101 Jesus, You alone know how the soul, engulfed in darkness, moans in the midst of these torments and, despite all this, thirsts for God as burning lips thirst for water. It dies and withers; it dies a death without death; that is to say, it cannot die. All its efforts come to nothing; it is under a powerful hand. (48) Now the soul comes under the power of the Just One. Al exterior temptations cease; all that surrounds it becomes silent, like a dying person who loses contact with everything around it; the person‟s entire soul is in the hand of the Just God, the Thrice-Holy God, - rejected for all eternity! This is the culminating moment, and God alone can test a soul in this way, because He alone knows that the soul can endure. When the soul has been saturated through and through by this infernal fire, it is, as it were, cast headlong into great despair. My soul experienced this moment when I was all alone in my cell. When my soul began to sink into this despair, I felt that the end was near. But I seized my little crucifix and clutched it tightly in my hand. And now I felt my body separate itself from my soul; and though I wanted to go to my Superiors, I no longer had the physical strength. I uttered my last words: “I trust in Your Mercy!” – and it seemed to me that I provoked God to an even greater anger. And now I was drowned in despair, and all that was left me was a moan of unadulterated pain which, from time to time, tore itself from my soul. The soul is in agony – and it seemed to me that I would remain in this state, because by my own strength I could not emerge from it. Every recollection of God opened up an unspeakable ocean of suffering, and yet despite this there is something within the soul which is drawn to Him, through it seems to her for this only – that she suffers more. The memory of the love with which God formerly 54 surrounded it is still another kind of suffering. His gaze pierces it, and everything within the soul is burned by this gaze. 102 After some time, one of the sisters came into the cell and found me almost dead. She was frightened and went to find the Directress of Novices who, in the name of holy obedience ordered me to get up from the ground. My strength returned immediately, and I got up, trembling. The Directress recognized immediately the state of my soul and spoke to me about the inscrutable mercy of God, saying, “Do not be distressed about anything, Sister. I command this of you in virtue of obedience.” Then she said to me, “I see now, Sister, that God is calling you to a high degree of holiness; the Lord wants to draw you very close to Himself since He has allowed these things to happen to you so soon. Be faithful to God, Sister, because this is a sign that He wants you to have a high place in heaven.” However, I did not understand anything of these words. (49) When I went into the chapel, I felt as though my soul had been set free from everything, as though I had just come forth from the hand of God. I perceived the inviolability of my soul; I felt that I was a tiny child. 103 Suddenly I saw the Lord interiorly, and He said to me, Fear not, My daughter; I am with you. In that single moment, all the darkness and torments vanished, my senses were inundated with unspeakable joy, [and] the faculties of my soul filled with light. 104 I want to add that, although my soul was already in the rays of His love, traces of my past tortures remained on my body for two days: a deathly pale face and bloodshot eyes. Jesus alone knows what I suffered. What I have written is very poor compared to the reality. I cannot put it in words; it seemed to me that I had come back from the other world. I feel an aversion for everything that is created; I snuggle to the heart of God like a baby to its mother‟s breast. I see everything differently now. I am conscious of what the Lord, by one single word, has done in my soul, and I live by it. I shudder at the recollection of this past torture. I would not have believed that one could suffer so, if I had not gone through it myself. This is a completely spiritual suffering. 105 However, in all these sufferings and struggles, I was not omitting Holy Communion. When it seemed to me that I should not communicate, I went, before Holy Communion, to the Directress and told her that I could not approach the Sacrament, because it seemed to me that I should not do so. But she would not permit me to omit Holy Communion, so I went, and I understand now that it was only obedience that saved me. The Directress herself told me later that my trials had passed quickly, “and this solely because you were obedient, Sister; and it was through the power of obedience that you struggled through this so bravely.” It is true that it was the Lord Himself who brought me out of this torment, but my fidelity to obedience did please Him. 106 Though these are frightening things, the soul should not be too fearful, because God will never test us beyond what we are able to bear. On the other hand, He may never send us such sufferings, but I write this because, if it pleases the Lord to let a soul pass (50) through such sufferings, it should not be afraid but, insofar as this depends on the soul itself, it should remain faithful to God. God will do a soul no harm, because He is Love itself, and in this unfathomable love has called it into being. However, when I was so tormented, I myself did not understand this. 55 107 O my God, I have come to know that I am not of this earth; You, O Lord, have poured this profound awareness into my soul. My communion is more with heaven than with earth, though I in no way neglect my duties. 108 During those times, I had no spiritual director; I was without any kind of guidance whatever. I begged the Lord, but He did not give me a director. Jesus Himself has been my Master from the days of my infancy up to the present moment. He accompanied me across all the deserts and through all dangers. I see clearly that God alone could have led me through such great perils unharmed, with my soul untarnished and passing victoriously through all difficulties, immense though they were. Going out [….] Later on, the Lord did give me a director. 109 After such sufferings the soul finds itself in a state of great purity of spirit and very close to God. But I should add that during these spiritual torments it is close to God, but it is blind. The soul‟s vision is plunged into darkness, and though God is nearer than ever to the soul which is suffering, the whole secret consists in the fact that it knows nothing of this. The soul in fact declares that, not only has God abandoned it, but it is the object of His hatred. How grave is the malady of the eyes of the soul which, struck by divine light, claims that there is no light, whereas, it is so intense that it blinds her. Yet despite all, I learned later that God is closer to a soul at such moments than at others, because it would not be able to endure these trials with the help of ordinary grace alone. God‟s omnipotence and an extraordinary grace must be active here, for otherwise the soul would succumb at the first blow. 110 O Divine Master, what happens in my soul is Your work alone! You, O Lord, are not afraid to place the soul on the edge of a terrible precipice where it stands, alarmed and filled with fright, and then You call it back again to Yourself. These are Your imponderable mysteries. 