.  Today you will spend the hours in humility no matter what you are doing.”

 

“Imagine that you are a little baby wearing only a diaper.  You haven’t learned to walk yet.  You can’t control your hands well enough yet to do any work.  You still depend on your mom for everything.  You’ll snuggle up to me like a little baby would.  I’ll teach you how to hold your hands together in prayer so you can ask for My help.  With a sniffle you’ll admit that you can do nothing without Me.  Poor little baby can’t do anything.  She can’t take care of herself.  She depends on Me for everything.”

 

“I’d do anything to make her happy.  I could make Myself small like her.  Poof, I’d disappear in a cloud of smoke just to make her smile.  I’d turn Myself inside out if that would do the trick.  If she cries I’ll make My heart melt in a puddle around her little baby feet.  I’d do anything to make her laugh.  I’d feel horrible if I did anything to make her cry.”

 

There were times when I thought I was about to come undone.  I couldn’t do any work and it got to the point where I could even walk.  I was sure that I couldn’t take a single breath without His help.  A sense of unworthiness came over me until I was convinced that I was a bad person, rotten to the core.  I felt so ugly that I was ashamed to be seen by other people.  I still think that to this very day.

 

I began to avoid people, though I wouldn’t blame them if it were I that was being shunned.  I was tormented by negative thoughts.  ‘If they knew how depraved I really was, they’d be ashamed to be seen with me.  They wouldn’t believe word I told them if I were to say anything about all the grace the Lord has given me.  After all, It hasn’t seemed to have done any good.”

 

Yet in the morning, after receiving Holy Communion, He was in a festive mood.  He seemed genuinely pleased at the progress I was making in the negation of my selfish preoccupations.  He taught me a lot about self-annihilation.  He used different examples every time He came to make sure I understood.  He must have explained it a hundred times, though you would think that once should have been enough.  But I’ll bet that He could explain it thousands of times without having to repeat Himself.  That’s a lot to say about one virtue.

 

Divine Master, You are Wisdom Itself.  If only I had listened.  Maybe then I could be closer to what You expect from me.”

 

I remember one morning in particular when He spoke to me about this same virtue.  He said that it was my lack of humility that made me sin so often.  If I’d been more humble, I would have been much closer to Him and further from my self-centered evil inclinations.  He made me understand just how ugly sin can be.  This miserable little worm was an affront to Jesus Christ.  With such enormous ingratitude, even among worms I am considered lowly.  This repulsive wickedness was detrimental to my soul’s well-being.

 

I was dismayed that I had no idea how to make it better.  I practiced self-mortification and asked for penance from my confessor, but it didn’t seem to help.  I lived in a shadow world thinking about my sins.  All I could do was cling to Him more and more in helplessness.  I was afraid to make a move.  Anything I did might just make things worse.  I had to admit that I didn’t know what I was doing.  I can’t explain it any better than that.

 

It was an awful burden to bear.  When I was with Him, all I could do was apologize for having offended Him.  I kept asking forgiveness, and thanked Him for having been so good to me.  From the bottom of my heart I lamented, ‘Lord, I’ve wasted so much time when I could have been loving You.  I was laid low by the gravity of the evil I had done in His eyes.

 

Finally one day I must have got on His nerves because He snapped at me.  “Stop.  Don’t get obsessed about it.  When a soul has finally been convinced of her wrong-doing and has cleansed herself through the Sacrament of Penance, anything else is an affront to My Mercy.  Once she’s ready to die rather than offend Me, morbid regret just keeps her from approaching My Love.  There’s no sense in splattering the mind with mud from past.

 

Just as the Pilot is ready to take off for Heaven, her flight is grounded because she’s so wrapped up in herself that she can’t think straight.”

 

Anyhow, I don’t remember what you’ve done that was so bad.  If so, I’ve forgotten all about it.   Do I seem upset to you?  The anger you thought you saw was merely a passing shadow.  I could never stay mad at you.

 

I said to Him: ‘No Lord, You’re always so good to me.’  I felt my heart split open by His tender forgiveness.

 

Are we done, or do you want to keep talking about it?”

 

No, I don’t think so.’ was all I could say.

 

Then let’s just think about love and how we can make each other happy.”

 

I stopped worrying so much after that.  Pleasing Him was my only concern.

 

I prayed that He would show me how to make up for lost time.  I wished that somehow I could undo what persists as regret.

 

He said, “I’m ready to fulfill your wish.  Remember what I first told you.  I want you to imitate my life, but there’s a few things holding you back.”

 

I told Him, “Lord, I wouldn’t know where to begin.  I have no experience at all.  Nothing in my life up till now has prepared me for anything like this.”

 

He said, “Don’t worry.  We’ll go one little step at a time until you get the hang of it.  I know how weak you are.  Depend on Me to provide the strength you need.

 

I don’t remember His exact words, but He gave me advice.  “I want you to be upright in your actions at all times.

 

Keep one eye on Me while using the other to watch what you’re doing and don’t pay any attention to how others react.  As far as you are concerned, they may as well not exist.  When I give you a command, just do what I tell you and don’t think about anything else.  Focus on Me so you won’t be tempted to judge anyone.  Don’t consider if what you are about to do will be painful or something you might enjoy.  Have no doubts about your ability to do what I tell you.

 

Close your mind’s eye to everything else and look only at Me.  Take Me with you wherever you go, knowing that My gaze is fixed on you alone.  I want to hear to say, Lord, I’ll do this just for You.  I work for You and no one else.  I am no longer a slave to the opinion of others.’

 

Think about Me every step of the way.  Work to please Me and no one else.  Think about Me before saying anything so that your words may be pleasant to hear.  Remember this and you will avoid many pitfalls along the way.”

 

He would give me other advice from time to time.

 

When people contradict your words or try to humiliate you with insults, keep your gaze fixed on Me.  Imagine my lips when you hear me saying, ‘Put up with this for My sake.  Don’t let them distract you with idle words.’  Turn your gaze from them.  Together we will destroy any slavish concern for other creature’s opinions.  Suffering these things will enhance your beauty.”

 

I will enrich you with merits as I work on your soul to make it more like Mine.  Then you can present it to Me as a gift.  You will be grateful for having the opportunity to suffer the malicious gossip of others and show them kindness in exchange for their abuse.  Once you have understood this, you will thank me affectionately for My guidance.  I will watch you walk with upright dignity before Me.  Your anxious restlessness will be banished, and you will enjoy perfect peace.”

 

I approached this as a form of spiritual exercise, sometimes with success, and at other times failing miserably.  I held tight to my spirit of uprightness, but when I reflected upon my past ingratitude, I was thoroughly chagrined.  Then He spoke to me about the spiritual importance of mortification and how it was the foundation stone of true understanding.

 

But every step of the way He emphasized that unless these things were based on unconditional love for Him, they would come to naught.  No matter how beautiful someone’s personal virtues may appear at first glance, unless they are born of love, they would eventual be seen for what they are, insipid blandishments of unthinking behavior.  The greatest sacrifices too can only be seen as tragic unless they emerge from the font of selfless love.

 

Charity”, He said to me, “is the virtue that gives life and splendor to all the others.  Without this fountain of life, they may as well be dead.  They are not attractive in My eyes.  They have no power over my Heart.  Take care that all your works are based in charity, even if they don’t seem that significant to you at the time.  They must be done through Me, with Me, and for My sake alone.”

 

It all begins with the spirit of mortification.  He would always emphasize that.

 

Everything you do must be done in a spirit of sacrifice, even the everyday things you do out of necessity.  The works that you do are not acknowledged as Mine unless they bear the identifying marks of mortification.  The coin of the realm is not recognized by its citizens unless it bears the image of their king.  They despise such counterfeits and discard them.  That’s how it is with human works.  They bear fruit as a graft from My Cross.  But on their own they are seen as self-promotion and ignored.

 

I do not call for the destruction of creatures, but of your own self-interest.  You must die to the world before you can share My Life.  Until then you will not live in Me.  Instead you will continue wallowing in your own vain delusions.

 

It will cost you more than you are accustomed to paying.  Turn away from your fears and have courage.  You don’t have to do anything on your own.  I will do all the work from within you.”

 

He continued to shed more light on the meaning of self-annihilation.

 

You are only a shadow.  Try to grab hold of it, and it evades your grasp.  You are nothing.”

 

I felt completely annihilated and wanted to hide somewhere in the deepest, dark abyss I could find.  I knew I was incapable of doing such a thing and was ashamed of my incompetence.  I was speechless and blushed a deep red.

 

I was trying to figure out the best way to disentangle from my nothingness when He spoke to me again.

 

Come here, grab My arm.  I will hold you up with My hands and give you strength.  Admit your blindness to these things and let My Light guide you.  Watch.  I will stand in front where you can see Me.  All you have to do is imitate Me.”

 

Later on He said,

 

Start by mortifying your will.  This so called ‘self’ must be destroyed.  Lay down this false identity as a sacrificial victim before Me.  Your human will and Mine shall be united as one.”

 

He asked me if I was happy.

 

Yes, Lord, but give me the grace I need.  I can’t do anything by myself.”

 

I will keep you in check.  I’ll even have some other creature call you out on it from time to time.”

 

So He went to work on me.  For instance, if I woke up in the morning and lounged in bed for a while, this inner voice would scold me.

 

How can you lie there, knowing that my only bed was the cross.  Get up!  Hurry!  This is no time for smug satisfaction.”

 

If I took a walk and let my eyes wander about along the road, He would immediately reprimand me.

 

“That’s not what I want.  Keep your eyes in front of you.  Watch your step.  I don’t want you tripping over anything.

 

Once, when I was out in the countryside enjoying the trees and flowers, His voice was kind.

 

I created all this to show My love for you.  But I want you to deprive yourself of such pleasant sights to show your love for Me.”

 

Surveying the sacred art and embroidered alter cloths in church seemed innocent enough until He interrupted my reverie.

 

I should be your only pleasure.  Nothing else exists.  We are alone together, just you and Me.

 

Sometimes while doing my lace work, I would slouch in my chair.

 

Don’t get too comfortable.  Consider My life of constant sorrow.  I never sought comfort, why should you?”

 

Hoping to make Him happy, I startled bolt straight on the edge of my seat.  He seemed pleased and I made a joke of it.

 

See My Lord, the chair is half vacant.  Come sit with me.’

 

He would occasionally show up for no other reason than to make me happy.  I can’t tell you how delighted I was just to be with Him.

 

Sometimes I would get a little bored with my work and go slow until it was time to quit.

 

Hurry, save yourself.  If you work faster you’ll have more time to pray with Me.”

 

He would give me a schedule to regulate my work.  Pacing my work I would pray for Him to come help me.

 

All right, we’ll work together on it so you’ll have more time off for Me.”

 

After that I could sometimes do a whole day’s work in an hour or two and then go pray.  He bathed my mind with light and told me many things.  I wish I could tell you all that he said, but my fingers could never write that much.

 

Once I was working alone when I noticed that I didn’t have enough thread to finish the work and would have to go ask my family for more.

 

So I turned to Him and said, “What good does it do to have you help me, my beloved.  As You can see, I have to talk to my family, and I don’t know how long it will take me.  We get to talking about nothing and lose track of time.  I’d much rather stay here with you.”

 

Have faith.  Don’t worry, I’ll help you finish your work.”

 

We got it all done and still had plenty of time to pray.  Once in while I enjoyed some little delicacy at lunch with my family.  I was immediately reprimanded by an accusing inner voice.

 

Perhaps you have forgotten that I have no appetite for anything less than the love I suffer for you.  Keep in mind that you should have no appetite for anything but mortifying yourself as proof of your love for Me.  You’ve had more than enough.  Leave the best for the others and eat only the plainest food.” 

 

From then on when I had be served some delicacy by the maid, I would carry it back to her, express my thanks, and tell her that I was watching my figure and didn’t want anything that rich.  It took time to get used to living on an empty stomach.  But when I went to pray, I felt fully satisfied and strong.  I felt nausea at having to do anything else.

 

As time went by, when I didn’t feel like eating, He seemed to change His mind.

 

I want you eat as a sign of your love for Me.  Consider how food become part of your body.  Now pray that My Love becomes part of your soul.  Everything will then be sanctified.”

 

 

Other times, then, in order to contradict me, if I did not feel like eating, He would say to me: “I want you to eat for love of Me, and as the food unites with the body, pray that my love may unite with your soul; and everything will be sanctified.”

 

No need to go any further in this.  Suffice it to say that He tried to make my will die even down to the slightest details so that I might live only for Him.  But then I had to put up with my confessor’s disapproval at church.

 

Sometimes an overwhelming need for Holy Communion would come over me.  The day and night before I did nothing but prepare myself.  My eyes would not give in to sleep as long as my heart kept pounding with prayer.

 

Hurry, Lord, I can’t go on without you.  Make the hours go by, let the sun rise soon.  I can’t hold myself back.  My heart is about to faint.”

 

He spoke the same to me, such invitations to love make my heart want to burst.

 

Here I am.  I’ve left My loneliness behind.  Don’t worry about not sleeping.  You are keeping company with your God, your Spouse, your All.”

 

I seek refuge from all the offenses I’ve had to endure.  Help Me, please.  Don’t let Me down.  Give Me shelter and I will never turn away when you come looking for sanctuary from your own afflictions.”

 

While under the influence of this holy impulse I would go to the confessor at church in morning.

 

I thought it very strange that the first thing he said to me was, “I do not want you to receive Communion.” 

 

The truth be told, I was stung by his words and resented his prohibition.  But I didn’t dare question his authority because I knew that He was only following the Lord’s instructions and I wanted to avoid any further reproach from Him.  All I could do was cry.

 

I called out to the Lord and told Him my sorrow.

 

Dear Lord, Font of all Goodness, we kept vigil most of the night together.  And now, after so much anxious yearning and breathless anticipation, I am deprived of You.  I know that it’s a matter of obedience, but tell me, how can I live without You?  Lord, give me strength.  I don’t have the courage to leave this church without You.  I don’t know what to do, but I trust that You will take care of everything.’  

 

I was pouring myself out and could feel the fire approaching.  A flame entered my heart.

 

The moment I sensed His presence, He spoke.

 

Calm down now, relax, I’m here, in your heart.  There’s nothing to worry about.  Don’t torture yourself like this.  Let Me dry your tears.  Your right about one thing though.  You can’t live without me, can you?”

 

Consumed with my own annihilation, I accused myself.  If I knew how to behave better, things wouldn’t have turned this way.  But He knows what He’s doing.  I just pray that He never leaves me again.  I can’t live without him, nor would I want to.

  

Some days later, after receiving Holy Communion, I felt His presence within Me, love personified, loving me more than I ever thought possible.  It was an amazing feeling, considering how low opinion I had of myself.  I got used to thinking about myself as being selfish or worthless or some futile combination of the two.

 

I  remember thinking, “I wish I could be good and kind with a generous spirit.  I’m afraid He might leave me.”

 

(I’ve always had this fear, I still do.  My emotional pain is so severe that sometimes I think physical death would be better.  I’m a nervous wreck until He comes close to soothe my fears.)

 

Yet the truth is that He’s always looking for ways to be more intimate.”

 

The feeling that He was inside me was nearly physical, but the inner voice was something else again.

 

My beloved, all of the past is then preparation for what is to come.  It’s time to begin.  To prepare your heart for what I have in mind, the imitation of my life,  I want you to enter the immense sea of my Passion.” 

 

First you must meditate on the bitterness of my pain and suffering until you understand it well.  Only then can you hope to truly understand the love that compelled me to suffer so much for humanity.”

 

There are two of us, I, who have a suffered so much, and you, a miserable wretch.  Though your heart may cringe at the thought of being lashed and crucified, you wouldn’t dare fight back.  This pain and suffering to be endured has been designed specifically with you in mind.  It will do you good.”

 

All you have to do is remember that your master suffered so much more and the pain you face will seem like fleeting shadows compared to the cruel torture and crucifixion I withstood for your sake.  Suffering will become sweet to you.  At some point, you will eventually begin to crave suffering.”

 

The mere thought of suffering made me tremble.  It’s only natural, I thought, but I prayed that He would give me strength.  I was afraid that I might offend Him somehow with the very gifts He gave me.

