51 (19) When I spoke about this to Mother Superior [Rose 30, telling her] that God had asked this of me, she answered that Jesus should give some sign so that we could recognize Him more clearly. When I asked the Lord Jesus for a sign as a proof “that You are truly my God and Lord and that this request comes from You,” I heard this interior voice, I will make this all clear to the Superior by means of the graces which I will grant through this image. 52 When I tried to run away from these interior inspirations, God said to me that on the Day of Judgment He would demand of me a great number of souls. Once, exhausted because of these various difficulties that had befallen me because of what Jesus had said to me and what He had demanded of me for the painting of this image, I made up my mind to approach Father Andrasz31 before my perpetual vows, and to ask him to dispense me from all these interior inspirations and from the duty of painting this image. After having heard my confession, Father Andrasz gave me this answer: “I will dispense you from nothing, Sister; it is not right for you to turn away from these interior inspirations, but you must absolutely – and I say, absolutely – speak about them to your confessor; otherwise you will go astray despite the great graces you are receiving from God. For the present you are coming to me for confession, but understand, Sister, that you must have a permanent confessor; that is to say, a spiritual director.” 37 53 I was very upset by this. I thought that I would get myself free from everything, and it turned out quite the opposite – an explicit command to follow the requests of Jesus. And now, still another torment, as I had no permanent confessor. Even if I went to the same confessor for a certain period of time, I could not open my soul to him in respect to these graces, and this caused me ineffable pain. So I asked Jesus to give these graces to someone else, because I did not know how to make use of them and was only wasting them. “Jesus, have mercy on me; do not entrust such great things to me, as You see that I am a bit of dust and completely inept.” But the goodness of Jesus is infinite; He had promised me visible help here on earth, and a little while later I received it (20) in Vilnius, in the person of Father Sopocko. I had already known him before coming to Vilnius, thanks to an interior vision. One day I saw him in our chapel between the altar and the confessional and suddenly heard a voice in my soul say, This is the visible help for you on earth. He will help you carry out My will on earth. 54 +One day, tired out with all these uncertainties, I asked Jesus, “Jesus, are You my God or some kind of phantom? Because my Superiors say that there are all sorts of illusions and phantoms. If You are my Lord, I beg You to bless me.” Then Jesus made a big sign of the cross over me and I, too, signed myself. When I asked pardon of Jesus for this question, He replied that I had in no way displeased Him by this question and that my confidence pleased Him very much. 55 1933 Spiritual Counsel given Me by Father Andrasz, S.J. First: You must not turn away from these interior inspirations, but always tell everything to your confessor. If you recognize that these interior inspirations refer to your own self; that is to say, they are for the good of your soul or for the good of other souls, I urge you to follow them; and you must not neglect them, but always do so in consultation with your confessor. Second: If these inspirations are not in accord with the faith or the spirit of the Church, they must be rejected immediately as coming from the evil spirit. Third: If these inspirations do not refer to souls, in general, nor specifically to their good, you should not take them too seriously, and it would be better to even ignore them. But you should not make this decision by yourself, either one way or the other, as you can easily be led astray despite these great favors from God. Humility, humility, and ever humility, as we can do nothing of ourselves; all is purely and simply God‟s grace. You say to me that God demands great trust from souls; well then, you be the first to show this trust. And one more word – accept all this with serenity. (21 ) Words of one of the confessors: “Sister, God is preparing many special graces for you, but try to make your life as clear as crystal before the Lord, paying no attention to what anyone else thinks about you. Let God suffice you; He alone.” 38 Toward the end of my novitiate, a confessor [perhaps Father Theodore] told me: “Go through life doing good, so that I could write on its pages: “She spent her life doing good.‟ May God bring this about in you.” Another time the confessor said to me, “Comport yourself before God like the widow in the Gospel; although the coin she dropped into the box was of little value, it counted far more before god than all the big offerings of others.” On another occasion the instruction I received was this: “Act in such a way that all those who come in contact with you will go away joyful. Sow happiness about you because you have received much from god; give, the, generously to others. They should take leave of you with their hearts filled with joy, even if they have no more than touched the hem of your garment. Keep well in mind the words I am telling you right now.” Still another time he gave me the following recommendation: “Let God push your boat out into the deep waters, toward the unfathomable depths of the interior life.” Here are a few words from a conversation I had with the Mother Directress [Mary Joseph] toward the end of my novitiate: “Sister, let simplicity and humility by the characteristic traits of your soul. Go through life like a little child, always trusting, always full of simplicity and humility, content with everything, happy in every circumstance. There, where others fear, you will pass calmly along, thanks to this simplicity and humility. Remember this, Sister, for your whole life; as waters flow from the mountains down into the valleys, so, too, do God‟s graces flow onto into humble souls.” 55 O my God, I understand well that You demand this spiritual childhood 32 of me, because You are constantly asking it of me through Your representatives. (22) At the beginning of my religious life, suffering and adversities frightened and disheartened me. So I prayed continuously, asking Jesus to strengthen me and to grant me the power of his Holy Spirit that I might carry out His holy will in all things, because from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness. I know very well what I am of myself, because for this purpose Jesus has opened the eyes of my soul; I am an abyss of misery, and hence I understand that whatever good there is in my soul consists solely of His holy grace. The knowledge of my own misery allows me, at the same time, to know the immensity of Your mercy. In my own interior life, I am looking with one eye at the abyss of my misery and baseness, and with the other, at the abyss of Your mercy, O God. 57 O my Jesus, You are the life of my life. You know only too well that I long for nothing but the glory of Your Name and that souls come to know Your goodness. Why do souls avoid You, Jesus? – I don‟t understand that. Oh, if I could only cut my heart into tiny pieces and in this way offer to You, O Jesus, each piece as a heart whole and entire, to make up in part for the hearts that do not love You! I love You, Jesus, with every drop of my blood, and I would gladly