 

Then I plunged whole heartedly into a deep meditation on the Passion of Christ Jesus.  As far as I could tell, that was my only reliable source of goodness.  I thought of His Passion as an immense Sea of Light.  Innumerable rays of light pierced me through and through.  Streams of humility, patience and obedience penetrated my soul.  Beams carrying every kind of virtue had me in their sights.   With a sizzling flash they transfixed me

 

I should have been inspired or uplifted, but instead I felt annihilated by my own accusations.    I couldn’t help seeing how different I was from Him. Each ray of light was another reproach.  I could hear them saying, “You try God’s patience.  He humbly surrendered Himself to His enemies out of love.  Where is your gratitude?  Your God has suffered so much for you.  We don’t see you suffering for His sake.  Is this how you show your love for Him?”

 

From time to time He would do a narration of His Passion and I’d be so touched that I would cry my eyes out.  One day while working, I thought about the bitter agonies my dear Jesus suffered.  The pain pressed down on my heart until I couldn’t breathe.  I was suddenly afraid, of what, I don’t know.  So I went out on the balcony and took a deep breath to clear my head.

 

I looked around and right there in the middle of the street, what did I see?  I saw the street filled with people from curb to curb, and my sweet Jesus surrounded, dragging a heavy cross on His shoulder.  People were tugging at Him, jerking Him from side to side.  He was panting, and His face dripped with blood.  He raised His eyes up toward me, imploring my help.

 

I was overcome by sorrow, devastated.  That pitiful scene made a deep impression on my soul.  I rushed back inside.   didn’t know where I was.  My heart split open and all I could feel was this piercing pain. 

 

I ran back out in tears and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Jesus, I wanna help!  What should I do?  I’ll chase these rabid wolves away, but how?”

 

I wish I could be there instead of you.  Let my suffer your pain, that’s the only thing that can stop my sorrow.  Please, You who are all goodness, let me suffer.  It’s not fair that You should suffer while a wretched sinner like me doesn’t feel any pain.”

 

There suddenly ignited an overwhelming urge to suffer and it’s burned hot ever since with no sign of dampening.   Once I remember after Communion I would be feverishly praying that He would give me His suffering as a concession.  So to ease my mind a little He would pluck a thorn from His crown and prick my heart, or He would take my heart in his hands and squeeze it hard until the pain about made me feint.

 

There was a time when I was afraid people might notice and when He started I was quick to say, “Lord, what are You doing?  I begged to suffer, but not in front of other people.”

 

He behaved himself better after that, but by then my sins made me unworthy to suffer in secret. Who cares if they notice.

 

Quiet often, after Holy Communion, He would say the same thing.  “The only way to be like me is to suffer.”

 

After going on like this, one day, everything changed.

 

We’ve been together for a while now, but now I’m going to leave you alone for a bit.  Until then, you won’t feel my presence.  I’ve led you by the hand up till now, giving you instructions and correcting all your work.  You have been a faithful follower.  Now it’s time to go it alone.” 

 

You’ll have to pay closer attention to what you’re doing though.  Keep in mind that I’ll be watching everything you do.  But you won’t hearing from Me for a while.  When the time is right I’ll come back and let you know what I think.  If you have been faithful to Me, you will be rewarded.  If I see that you have been ungrateful, you will be punished.”

 

I was frightened by the intimidating tone of His voice, terrified that I might fail the test.  I panicked.

 

You mean everything to me, Lord.  You are my life.  I can’t live without you.  Who would be there to give me the strength and encouragement I need to go on?  You made me leave everything behind.  There’s no one else.  And now you’re going to abandon me all alone?  Have you forgotten how bad I am at doing things on my own?  You know full well that I can’t do anything without you.”

 

When He saw what a big fuss I was making, He gave me a stern look.

 

I’m doing this to give you a better understanding of who you are.  There’s no reason to be sad, I’m doing this for your own good.  I’m preparing your heart for the graces I have designed for you.”

 

I’ve been working on your sense perceptions so far.  Now I have to make your nothingness so tangible that you can almost touch it with your hands.  I will infuse within you a deep sense of humility that is strong enough to support the high walls to be built as a bastion for your soul.”

 

Instead of torturing yourself like this, you should rejoice and be thankful.  The faster I can get you across the stormy sea ahead, the sooner you will reach safe harbor.  The difficulty of the trials I have you undergo determines the magnitude of grace I can give.  Now try to be brave.  I’ll be back soon.”

 

He gave me his blessing and left.

 

I can’t tell you how sad I was.  There was a gaping hole in the depths of my soul that could only be filled with tears.  But I eventually resigned myself to His Divine Will. 

 

From afar I kissed the hand that blessed me,

 

Good-bye for now, My Holy Spouse, good-bye.” 

 

It was all over.  He was all I had, my one consolation.  This bitter sorrow is my only companion.  It hurts to look at other people.  Everything around me seems to be say, “We are the works of your Beloved, have you seen Him?  Where is He?”

 

Earth, wind and fire, flowers, even stones.  I can’t look at any of them without thinking, ‘These are the works of your Heavenly Spouse.  They are blest by the sight of Him.  But not me.’  I ask the works of my Lord for news.  “Where is He?”  Silence.  Maybe they’re just being polite.  He said He wouldn’t be long.  “Will He be back soon?”  Nothing.  “Anybody know?”

 

Utter desolation, my only blanket.  A shiver ran down my spine.  ‘I’m as cold as ice.’  “I can’t breathe.”  My family couldn’t help noticing.  They thought maybe I was coming down with something.  So they called the doctor.

 

They managed to cheer me up a bit.  Sometimes, but not often.  I’d make some excuse and go to my room.  I tried not to be obvious.  They didn’t seem to mind, but occasionally they’d give me a look.

 

I remembered His words with grace!  I could still feel the sting of his reproach.  ‘He was only trying to correct me.’

 

I was strangely lucid.  It all seems so clear.  Everything we did together until …  everything, it was all the work of His grace.

 

There’s nothing left of me.  Void.  No transaction.  Empty.  Nihilistic self-loathing and his sister, an inclination to evil.

 

 

The reverse image was so tangible I could almost touch it.

 

The love, sensible love, the love I don’t have right now.

 

I missed the lights.  The Light, the light that made everything clear in my mind, a portal to meditation.  I’d stay there two or three hours at a time.  I did what I could.  Make the best of it.  A silver lining, somewhere.  I did everything I used to do when He was here, as if nothing had changed.

 

Words, echoes in the mind, ‘faithful, reward… ungrateful, punishment.’  That’s how I was, two or three days at a time, four, however long it took until I was convinced that I had pleased Him.  My only comfort was to receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament.  I found Him there, yes, no doubt.  It was all so obvious.

 

I remember those few times when He didn’t respond.  But I kept praying all the same.  I appealed to Him without letup until my persistence finally paid off and I could put my mind at ease, even if His words were at times severe.  Then I’d go back to my usual routine, confident that He would return if I followed His instructions in good faith.

 

His voice sounded clearer and more distinct.  Until then He had only spoken with thoughts, so at times I couldn’t help but doubt my own sanity.  I was afraid to say anything about it to any living soul, not even my confessor.  Now He spoke in words that I could hear like in a normal conversation. 

 

I tried to imitate Him as best I could so that I wouldn’t bring His wrath down upon me.  At that point I’d do anything to restore my peace of mind.  “O Lord, You have been so good to me, a wretched sinner.”

 

Continuing where we left off, I could feel Him within me again.  I gave Him a big hug, saying, “My beloved, You are all that is good.  It was so hard being separated.”

 

You haven’t seen anything yet.  Brace yourself for harder trials.  I’ve come to prepare your heart and make it strong.  Now tell me all about what you’ve been going through, your fears and doubts, the challenges you have faced.  I’ll teach you how to deal with them when I’m not here.”

 

I went down the list of my pains with Him,

 

As you can see Lord, I can’t do anything without You.   Nothing I do ever seems to come out right.  When I try to meditate, I’m often distracted by unpleasant images.  I want to make my preparation for Holy Communion into something worthy, and I’m ashamed to offer such a confused tangle of thoughts.”

 

Before being left on my own, I could focus on You for hours at a time.  I was lonely.  I missed our intimate conversations together.  I felt like an empty husk.  The pain of your absence was pure agony.  I thought I would die of loneliness.  I wanted time to go by faster to minimize the pain.  A natural reaction I suppose.  But the hours dragged on and it seemed like I was just wasting time.”

 

I was afraid of being punished when You came back.  I hadn’t been faithful and deserved whatever I got.  I didn’t know what to do.  It hurt that I was constantly offending You.  I couldn’t perform those acts of reparation You had taught me.  I thought that my visits to the Holy Sacrament would make up for some of the many offenses You put up with on a daily basis.  Tell me, what should I have done?” 

 

Showing that His intentions were benign, He began to instruct me.

 

There was no reason to get so upset.  I am Spirit of Peace.  My first recommendation is that you do nothing to disturb the peace in your heart.  To be recollected in pray you shouldn’t think of this or that, how and why things are.  It only invites distraction.”

 

Whenever it starts, the first thing you should do is humble yourself.  Admit that you deserve to suffer.  Fall into the arms of your executioner like the meek little lamb that licks the hand that holds the knife.  When you’re depressed, defeated, lonely, resign yourself to My holy way of thinking.”

 

Be that lamb.  When you have been beaten down and lost heart as an orphaned child, kiss My hand, knowing that it is about to strike you down.  Admit that you are not worthy to suffer as I have and thank Me with all your heart.  Your bitter anguish is an acceptable offering.  Your boredom too is a worthy sacrifice if done with prayer.  Repenting your sins is the best praise you could give me.  I will accept them as partial reparation for the many insults I have had to endure from your fellow creatures.  Your prayer will ascend before My Throne as fragrant incense to wound My Heart, drawing new forms of grace upon you.  They will anoint you with charisms that transform a humble creature in unexpected ways.  When you are resigned to humiliation, plunged into nothingness, the devil has no power over you.  He cannot approach.  Just when you thought you have lost, great strides have already been made.”

 

You arrive at Holy Communion.  Don’t be upset if you can’t stay there.  It’s a mere shadow play of the high drama I experienced at Gethsemani.  What will happen when I have you share in the scourges, the thorns and the nails?  The thought of greater pain allows you to suffer minor pain with more courage.  Agonize your solitude during Communion so I can have some company in My Agony that night in the garden.”

 

Stand beside Me and compare your pain with mine.  When I’m not with you, and you feel so all alone, remember that that I was abandoned by My best friends.  They couldn’t even stay awake to show a little support.  They slept through My Agony.”

 

My Divine Father left Me alone in My Agony to plumb the depths of human despair.  Bitter lashes swelled all over My body.   

I was surrounded by rattle-snakes and vipers, rabid dogs salivated the sins of humanity.  Your sins were there, intent on eating Me dead or alive.”

 

My Heart was gripped in a vice.  I sweat blood red.  Tell Me when you ever suffered that much.”

 

When you look around and I’m not here, when anxiety gnaws at your guts and there’s no one to console you, when you are overwhelmed by pain and sorrow, come to Me, closer.  Wipe the blood from My face.  When you see Me shivering with agony, ease My lacerated flesh with the soothing balm of your own suffering.  Do that and after Communion you will linger a while longer, alone with Me.”

 

From that perspective your pain will seem slight compared to living without Me.  I reserve this sorrow for souls who are dear to Me.  Just knowing that your pain can relieve My sorrow should be enough to make your life content.  When you come for a visit and try to make up for what I have endured for others, remember that from the night I was born till the day I died, thirty-three years, the sacrifice of My life continues in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar.”

 

From now on I want you to visit Me thirty-three times a day to commemorate My years on earth.  Take these intentions I give you and use them to unite with Me in the Blessed Sacrament.  Adore Me in reparation for the sins of humanity.  From there it will become habitual.  Your first waking thought should race the rising sun to the tabernacle where I will be waiting with My love for you.  Come.  Please do.  Visit Me often.”

 

Your last thought after twilight has faded, should be of Me.  Before and after every meal, think of Me.  Just as you are about to do anything at all, remember My love for you.  Whether you’re at work, or just taking a stroll, know that I am there.”

 

His words raised some serious doubts in my mind about whether I could actually do what He was saying. 

 

Lord, I beg You to stay here, at least until I get in the habit of doing everything You tell me.  I can do anything You say, as long You’re with me.  I’d be miserable and helpless without You.”

 

All right, just to make you happy.  I’ve never let you down before, now have I?  I’ll do whatever it takes to have your good will.”

 

He was true to His word, coming and going until one day after Holy Communion I felt much closer to Him.

 

He probed my commitment.  Did I love Him, was I prepared to do whatever He wanted, would the sacrifice of my life too much to ask for His love?

 

Now tell me what you want.  If you’re willing to do what I want, I’ll do the same for you.”

 

I still didn’t understand His way doing things and was puzzled by His words.  It was only with time that I came to understand that this was His way of preparing a soul  for new and heavier crosses to bear.  He has several strategies for drawing a soul closer to Him, each designed in such a way the she wouldn’t dare to oppose His plans.

 

Of course I love You.  What could ever be more beautiful and holy than having someone as lovable as You?  Why keep asking if I’m ready to do what You want considering how long it’s been since I’ve handed over my will.  You’ve heard me pray that I not be spared.  I would let myself be torn to pieces just to please You.  I’ve abandoned myself in You, My Holy Spouse.  You are free to do whatever you want with me.  But I need Your Grace.  I can’t do anything on my own.  Without You I am nothing.” 

 

He asked me again.  “Are you sure, anything I want?”

 

Now I was even more confused, humiliated, verging on total self-annihilation.  I trembled at the thought.

 

Yes, I’m ready.”

 

His compassion was tangible. 

 

Fear not.  I will be your strength.  I will fight and suffer from within you.  I intend to purify your soul of any stain until there is nothing to inhibit My love.  But first I must test your commitment.  The only way to prove what you say is to place you in the midst of battle.  You know what that means, don’t you, being set in the midst of demons?  I have given them the freedom to torment you with temptations.  Virtue will fight the corresponding vice.  That’s how you take possession of the virtues that would otherwise sift through your hands.”

 

Once your soul has been purged, enriched, adorned, your will return like a king flush with victory in fierce battle after despairing the loss of his possessions.  He returns in triumphant glory with immense, hard won trophies of war.”

 

Then will I come to form My dwelling in you where we can be together forever and always.  You will live in pain.  Fierce demons will grant you no peace, day or night.  Constant warfare will besiege you.  Keep in mind what I want to make of you.  That should be your only aim.  I want you to emulate Me through the many dire tribulations you must endure.  It will give you the courage to bear any pain.”

 

Imagine the fright at such a pronouncement.  My hair curled and my blood went cold.  My imagination went black, ghost loomed, eager to devour their prey.  Before the Lord put me in this state of overwhelming pain, He had granted complete freedom of access to all the sufferings I was to endure and were now gathering all around me.  I turned to plea with Him.

 

Lord have mercy.  Pity, I beg You.  Please, don’t abandon me.  Don’t leave me here all alone.  I can see the raging demons.  How can I hold them off?  There won’t be a speck of me left.”

 

You know what a miserable wretch I am.  At least give me the grace I need.  I’m horrified at the thought of offending you.  The worst pain that torments my soul is that You might leave me.  What can I say?  You’re the only one I can talk to.  Who will teach me?  But let Your Will be done now and forever.  I bless your Holy Will.”

 

His voice was kind.

 

There’s really no need to go on torturing yourself like this.  Be assured that I would never allow them to tempt you beyond your strength.  It’s for your own good.  Otherwise I would never allow it.  I never send souls into battle just to see them perish.  I assess their strengths and weaknesses and give them the grace they need before sending them in.”

 

If some soul should fall, it’s only because they have failed to keep their lines of communication secure by means of prayer.  They had lost connection with My Love.  They give up and go begging for love from other creatures.  I am the only One Who can satisfy the human heart.  They have lost their path by ignoring the signposts of obedience.  They trust their own judgement more than in those I have sent to guide them.  No wonder they fall.”

 

My best recommendation is prayer.  Even if faced with agonizing death, never neglect what has by now become habitual.  The further you sink into the abyss, the more you should invoke the aid of the only One who can free you.  Put yourself in the hands of confessor I have assigned to you at church.  Blind faith requires that you don’t question anything he says.  Eyeless, surrounded by darkness, the soul needs a hand to guide her.  The voice of  your confess shall serve as your eye.  He is the light that will clear the gloom around you.  He will reach out the hand of obedience to grasp and pull you into safe harbor.”

 

My last recommendation is the courage to be intrepid in battle.  Courage is what the opposing army most fears.  Therein lies your greatest strength.  There’s something about fearlessly challenging an opponent to a fight fraught with danger.  That’s demons for you.  They fear nothing more than a courageous soul who clings to me.  She enters their midst with a strong spirit with no intention of being wounded by such scoundrels.  She advances firmly resolute on slashing them all to extermination.  The demons are not so much frightened as terrified, fleeing with alacrity their only escape, but cut off by the force of My Will.  I bind them in place to await greater torments.”

 

You have nothing to fear.   They can’t do anything that doesn’t conform to My Will.  Just remember on the verge of failure, when you think you can no longer resist, be faithful.  I’ll be there before you know it and put them all to flight.  I am determined that you shall have all the grace and strength you need.  Until then, courage.”

 

My soul convulsed as I plunged into that world of horror.  The love in my heart suddenly turned on me with malicious hate.  I winced from the scalding realization that I couldn’t love Him.

 

The thought of the Lord’s kindness tortured my soul as I cursed Him with venomous spite.  I defied the God Who was now our ruthless enemy.  I couldn’t face Him.  The image I would have of Him as I kissed the rosary in my prayerful hands triggered powerful surges of utter hate.  Everything turned inside out to reveal my pent up revulsion.  My world had fallen to pieces.

 

I strained to resist, my body trembling from head to foot.  My God, what bitter anguish.  Hell needs no fire to torture the soul.  It sucks out the love of God and fills it with puke and a stinking bile that burns with blistering pain.

 

The demon liked to display the graces given to me by the Lord.  It dangled a free and comfortable life before my imagination.  It had the ring of truth.

 

They mocked me.  “Is this how He shows His love?  Is this how he repays your loyalty, leaving you in our hands?  It’s all over.  There’s no hope.  You belong to us now.”

 

I pulsed with rushes of indignation at the Lord.  I cast a desperate look around my soul, looking for a way out.  Images would appear in my hands and I would tear them apart in rage.  Then I saw one that made me cry and something forced me to kiss it.  Demons burst out in laughter.  My tormented soul lay prostrate with exhaustion, but wide awake. 

 

I was startled by a loud noise and jumped up.  Something exploded behind me and I reeled.  Demonic shrieks made me twirl in fright.  They yelled and shouted from every direction.  Howls reverbed above and below.  They screamed in my face until my ears rang and went deaf.  Their bellows filled my head.  Then a hot dry wind swirled the hiss of malignant whisperings around me until they suddenly stopped and made way for a voice that gave me the creeps.

 

You belong to us now.  You’re  going you to hell, body and soul.  We’ll show you what we do there.  You haven’t seen anything yet.”

 

They put me in a room with a chair and I knelt on it to pray.  They pinched me and tugged at my clothes.  They jiggled the chair and cursed.  The more I prayed, the louder they screamed.  They did everything they could to stop me.  I was scared to death and would do anything to escape their clutches.  So I went back to bed and fell asleep.  But they followed me.  They tugged at my pillow and pulled off the blankets.

 

Then the real fear began.  I didn’t know if I was back on earth or still in hell.  “Where am I?”  I forgot about sleeping that night.  I was afraid to close my eyes.  A heartless murderer lurked in the darkness.  He has sworn to take my life no matter what.  He would lunge with the knife the moment I closed my eyes.  There was a presence under my eyelids.  As long as I kept them open, they couldn’t take me away, could they?  I don’t know how long I can hold them off.  They want me to do their will.  How can I resist?

 

My hair stood on end, each strand fled from the others.  I broke out in a cold sweat that soaked me to the bone and sogged into its marrow.  It dislocated my joints one by one and pinched every nerve in my body.  I thrashed and squirmed, desperate to escape my worst fears.

 

There were times I considered suicide.  The temptation made me desperate.  The well behind our house is deep and cool.  Being near it gives me goose-bumps.  There’s knives in the kitchen, inviting me out.  I ran away, as fast as I could until I was ready to drop.  I could feel my death throes impending.  They’re after me.  They’re getting closer, I can hear their accusations hounding me.  The insinuations were clear, it’s useless to go on living after having committed so many sins.  God had abandoned me for being unfaithful. 

 

I felt guilty about felonies and misdemeanors I had nothing to do with.  There was no hope of mercy.  The stern voice of the prosecutor kept demanding, “Why should a sworn enemy of God be allowed to live?”  He played up to the jury of sniggering demons, “Should this reprobate be allowed to live in peace having alienated the God of her soul?”

 

Do you know who God is, the One you have repeatedly cursed with odious insults to aggravate your crimes?  Knowing full well that the Immensity of God surrounds you on every side, you did shameful things under His very eyes just to rub it in.  You have gone out of your way to make enemies.  No one steps forward to defend you from their just retribution.”

 

All I could do was cry.  The truth hurts.  When I sought solace in prayer, the demons would crawl over me and amuse themselves by tormenting me.  They’d begin to pinch me and then they would beat me.  Then they stepped back while their ring-leader grabbed me by the throat and choked me.

 

I remember once while standing at prayer in the garden when a hand suddenly reached out of the ground and tried to pull me under as flames shot up from crevice.  I clutched at the surface with my fingers to keep from sinking all the way in.  My muscles strained till they hurt.  I was half dead with fright. 

 

Finally it got so bad that Christ had to intervene.  My sweet Jesus came down at last and consoled me.  The truth was, I had never willfully defied Him.  He only put me through this torture so that I would have no doubt that the devil is a liar.  He advised me to pay him no mind.  It put things in perspective for me and from then on I should have more patience with myself.  If I put up with the usual annoyances long enough then peace would eventually find a home in me.

 

It went on like that for a while.  Just when I was about to break, He’d swoop down and put my tormentors to flight.  But when He thought I was ready for more, he’d toss me back into their clutches to see if my resistance had grown.

 

This tension and release of the soul over time made my soul much stronger.  Light used darkness for contrast to help the soul perceive the Truth.  I would always put up a fight, but I was crushed just as bad all the same.  They temped me to shun the Sacrament for all they were worth.  That was their main obsession.  How could I be so bold.  How dare I receive Holy Communion after committing so many sins.  If you go anywhere near It, your Christ Jesus will not come to save you.  The beast will come and claw you to pieces.

 

Obedience always wins in the end.  Faced with mortal anguish, I would struggle to regain my composure on my way to church for Communion.  But once my confessor directed me to receive the Blessed Sacrament, there was no other course.  Yet there were times when I just couldn’t do it.

 

Sometimes at night I would turn off the light before praying.  Demonic beasts stalked the room.  Jaws opened wide with hot and humid roars that stank of carrion and made me want to puke.   Imps and ghouls cavorting with mischievous antics aimed their gross gestures, that made me want to puke.  Far worse were those feint voices whimpering as they died. 

 

Difficult trials.  I don’t remember them all, thank God.  It went on like that for three years.  There were lucid intervals though, sometimes days and weeks at a time.  Not that it stopped, but they weren’t as noxious or frightening.

 

Then one day after Communion the Lord taught me how to send them packing.  Look down your nose at them with contempt, ignore them.  They’re not worth the bother.  Just a bunch of ants scurrying around with no sense of purpose.

 

Strength returned to my limbs.  I wasn’t afraid anymore.

 

What I did was, whenever they kicked up a fuss and got all rowdy, I’d say, ‘You don’t have anything better to do?  All you do is waste your time doing silly things.  Clowns.  Don’t let me stop you.  Go on, keep going.  You’ll eventually get so bored, you’ll have to quit.”

 

They’d stop in their tracks and glare.  They hate looking stupid.  They’d get so pissed it made them scream.  They’d huff and they’d puff and trample each other trying to get at me.  Hot flames spewed from their mouths.  A horrible stench made me gag. 

 

My guts were shivering, but I plucked up enough courage to say, “Liars, I’m onto your con.  If you could hurt me, you would have done it already.  You wouldn’t know truth if it bit you.  The only power you have over me has been given from above.  Come on now, sing me another little song.  Go ahead, sing till you croak.”

 

They moaned and groaned and screamed in frustration.  Then I’d rub it in.

 

“What’s that?  You can’t add a notch to your pitchfork today?  Have you lost some poor soul?  Did someone take her away from you?  Cry-babies.  I’ll bet you gave her a hard time.  Now it’s your turn to cry.”

 

Then I’d pray for sinners and do penance for them.  When they started acting up again they’d do all kinds of bizarre things to get my attention.  I’d just laugh.

 

You’re not serious are you?  Cowards.  What makes you think you can scare me?  You’re just a bunch of spoiled brats.  Shame on you!  No wonder people make fun of you.  Where’s you self-respect?”

 

I have no idea why they thought blasphemous words of hatred against God would tempt me.  What a rotten thing to do.  Perish the thought.  It would be like twisting a knife into my own heart.  The Lord deserves all my love.  He is praiseworthy, not like me.  I praise Him to compensate for the blasphemy of libertines and denials of God’s existence.  If they only knew.  What they forgot was their obligation to love Him in return.

 

They did all they could to make me despair.  Directing my inner voice towards them, I thought, “Paradise lost in not my concern.  Heaven and hell are in His hands.  All I want to do is love my God.”

 

He always does what is best for me.  I will glorify His goodness wherever He puts me, but He keeps me close where I can be sure that He hears me.  My teacher is Jesus Christ.  He taught me the most effective techniques to avoid fear and doubt, freeing me from so many vain apprehensions.

 

Before Heaven and earth I repudiate these demons.  I wouldn’t do anything to offend my God even to save my life.  I would never consent to any temptation of the devil.  At the approach of temptation, the soul prepares for battle as best she can.  Then she enjoys her freedom for the rest of the day.  She doesn’t waste her time worrying whether she has to consent to something before she does it.  The memory of her promise is forever vigilant to keep the peace.

 

The least disturbance by the devil evokes her intention never to offend her God.  She won’t bother protesting that she had no intension of doing any such thing.  There’s nothing to worry about.

 

You can’t imagine the devil’s rage.  His own dirty tricks turn against him.  He’s confused.  Confident about winning, He loses every try.  The soul turns the tables on him with acts of penance to express her love for God.

 

The Lord taught me other ways to scatter the devil’s temptations.  If he suggested suicide I’d answer, “God does not permit that.  It must annoy you that I want to live so I can love my God even more.  I’m doing penance for the sins of the world.  I do whatever I can to make up for their offensive behavior.  He’s put up with too much already.

 

A year and a half plotting went into his latest attempt to snatch my soul.  Reminding me that his fiends had been crawling all over me, he said that I was now pregnant and was going to deliver a little demon with horns.

 

He had succeeded in penetrating my imagination because I couldn’t remember everything that happened.  I could imagine the horrified looks and my own confusion if I had to face people gossiping about my scandal.  It was awful.  But after a year and a half of fighting their diabolic cruelty, the demons finally gave up and I could begin a new life.  Every now and then they’d try out some new trick.  The battles were not so fierce or frequent.  I eventually got bored with it.

 

I began my new life at a farm ranch called Torre Disperata and everything was fine until one day I was suddenly attacked by the devil.  It was worse than before.  I felt week and nearly feinted.  Around sundown I went into convulsions and lost consciousness.

 

I had a vision of Jesus Christ surrounded by thugs who slapped and beat Him.  They twisted His arms behind His back and put a crown of thorns on His head and beat them into His skull.  They beat Him with a club all over.  His arms and legs were a mass of bruises.  After having nearly torn Him to pieces, they laid His body on the Madonna’s lap right in front of me.

 

The Blessed Virgin gathered Him into Her arms and leaned toward me in tears.  “Little daughter, see at how they treat My Son?  These men are guilty of serious crimes.  They never let  up.  Look at what they’ve done to Him.  He’s hurt real bad.”

 

I could barely look at Him.  All I saw were bloody cuts and bruises.  He was close to death.  I’d rather die a thousand times than to see My Dear Lord suffer like that.  My pain is nothing compared to His.  I was ashamed. 

 

Eyes glistening, She spoke, “Come closer.  Help My Son.  Kiss His wounds to make them better.  No matter how many dare to offend Him, you must bear His pain to give Him a brief respite in His constant sorrow.  That would help a lot.  Would you?”

 

I was annihilated.  I felt so bad, and always will.  I’m unworthy.  I didn’t have the courage to say yes.  I trembled all over, inside and out.  The memory of past suffering left me dangling from a thread.

 

Barking in the twilight, I saw demons in the distance.  As they got closer I could hear their bloody war chants.  I imagined them doing what they had done to the Lord and was frightened out of my wits.  Dare I accept?  They’re going to inflict as much pain and suffering on me as they can.  I’d already seen it.  They’ll torture every nerve in my body.  I thought I was going to die.  They were about on us when I turned and kissed His wounds.  Time froze as I watched His cuts healing and His bruises fade.  From the verge of death the Lord revived as good as new.

 

A spotlight found my soul and I could see the offenses offered in sharp contrast.  I was strangely attracted to this idea of being the victim who would suffer a thousand deaths.  That’s the least I can do for the Lord.  Who am I to get in the way?  I was determined to give Him whatever He wants.

 

It all happened in silence.  The Madonna’s gaze was a conduit of invitation between us.  One significant look from Her eyes pierced my heart with flaming arrows.  The Blessed Virgin spurred me on till I had to accept.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how much I went through in that single moment.

 

The Lord looked kindly upon me. 

 

You have seen their offensive behavior.  Multitudes walking blindly down the  path over evil, each headed for a cliff and the abyss below.”

 

Offer yourself at the altar of Divine Justice, a sacrificial victim to atone for offenses given.  And for the conversion of sinners who have closed their eyes and drank from the poisoned fountain of sin.  A vast array of suffering awaits you, each with an escort of grace.”

 

I will never leave you again.  I will enter your soul to suffer the crimes of humanity.  We will share the pain.  I give you My Mother to comfort you as your advocate.”

 

He handed me over to Her and She took me under Her veil.  I dedicated myself to Him, and to His Virgin Mother.  Once He knew I was ready to do whatever He wanted, a chapter seemed to close.

 

When I came around I hurt all over.  I was annihilated, a good for nothing little worm destined to squirm in the dirt.

 

Help me!  I’m staggered by Your infinite power.  One look made me crumble.  My legs feel like rubber.  I can’t get up.  Don’t leave me stranded.  I am nothing, yet even that will dissolve in the mire if I stay here much longer.  Give me strength.  I’m fading.  Don’t leave me here to die.  I beg You.  I’ll do anything.  I’ll suffer for You, I promise.”

 

The pattern was set.  One day a visit from the Lord, and torment by demons the next.  Self-resignation just fed their rage.  A few days later it got so bad that I almost passed out.

 

Every time it happened I thought I was going to die.

 

As consciousness faded, the Lord appeared wearing a crown of thorns dripping with blood.  I clung to His words.

 

Look, My daughter.  See how mankind repays Me?  These are sad times.  They pollute the air with the stench of pride.  It stinks to high heaven.  Must I leave My Throne and close the door?  That’s what they want.  They’d slam it shut if they could.  These miserable creatures are blind to the truth.  Lost in a smog of sinful pride, they incite fellow vices to murk the light with noxious clouds of gloom.  Please, spasms of bitterness come over Me.  You can make it stop.  Do penance as reparation for their many transgressions.”

 

I watched as He quietly removed His bloody crown, but the thorns were pounded in so deep that it was just a scarlet mass.  He came up and offered it to me.  Annihilation.  Their surly ways toward Him split my heart.  I’d do anything to ease His pain.

 

Do whatever You want with me Lord.”

 

He put the bloody crown on my head and pounded the thorns in my head with a club and disappeared.  I shuddered.  The slightest move of my head made me gasp my last breath.  A prickling sting covered my head.  Thorns penetrate deep in my skull, piercing eyebrows, ears and the back of my neck.  It slumped to send a thorn through the side of my mouth.  Jaws clenched shut.  I couldn’t eat for two or three days after that.

 

The pain would start to fade after a while until the distinct sensation of a hand pressed down on my head to reignite the pain in spasms that drove me unconscious.  It went on like that for a while, but every now and then it would happen three or four times a day lasting anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour.

 

When I broke free I felt weak and not at all well.  I hurt all over or dropped into a funk, depending on what happened in the trance.  Not only could I not open my mouth to eat, I had these awful headaches.

 

My family took the hint.  I didn’t want any company.  They thought I was just being fussy about eating.  But they were annoyed.  Who could blame them?  They’d only make fun of me if they were really upset.  I resented that.  They didn’t know what they were talking about.  Apparently the Lord shared my resentment.