shed my blood for You to give You a proof of the sincerity of my love. O God, the more I know You the less I can comprehend You, but this “noncomprehension” lets me realize how great You are! And it is this impossibility of comprehending You which enflames my heart anew for You, O Lord. From the moment when You let me fix the eyes of my soul on You, O Jesus, I have been at peace and desired nothing else, I found my destiny at the moment when my soul lost itself in You, 39 the only object of my love. In comparison with you, everything is nothing. Sufferings, adversities, humiliations, failures and suspicions that have come my way are splinters the keep alive the fire of my love for You, O Jesus. My desires are mad and unattainable. I wish to conceal from You that I suffer. I want (23) never to be rewarded for my efforts and my good actions, You Yourself, Jesus, are my only reward; You are enough, O Treasure of my heart! I want to share compassionately in the sufferings of my neighbors and to conceal my own sufferings, not only from them, but also from You, Jesus. Suffering is a great grace; through suffering the soul becomes like the Savior; in suffering love becomes crystallized; the greater the suffering, the purer the love. 58 + One night, a sister who had died two months previously came to me. She was a sister of the first choir. I saw her in a terrible condition, all in flames with her face painfully distorted. This lasted only a short time, and then she disappeared. A shudder went through my soul because I did not know whether she was suffering in purgatory or in hell. Nevertheless, I redoubled my prayers for her. The next night she came again, but I saw her in an even more horrible state, in the midst of flames which were even more intense, and despair was written all over her face. I was astonished to see her in a worse condition after the prayers I had offered for her, and I asked, “Haven‟t my prayers helped you?” She answered that my prayers had not helped her and that nothing would help her. I said to her, “And the prayers which the whole community has offered for you, have they not been any help to you?” She said no, that these prayers had helped some other souls. I replied, “If my prayers are not helping you, Sister, please stop coming to me.” She disappeared at once. Despite this, I kept on praying. After some time she came back again to me during the night, but already her appearance had changed. There were no longer any flames, as there had been before, and her face was radiant, her eyes beaming with joy. She told me that I had a true love for my neighbor and that many other souls had profited from my prayers. She urged me not to cease praying for the souls in purgatory, and she added that she herself would not remain there much longer. How astounding are the decrees of God! 59 (24) 1933. On one occasion I heard these words in my soul. Make a novena for your country. This novena will consist of the recitation of the Litany of the Saints. Ask your confessor for permission {probably Father Sopocko or Father Andrasz]. 60 I received permission at my next confession and began the novena that very evening. Towards the end of the litany I saw a great radiance and, in the midst of it, God the Father. Between this radiance and the earth I saw Jesus, nailed to the Cross in such a way that when God wanted to look at the earth, He had to look through the wounds of Jesus. And I understood that it was for the sake of Jesus that God blesses the earth. 61 O Jesus, I thank you for this great grace; namely, that You Yourself have deigned to choose a confessor for me, and that You had made him known to me in a vision even before I had met him {Father Sopocko]. When I went to confession to father Andrasz, I thought that I would be released from following these interior inspirations. Father replied that he could not dispense me from this, “but pray, Sister, that you be given a spiritual director.” 40 After a short but fervent prayer, I saw Father Sopocko for a second time, in our chapel, between the confessional and the altar. I was in Cracow at that time. These two visions bolstered up my spirit, all the more when I found him to be just as I had seen him in the visions, once at Warsaw during my third probation, and a second time at Cracow. O Jesus, I thank you for this great gift! And now when I hear people sometimes say that they have no confessor; that is to say, a director, fear takes hold of me, because I know very well how much harm I myself experienced when I did not have this help. It is so easy to go astray when one has no guide! 62 O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain! When I look at everything with the eyes of faith, no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear. The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next. It may be given me again, but it will not be the same grace. Time goes on, never to return again. Whatever is enclosed in it will never change; it seals with a seal for eternity. 63 (25) + Father Sopocko must be well loved by God. I say this because I myself have experienced how much God defends him at certain moments. When I see this, I rejoice greatly that God has such chosen ones. 1929.The Trip to Calvary. 33 64 When I came to Vilnius for two months to replace a sister who had gone for her third probation [Sister Peter, who worked in the kitchen], I stayed a little longer than two months. One day, the Mother Superior [Irene 34], wanting to give me a bit of pleasure, gave me permission to go, together with another sister, 35 to Calvary to “walk the paths,” as they say. I was delighted. Although it was not very far, it was Mother Superior‟s wish that we should go by boat. That evening Jesus said to me, I want you to stay home. I answered, “Jesus, everything is ready for us to leave tomorrow morning; what am I to do now?” The Lord answered, This trip will be harmful to your soul. I replied to Jesus, “You can find a way out. Arrange things in such a way that Your will may be done.” At that moment the bell announced the time for sleep. I gave Jesus a parting glance and went to my cell. Next morning the weather was beautiful, and my companion was filled with joy at the prospect of the great pleasure we would have in getting to see everything. But as for me, I was sure we would not go, even though there were no obstacles for far. We were to receive Holy Communion earlier and leave right after the thanksgiving. But during the time of Communion, all of a sudden, the weather changed. Clouds covered the sky, and the rain came down in torrents. Everyone was astounded at such a sudden change in the weather. (26) Mother Superior said to me, “I am so sorry you cannot go, Sisters!” I answered, “Dear Mother, it doesn't really matter that we cannot go; it was God‟s will that we stay home.” However, no one knew that it was Jesus‟ express desire that I stay home. I spent the whole day in recollection and meditation, thanking the Lord for having kept me home. That day, God granted me many heavenly consolations. . 