 

One evening at the dinner I couldn’t open my mouth.  They’d had enough.  I started to cry and left the table.  I went to my room and prayed to the Blessed Virgin, begging Her intercession with Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Give the strength to endure these trials.

 

I was losing consciousness.  “O God.”  I was ashamed of having my family seeing me like this.  They hadn’t really noticed up till then.  “Lord don’t let them in.”  Where can I hide?  It occurred to me that if I was kneeling as if I were lost in prayer, maybe they’d leave me alone.  They burst in and caught me by surprise and I feinted. 

 

I saw the Lord surrounded by human jackals vying to insult Him.  They grabbed Him, threw Him down and trampled Him into the dust, swearing and pulling His hair.  They ground in the filthy soles of their shoes when He tried to get up.  He looked around for a helping hand and found no one.  All I could do is watch and cry with every blow.  I should have jumped in and fought off His assailants.  But I was scared. 

 

How can I stop them?  It’s not right!  O Lord, there must be something I can do.  At least let me suffer with You.”

 

His assailants must have heard because they turned in a rage and charged me.  They punched me and pulled my hair.  They knocked me over stomped me.  I was scared stiff.  It hurt a lot, but I’d distracted them anyhow.  I grinned at Him there as He was sitting up by Himself.

 

My eyes let Him know I sympathized with Him.  It felt like we were alone.  I looked around and they were gone.  I wanted to express my sympathy when He came over, but I didn’t dare say anything.

 

He broke the silence. 

 

What you have seen is just a hint of what I’m constantly forced to endure.  They’re blind with earthly indulgence.  They glut themselves until they puke.  They’re cruel to me, but they are their own worst enemy.  They stick their nose in the mud to spite the Eternal.  Who will cure this drove of ingratitude?  Who will pity the multitudes intent on shedding My blood?  Who wants to live buried up to the neck in the stench of earthly existence?”

 

Come with Me please.  Pray with Me and cry for the willfully blind who ravage the earth with their eyes.  They despise the graces I offer and trample them into the mud with their grimy shoes.  Please.  You must rise above all earthy things.  Despise them for having nothing to do with me.  They should have no doubt that you find their behavior abhorrent.”

 

Don’t let your family get on your nerves.  Let them talk.  It’s nothing compared with what you’ve just seen.  Guard My honor within your heart.  Shield Me from their offensive behavior.  Lament with Me the loss of so many souls.  Please don’t leave Me here alone to face all the pain that taunts My Heart.  No how much you suffer, it’s nothing compared to what I’m going through.  Like I’ve told you before.  All I want is for you to imitate My life.  We’re quite different, you and I.  Now show some courage.  There’s nothing to be afraid of here.”

 

When I came to I saw my family all around me, crying.  They were really upset about something.  They thought I was going to have another attack.  They were worried that I might die.  They rushed me back to Corato and as soon as we got to town they called the doctor.  He and a few colleagues kept me under observation.  The thought of being poked and probed like a specimen was outrageous.  I hated it.  I got frustrated and started to cry.  Only the Lord would hear My lament.

 

How many times have I told You my Lord?  I begged you not to let me suffer in public.  Solitude was my only consolation.  And now I’ve been stripped of it.  Please!  I can’t do this.  You’re the only one who can relieve what ails me.  Listen to them talking about me.  They’re all experts in one thing or another, debating diagnoses and proposing different procedures, inspecting me all over with therapeutic distance in their eyes.  Can’t they just leave me in peace?  I hurt everywhere and they’re sucking the life out of me.”

 

The Lord spoke with benign authority. 

 

Don’t torture yourself like this.  I want you to abandon yourself in My arms, but not like a corpse.  Keep your eyes open and watch what I’m doing.  Being distracted by what people say contradicts the permission you have given Me to do what I want with you.  For that I need complete freedom of action.  Don’t you trust Me?  Don’t you know how much I love you?  Anything I allow happen to you by humans or demons is for your own good.  React as if it were all My direct intervention.  This is how I lead a soul into the scenario I have written for her.”

 

Relax here in My arms and close your eyes.  Don’t be curious about my work.  Stop trying to figure out what I’m doing and trust Me.  Give Me the freedom I need to act.  Anything else would be a waste of time.  Don’t be stubborn.  Your misapprehensions keep me from doing what I want with you.” 

 

Show your profound benevolence for all creatures with deferential silence.  Let your life be one long continuous act of reparation to forestall My justice.  Breathe with serene affection as you offer your thoughts to Me.  When people bother you, as they often do, leave their vexations to Me so you won’t get tangled up in them.”

 

After that I tried to resign myself to the Will of God as best I could.  But I came to realize how tied down I was by other people and try as I might I couldn’t free myself.  My life was so constrained that it made me claustrophobic.  The harder I tried to get loose, the more entangled I got in their drama.  The knots just got tighter until all I could do is cry.

 

The next time the doctor came by to visit he said that I had some kind of nervous disorder, nothing serious.  He prescribed some medicines and told me I should get out more often, go for a stroll in the cool of the morning and take a cold bath in the afternoon.  He told my family to keep a close watch on me when I had these episodes and that they shouldn’t try to straighten me out if my body clenched up in a ball because something might break if they applied too much force.

 

I felt like my family had declared war on me.  They watched me like a hawk.  They wouldn’t let me go to church or go out alone.  I didn’t have any privacy.  They thought my condition was getting worse, but only because they really hadn’t been paying that much attention before.

 

I complained to the Lord a lot.  I was such a whiner. 

 

My good and merciful Jesus, the pain keeps getting worse.  I’m being deprived of the thing that are dearest to me, the Sacraments of the Church.  I never thought it would get this bad.  How will I end up?  Where’s this all going?  I don’t see the point.  I’m at the end of my wits.  Help me.  Give me strength.  I’m such a weakling.”

 

He was kind enough to drop in for a few words now and then.

 

Now tell me about your fears.  I’m here to help.  Remember all the insults I had to put up with?  People had all kinds of conflicting opinions about Me.  Of all the holy things I did for them, even the best were considered heresy.  They were extremely judgmental.  They called Me wicked to make themselves look good.  There were those who in their insane vanity claimed that I was possessed by the devil.  Some of them were nothing but thugs and bullies who sneered at Him with surly eyes.  They could barely put up with My presence and would rather not see Me around.  Conspirators gathered to plot My death.  They were in a hurry.  It was intolerable that I should continue living amongst them.  If I was willing to suffer at their hands, why shouldn’t you?”

 

I spent several years suffering on account of people.  God and the devil vied to cause me pain.  People made me bitter.  I was so afraid of what they might think of me that I was ashamed to be seen.  My worst trial was to go out in public.  I would blush and get so confused that I walked around in a daze.  I had regular visits by doctors who couldn’t find anything wrong with me.

 

With bitter tears I spoke from the heart.

 

Lord how I loathe having to suffer in front of other people.  Not just in public, but even with my family.  Fingers point as if I were doing something awful until I’m covered in shame.  I don’t know what’s come over me.  Please, I beg You, spare me all this publicity.  Let me suffer in private.  I implore You.  Answer me.”

 

Sometimes I thought He wasn’t listening and that made me suffer even more.  Once in a while He’d have pity and answer me.

 

Yes, you’re suffering.  But so do I, remember?  O how I suffered.  It remained hidden up to a point.  When the time was right according to My Father’s Will, I began My public life in sorrow.  I was promptly met by confusion, contempt and scorn.  Towards the end I was stripped naked in front of all these people.  Can you imagine anything worse?  Talk about confusion.”

 

Suffering is magnified by Divinity, but My gaze was fixed on the Father’s Will.  It was an even trade, My pain for the actions of a wide-eyed wicked mob.  It was all quite public.  No one blushed but Me.  I could hear them boasting about their cruelty.”

 

Father, accept My embarrassed humiliation as reparation for all the insolent offenses You have freely endured without the slightest remorse.  Forgive them.  Give your people the light they need to see the ugliness of sin and change their ways.’”

 

That’s how I want you to suffer.  The most valuable present I can give to a soul is the pain that comes from having their own cross to bear.  Of course you’re too weak.  You’re still just a little girl on the way to her cross.  When you’re a bit older you’ll understand how precious suffering can be and it will make you stronger.  Lean on Me, rest for a spell.  This too will give you strength.”

 

Things went on like that for six or seven months.  The pain got a little worse and as time went by I stayed in bed more often.  By then I was losing consciousness several times a day.  Then the episodes multiplied until there was scarcely an hour between them.  I was very weak and my jaws would clench until finally I couldn’t open them at all.  When they relaxed for a few moment I’d drink a little sip of water, a few drops if that, and try not to vomit.  I threw up a lot back then.  That went on for eighteen days without a break. 

 

They called on my confessor at church and brought him to absolve my sins.  I was dozing in bed when he came.  When I came round, he asked me what was wrong.  I couldn’t explain the demons or how the Lord would visit me.  What could I say?

 

Father, it’s the devil.” 

 

Don’t be afraid, I’m sure it’s not the devil.  And even if it is, the Father will certainly free you.”

 

He swore me to obedience and traced the sign of the cross on my forehead with his thumb.  I relaxed and he slowly unclenched my arms.  He straighten them out and moved them around until I could do it myself.  Then he rubbed my jaws and made me open my mouth.  It was the sanctity of my confessor that moved me.  He was indeed a holy priest.  It was a miracle and could help but think about that for a while.

 

I thought I was going to die.”

 

I was so sick that if it had gone on much longer I would have left this life for good.  I remember how resigned I was.  I longed for freedom and wouldn’t regret dying.  I was fine when the confessor left but before long I had another attack.  It got better after that.  I’d go a week or two, even months without relapse.  It usually happened at night.  Daytimes were normal.  I slowly got better on my own.  But if my family noticed me having an episode, they’d call the confessor.  Nobody expected me to survive.  They were amazed that I recovered all. 

 

When I finally went to church, I no sooner returned than I had another attack.  The thing that amazed me the most was that a priest could free me from such a horrible state.  It took me a while before it sunk in and I realized what an extraordinary series of events had occurred.  After all, I got to see my Christ Jesus whenever I lost consciousness.  Everything that happened was by the goodness of the Lord.

 

I couldn’t help thinking, “See how good the Lord is?  He gave me strength in my tribulations.  What would I have done without Him?  I wouldn’t have had the strength to survive.”

 

After that He would warn me during Communion that morning when further suffering was imminent, from Him.  I wasn’t fazed.  I was no longer afraid about telling my confessor either.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  I didn’t dare.  Out of the question.  The most overweening pride in the world couldn’t drag it out of me.  Seeing Jesus Christ?  Right.  As good and holy he may be, my confessor would be scandalized.  I didn’t know at the time that any other priest could free me.  I thought only the extra-ordinary sanctity of my confessor could break the spell.

 

But he was out of town that day I went to Mass for Holy Communion when the Lord let me know that a sudden attack was imminent and cordially invited me to share His pain with Him.

 

Lord!  How?  My confessor’s not here.  Who’s going to free me?  Why not just kill me now?”

 

Trust no one but Me.  Resign yourself.  Resignation lights up the soul and keeps the passions outside where they belong.  The moment I see a light shining in the dark, I head right to it and delve into the soul.  I pull her depths out into My Own and completely transform her so she can live entirely from within My Life.”

 

Surrendering to His Holy Will, I went to Communion as if it were the last time and bade a final farewell to my Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  My natural instincts rebelled.  I cried all day long, begging the Lord for strength.  It was a bitter experience.  Out of nowhere I felt the weight of a cross that was heavier than anything I’d ever experienced.  I was in agony and all I could think about was dying and doing God’s Will.

 

My family couldn’t bear to see me like that.  In a  panic they sent for a priest but couldn’t find one who didn’t have some excuse for not coming.  It was ten days before a priest came, the same one who listened to my sins as a little girl.  When he brought me around I was surprised not to see my usual confessor.

 

I was caught in the Lord’s net.  The other priests declared war on me.  Some of them said I was faking and that all I needed was a good beating.  They insinuated that I was trying to con people into thinking I was a saint.  Others thought I was possessed.  They all had their own theories, too many to write.

 

When I had an attack they’d call one of them.  My family cringed at their reaction, bewildered.  All they got were some strange ideas they couldn’t understand while my poor mama cried in the corner.  “You should reward her, my God, she’s earned it.”

 

My good Lord, You’re the only one who knows how much I’ve suffered.”  It rankled me that only a priest could pull me out of it.  I cried bitter tears as I prayed that He would free me Himself.  I dug my heels in when the Lord wanted me to play the willing victim despite all the pain. 

 

Lord, promise to free me Yourself and You can do whatever You want, otherwise, no.” 

 

I resisted the first day, the second, the third, but who can resist God?  He gave so many reasons that I eventually caved in and offered myself to the cross.

 

At times I spoke to Him heart to heart.  “How can You do this, my Lord?  You and I were so close.  Now there’s a third party that isn’t agreeable.  We could have been so happy together, just the two of us.  When You asked me to suffer, I accepted, immediately.  But I thought that You’d be there to free me.  We don’t need a priest or anyone else between us.  Be the One Who frees me, I beg You.  We’d both be much happier.” 

 

Sometimes He pretended not to hear me or just wouldn’t say anything.  Other times, “Never fear, I am the One who gives darkness and light.  A time for Light shall come.  This is how I usually work, through priests.”

 

I had to put up with contentious priests for three or four years.  They put me on trial and interrogated me harshly.  They just left me there, hanging.  I’d be petrified and couldn’t move a muscle.  I’d go without a drop of water for eighteen days or so, though they could give me a sip whenever they pleased.  Lord know what I went through.

 

A little encouragement would have been nice, “Be patient, dear.  It’s God’s Will.”

 

They treated me like a disobedient child and would scold me for making a fuss.

 

They should have known by my tears how sorry I was.

 

Sometime I wondered if I was just being stubborn.  I was disappointed with myself.  “Obedience is the virtue most pleasing to God,”  “I’m so far from pleasing the Lord.  A disobedient soul is useless.  There’s no hope for me.”

 

My lamentations to the Lord were profuse.  When it got too much, resentment took over.  Whenever He urged me to accept suffering, my resistance would stiffen.  Then He’d pretend to ignore me as if we were no longer on speaking terms.  Then sometimes He’d appear out of nowhere, hoping to catch me by surprise.

 

As far as my confessor was concerned, none of this should be happening.  But there was nothing I could do about it.  Either way I was disobedient.  I’ve never been good at anything.  I wanted to obey, and was tormented by my failure.

 

There was an epidemic of cholera back then.  One day as I prayed that my good Jesus would banish the plague, He offered me a deal.  “I’ll do whatever you want, if you’ll agree to suffer as much as I want whenever I want it.”

 

“No, Lord, I can’t.  You know how they are.  What would they think?  If we could do this in private I’d do anything, anything at all.”

 

My daughter, if I worried about what people thought and what men were going to do to me, I wouldn’t have bothered with the Redemption of mankind.  But my eyes were fixed on their salvation.  The Great Love that devoured Me insisted that I act just as I did.  I foresaw their evil thoughts about Me.  Their desire to hurt Me kept building.  I preempted the pain I was to suffer for their salvation.  That simple.”

 

Keep in mind how I want you to imitate my Life.  I will see that you share all the suffering I endured.  You will offer yourself up for the same creatures that oppress you.  This heroic act is the most beautiful and pleasing to Me.”

 

What could I say?  I was dumbstruck.  Then and there I accepted everything the Lord wanted.  So you can imagine my surprise when I suffered another attack that evening.  I was out of it for three whole days.  When I had come around, the first thing that occurred to me was that no one was talking about the cholera epidemic.

 

It was time for another mortification.  My confessor, a member of a religious order, was called to minister at their convent and I was uneasy about having a new one.

 

I was content having him.  Most of the chaos I went through happened while He was out serving the rural parishes, especially during my last year under his care.  Due to the cholera spreading through town, he was only here for about six months.  I was rarely scolded by my old confessor.  Whenever I had an episode, he would usually be there the next day.

 

Nearly a month had gone by before I knew that he had already left.  That was painful, not so much because of any emotional attachment, but because I desperately needed him.  I complained to the Lord.

 

That’s not your concern.  I am the master of hearts and can turn them this way or that whenever I please.  He was merely vessel.  He could only give you what I poured into him.  Don’t worry about it, there will be others.”

 

My darling, as long as you keep looking around until something catches your fancy, your eyes are not fixed on Me.  Your journey to Heaven will take too long at this rate.  Follow the path of Grace, or you’ll wear yourself out and end up limping the rest of the way.  Look upon your surroundings with holy indifference and focus on Me.”

 

I was hearted by His words and gathered the strength I need to go on.  No longer worried about my loss, I was left with a better appreciation for the man who had done my soul so much good.  And it just so happened that my new confessor was the same one I had as a child.  May the Lord be blessed for sending us along paths that seem to go nowhere and challenge the soul for His glory and the greater good of mankind.

 

That’s when I began to open up.  I hadn’t said a word to anyone about the goings on in my soul till then.  As hard as I tried I couldn’t manage to convince myself that I wasn’t too dumb to explain what was happening inside me.  Even the thought of it made me blush.  It would have been easier to make up the ugliest sins I could think of to tell my confessor.

 

I don’t know where that came from.  My confessor was a good man.  I could trust him.  He was sweet, gentle and kind enough to listen patiently.  He knew from experience how to minister a soul with exacting care.  He had his eye on whatever might help me walk the path ahead.  He didn’t get much help from me, that’s for sure.  My soul was blocked.  I was desperate for freedom and listened closely to any thought my confessor might have about it.

 

I could never have done it on my own.  It was obvious that the Lord had intervened.  Slowly, little by little, I began to tell my new confessor what was going on inside me.  I was commanded by the Lord many times to relate what He told me to my confessor.  He would scold me if I didn’t, sometimes severely.

 

It stung when He threatened to leave me for good.  Compared to that, any the pain that’s ever assaulted me hurt about as much as a flimsy blade of grass.  My fear that He would abandon me focused my mind on revealing what was going on inside me.  Whatever the cost, the idea of losing my dear Jesus made me get over it.

 

My confessor interrogated me about the source of my problem.  He wanted to know what I experienced while under the spell and looked for a probable cause.  Under holy obedience, he could rightfully command me to reveal the truth.

 

He warned me that it might all be an illusion, or worse, deception.  How could I live with myself if I didn’t confess?  Take a load off and calmly explain what’s going on.  The Lord never permits a priest to mistake an obedient soul.  My confessor pushed on the outside and Christ Jesus from within.  They were both in on the plot.

 

I had finally managed to reveal my soul.  My last confessor could never have done that.  He didn’t ask any questions.  He wasn’t the least bit curious about what went on in a trance.  I wouldn’t have known how to come out and talk freely about such things.  His main concern was that I resign myself to the Will of God and conform to It.  I should bear the cross the Lord gave me.  As far as confessor was concerned though, he was terrified of causing me any discomfort.  My new confessor and I went on like that for about a year.  He knew the source of my anxiety, but he thought it best to ask his permission before doing what Christ Jesus told me to suffer.

 

I remember one morning after Communion, the Lord threatened vengeance.

 

Listen daughter, the iniquities of humankind weigh heavily on the scales of justice and are about to slip.  Retribution overflows.  Know that I shall rain torrential scourges upon them.  I will slake their lust for war with a slaughter of human flesh.  Yes.”

 

He was on the verge of tears.

 

Ah, my daughter.  I formed the human body as a sanctuary for my own delight.  Sewers of rot!  I can’t bear the stench.  Is this what I get for all my love and the pain I endured for them?  Not one of them has ever been treated like this.  And why?  I have too much love for them.  Nemesis follows hubris.  The punishment begins.”

 

My heart split open with searing pain.  They pelted Him with offenses until He tried to escape.  He came looking to hide in me as a place of refuge.  Wincing the well-deserved punishment of humankind, I offered to suffer instead.  It was so horrible seeing how much they’d suffer from self-inflicted punishment, it would have hurt a lot less if it just happened to one of them.  That would be me.  I tried to show as much pity as I knew how and spoke from the heart.

 

“Holy Spouse, stay the whip hand of justice, withhold the looming rain of scourges.  Drench the spreading flames of human iniquity with the boundless sea of your Blood.  Appease Your Justice.  Make my heart a place of refuge where You can rest.  Come, delight in it.

 

In truth I am but a bilge of filthy vices.  Cleanse me with Your purity.  Transform my life to Your liking.  Reconcile Your complaints against them.  Please, I beg You.  The sacrifice of my life is not too much to ask if it will help.  I’d be glad to do it.  Spare the images You have willed before the ages.

 

The Lord silenced my raving.

 

You are now exactly where I wanted.  Are you offering to suffer?  Not every now and then as you have.  Constantly, every day.  Try it for a while and I’ll spare them for now.”

 

Here’s what I’m going to do.  I’ll set you between My Justice and the creatures’ iniquities, temporarily.  If Justice cannot reform their crimes, It will burst and they shall be thunderstruck in a rain of scourges.  A great bolt of lightning crackles above them and you are right in the middle.  But you shall bear the brunt of their chastisement and they will be spared, for now.  These are my conditions for sparing mankind.  It’s the only way.”

 

I was confused and didn’t know what to say.  My humanity will do its part, fearful and trembling.  In the meantime my good Jesus was waiting for an answer.  Do I accept or not?  I had to say something.

 

Oh, My Divine Spouse, I’ll do it, but what about my confessor?  It’s one thing to ask him to come now and then, but I can’t see him coming every day.  That’s too much to ask.  Needing him to free me is one more cross to bear.  Can’t we arrange this just between You and me?”

 

“Ask the confessor to have you do it under holy obedience.  If he inquires, tell him what I said.  Explain the whole thing as best you can.  Tell him it’s for the good of humanity.  Your constant suffering will do you good too.  It will purify your soul.  Once more pristine, it will propose a mystical marriage and I will be your Spouse.  Then I will make one last transformation before the ceremony begins with you saying, “We come together like two lit candles and melt into each other.  We are the same.  There’s nothing to get between us.  Announce our nuptial pairing.  We are crucified together as one.

 

Next time I spoke to my confessor I told everything the Lord said.  How long?  I’m not sure.  From the way He talked about constant suffering, I imagined it would only be forty days or so.  It’s been around twelve years now, and I’m still in it.  May God be blessed at all times.  Let His inscrutable judgments be adored forever. 

 

If the blessed Lord had been clear about how long I was to be confined in bed, I would have rebelled with every fiber of my being.  I would have looked on my fate with horror.  I doubt if I could make a commitment like that.  Coward.

 

I’ve always been resigned to the cross, but I never imagined how precious it was.  It took the Lord twelve years to teach me.  Obedient or not, my confessor would never have agreed to that.  That’s why I told him it’d only be about forty days.  I told him what I knew and swore obedience.  Impossible.

 

But to my surprise, he agreed.  He said that if it were truly the Will of God, he would swear me to obedience.  Coming every day was no problem.  He was only concerned about my human dignity.  My soul rejoiced that I could satisfy the Lord.  His creatures were spared. 

 

Obedience didn’t come natural.  I sulked a few days.  My soul was afflicted.  I regretted that I couldn’t receive Jesus in Sacrament as usual.  That was my only comfort.

 

I don’t know what happened.  Fierce internal war flared up now and then.  The devil did his thing.  But the Lord had a solution.

 

My confessor ordered me to explain myself better.

 

I obey.  The Lord spoke to me in various ways.

 

I could discern four different methods not to be confused with ‘inspirations’.  The first is the soul going out of herself.  I’d better explain that.  There’s two ways, the first in a flash, instantaneous.  It happens so suddenly that the body lifts from the bed to follow and falls back as if dead while the soul follows Jesus throughout the entire universe.  We flew around the earth over mountains and seas.  He gave me a tour of Purgatory and Heaven.  We often went to where I would be after death.

 

The second way out for the soul is quiet.  The body sleeps insensate, petrified at the presence of Christ Jesus.  The soul dare not leave.  The world doesn’t exist for the body.  The universe turns upside down and inside out.  They could have burned my body and tore it to pieces and I wouldn’t have known.

 

Different methods internalized.  In the first, a confessor ordered me awake and I obey.  I could see him coming from wherever Jesus led me, hovering the air, sat on a mountain, skimming the sea.  I watched my confessor approach the body as I slogged through Purgatory.  I sent my greetings from Heaven.  If I couldn’t get back to my body in time for him to wake me, I’d be staggered by disobedience.  That scared me and I’d rush back as fast as I could.

 

I always made it back in time.  My soul reentered its body ready to comply with his order to wake.  Actually, to tell the truth, sometimes I noticed my confessor’s approach but pretended not to see.  I couldn’t bear to leave my Jesus.  But He’d send me scurrying back with my soul so I would be there to obey my confessor.

 

Despite my reluctance to leave my Jesus, obedience always won.  He usually hugged or kissed me before leaving, but sometimes busy with something else He’d just wave.  I’d look back at my darling Jesus as I left and say, “I’m going to see my confessor now.  My Jesus, it would be good of You to come as soon as he leaves.” 

 

Either way the soul leaves the body and God speaks to her.  He calls this His intellectual mode of speaking.  I’ll try to explain.  Once the soul has left the body for Jesus, no words are needed to understand what the Lord has to say.  Nor do souls have to speak to be perfectly understood.  It all happens through the intellect.  We understand each other just being together.

 

When He shines a Light in my mind, a clear impression is engraved in my subliminal understanding.  It’s an eerie feeling, supernatural.  It stretches the imagination too far for words.  No amount of experience can prepare you.  Human language merely conveys a vague idea of what’s being said.  But the meaning is immediately clear.  Entire books of lofty words are absorbed in a flash of understanding.

 

His methods are ingenious.  You could study for years and still not understand what Jesus can teach in moment.  Earthly teachers have no power to summon the student’s will for an effortless infusion of Mind to mind.

 

If there’s a secret, it’s in His sweet gentle voice and graceful gestures, the aura of beauty surrounding His face.  The soul is captivated at first sight, drawn to Him so quickly that she plunges into His Being to become her Beloved.  She identifies with Divine Being to the exclusion of her terrestrial life.  I can’t explain the feeling.

 

Jesus could, or perhaps a soul completely liberated from the body and immersed in Light.  Once back, she’s surrounded by the same wall of meat.  The light does not follow.  She’s left in the dark to forget.  She wants to say something but can’t get the words out, just enough to give you some vague idea of what happened.

 

Picture someone born blind in a universe of things to be seen.  Now imagine she suddenly could see, but only for a few minutes.  The sun is paramount, guiding her eyes away towards the ocean horizon.  She turns to the city behind her and marvels at civilization’s machinery from a well-kept garden filled with every kind of flowering shrub.  She’s amazed at how many things contend for her vision.

 

Her eyes pour over the world before it all disappears into habitual darkness.  It was nice while it lasted.  Would you expect her to give a detailed report on what she’s seen?  What remains in the storeroom of her memory?  A partial inventory hastily scribbled and hard to make out.  She wasn’t out long before it ended with her back in the body.  Don’t expect too much.

 

Poor soul.  She moans and rebels violently, determined to fight her way back to the Light.  A silly example, I know.  What I’m trying to say is that there’s a fierce attraction between the soul and her highest Good.  Christ Jesus has permanently magnetized the soul.  It’s only natural that she be pulled into her God and rest.  But it is not to be.  The burning frustration she feels we call Purgatory.  There’s nothing more to add.  She had nothing to do with it.  It was all done by the Lord.  That’s how He operates.

 

Now for His second mode of speaking.  Floating outside her body, she sees the Body of Christ, as a child, a boy, a man on a cross.  Words are pronounced from His mouth as the lips of the soul repeat them.  After a while, Jesus and the soul converse as if they were an old couple on their golden anniversary.  They say a lot with little, a few words here and there.  A single word might drip with significance.  Conversations are brief.  His every word brings light to her soul.  What seems a trickle has an ocean of meaning.

 

A single word from Jesus says it all.  Immense light is left in the soul for her to chew on.  Ruminating His luminous word, she savors the sublimity, amazed that anything could taste so good.  All the learned doctors of the world could gather to study His Wisdom without finding a theory sufficient to explain it.  A single word from Jesus is enough to silence all critical methodology.

 

His manner of speaking is more suitable to human nature.  When the soul returns with words taken from the Lord’s mouth, her body is eager to digest them.  Otherwise they must cross barriers to reach the intellect.  He can be understood without a single word, but then it’s harder for the soul to explain things to her confessor.

 

 As a teacher, He is knowledgeable, intelligent and wise.  The Master of all science has no peer.  He is infinitely beyond those with advanced degrees.  Compared to such lofty academics, the disciples He gathered barely knew the alphabet.  He kept high science to Himself and set about teaching them the a b c’s of Divinity.  Pure goodness, He speaks to the learned in their customary high manner and waits as they search their books for a reply.  To others He speaks the simple language of the common man so as not to put them off.  High or low, no one leaves the Divine Teacher with an empty mind.

 

Jesus has a third way of speaking that communicates directly to soul’s very substance.  The Lord created the world with a single word that filled it with meaning, just as He does with every soul.  He says to her, “Consider the beauty surrounding you.  Your eyes may drift over all things in Heaven and earth and never find anything as beautiful as Me.”

 

At these words, a soul can feel the entrance of divinity and is so drawn to its beauty that all other things lose their attraction.  As beautiful and precious as they seem, nothing leaves an impression on her soul.  Jesus engraves His beauty within and she is transformed.  She thinks of the beauty that fills her, so enamored that her heart splits open, aching for another miracle.  The soul would be content to breathe her last with the pristine beauty of Jesus and fly to Heaven where she can delight in it forever.

 

I hope I’m not talking nonsense.  Sometimes I wonder.

 

Here’s another example of Jesus’ substantial mode of speaking.  He says, “Consider My Purity.  I want to see that same purity in everything you think or do.”  With these words the soul feels pristine divinity enter.  She becomes purity itself, as if she had no body.  I could go down the list and tell the same story about each of the virtues.  This mode of speaking is desirable in the extreme.  I’d give the whole world to have a single word from Jesus.

 

The fourth mode of speaking happens when Jesus talks to me on a normal day.  That also can happen in one of two ways, the first while sitting in bed with deep recollection of the heart.  There’s no voice, the bodily ear hears nothing when Jesus speaks to my interior being.  The second is just like we all talk.  It even happens when I’m distracted by something going on or having a conversation with other people.  A single word commands my attention, giving peace if I am bothered or consolation when I’m not feeling well.

 

I’ll continue where I left off by trying my best to explain how He did it.

 

One morning I received Jesus during Holy Communion and immediately said to Him, “My Lord, look at the storm going on all around me.  I should thank You for the light given to my confessor that made him swear me to obedience in suffering.  But I’m only human and confused by my unworthy habits.  I know it shouldn’t matter.  You wouldn’t ask for sacrifice without giving the strength to bear it.  The worst part is having to go so long without receiving You in the Blessed Sacrament.  How can I resist without You?  Who will give me strength?  Where else soothing refreshment in my afflictions?”

 

Heartache grew as I unburden my heart and I cried out in protest at being separated from Him in Sacrament until the Lord took pity on my weakness.

 

Don’t worry, I’ll support you in weakness.  The graces I have prepared for you are yet to be seen, or you wouldn’t be so afraid.  Am I not all-powerful?  I can make up for the deprivation of My Blessed Sacrament.  Resignation is all it takes.  Just fall into My arms as if you were dead.  Offer a willing victim as reparation for the offenses I have endured from sinners and spare humankind the scourging they deserve.  I give my word as a solemn pledge, there won’t be a day that I don’t come to see you.  I usually had to wait for you to come see Me.  From now on I’ll come to you.  Are you happy now?”

 

I resigned myself to the Holy Will of God before I really knew what I was getting into.  A life of suffering.  I had no idea.  I can’t begin to describe the different kinds of grace the Lord would give me as I progressed.  It’s impossible to be precise, but I’ll try to be as clear as I can.  Forgive me if the words sometimes come out in a jumble.  I’m bound by a vow of obedience to explain things as best I can.

 

It began in earnest when I became permanently bedridden.  That’s when My Jesus began to court me as a spiritual lover.  I hadn’t seen him that often up until then.  I was to begin a new way of life that would prepare me for the mystical marriage He promised.

 

I put you in this condition to guarantee some privacy.  You are cloistered in this room like a nun in her cell.  This way we’ll have more time together where we can talk freely.”