65 One time during the novitiate, when Mother Directress sent me to work in the wards‟ 41 kitchen, I was very upset because I could not manage the pots, which were very large. The most difficult task for me was draining the potatoes, and sometimes, I spilt half of them with the water. When I told this to Mother Directress, she said that with time I would get used to it and gain the necessary skill. Yet the task was not getting any easier, as I was growing weaker every day. So I would move away when it was time to drain the potatoes. The sisters noticed that I avoided this task and were very much surprised. They did not know that I could not help in spite of all my willingness to do this and not spare myself. At noon, during the examination of conscience, I complained to God about my weakness. Then I heard the following words in my soul. From today on you will do this easily; I shall strengthen you. That evening, when the time came to drain off the water from the potatoes, I hurried to be the first to do it, trusting in the Lord‟s words. I took up the pot with ease and poured off the water perfectly. But when I took off the cover to let the potatoes steam off, I saw there in the pot, in the place of the potatoes, whole bunches of red roses, beautiful beyond description. I had never seen such roses before. Greatly astonished and unable to understand the meaning of this, I heard a voice within me saying, I change such hard work of yours into bouquets of most beautiful flowers, and their perfume rises up to My throne. From then on I have tried to drain the potatoes myself, not only during my week when it was my turn to cook, (27) but also in replacement of other sisters when it was their turn. And not only do I do this, but I try to be the first to help in any other burdensome task, because I have experienced how much this pleases God. 66 O inexhaustible treasure of purity of intention which makes all our actions perfect and so pleasing to God! O Jesus, You know how weak I am; be then ever with me; guide my actions and my whole being. You who are my very best Teacher! Truly, Jesus, I become frightened when I look at my own misery, but at the same time I am reassured by Your unfathomable mercy, which exceeds my misery by the measure of all eternity. This disposition of soul clothes me in Your power. O joy that flows from the knowledge of one‟s self! O unchanging Truth. Your constancy is everlasting! 67 When I fell sick [probably the beginning of consumption] after my first vows and when, despite the kind and solicitous care of my Superiors and the efforts of the doctor, I felt neither better nor worse, remarks began to reach my ears which inferred that I was making believe. With that, my suffering was doubled, and this lasted for quite a long time. One day I complained to Jesus that I was being a burden to the sisters. Jesus answered me. You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will give them the light and strength to accept My will. 68 The heaviest suffering for me was that it seemed to me that neither my prayers nor my good works were pleasing to God. I did not dare lift up my eyes to heaven. This caused me such great suffering during the community exercises in the chapel that one day Mother Superior [Raphael] called me aside after the exercises and said to me, “Sister, ask God for grace and consolation, because I can see for myself (28) and the sisters keep telling me that the very sight of you evokes pity. I really do not know what to do with you, Sister. I command you to stop tormenting yourself for no reason.” 42 But all these conferences with Mother Superior brought me no relief, nor did they clarify anything for me. Rather, even greater darkness hid God from me. I looked for help in the confessional but not even there did I find it. A saintly priest wanted to help me, but I was so miserable that I couldn't even define my trouble, and that vexed me even more. A deathly sadness penetrated me soul to such an extent that I was unable to hide it, and it was apparent to those around me. I lost hope. The night was growing darker and darker. The priest to whom I went to confession said to me, “I see very special graces in you, Sister, and I am not worried about you at all; why are you torturing yourself in this way?” But at that time I did not understand at all what he was saying and was extremely surprised when, by way of penance, I was ordered to say the Te Deum or the Magnificat, or to run fast around the garden in the evening, or else to laugh out loud ten times a day. These penances were very surprising to me; but even with that the priest was not able to give me much help. Evidently, God wanted me to give Him glory through suffering. That priest consoled me, saying that in my present situation I was more pleasing to God than if I were filled with the greatest consolations. “It is a very great grace, Sister,” he told, “that in your present condition, with all the torments of soul you are experiencing, you not only do not offend God, but you even try to practice virtues. I am looking into your soul, and I see God‟s great plans and special graces there; and seeing this, I give thanks to the Lord.” But despite all that, my soul was in a state of torture; and in the midst of unspeakable torments, I imitated the blind man who entrusts himself to his guide, holding his hand firmly, not giving up obedience for a single moment, and this was my only safety in this fiery trial. 69 (29) + O Jesus, eternal Truth, strengthen my feeble forces; You can do all things, Lord. I know that without You all my efforts are in vain. O Jesus, do not hide from me, for I cannot live without You. Listen to the cry of my soul, Your mercy has not been exhausted, Lord, so have pity on my misery. Your mercy surpasses the understanding of all Angels and people put together; and so, although it seems to me that You do not hear me, I put my trust in the ocean of Your mercy, and I know that my hope will not be deceived. 70 Only Jesus knows how burdensome and difficult it is to accomplish one‟s duties when the soul is so interiorly tortured, the physical powers so weakened and the mind darkened. In the silence of my heart I kept saying to myself, “O Christ, may delights, honor and glory be Yours, and suffering be mine. I will not lag one step behind as I follow You, though thorns wound my feet.” 71 I was sent for treatment to our house in Plock, and there I had the privilege of decorating the chapel with flowers. That was at Biala. 36 Sister Thecla did not always have time for this, so I often decorated the chapel by myself. One day, I had picked the prettiest roses to decorate the room of a certain person. When I was approaching the porch, I saw Jesus standing there. In a kindly way He asked me, My daughter, to whom are you taking these flowers? My silence was my reply to the Lord, because I recognized immediately that I had a very subtle attachment to this person, 37 which I had not noticed before. Suddenly Jesus disappeared. At the same moment I threw the flowers on the ground and went before the Blessed Sacrament, my heart filled with gratitude for the grace of knowing myself. 43 O Divine Sun, in Your rays the soul sees the tiniest specks of dust which displease You. 72 (30) O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equalled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God‟s mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages. 73 O my Jesus, despite the deep night that is all around me and the dark clouds which hide the horizon, I know that the sun never goes out. O Lord, though I cannot comprehend You and do not understand Your ways, I nonetheless trust in Your mercy. If it is Your will, Lord, that I live always in such darkness, may You be blessed. I ask You only one thing, Jesus: do not allow me to offend You in any way. O my Jesus, You alone know the longings and the sufferings of my heart. I am glad I can suffer for You, however little. When I feel that the suffering is more than I can bear, I take refuge in the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I speak to Him with profound silence. (31 ) The Confession of One of Our Wards. 