 

I have freed you from the outside world.  It’s not just your soul.  I want your body too, here at my beck and call.  You are to be an acceptable holocaust, day and night.  Unless you were bed-ridden, you would have perform your family duties and put up with all the drama that you find so unpleasant.  That would leave us less time together.  I want you to share the offenses I endure in real time, just as they happen.  You wouldn’t want to keep me waiting here until you finish your chores now would you?  We have some free time now.  There’s no one home to bother us.  We can talk without any interruptions.”

 

From now on, My afflictions shall be yours, and yours mine.  If you will endure My suffering, your vale of tears shall be My new home.  We will exchange any consolations either of us hope to receive.  We will gather them all together and share them equally.  I will take an interest in whatever you do as if I were attending to My own occupations.  Neither of us will ever hear that’s mine and this is yours.’  We’ll share everything in common.”

 

How have I behaved with you?  The king wanted to talk with his queen, but she and the other ladies of the court were busy with social affairs.  He asserts is rights and takes her aside to his room where he closes the door.  No one may go in or out.  Their conversations are private.  Their secrets, matters of state.”

 

Once they’re alone they console each other.  People are always asking for favors or trying to get them involved in something.  Such a bore.  But no one would be so impudent as to knock.  If anyone dared shout through the door, they’d be demoted before they knew it.  Why can’t they just leave them alone?  The king is getting visibly upset.  That’s how it is.  I get jealous and would resent anyone interfering with your trance.”

 

He taught me a lesson.

 

I expect perfect conformity to my Will.  Your human will exists only to be undone within Mine.  Detachment from everything.  Look down on the earth as dung and rot.  The mere sight of it should horrify you.  That you are unattached to worldly things it’s not enough.  They hover around us casting earth’s shadow on celestial things.  They must leave before this promised mystical marriage is fulfilled.”

 

Remember that I was once poor and imitate My poverty.  Consider yourself a bed-ridden indigent.  The poor are glad to have anything.  They thank Me and then whoever assists them.  You should do the same.  Be thankful for what you get with asking for anything in particular.  You have better things to do with your mind.  Seek holy indifference.  For better or worse, show deference for the will of other creatures.”

 

That seemed a lot to ask at first.  Obedience to my confessor came at a price.  I don’t know why, but he wanted me to take quinine.  And then he insisted when I threw up my food that I eat some more.

 

Quinine gave me an appetite and I’d eat when I got hungry.

 

But I’d throw up as soon as I ate.  Sometime just swallowing made me puke.  Hunger was my constant companion.  The voluntary poverty Jesus imposed on me forbade me to ask for anything.  I’d be too ashamed anyhow.  What would my family say, “She just threw up and now she wants to eat again?”

 

It wasn’t that long, only four months.  The Lord gave me further instructions.  “Ask him to order you under holy obedience not to take quinine or eat so often.  I will give him light.”

 

When my confessor came I told him.  He didn’t hesitate.  “You only have to eat once a day.  Anything less would raise concerns.  You can stop the quinine too.”

 

I calmed down some and hunger vanished.  The one time I ate it came right up again.  The Lord suggested more than once that I should ask my confessor to forbid me to eat.  He wasn’t having it.  “It doesn’t matter if you throw up.  Consider it further mortification.”  I told Jesus.

 

Keep asking, but with holy indifference.  Do whatever obedience requires.”  That’s what I did.

 

I presumed He meant the usual forty day fast, as the Lord said, ‘for a certain given time, and that’s what I told my confessor.  He asked for an accounting because every day at any moment I’d have an attack, and he had to come free me on a daily basis.  Obedience struck when he ordered me to stop and if this went on much longer he wouldn’t bother coming anymore.

 

I was all too eager to obey.  It’s only natural.  Bed-ridden and beholden to everybody.  Repugnant.  Worse, I needed help just to relieve myself.  Nature would insist and I was relieved, obedient.  My soul was open to obedience.  If the Lord wants me in bed, so be it.  I began to appreciate His goodness more.  True resignation changes the very nature of things.  What’s bitter is sweet.

 

I baulked when my confessor ordered me not to stay in bed.  I asked the Lord, “What can I do?  I can’t stay in bed and be obedient.  It’d fine by me if You gave him more light.  I’ll do whatever you want.”

 

The Lord and I went back and forth all night.  He’d come and I’d say, “Be patient my darling Jesus.  You can’t come, not now.  I’m still sworn to obedience.  You can’t make me share your suffering.”

 

I had the upper hand till morning and thought I’d won when all of sudden He grabbed me and I couldn’t resist.  When I lost consciousness He followed me and the struggle continued but I couldn’t get away.  ‘Why would I want to leave my Jesus?’  Being with Him meant annihilation.  I blushed at the thought of His night-long reproach.

 

Forgive me Holy Spouse, but that’s what my confessor wants.”

 

Don’t worry.  Obedience, I respect.  Come here.  It’s New Year’s Day and I have a present for you.”  (It was January 1st.) 

 

He put His lips to mine and filled it with sweet milk.  He kissed me.  He took a ring from the wound in His side and proposed, almost.  “Here’s the ring I made for our wedding.”

 

Tell your confessor that it is My Will that you stay in bed.  Here’s the deal.  Italy wages war in Africa.  If he agrees to have you suffer in obedience, I’ll withhold My vengeance on either side and they’ll have to reconcile.”

 

His words wrapped around me like an overcoat of suffering that I couldn’t remove.  “What will my confessor say?”  Well, it’s out of my hands.

 

The sweet milk Jesus poured into my mouth was some kind of love potion.  A dreamlike feeling came over me that was very satisfying.  As soon as the confessor brought me around, my family came in with dinner.  I was already full and demurred, but he told me to eat.  So I took a bite out of obedience and immediately threw up.

 

The sweet taste of milk still lingered and I thought of Him.  He teased me about it.  “You want more?  Haven’t you had enough?”  I blushed all over.  “I have to obey. What can I do?”

 

My confessor came back and he was upset.  He said I was disobedient.  Then he changed his mind.  “You’re sick.  If this were from God, He’d make you obey.  You don’t need a confessor.  You need a doctor.”

 

I gave him a moment to calm down before delivering Jesus message.  “Well, yes, there is a war going on, between Italy and Africa.  Let’s see what happens, hopefully nothing.”  He solemnly ordered me to go on suffering.

 

After four months of the usual routine, he came in one day all excited and told me the news.  There was a last minute peace deal.  They’ve declared a mutual armistice.  My confessor was convinced and we made our own peace treaty.

 

From then on Jesus did nothing but prepare me for the mystical marriage he promised.  Sweet.  While under He would show up sometimes three or four times a day, coming and going as He pleased.  I thought how much a child likes to play in a revolving door.  What a sweetheart.  He can’t stay away from His betrothed.

 

He had a real crush on me.  “I love you so much I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.  I keep coming back to check.  I get restless thinking about you pining away without Me.  Can I get you anything?”

 

He’d lift my head from the pillow when He spoke.  Now He put His arm around my neck and hugged me.  He held me like that and gave me a kiss.

 

When it got too got in the summer, He’d blow on my face to cool me.  He snatched a fan out of nowhere and waved it over my head.  “How do you feel?  Is that better?”  “I feel better when You’re here.”

 

He knew that prolonged paralysis made me too weak to respond one night when my confessor was on his way.  I felt so weak that I thought was dying, but My devoted Lover revived me.  He came close and poured milk from His mouth into mine.  I was a baby sucking from a stream of sweet delight.  It made me strong.  “I want to mean everything to you, nourishment for body and soul.”

 

I don’t know how to explain it, but the graces Jesus gave me did have an incredible effect on both my body and soul.  I could try, but my explanation would be so long and complex that I’d lose my train of thought.

 

Sometimes I’d be crying by the time He arrived.  “What took you so long?  Please, my Holy Spouse, don’t put me off.  I was struggling and thought I might die before You got here.”  Then I’d burst out in tears.  He’d wrap me in a blanket of compassion, dry my tears, kiss me and hold me in His arms.  “Don’t cry.  I’m here now.  What can I do to make it better?”  “All I want is You.  I can’t help crying.  Promise not to keep me waiting.”  “I’d do anything to make you happy.”

 

But it kept happening until one day I couldn’t stop crying despite His protests.  My good Jesus tried His best to comfort me.  “I want your approval in everything I do.  You’ve captured My Heart.  How could I refuse?  I’ll do anything you want.  Up till now I’ve been removing the external layers of your life so you can see Me.  Once I’ve captured your soul I can take you wherever I go.  Then you’ll have a better appreciation of what I’m doing.  Your captivity will become more intimate as we go along.”

 

I didn’t leave my bed for so long that I lost track of time, about three months or so.  But one morning as I lay paralyzed, my sweet Jesus appeared as an adorable young man about eighteen years old.  He was gorgeous, with curly blond hair.  My eyes were riveted, my heart’s fondest affections in chains.  I admired his broad, serene forehead, his mind, a crystal ball of infinite wisdom and peaceful composure.  My mind lit up, my heart was shining.  My passions were floored and dared not move.

 

I might be wrong, but I don’t think you can appreciate such splendor without this profound calmness of soul.  The slightest wisp of passion can hide the sight of His beauty.  One look at the serenity of His adorable forehead is an infusion of profound peace deep in the soul.  There is no disaster so tragic, or war so fierce, that is not appeased by His beauty.

 

My God, You’re beautiful.  You mean everything to me.  A few moments of Your peaceful presence is enough for a lifetime.”  Humiliated and beaten with perfect composure, I’d suffer the most gruesome martyrdom for a glance.  Tranquility, a blend of peace and sorrow.  I’ve been given a taste of what awaits me in Paradise.

 

His eyes are beautiful, pure, sparkling with light.  Not like the light of the sun though, it doesn’t hurt to look right at them.  Gazing at Jesus, the first thing you notice is light shining from the depths of two dark holes, each surrounded by the lovely sky-blue of His eyes.  They speak to me of many things. 

 

One glance from His eyes is enough to transport me out of my body.  I chase Him along winding paths through lofty mountains above the world and up to the heavens.  That same glance pulls me into Him as divinity comes down to enter my soul.  It’s impossible to describe the beauty of His adorable face.

 

His complexion white as snow, His cheeks, two blushes of beautiful pink rose, the face of a great person with a majestic look, fully divine, someone who strikes fear and reverence.  It’s a face that inspires confidence, especially in me.  No one’s been able to do that, neither parents nor sisters, nor confessors.  It was impossible to detect the slightest shadow of self-assurance in me.  A soul may consider herself as ugly as sin, yet the beautiful expression on His majestic, holy face is so lovable that she hasn’t the slightest doubt of being welcomed by Jesus.

 

A handsome nose tapers in perfect proportion to His holy face.  His mouth has a kind expression and small, thin, scarlet lips that have their own exquisite beauty.  His voice is graciousness personified, expressing harmony of thought, sweet and gentle.  What more can I say?

 

When He speaks, a fragrance comes out of His is like nothing on earth.  It penetrates everything, everywhere, deep into the ears of the heart, triggering untold affections.  I could go on forever.  No pleasure in world can be so pleasant as what can be found in a single word from Jesus.  His voice is immensely powerful, and authoritative.  Whatever He says is as good as done.  The most beautiful thing about His mouth is the gracious attitude assumed while speaking.   Perfect teeth glint in the sunlight.  The breath of love ignites and flairs, darting tongues of fire pierce every heart, consuming each from within.

 

His hands are beautiful, soft, white and delicate, fingers perfectly shaped, masters of enchantment that move with grace.  You’re so beautiful, the definition of Beauty, my sweet Jesus.  This bare description might sound like total nonsense, but what can I say?  Forgive me.  Obedience required that I try my best.  I wouldn’t have dared otherwise.  I’m painful aware of my lack of talent. 

 

I’ve attempted to describe but one scene when Jesus appeared and sent His Spirit from Mouth to mouth, displacing the emptiness in my soul.  He inhaled, pulling soul out of body and into Himself.  I could feel myself sucked out from head to toe.  My hands were numb.  I’d never had an experience like that before and assumed my time had come.  ‘Now I die, the Lord has come to take me.’  I could see that I was out of my body, but felt pretty much the same.  The soul was now my body.  But no flesh, bones or nerves, just light.   My fear was tangible nonetheless.

 

Jesus hadn’t gone anywhere, He was still breathing into me.

 

Since My absence is so painful, why not join Me?  I will be your consolation.”

 

Jesus flew off and I followed as we toured the azure vault of the heavens.  The best part was when we were just strolling along and I’d lean my head on one shoulder with my arm around the other while He held my hand.  But when we’d look down on the places where iniquity clustered, He’d lean on me as if He were going to faint.  My adorable Jesus.  The suffering going on in His Sacred Heart was plain to see.

 

Lean on me.  Let me share your pain.  My soul can’t bear seeing You suffer alone.”

 

My darling, help Me.  I can’t take any more.”

 

His lips came close and poured a burning liqueur into mine, the bitter essence of mortal pain.  Knives, picks and arrows pierced me through.  Atrocious pain built up in my limbs with the soul’s insistence on bodily participation.  I can’t tell you how much I suffered.  This was pain that only Jesus could understand.

 

My family tried to help, but there was nothing they could do.  They watched over me as I lay there unconscious, waiting for my confessor to arrive.  They knew this pain would answer the same call to obedience.  Jesus looked on to see how much I could take.  He knew the limits of human endurance and held off until my pain was so extreme that I was about to breathe my last.  That was part of the routine.  Death mocked me.  But the day shall come that I mock death.

 

When Jesus came He’d take me in His arms and hold me close to His Heart and I could feel life returning to my limbs.  A sweet liqueur would pass from His lips to mine and the pain would slowly fade away.

 

Sometimes He’d take me out.  When we encountered any blasphemy or uncharitable acts, He’d suck them out and pour the bitter poison into me.  It left a horrible taste my mouth.  We’d watch as dishonestly rotted their souls and then He do it again.  When I awoke I could still taste the fetid gruel.  The stench was so putrid that my stomach would turn and I’d hold my breath until I was about to faint.  Later, when my family forced me to eat and I’d throw up my food, it came out mixed with the same rot.

 

Sometimes we’d go visiting from church to church and He’d reel from the offensive behavior going on there.  Holy works done roughly have an appalling effect on His Heart.  Hollow prayers from empty souls, pretentious piety, obviously faked.  What is meant to honor Jesus seems more like an insult.  His Heart is upright, pure and holy.  He shuns good works that lack sincerity.

 

I’d listen to His plaintive lament, “My daughter, you see how often I’m offended by people considered devout in the sacred grounds of the holiest sites.  They come to be purified by the Holy Sacraments and come out dirtier than before.”

 

Jesus suffers when people go to Communion with a sacrilegious attitude.  He’s horrified by priests bearing the unabsolved guilt of mortal sin celebrating the hallowed Sacrifice of the Mass.  Sadly, it’s become a mindless habit for those who only do to earn a stipend.  Jesus would often point this out to me.  Some of the other things He had me witness were just as depressing.

 

When celebrating the Sacred Mystery, priestly authority drags Jesus down into his filthy hands.  He cringes when touched, as if they were dripping mud, blood and rot.  It’s a disgrace.  I shudder at the thought of Jesus, so pure and holy, being fondled by grubby fingers.  He squirms in their grip, but is forced to stay until the consecrated bread and wine have been consumed by the faithful.

 

Still lingering in the cleric’s paws, He’d bi-locate in a flash right next to me.  I anticipated His words.

 

Open your mouth My daughter.  Let Me pour it in.  I can’t take anymore.  Pity My tragic fate.  Humor Me.  Let’s suffer together.”

 

He’d pour the bitter poison from His mouth into mine.   Foul-smelling slime mixed with disgusting chunks of rot.  Sometimes I couldn’t get it down before puking.  If it had that effect on me, what must it do to Him?  He gave me His own endurance, otherwise it would have killed me for sure.  He’d give me a little taste after swallowing tons and tons of it.  I can’t imagine.  Sin is nasty business.  “Sound the alert My Lord!  Warn them to flee this horrible monster.”

 

Sometimes as I gazed upon these sorrowful scenes, He’d suddenly conjure some beautiful scene that consoled me with quiet rapture.  There were good and holy priests celebrating the Sacred Mysteries.  My God!  This high ministry is as great as it is sublime.  It’s wonderful to see a priest transformed into Jesus when celebrating Mass.