74 One day I felt driven to take steps to see to it that the Feast of Mercy be instituted and the image of the Merciful Jesus be painted, and I could find no peace. Something was pervading my whole being, and yet I feared being deluded. However, these doubts always came from outside, because in the depths of my soul I felt it was the Lord who was penetrating my being. The priest to whom I was going to confession at that time told me that one can often have illusions, and I felt that he was somewhat afraid to hear my confession. This was a torture for me. Seeing that I was getting very little help from people, I turned all the more to Jesus, the best of all teachers. At one time, when I was filled with doubts as to whether the voice I heard came from the Lord or not, I began to speak to Jesus interiorly without forming any words. Suddenly an inner force took hold of me and I said, “If You who commune with me and talk to me are truly my God, I beg You, O Lord, to make this ward go this very day to confession; this sign will give me reassurance.” At that very moment, the girl asked to go to confession. 75 But these doubts always come from without, a fact which inclined me to close myself up more and more within myself. When, during confession, I sense uncertainty on the part of the priest, I do not open my soul to its depths, but only accuse myself of my sins. A priest who is not at peace with himself will not be able to inspire peace in another soul. O priests, you bright candles enlightening human souls, let your brightness never be dimmed. I understood that at that time it was not God‟s will that I uncover my soul completely. Later on, God did give me this grace. 44 76 (32) O my Jesus, direct my mind, take possession of my whole being, enclose me in the depths of Your Heart, and protect me against the assaults of the enemy. My only hope is in You. Speak through my mouth when I, wretchedness itself, find myself with the mighty and wise, so that they will know that this undertaking is Yours and comes from You. Darkness and Temptations 77 My mind became dimmed in a strange way; no truth seemed clear to me. When people spoke to me about God, my heart was like a rock. I could not draw from it a single sentiment of love for Him. When I tried, by an act of the will, to remain close to Him, I experienced great torments, and it seemed to me that I was only provoking God to an even greater anger. It was absolutely impossible for me to meditate as I had been accustomed to do in the past. I felt in my soul a great void, and there was nothing with which I could fill it. I began to suffer from a great hunger and yearning for God, but I saw my utter powerlessness. I tried to read slowly, sentence by sentence, and to meditate in this way, but this also was of no avail. I understood nothing of what I had read. The abyss of my misery was constantly before my eyes. Every time I entered the chapel for some spiritual exercise, I experienced even worse torments and temptations. More than once, all through Holy Mass, I had to struggle against blasphemous thoughts which were forcing themselves to my lips. I felt an aversion for the Holy Sacraments, and it seemed to me that I was not profiting from them in any way. It was only out of obedience to my confessor that I frequented them, and this blind obedience was for me the only path I could follow and my very last hope of survival. The priest explained to me that these were trials sent by God and that, in the situation I was in, not only was I not offending God, but I was most pleasing to Him. (33) “This is a sign,” he told me, “that God loves you very much and that He has great confidence in you, since He is sending you such trials.” But these words brought me no comfort; it seemed to me that they did not apply to me at all. One thing did surprise me: it often happened that, at the time when I was suffering greatly, these terrible torments would disappear suddenly just as I was approaching the confessional; but as soon as I had left the confessional, all these torments would again seize me with even great ferocity. I would then fall on my face before the Blessed Sacrament repeating these words: “Even if You kill me, still will I trust in You!” [cf. Job 13:15] It seemed to me that I would die in these agonies. But the most terrible thought for me was the conviction that I had been rejected by god. Then other thoughts came to me: why strive to acquire virtues and do good works? Why mortify and annihilate yourself? What good is it to take vows? To pray? To sacrifice and immolate yourself? Why sacrifice myself all the time? What good is it – if I am already rejected by God? Why all these efforts? And here, God alone knew what was going on in my heart. 78 Once when I was being crushed by these dreadful sufferings, I went into the chapel and said from the bottom of my soul, “Do what You will with me, O Jesus, I will adore You in everything. May Your will be done in me, O my Lord and my God, and I will praise Your infinite mercy.” Through this act of submission, these terrible torments left me. Suddenly I saw Jesus, who said to me, I am always in your heart. An inconceivable 45 joy entered my soul, and a great love of God set my heart aflame. I see that God never tries us beyond what we are able to suffer. Oh, I fear nothing; if god sends such great suffering to a soul. He upholds it with an even greater grace, although we are not aware of it. One act of trust at such moments give greater glory to God than whole hours passed in prayer filled with consolations. Now I see that if God wants to keep a soul in darkness, no book, no confessor can bring it light. 79 (34) O Mary, my Mother and my Lady, I offer You my soul, my body, my life and my death, and all that will follow it. I place everything in Your hands. O my Mother, cover my soul with Your virginal mantle and grant me the grace of purity of heart, soul and body. Defend me with Your power against all enemies, and especially against those who hide their malice behind the mask of virtue. O lovely lily! You are for me a mirror, O my Mother! 80 O Jesus, Divine Prisoner of Love, when I consider Your love and how You emptied Yourself for me, my senses fail me. You hide Your inconceivable majesty and lower Yourself to miserable me. O King of Glory, through You hide Your beauty, yet the eye of my soul rends the veil. I see the angelic choirs giving You honor without cease, and all the heavenly Powers praising You without cease, and without cease they are saying: Holy, Holy, Holy. Oh, who will comprehend Your love and Your unfathomable mercy toward us! O Prisoner of Love, I lock up my poor heart in this tabernacle, that it may adore You without cease night and day. I know of no obstacle in this adoration, and even though I be physically distant, my heart is always with You. Nothing can put a stop to my love for You. No obstacles exist for me. O my Jesus, I will console You for all the ingratitude, the blasphemies, the coldness, the hatred of the wicked, the sacrileges. O Jesus, I want to burn as a pure offering and to be consumed before the throne of Your hiddenness. I plead with You unceasingly for poor dying sinners. 