 

Sometimes the priest disappears entirely, leaving only Jesus to perform the Divine Sacrifice of Himself on the altar.  The congregation also seems disappear, leaving just the two of us there celebrating the Sacred Mystery.  I was profoundly moved as I knelt there watching Jesus perform the liturgical ceremony with the same prayers and gestures as the priest.  I was consoled twice over by having Jesus right next to me as we watched Him celebrating Mass on the altar.  My comprehension deepened from all the grace and light I received.

 

The thought crossed my mind that I probably shouldn’t say to too about this much because it happened so long ago that my memory of it has dimmed somewhat.  But then Jesus spoke up inside me, insisting that I not leave anything out.

 

Lord give me patience.  Yes, my sweet Love, I’ll do it just to make you happy.  I’ll mention a few things here and there, but you must give me the grace I need to say them.  Otherwise I wouldn’t dare write a single word about Your sublime mysteries.  My ability to write falls short of anything that profound.”

 

While watching either Jesus or the priest celebrating the Divine Sacrifice, He would explain how the Mass is the deepest expression of the sacramental nature of our holy faith.  Yes, the Mass says everything in these prayers.  It’s a complete set of instructions.  The Mass reminds us of our redemption.  It explains step by step how Jesus suffered all that pain for us.  It’s a complimentary manifestation of His immense love for us.  It wasn’t enough for Him to die on the Cross.  He wanted to continue His sacrificial role in the form of the Most Holy Eucharist.  The Mass also tells us that though our bodies decay with death and are reduced to ashes, they shall rise again on the day of judgment to begin our eternal life in glory together with Christ.

 

He made me realize that the ultimate consolation for Christians, the highest, most sublime mysteries of our holy religion, involve Jesus in the Sacrament and the resurrection of our bodies to everlasting glory.  We shall fully comprehend these arcane mysteries only beyond the stars.

 

Jesus in the Sacrament makes them so tangible that we can practically touch them.  He is present, alive and real in form of food and drink.  But once they are consumed, His real presence begins to fade.  When more bread and wine are consecrated, He again resides in sacramental form, reminding us of our bodily resurrection to glory.

 

Once consumed in sacramental form, Jesus returns to His Father’s abode in the womb of God, as do we when our earthly lives are over.  Our bodies are consumed and our souls are freed to dwell in our Heavenly abode in the womb of God.  In one sense, our bodies no longer exist, but then, by the genius of the all-powerful God, they acquire new life reunited with their soul forevermore in a life of eternal beatitude.

 

What can be more consoling to the human heart?  The soul is beatified together with the body for a life of eternal contentment.  I imagine it as the starry night at dawn.  The immense light of the sun absorbs the stars until they disappear.  But they still exist.  The sun is a symbol of God, these blessed souls, like stars.  God gathers us into Himself within His immense light.  Our eternal existence will be like swimming in the endlessly vast Sea of God.

 

Jesus in the Sacrament says so many things.  We have yet to plumb their depths.  That’s enough for now though.  I’ll say more about them later on. 

 

When the Lord would take me out of this life, He’d occasionally renew the promise of marriage that I’ve mentioned before.  I can’t express the ardent yearning the Lord inspired in me.  I longed so much for the day of this mystical marriage and I’d ask about it now and then.

 

Sweet Spouse, let’s hurry.  There’s no reason to delay my intimate with You.  Please, I can’t bear waiting any longer.  We should strengthen the bonds of love so that no one can ever separate us again, not for a second.”

 

Jesus would have to correct me at times about one thing or another.  “Everything earthly has to be removed from your bodily existence, especially from your heart.  You have yet to understand how harmful the least shadow of earthly things can be or how much they hinder love.”

 

We should start right away.  Just tell me what and I’ll remove it.  I’m ready, let’s do it.”

 

I was so busy talking that I didn’t notice how the gold ring embossed with a Crucifix had appeared on my finger.

 

My Holy Spouse, should I take it off?”

 

I will give you something more precious, a beautiful ring with my living Image impressed on it.  Every time you look at it, an arrow of love will pierce your heart.  The one on your finger is only symbolic.”

 

So I took it off.  In the meantime, I suffered, longing for that day to arrive.  I was bedridden for most of the year until the day set aside to commemorate the purity of our Blessed Mother Mary, the holiest of virgins.

 

The night before our nuptial day, my spiritual lover, Jesus, appeared in a festive mood.  He came up and pulled my heart out with His hands and looked it over methodically.  Then He brushed it off and put it back.  He conjured a many colored garment of great splendor steaked with gold to clothe me.  He put two sparkling gems on my earlobes and wreathed me with necklace and bracelets.

 

I stood there with a priceless crown of diamonds and precious gems on my head that gleamed with brilliant light, listening to their jeweled voices talking excitedly amongst themselves.  I could hear each voice distinctly, singing beautiful melodies with exquisite clarity about the virtuous fortitude and power of my beloved spouse, Jesus.  That’s the least of what my comprehension could fathom.  I swam in a sea of consolation impossible to describe.  There are no words for this.

 

As He placed it on my head, my sweet beloved Jesus announced for all to hear, “I hereby crown thee, so that no one shall doubt your worthiness to be my spouse.  ‘After the wedding, I’ll take this crown to Heaven and keep it for you until the moment of your death’”.

 

Finally, He took a veil and wrapped me in it from head to foot and left me.  What’s this for?  Then I heard them howling.  They were coming back for me.  But when the demons saw me in that veil they were struck with terror and flew off screaming into the night.  There was something special about that veil, some deep mysterious meaning.

 

It was dawn and I was surrounded by Angels coming to venerate me.  I was totally confused and blushed so hard that I could feel the blood rushing to my head.  Jesus appeared with His Blessed Mother and the Angels began to sing.  His sweet, friendly manner, a compliment to His great majesty, He introduced me to Saint Catherine.  She put her arm around me while my Celestial Mother took my hand and offered it to Her Son.  He put a ring on my finger.

 

We all embraced and then He kissed me.  His darling Mother kissed me too.  We had a delightful conversation about love in general.  Jesus declared His great love for me and I gushed about my love for Him.  The Most Holy Virgin gave me insights concerning the sublime graces I’d received.  She gave me some hints about how I should react to Jesus’ love for me.  My Holy Spouse set out some new rules for my life of perfection.  I don’t remember them all, it’s been a while.  Anyhow, that’s how my day went.

 

No words can express the finesse He had when making love to my soul.  I can only try.  I remember the times when He’d carry me to Paradise.  Endless choirs of Angels sang canticles to the blessed ranked in order of Sanctity, all beheld in the embrace of Divinity.  They were totally absorbed in the performance.  Their deepest identity was submerged in the Divinity of God as He sat on a throne floodlit by rows of brilliant suns.  They had to be bright enough to clearly display all the attributes and virtues of God. 

 

The glint of a single facet of any one of them was enough to send the blessed into raptures so deep that countless other beams were left unseen.  Striving mightily to plumb the depths of one aspect was so mentally exhausting that catching another was out of the question.  All souls ever created could spend eternity without grasping the totality of what was reflected in that brief moment.  The blessed in Heaven cannot fully comprehend the immensity of God’s great sanctity.  The thoughts of an uncreated Being are beyond the ken of created minds. 

 

Now and then the blessed souls in Paradise do catch a glimpse of their own reflection in one of those facets.  But that’s the extent of their participation in the Light of God’s Virtues.  The soul in Heaven resembles God in one sense.  Image Him as a super massive stellar blaze, and the soul as a miniature ball of light in orbit.

 

I’ve tried my best to explain one small aspect of a single facet.  There’s no end to what can be understood from within that blessed dwelling, but not while sentenced to a bodily prison.  You can form some semblance a thought, but there’s no clear pathway from mind to lips.  It sounds like an infant learning to babble.  A desperate struggle to say a lot about many things ends without a single word being clearly understood.  I’m losing my train of thought, but there is one thing I should mention before I stop.

 

Awaking in the blessed Fatherland, I’d sometimes find myself strolling along with Jesus as serenading choirs of Angels and Saints followed in procession.  The blessed would gather round the joyful newly-weds in celebration.  Spiritual marriage invites universal participation.  Our happiness transcends their own.  They were only concerned about us.  We were their fountain of joy.

 

He’d introduce me to some of the saints.  “Let me introduce the triumph of My Love.  A soul like this is more than I could ever hope for.  I’d do anything for her.”

 

 He’d take me by the place I was going to stay.  “This is your place.  You’ve worked hard for it and no one can take it away from you.” 

 

At that point I didn’t expect to leave.  I was done with the world.  A split second later, I was locked back up in walls of my body.  You can’t imagine how bitter I was at being thrown out like that.  From the purity of Heaven I was back in this rotten world where everything was either boring or obnoxious.  What others found delightful tasted sour to me.  Celebrities are so popular that people would do anything to be with them.  I’m indifferent about most of them.  Some of them get on my nerves.

 

My soul finds no satisfaction in worldly things.  I’m not the least bit happy about any of it.  My restless soul is constantly yearning for my heart’s desire, which is Heaven, not on earth.  Something deep inside was constantly gnawing at me.

 

I was bitter at having to live such a painful existence.  Obedience put a brake on things.  I was commanded in no uncertain terms not to desire death.  My confessor’s permission was required before I was allowed to die.  I acknowledged the holiness of obedience and tried as hard as I could not to think about it.  But my thoughts continued unabated, an inner mantra of death deferred.  I wanted out.

 

My heart calmed down after a while, but not completely.  I wasn’t very good at this, to tell the truth.  But what could I do?  Knowing that I couldn’t stop made the torture even worse.

 

Out of kindness, my Jesus would ask how I was doing.  “Calm down.  Relax.  What makes you think about Heaven so much?”

 

I want to be with you, united forever and always.  My soul can’t stand being away from you, not for a day, not for moment.  I’m determined to be with you at any cost.”

 

Because of Me?  Well then, I want you to be happy, so I may as well come and stay with you.”

 

But then You’ll leave me again and I won’t see you.  It’s not like that in Heaven.  I never lose sight of You there.”

 

Jesus liked to play jokes and would tease me sometimes.

 

When my yearnings got to be too much, He’d come running in and say, “Do you want to come?”  “Where?”  “To Heaven.”  “You really mean that?”  “Hurry, let’s go, don’t delay.”  “Well, let’s go then, unless You’re just making fun of me.”

 

I felt my soul leaving my body and set off for Heaven with Jesus.  I was so happy, the thought leaving the earth behind.  Life was but a distant dream that faded along with my suffering.

 

We arrived at the empyrean of Heaven.  I could hear the Blessed singing.  I begged Jesus to let stay in this holy dwelling, hoping to get His permission right then and there, but He seemed hesitant.

 

I had this lurking suspicion that it too good to be true.  ‘Who knows,’ I thought, ‘maybe He’s just playing another joke on me?’  Now and then I’d ask Him again.  “Jesus, my darling, let me stay.”

 

Wait a little longer.  Let’s go back.  It’s time for you to be on earth again.  Somewhere down there a sinner is about to get lost.  Let’s go.  Maybe we can change his mind and he’ll turn his life around.  Let us pray together to the Eternal Father, that He may have mercy on him.  Do you want him to be saved?  Certainly no amount of pain is too much to ask for the salvation of souls, even if it’s only one.”

 

Yes, anything.  I’m ready to suffer as much as you want, if You’ll save him” 

 

So we’d go to that sinner and try to convince him.  We’d introduce powerful reasons to his mind, hoping for his surrender, but in vain.  That tore me up.

 

My spouse, return to your body.  From there you can intercept the pain he is destined to suffer and take it upon yourself.  Your appeasement will convince Divine Justice to have mercy on him.  You have seen how little words have had an effect on him.  He just wouldn’t listen to reason.  That leaves only pain, the most expeditious way of satisfying justice.  It encourages the sinner’s surrender.”

 

Then He’d bring me back to my body.  I can’t tell you how much suffering I endured.  The Lord is my witness.

 

A few days later He’d show me that soul.  He’s experienced conversion, was pardoned and saved.  That made Jesus very happy, and so was I.  Jesus was always playing around like that.  What a sense of humor.  Sometimes, when we were just about to enter Heaven, He’d ask me if I had my confessor’s permission, because without it I’d have to return  And there I was, back on earth, wondering why He hadn’t informed my confessor.

 

When I’m with my confessor, I’m obliged to obey him.  When I’m with You, I obey the only one who counts.  You are my first allegiance”  “No, no; I want you to obey your confessor.” 

 

He always had some pretext or another for getting me back on earth.  It was painful to think that He was joking, and I told Him so.  He rewarded my impertinence by not playing so many tricks on me.  “Thank You, my Lord.”

 

Not much had changed over my first three years confined to bed.  Then one morning Jesus proposed that we renew our wedding vows.  The first time the ceremony took place on earth with Heaven looking on as our witness.  The second time would be a gala event graced by the presence of the entire Celestial Court.

 

It would require a great deal of preparation.  I had to be in just the right state of mind.  I did a thorough self-examination and found the same miserable wretch who was incapable of doing anything remotely good in this life.  The Hand of Divinity, the Maker of all that is, would have to prepare me.  There was no hope of me purifying my soul on my own.

 

One morning on the vigil of Blessed Mary’s holy nativity, my Jesus came to instruct me.  He was very kind.  My preparation would go on over several sessions.  He gave me a course on Faith.  Each day, as soon as He left, the living presence of Faith would infuse my soul.  It continued to grow with time.  My soul was rough and crude when we began.  As Jesus spoke I could feel her becoming lighter and more refined.  By the end of the course, my soul was taking off and accelerating until there was enough momentum to pierce the very Essence of God.  My preparation continued as I contemplated His Attributes, Goodness, Power, Sanctity, and all the other items in His comprehensive curriculum.  It was a mind-numbing experience.  My soul was exhausted, submerged in a sea of stupefaction.

 

All-Powerful God, earthly power in completely undone in Your Presence.  My God, Your Sanctity is immense in every way.  The most sublime sanctity found in any mortal would dare not approach.”

 

Upon my descent I could appreciated what a non-entity I was, mere nothingness, like all earthly things.  All created things together are as nothing before God.  I’m just a little wormlet, an insignificant bag of dust, trying to scale the first few steps.  It wouldn’t take much to destroy me completely.  I could be trampled underfoot by anyone at any time, and undone for good.  I could see how ugly I was.  How could I approach God like this?  I wouldn’t dare.  But whenever my mind would contemplate His Goodness, I’d be pulled by a powerful magnet into His Presence.  His Goodness was vividly present.

 

If He is holy, He is also merciful.  If He is All-Powerful, then He is the fulsome source of the Greatest Good.”

 

His Fountain of Goodness gushed up and all around Him and I would contemplate the Goodness of God.  I thought that this must surely be God’s Greatest Attribute.  But then I looked at the others and they all seemed the same size, that is, immense, immeasurable, impossibly beyond the human mind’s comprehension.  As I gazed in awe, Jesus would approach and speak about Hope.

 

Memory dims.  I don’t remember many of the details.  But I’ve been ordered to write down whatever I can recall.

 

Jesus talked a lot about Faith.

 

You have to believe in something if you want to get anywhere.  A man without eyesight must come to grips with darkness.  It’s easy to get confused when he walks in unfamiliar territory.  He’s bound to stumble and bump into things from time to time.  It’s not unknown that he might fall on his face.  That’s the predicament of a soul without Faith.  She plods along from pit to pinnacle.  Faith is the sight of the soul, the light that guides her to eternal life.”

 

The light of Faith is fed by Hope.  Charity gives It substance.  These three Virtues are grafted together.  If you tear one off, none of them grows.  You can believe that great riches are to be had and have no hope of ever getting any.  What good does that do?  You get to be indifferent about it.  It just wasn’t meant to be, that’s all.  Hope gives wings to the light of Faith.  Hope and Trust in the merits of Jesus Christ entitles you to them.  And the longer you have them, the greater your appreciation for all three.  You get to love them all the more once their yours.”

 

Hope gives the soul a suit of armor, impervious to arrows.  She fears no enemy.  What can they do?  She acts as if they weren’t even there.  Peace and tranquility, what more could you want?  What could be more beautiful than a soul filled with Hope.  The soul clings to her beloved, knowing that she can’t be trusted.  In Whom can she trust but God?”

 

The queen rules over her passions.  She challenges her fiercest enemies.  Her interior regulations are unquestioned.  She sets limits on her inclinations and desires.  Her thoughts are under control.  The queen determines how fast her heart should go.  She has mastered the art of governing.  Jesus is impressed.  This courageous soul wields great power.  He admires her style.  His love for her grows, the kingdom prospers.”