81 O Holy Trinity, One and Indivisible God, may You be blessed for this great gift and testament of mercy. My Jesus, to atone for blasphemers I will keep silent when unjustly reprimanded and in this way make partial amends to You. I am singing within my soul an unending hymn to You, and no one will suspect or understand this. The song of my soul is known to You alone, O my Creator and Lord! 82 (35) I will not allow myself to be so absorbed in the whirlwind of work as to forget about God. I will spend all me free moments at the feet of the Master hidden in the Blessed Sacrament. He has been tutoring me from my most tender years. 83 Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day. 46 84 O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You! Vilnius, August 2, 1934. 85 On Friday, after Holy Communion, I was carried in spirit before the throne of God. There I saw the heavenly Powers which incessantly praise God. Beyond the throne I saw a brightness inaccessible to creatures, and there only the Incarnate Word enters as Mediator. When Jesus entered this light, I heard these words, Write down at once what you hear: I am the Lord in My essence and am immune to orders or needs. If I call creatures into being that is the abyss of My mercy. And at that very moment I found myself, as before, in our chapel at my kneeler, just as Mass had ended. I already had these words written. 86 + [Once] when I saw how much my confessor [probably Father Sopocko] was to suffer because of this work which God was going to carry out through him, fear seized me for the moment, and I said to the Lord, “Jesus, this is Your affair, so why are You acting this way (36) toward him? It seems to me that you are making difficulties for him while at the same time ordering him to act.” Vilnius, October 26, 1934 87 On Friday at ten minutes to six, when I and some of our wards 38 were coming in from the garden to supper, I saw the Lord Jesus above our chapel, looking just as He did the first time I saw Him and just as He is painted in the image. The two rays which emanated from the Heart of Jesus covered our chapel and the infirmary, and then the whole city, and spread out over the whole world. This lasted about four minutes and disappeared. One of the girls, who was walking with me a little behind the others, also saw these rays, but she did not see Jesus, and she did not know from where these rays were emanating. She was overwhelmed and told the other girls. They began to laugh at her, suggesting that she was imagining things or that perhaps it was light reflected by a passing airplane. But she persisted in her conviction, saying that never had she seen such rays before. When the others suggested that it might have been a searchlight, she replied that she knew very well what a searchlight was like, but never had she seen rays such as these. After supper the girl approached me and told me she had been so moved by these rays that she could not keep silent, but wanted to tell everyone about them. Yet she had not seen Jesus. She kept telling me about these rays, and this put me in an awkward situation, as I could not tell her that I had seen the Lord Jesus. I prayed for her, asking the Lord to give her those graces of which she had such need. My heart rejoiced in the fact that Jesus takes the initiative to make Himself known, even though the occasion of such action on His part causes me annoyance. For Jesus, one car bear anything. 88 (37) + During adoration I felt God close to me. A moment later I saw Jesus and Mary. At the sight of them I was filled with joy, and asked the Lord, “What is Your will, Jesus, concerning the matter about which my confessor told me to ask You?” Jesus replied, It is My will that he should remain here and that he should not take the initiative of dispensing himself. I asked Jesus whether the inscription could be: “Christ, King of Mercy.” He answered, I am King of Mercy, but He did not say “Christ.” I desire that this image be displayed in public on the first Sunday after Easter. That Sunday is 47 the Feast of Mercy. Through the Word Incarnate, I make known the bottomless depth of My mercy. 89 + Strangely, all things came about just as the Lord had requested. In fact, it was on the first Sunday after Easter [April, 1935] that the image was publicly honored by crowds of people for the first time. For three days it was exposed and received public veneration. Since it was placed at the very top of a window at Ostra Brama [Shrine of Our Lady, above the “Eastern Gate” to the city of Vilnius], it could be seen from a great distance. At Ostra Brama, during these three days, the closing of the Jubilee of the Redemption of the world was being celebrated, marking the nineteen hundred years that have passed since the Passion of our Savior. I see now that the work of Redemption is bound up with the work of mercy requested by the Lord. 90 One day, I saw interiorly how much my confessor would have to suffer: friends will desert you while everyone will rise up against you and your physical strength will diminish. I saw you as a bunch of grapes chosen by the Lord and thrown into the press of suffering. Your soul, Father, will at times be filled with doubts about this work and about me. I saw that God himself seemed to be opposing [him], and I asked the Lord why He was acting in this way toward him, as though He were placing obstacles in the way of his doing what He himself had asked him to do. And the Lord said, I am acting thus with him to give testimony that this work is Mine. Tell him (38) not to fear anything; My gaze is on him day and night. There will be as many crowns to form his crown as there will be souls saved by this work. It is not for the success of a work, but for the suffering that I give reward. 91 O my Jesus, You alone know what persecutions I suffer, and this only because I am being faithful to You and following Your orders. You are my strength; sustain me that I may always carry out what You ask of me. Of myself I can do nothing, but when You sustain me, all difficulties are nothing for me. O my Lord, I can see very well that from the time when my soul first received the capacity to know You, my life has been a continual struggle which has become increasingly intense. Every morning during meditation, I prepare myself for the whole day‟s struggle. Holy Communion assures me that I will win the victory; and so it is. I fear the day when I do not receive Holy Communion. This Bread of the Strong gives me all the strength I need to carry on my mission and the courage to do whatever the Lord asks of me. The courage and strength that are in me are not of me, but of Him who lives in me – it is the Eucharist. O my Jesus, the misunderstandings are so great; sometimes, were it not for the Eucharist, I would not have the courage to go any further along the way You have marked out for me. 92 Humiliation is my daily food. I understand that the bride must herself share in everything that is the groom‟s; and so His cloak of mockery must cover me, too. At those times when I suffer much, I try to remain silent, as I do not trust my tongue which, at such moments, is inclined to talk for itself, while its duty is to help me praise God for all the blessings and gifts which He has given me. When I receive Jesus in Holy Communion, I ask Him fervently to deign to heal my tongue so that I would offend neither God nor 48 neighbor by it. I want my tongue to praise God without cease. Great are the faults committed by the tongue. The soul will not attain sanctity if it does not keep watch over its tongue. 93 (39) + A Short Version of the Catechism of the Vows 39. 

Q. What is a vow? 

A. A vow is a voluntary promise made to God, to carry out a more perfect act. 

Q. Is a vow binding in a matter which is the object of a commandment? 

A. Yes. The carrying out of an act which is the object of a commandment has a double value and merit; and the neglect of such an act is a double transgression and evil, because by breaking such a vow we add to the sin against the commandment, the sin of sacrilege. 

Q. Why do religious vows have such value? 

A. Because they are the foundation of the religious life approved by the Church, in which the members bound together in a religious community undertake to strive always for perfection by means of the three religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, observed according to the rules. 

Q. What is the meaning of the words, “strive for perfection?” 

A. To strive for perfection means that the religious life does not in itself demand that perfection be already attained, but obliges, under the pain of sin, that we work daily to attain it. Therefore, a religious who does not want to become perfect neglects his principal duty of state. 

Q. What are “solemn” religious vows? 

A. “Solemn” religious vows are so absolute that, in extraordinary cases, only the Holy Father can dispense from them. 

Q. What are simple religious vows? 

A. These are vows which are less absolute – the Holy See dispenses from perpetual and annual vows. 

(40) Q. What is the difference between a vow and a virtue?

A. A vow pertains only to that which is commanded under pain of sin; the virtue goes beyond this and helps in the carrying out of the vow; on the other hand, by breaking the vow we fail in the virtue and do it damage. 

Q. To what do the religious vows oblige us? 

A. The religious vows oblige us to strive to acquire the virtues and to submit ourselves completely to our Superiors and to the Rules which are in force; thus, the religious gives his own person to the Community, renouncing every right over himself and his actions, which he sacrifices to the service of God. The Vow of Poverty 49 The vow of poverty is the voluntary renunciation of the right over property or to the use of such property with the purpose of pleasing God. 

Q. What objects does the vow of poverty concern? 

A. All those goods and those objects which appertain to the Community. We have no longer any right over anything that has been given to us, once it has been accepted, whether an article or money. All these donations and presents, which may have been given us out of gratitude or in any other way, belong by right to the Community. We cannot make use, without violating the vow, of any wages we may receive for work or even any annuity. 