 

The queen is well aware that He is the power behind the throne, the foundation of her authority.  She has placed all her hope in Him and He responds in kind.  This hope is mighty fortress.  He would never deny anything to a soul who trusts only in Him.”

 

After lecturing at length about Hope, He’d withdraw for a while, having left the lights on in my intellect.  Words behold these insights on Hope, and hush behind the curtains.  What can I say?  Other virtues vie to adorn her soul.  The mound of jewelry gets bigger and heavier until she can barely stand.  Now what?

 

Hope makes her steady as a rock, as firmly rooted as a mountain range of mighty peaks.  She will not be moved.  Not an inch.  Filled with Hope, she towers over the roof of the world.  Frigid gusts of air howl their icy breath through the canyons, with no effect.  Blizzards dump snow and it tumbles down to her feet in a thundering avalanche.  Hurricane winds are shoved aside, burning sun, reflected back to its source.  Babylon’s dwarf looks up in awe at her massive foundation.  Anything placed on this definition of permanence shall face the centuries unflinching.  Robed in Hope, invulnerable, tribulations are wispy snowflakes, poverty a gentle rain, incidental events, the accidents of life, all hollow.  She is not to be dismayed.

 

I can do anything, put up with anything, suffer everything, hoping in Jesus, the object of all my hopes and desires.”

 

Hope gives the soul such great power that she’s nearly invincible.  It affords all the perseverance she needs in her final moments.  The time has arrived to leave her steadfast hope behind.  Having inherited the Kingdom of Heaven, She leaves her Hope on earth and plunges into the vast ocean of Divine Love.

 

As my soul was dissolving in this immense Sea of Hope, my beloved Jesus would come back and talk to me about Charity.

 

Faith and Hope give way to Charity, the bridge that connects the two.  It binds them together so the three may be one.  There you have It, My beloved spouse, the Trinity of Divine Persons veiled within these three theological virtues.”

 

Faith provides trust, Hope, high expectations, and Charity, love.  Faith is the light that gives sight to the soul.  Hope nurtures this Faith that lends courage to the soul.  Peace, perseverance, and all the rest, come from Charity.  She gives light to Faith and nourishment to Hope.  Charity is the sweet fragrant oil that penetrates deep into the wounds of life, a soothing relief.  Charity makes suffering sweet, something to be desired.”

 

A charitable soul gives off a beautiful fragrance wherever she goes.  Here charitable works are done out of love, scented with sweet perfume, the fragrant odor of God.  Faith and Hope tends to make the soul solitary and awkward with other people.  While Charity provides a substantial connection that brings all hearts together as one in bosom of God.”

 

The billowing incense of Charity wafts through the air, bringing gladness to everyone, everywhere.  Ruthless torments turn to joy.  The need to suffer becomes an addiction.  The withdrawal of Charity reduces her to begging.  ‘Jesus, my spouse, sustain me with the fruit of suffering.  Here I languish with love.  I can think of no other way to show my love for you other than suffering on Your behalf.’  Charity burns and consumes all things, including the virtues, and absorbs them.”

 

Imagine how I felt after hearing this from Jesus.  A deep yearning to suffer ignited within me.  It was more than a deep longing or an overwhelming need.  Something infused me, and it seemed so natural, a sense of righteousness.  To avoid suffering would be the worst disgrace possible.

 

The next morning, Jesus began to prepare my heart for more advanced studies, the complete annihilation of self.  He advised me on the best methods of exciting this immense desire to prepare myself for this higher grace.  He explained how desire can make up for imperfections and lack of training in a soul.  This one mantle is enough to cover everything.  I relate this as if He were instructing me aloud, but it was more like an infusion of learning.

 

As my soul was exciting this ardent yearning for the grace Jesus wanted me to have, He came and transported me up out of my body and into Paradise.  I blushed in confusion before the Triune Divinity.  As soon as I saw Them, I fell to my face on the floor.  Jesus raised me up to present me, and I was blinded by the light of Their Presence, awed by the Sanctity of God.

 

Introduced to the Most Holy Trinity and all the Celestial Court, we renewed our wedding vows.  Jesus held out a ring of three precious stones, green, red and white, and handed it to His Father.  He blessed it and gave it back to His Son.  The Holy Spirit took my right hand and Jesus slipped the ring on my finger.  I was kissed three times by the Holy Trinity and blessed by each One.

 

This is only rough sketch of what happened.  There were other poignant moments that are now but faintly glowing clouds of confused images in the recesses of my memory.

 

A few day later, when I received the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion, I lost consciousness and saw the Most Holy Trinity before me, just as I had seen them in Heaven.  I knelt low in Their Presence and adored Them, confessing my nothingness.  I was plunged into my inner being and dare not say a word.

 

A single Voice came from Their Midst.  “Don’t be afraid.  Have courage.  We have come to claim you as Our own, and take possession of your heart.”  The Most Holy Trinity came down into my heart and reaffirmed Their rights to an earthly dwelling.

 

Nothing’s been the same since.  It felt like I’d become part of the Divinity.  I know how preposterous that sounds, and I wouldn’t have mentioned it at all if I weren’t sworn to obedience.  But anyhow, since They were living in me, I was no longer needed.  My body was an earthly abode, Their home away from Home.  I could feel the tangible Presence of God residing in me.

 

I could hear Their voices quite clearly, not so much mentally as physically, with my ears.  It was as if I were eavesdropping just outside the door while people were talking in the other room.  At least I didn’t have to go looking for Him anymore.  He was right here, inside my heart.

 

He likes to play hide-and-seek.

 

I had to go wandering around all over heaven and earth, searching everywhere for the One and only Source of Goodness.

 

The longer I looked, the more frantic I’d get, until hot tears were streaming down my face.  My yearning was deep and strong.  I felt the indescribable pain of having lost Him.  That was His cue to pop out of my heart and tease me.  “Home free, here I am!  You can stop looking now.  I was here all the time.”

 

Jesus, how could You?  I spent the whole morning going in circles, looking high and low for You, everywhere.  And You were here all the time?  You should’ve told me.  I was so worried.  Look at me, I’m sweating.  I’m all worn out.  Oh, I feel faint. Please, hold me.  I’m dying.”  Then He’d take me in His arms and make me rest until my strength returned.

 

Sometimes He’d change the rules.  He’d go hide and I’d go looking for Him, He’d holler and jump out of my heart, but He wasn’t alone.  The whole Trinity would tease me like three little kids.  But they weren’t ordinary children.  They were gorgeous, and so graceful when they moved.

 

There were lots of different way to play.  Sometimes there’d be just one of them, with three identical heads.  It sounds horrid, I know, but they were really quite beautiful.  And I’d be so glad to see them.  All three would scramble up into my arms, and smother me in kisses as I kissed each of them in return, one by one.  I’d hold them in my arms with one on each shoulder while the other studied my face.

 

It was delightful.  We’d play tag until I got one of them.  When I caught one, I’d suddenly have all three of them.  Once I caught all three, and they turned into one before I knew it.  I was amazed every time.  I mean, how can you get used to something like that?  Another thing that amazed me was that when I picked one of them up, that little child weighed as much as all three.  I loved each one of them as much as all three.  I had the same attraction for each of them.  There were no favorites.

 

Where was I?  There’s so much to tell that I’ve lost my train of thought again.  Let me back up a little.

 

When Jesus first began my education, He would often talk about His Passion.  He started by introducing my soul to His Life, the pain He endured, and how I should go about imitating It.  That was followed by His courtship, marriage proposal, and our wedding.  All this was leading to my marriage with the cross.  It all tied together.  He helped me take one step at a time, like a little child.

 

My darling spouse, virtues grow weak and flaccid unless they grafted to the cross.  That gives them strength and fortitude.”

 

Before I came upon the earth, pain and suffering were attributed to past sin.  Born in disgrace, they spent their life dazed and confused.  Families in poverty were slandered as lazy.  But sickness and death were inevitable, even for the self-righteous.  Yet everyone agreed that the most dishonorable fate of all was to be crucified as a criminal.”

 

Nothing really changes until they are born again in Me.  Those that stay in contact I will sanctify to prepare them for a life of Divinity.  The change is immediately apparent.  Their soul becomes sweet and pleasant, honored to have been blessed by the Son of God as they don My Life as a vestment.”

 

But most of them stop in their tracks the moment they see where the beams cross.  They change as well.  You can see the disgust on their face, bitter at having been duped into following this path.  Only the few who penetrate its mystery find happiness and joy.”

 

My beloved daughter, I’ve been waiting so long to crucify you, body and soul.”

 

A deep longing welled up in me.  I yearned to be crucified with Jesus, the Christ.  He approached this subject through various means and each lesson would continue until I couldn’t restrain myself.  “Jesus!  Hurry, my Love, crucify me.  Let me be crucified next to You.  Or I could take Your place on the cross and You can join me whenever You like.”

 

Whenever He came, I’d ask Him about the things I thought were most important.  How do I know if I’m truly sorry for my sins?  How does one obtain the grace to be crucified with Him?  If I knew the answer to these, everything else might fall into place.

 

One morning He showed me His bloody crucifixion and announced from the cross that He wanted me to share His experience.  Rays of light streamed out of His wounds, coming straight at me.  As I pondered crucifixion at the hands of my beloved, fear gripped me and I trembled from head to toe.  I was annihilated by the thought that I was unworthy of these graces.

 

I wanted to shout, “My Lord, let me be crucified with You.”  But I didn’t dare.  Jesus just hung there, waiting to see if I had the will.  An ardent desire to have Him welled up from the deepest fibers of my soul, only to be deflected by a profound sense of unworthiness.  My entire physical being trembled with fear.  My beloved Jesus entered my intellect with an invitation, and I froze.  Would I accept?  My heart lurched towards Him.

 

My God, my Holy Spouse, You were crucified because of me.  I want to be crucified, but with one condition.  I don’t want anyone to notice anything out of the ordinary.  Stigmatize me with Your wounds, but so only You I can see them.”

 

Rays of light drove nails into my hands and feet.  A spear of light pierced my heart from the side and quivered.  I sighed with relief at the pain.  Fear released its grip on my soul, and she swam out into the calm of tranquil seas.  My pain felt like a warm bath of luxurious contentment.

 

The pain in my heart, hands and feet was so excruciating that I thought I was going to die.  I could feel where the bones in my hands and feet had been fractured or broken.  It felt like the nails were still there, but I couldn’t see anything unusual about them.  They gave me a sense of contentment that I can’t explain.  The same pain that made me feel like I was dying also gave me the spiritual strength to bear it.  There were no outward signs of physical damage, but I could feel the trauma beneath my skin.

 

My thumb and fingers were contracted into a tight ball that only my confessor could loosen.  He would command my joints to relax the same way he called my soul to obedience.  But whenever He touched one of the invisible holes, I’d feel the nail move, sending streaks of light through my brain that made me cringe.  I went rigid and tried not to scream.  At my confessors command, the pain would disappear, but not completely.

 

Sometimes the pain got so bad that I’d black out and not wake up until he ordered me awake.  This miracle of holy obedience meant everything to me.  My serial clashes with agonizing death would end by fiat as my life came to attention like a soldier on parade.  Obedience meant the restoration of life.  May the Lord be blessed forever and always for His great glory.

 

As long as I was trapped in my body, I couldn’t see them.  But whenever I’d lose consciousness, I could Jesus’ wounds in my flesh and know that they weren’t really mine.  These invisible stigmata were His doing.  That was the first time that Jesus crucified me, and by now there’s been so many of these crucifixions that I’ve lost count of them.  Those were just some of the highlights.

 

Over time, I grew more comfortable being with Him.  “My beloved, teach me how to be sorry for my sins.  Let me be consumed by sorrow and regret for every time I’ve let you down.  I want these sins erased from my soul and, if at all possible, from Your memory as well.  I should be sorry for having ever dared to offend You.  I’m thinking that if You multiplied this sorrow enough times, maybe then I’d get close enough to be on intimate terms with You.”

 

Jesus was kind enough to me give this advice.

 

“Seeing how remorseful you are about having offended Me, I’ll teach you how to be truly sorry for your sins.  I’ll show you the damage they cause and the bitter pain they inflict on My Heart.

 

Repeat after Me.

 

When I cross the sea,

You hold me up,

But I don’t see you.

 

When I walk upon the earth,

You are under my feet,

Yet I have sinned.’

 

Then He said quietly in a quivering voice, “Yet I loved you that very moment and gave you My support.”

 

We spoke the lines in a mantra until I was so overcome with sorrow that I crumpled face down on the floor, and He disappeared.  These few words made me understand so much that I couldn’t begin to explain it.

 

The first line brought up His great immensity, and the presence of God in each created thing.  Nary a shadow of our thoughts escape Him.  I understood my nothingness when faced with such majestic holiness.  The mere mention of my sin taught me how ugly it can be.  Sheer malice lied beneath my daring to offend Him.

 

My soul pondered these words I heard from Jesus Christ Himself; “Yet I loved you that very moment and gave you My support.”  My heart shook in disgust and thought death preferable to sin.

 

For the first time I understood how immense the Lord’s love for me, as I was caught in the act of some cruel offense like craven murder.

 

Lord, You have always been good to me, and I was so ungrateful.  Even now, I’m still bad.”

 

I remember alternating between visits, asking, among other things, either more sorrow for my sins or permission to be crucified.  One morning, for instance, dear Jesus transported me from my usual suffering to where a man had just been shot by a revolver and was breathing his last before going to hell.  Jesus hurt so much to see the loss of this soul.  I wish the whole world could know how much Jesus suffers when souls are lost.  They would do everything they could not to be lost for eternity, if not for themselves, then just to spare the Lord more pain.

 

With bullets flying all around us, Jesus spoke into my ear.  “My daughter, are you willing to offer yourself as a sacrificial victim for the salvation of this soul?  Would you suffer on his behalf the pain he rightly deserves for such grievous sins.”  “I’m ready Lord, if I can help save him and restore his life.”  Untold sufferings were on me like flies, so many, it’s a wonder I didn’t die on the spot.

 

Providentially, my confessor arrived an hour earlier than usual and called for my obedience.  Submerged in great suffering, I struggled to obey.  When he asked me why, I told what happened with details of when and where.  The town was in turmoil over the events and apparently the person in question had died.  But later we learned that he had survived against all odds.  He eventually recovered and is alive to this day.  May the Lord be blessed forever and always.

 

Once, after pestering Him for crucifixion, I was transported to the holy sites of Jerusalem where the Lord’s Passion took place.  We encountered many crosses along the way.  My beloved Jesus spoke with unheard of eloquence.

 

The goodness inherent in the cross polishes the soul like a precious gem.  Suffering adorns her with priceless jewels.  I didn’t come down to earth for riches or pleasure.  I came to be with My beloved sisters, poverty, suffering, humiliation, the cross.  I cherish them all.”

 

Suffering is for Him a choice delicacy.  It is His joy.  His words pierced my heart like flaming arrows.  The thought that the Lord would deny me suffering drained the life out of me.  I wanted to yell and shout my demand for suffering, but it came out as a whispered plea.  “Holy Spouse, please let me suffer.  Allow me a cross to bear.  I’ll take as many as you can spare.  Prove that You love me.  Make me happy.  Give me a cross.  And after I’ve suffered on it, let me have another, and another.  I could never have enough of them.”

 

I took the biggest cross He had, laid down on it and begged Him to hammer the nails deep.  He was good enough to stretch out my hand and pound one in. 

 

He’d swing the mallet a couple times and then look at me with concern.  “Does that hurt too much?  Should I stop?  “No, no, don’t stop!  Yes, it hurts, my beloved, but I’m so happy.  Go ahead.  Crucify me.”

 

I was afraid He might leave me half-crucified.  “Faster!  O Jesus, it shouldn’t take this long.”  So He finished the one hand and reached for the other.  But there was problem.  The cross-beam had shrunk.  I was mortified.  It only got worse as the days went by.  When the arms were just right, the post was too short for my legs.  One thing or another always went wrong.  We never did manage to complete a proper crucifixion.

 

I didn’t appreciate the joke.  My soul was bitter and I let Him know about it in no uncertain terms.  “Why does everything have to be a joke with You?  My Beloved, You promised me I could suffer.  First You take me to Heaven, and then You dump me on earth.  You say You’re going to crucify me, and then You botch the job.”  This time He swore that He was really going to crucify me, and I just fumed.