Q. When do we break or violate the vow in a matter which entails the seventh commandment? 

A. We break or violate it when, without permission, we take for ourselves anything that belongs to the house; when, without permission, we retain something on order to appropriate it; and when, without authorization, we sell or exchange something that belongs to the Community. When we make use of an object for some other purpose than that intended by the Superior. When we give to, or accept from another, anything whatsoever without permission. When, by negligence, we destroy or damage something. When, in going from one house to another, we take something with us without permission. In a situation where the vow is broken, the religious (41 ) is bound to restitution to the Community. The Virtue of Poverty This is an evangelical virtue which impels the heart to detach itself from temporal things; the religious, in virtue of his profession is strictly obliged to it. 

Q. When do we sin against the virtue of poverty? 

A. When we desire something, contrary to this virtue. When we become attached to something, and when we make use of superfluous things. 

Q. How many degrees of poverty are there and what are they? 

A. There are, in practice, four degrees of poverty for one who is a professed religious; to dispose of nothing without the consent of the Superiors (the strict matter of the vow); to avoid superfluities and be content with necessities (this pertains to the virtue); to readily content oneself with things of inferior quality in what concerns one‟s cell, clothing, nourishment, etc., and to experience this contentment interiorly; to rejoice in extreme poverty. The Vow of Chastity 

Q. To what does this vow oblige us? 

A. To renounce marriage and to avoid everything that is forbidden by the sixth and ninth commandments. 

Q. Is a fault against the virtue a violation of the vow? 

A. Every fault against the virtue is at the same time a violation of the vow, because here there is no difference as in the case of poverty and obedience, between the vow and the virtue. (42) 50 

Q. Is every bad thought a sin? 

A No, every bad thought is not a sin; it becomes so only when the acquiescence of the will and consent are joined to the consideration of the mind. 

Q. Is there anything, over and above sins against chastity, which is detrimental to the virtue? 

A. Lack of custody of the senses, of the imagination, of the feelings; familiarity and sentimental friendships are detrimental to the virtue. 

Q. What are the means by which this virtue may be preserved? 

A. To conquer interior temptations with the thought of the presence of God, and moreover to fight without fear. And for exterior temptations, to avoid occasions. There are, in all, seven principal means: to guard the senses, to avoid occasions, to avoid idleness, to remove temptations promptly, to remove oneself from all – and especially particular friendships, the spirit of mortification, and to reveal all these temptations to one‟s confessor. Besides this, there are also five means of preserving this virtue: humility, the spirit of prayer, modesty of the eyes, fidelity to the rule, a sincere devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Vow of Obedience The vow of obedience is superior to the first two. It is, to tell the truth, a holocaust, and it is more necessary because it forms and animates the monastic body. 

Q. To what does the vow of obedience oblige us? 

A. By the vow of obedience, the religious promises to God to be obedient to his legitimate superiors in everything that they will ordain in virtue of the rule. The vow of obedience makes the religious dependent on his superior in virtue of these rules for his whole life and in all his affairs. A religious commits a grave sin against the vow every time he disobeys and order given (43) in virtue of obedience and of these rules. The virtue of obedience goes further than the vow; it embraces the rules, the regulations and even the counsels of the superiors. 

Q. Is the virtue of obedience indispensable for a religious? 

A. The virtue of obedience is so indispensable to a religious that, even if he were to perform good actions contrary to obedience, these would be evil and without merit. Q. Can we sin gravely against the virtue of obedience? A. We sin gravely when we scorn the authority or the order of the superior, or when spiritual or temporal harm to the community results from our disobedience. 

Q. What faults endanger the vow? 

A. To be prejudiced against the superior, or to harbor an antipathy for him – murmuring and criticism, tardiness and negligence. The Degrees of Obedience 51 Prompt and complete fulfillment – the obedience of the will, when the will persuades the intellect to submit to the advice of the superior. To facilitate obedience, Saint Ignatius suggests, moreover, three means: always to see God in our superior, whoever he might be; to justify in itself the order or advice of the superior; to accept each order as an order from God, without examining it or reflecting on it. General means: humility. Nothing is difficult for the humble. 

94 (44) O my Lord, inflame my heart with love for You, that my spirit may not grow weary amidst the storms, the sufferings and the trials. You see how weak I am. Love can do all. 95 + A Deeper Knowledge of God and the Terror of the Soul. In the beginning, God lets himself be known as Holiness, Justice, Goodness – that is to say, Mercy. The soul does not come to know this all at once, but piecemeal, in flashes; that is to say, when God draws near. And this does not last for long because the soul could not bear such light. During prayer the soul experiences flashes of this light which make it impossible to pray as before. Try as it may to force itself to pray as it did before, all is in vain; it becomes completely impossible for it to continue to pray as it did before it received this light. This light which has touched the soul is alive within it, and nothing can either quench or diminish it. This flash of the knowledge of God draws the soul and enkindles its love for Him. But this same flash, at the same time, allows the soul to know itself as it is; the soul sees its whole interior in a superior light, and it rises up alarmed and terrified. Still, it does not remain under the effects of terror, but it begins to purify itself, to humble and abase itself before the Lord. These lights become stronger and more frequent; the more the soul is crystallized, t5he more these lights penetrate it. However, if the soul has responded faithfully and courageously to these first graces, God fills it with His consolations and gives himself to it in a perceptible manner. At certain moments, the soul, as it were, enters into intimacy with God and greatly rejoices in this; it believes that it has already reached the degree of perfection destined for it, because its defects and faults are asleep within it, and this makes it think that they no longer exist. Nothing seems difficult for it; it is ready for everything. It begins to plunge itself into God and taste the divine delights. It is carried along by grace and does not take account of the fact that the time of trial and testing may come. And, in fact, this state does not last long. Other moments will soon come. I should add here, however, that the soul will respond more faithfully to divine grace if it has a well-informed confessor to whom it can confide everything. 96 (45) + Trials sent by God to a soul which is particularly loved by Him. Temptations and darkness; Satan. The soul‟s love [for God] is still not such as God would have it. The soul suddenly loses the tangible perception of God‟s presence. Various defects and imperfections rise up within it, and it must fight them furiously. All her faults lift up their heads, but the soul‟s vigilance is great. The former awareness of the presence of God gives place to coldness and spiritual dryness; the soul has no taste for spiritual exercises; it cannot pray, either in the old way, or in the manner in which it had just begun to pray. It struggles this way and that, but can find no satisfaction. God has hidden himself from it, and it can find no consolation in creatures, nor can any of these creatures find a way of consoling it. The soul craves passionately for God, but sees its own misery; it begins to sense God‟s 52 justice; it seems to it that it has lost all the gifts that God had given it; its mind is dimmed, and darkness fills it; unspeakable torment begins. The soul tries to explain its state to the confessor, but it is not understood and is assailed by an even greater unrest. Satan begins his work. 97 Faith staggers under the impact; the struggle is fierce. The soul tries hard to cling to God by an act of will. With God‟s permission, Satan goes even further: hope and love are put to the test. These temptations are terrible. God supports the soul in secret, so to speak. The soul is not aware of this, but otherwise it would be impossible to stand firm, and god knows very well how much He can allow to befall a soul. The soul is tempted to unbelief in respect to revealed truths and to insincerity toward the confessor. Satan says to it, “Look, no one understands you; why speak about all this?” Words that terrify it sound in its ears, and it seems to the soul that it is uttering these against God. It sees what it does not want to see. It hears what it does not want to hear. And, oh, it is a terrible thing at times like these not to have an experienced confessor! The soul carries the whole burden alone. However, one should make very effort to find, if it is all possible a well-informed confessor, for the soul can collapse under the burden and come to the very edge of the precipice. (46) All these trials are heavy and difficult. God does not send them to a soul which has not already been admitted to a deeper intimacy with Him and which has not yet tasted the divine delights. Besides, in this God has His own plans, which for us are impenetrable. God often prepares a soul in this way for His future designs and great works. He wants to try it as pure gold is tried. But this is not yet the end of the testing; there is still the trial of trials, the complete abandonment of the soul by God. + The Trial of Trials, Complete Abandonment – Despair 98 When the soul comes out victorious from the preceding trials, even though it may stumble here and there, it fights on valiantly, humbly calling upon God, “Save me, I am perishing!” And it is still able to fight on. At this point, however, the soul is engulfed in a horrible night. It sees within itself only sin. It feels terrible. It sees itself completely abandoned by God. It feels itself to be the object of His hatred. It is but one step away from despair. The soul does its best to defend itself; it tries to stir up its confidence; but prayer is an even greater torment for it, as this prayer seems to arouse God to an even greater anger. The soul finds itself poised on the summit of a lofty mountain on the very brink of a precipice. The soul is drawn to God, but feels repulsed. All other sufferings and tortures in the world are as nothing compared with this sensation into which it has been plunged; namely, that of being rejected by God. No one can bring it any relief; it finds itself completely alone; there is no one to defend it. It raises its eyes to heaven, but is convinced that this is not for her – for her all is lost. It falls deeper and deeper from darkness to darkness, and it seems to it that it has lost forever the God it used to love so dearly. This thought is torture beyond all description. But the soul does not agree to it and tries to lift its gaze toward heaven, but in vain! And this makes the torture even more intense. (47) If God wishes to keep the soul in such darkness, no one will be able to give it light. It experiences rejection by God in a vivid and terrifying manner. From its heart burst forth painful moans, so painful that no priest will comprehend it, unless he himself has been 53 through these trials. In the midst of this, the evil spirit adds to the soul‟s suffering, mocking it: “Will you persist in your faithfulness? This is your reward; you are in our power!” But Satan has only as much influence over the soul as God allows him, and God knows how much we can bear. “What have you gotten out of your mortifications,” says Satan, “and out of your fidelity to the rule? What use are all these efforts? You have been rejected by God!” This word, rejected, becomes a fire which penetrates every nerve to the marrow of the bone. It pierces right through her entire being. The ordeal reaches its climax. The soul no longer looks for help anywhere. It shrinks into itself and loses sight of everything; it is as though it has accepted the torture of being abandoned. This is a moment for which I have no words. This is the agony of the soul. 99 When for the first time this moment was drawing near, I was snatched from it by virtue of holy obedience. The Directress of Novices, alarmed by me appearance, sent me off to confession, but the confessor did not understand me, and I experienced no relief whatsoever. O Jesus, give us experienced priests! When I told this priest I was undergoing infernal tortures, he answered that he was not worried about my soul, because he saw in it a great grace of God. But I understood nothing of this, and not even the least glimmer of light broke through to my soul. 100 Then my physical strength began to fail me, and I could no longer carry out my duties. Nor could I any longer hide my sufferings. Although I did not say a word about them, the look of pain on my face betrayed me. The Superior told me that the sisters had come to her saying that, when they look at me in the chapel, they are moved to pity because I look so terrible. Yet, despite all efforts, the soul is unable to conceal such suffering.