111 (51 ) When, in the midst of these interior torments, I tried to accuse myself in confession of the smallest trifles, the priest was surprised that I had not committed graver faults, and he said to me, “If you are as faithful as this to God during these sufferings, this in itself is evidence to me that God is sustaining you, Sister, with a special grace, and it is a good thing that you do not understand this.” It is a strange thing, nevertheless, that confessors could neither understand me nor set my mind at peace concerning these matters, until I met Father Andrasz and, later on, Father Sopocko. 112 + A few words about confession and confessors. I shall speak only of what I have experienced and gone through within my own soul. There are three things which hinder the soul from drawing profit from confession in these exceptional moments. The first thing: when the confessor has little knowledge of extraordinary ways and shows surprise if a soul discloses to him the great mysteries worked in it by God. Such surprise frightens a sensitive soul, and it notices that the confessor hesitates to give his opinion; and if it does notice this, it will not be set at peace, but will have even more doubts after confession than before, because it will sense that the confessor is trying to set it at peace while he himself is uncertain. Or else, as has happened to me, a confessor, unable to penetrate some of the soul‟s mysteries, refuses to hear the confession, showing a certain fear when the soul approaches the confessional. 56 How can a soul in this state obtain peace in the confessional when it has become so oversensitive to every word of the priest? In my opinion, at times of such special trials sent by god to a soul, the priest, if he does not understand the soul, should direct it to some other experienced and well-instructed confessor. Or else he himself should seek light in order to give the soul what it needs, instead of downrightly denying it confession. For in this way he is exposing the soul to a great danger; and more than one soul may well leave the road along which God wanted it to journey. This is a matter of great importance, for I have experienced it myself. I myself began to waver; despite special gifts from God, and even though God Himself reassured me, I have nevertheless always wanted to have the Church‟s seal as well. (52) The second thing: the confessor does not allow the soul to express itself frankly, and shows impatience. The soul then falls silent and does not say everything [it has to say] and, by this, profits nothing. It profits even less when the confessor, without really knowing the soul, proceeds to put it to the test. Instead of helping the soul, he does it harm. The soul is aware that the confessor does not know it, because he did not allow it to lay itself open fully as regards both its graces and its misery. And so the test is illadapted. I have been submitted to some tests at which I have had to laugh. I will express this better thus: The confessor is the doctor of the soul, but how can a doctor prescribe a suitable remedy if he does not know the nature of the sickness? Never will he be able to do so. For either the remedy will not produce the desired effect, or else it will be too strong and will aggravate the illness, and sometimes – God forbid – even bring about death. I am speaking from my own experience because, in certain instances, it was the Lord himself who directly sustained me. The third thing: it also happens sometimes that the confessor makes light of little things. There is nothing little in the spiritual life. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant thing will disclose a matter of great consequence and will be for the confessor a beam of light which helps him to get to know the soul. Many spiritual undertones are concealed in little things. A magnificent building will never rise if we reject the insignificant bricks. God demands great purity of certain souls, and so He gives them a deeper knowledge of their own misery. Illuminated by light from on high, the soul can better know what pleases God and what does not. Sin depends upon de degree of knowledge and light that exists within the soul. The same is true of imperfections. Although the soul knows that it is only sin in the strict sense of the term which pertains to the sacrament of penance, yet these petty things are of great importance to a soul which is tending to sanctity, and the confessor must not treat them lightly. The patience and kindness of the confessor open the way to the innermost secrets of the soul. The soul, unconsciously as it were, reveals its abysmal depth and feels stronger and more resistant; it fights with greater courage and tries to do things better because it knows it must vie an account of them.
(53) I will mention one more thing regarding the confessor. It is his duty to occasionally put to the test, to try, to exercise, to learn whether he is dealing with straw, with iron or with pure gold. Each of these three types of souls needs different kinds of training. The confessor must – and this is absolutely necessary – form a clear judgment of each soul in order to know how heavy a burden it can carry at certain times, in certain circumstances, or in particular situations. As for myself, it was only later on, after many [negative] experiences, that, when I saw that I was not understood; I no longer laid bare my soul or 57 allowed my peace to be disturbed. But this happened only when all these graces had already been submitted to the judgment of a wise, well-instructed and experienced confessor. Now I know what to go by in certain cases. 113 And again, I would like to say three words to the soul that is determined to strive for sanctity and to derive fruit; that is to say, benefit from confession. First [word] – complete sincerity and openness. Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open. An insincere, secretive soul risks great dangers in the spiritual life, and even the Lord Jesus Himself does not give Himself to such a soul on a higher level, because He knows it would derive no benefit from these special graces. Second word – humility. A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble. Pride keeps it in darkness. The soul neither knows how, nor is it willing, to probe with precision the depths of its own misery. It puts on a mask and avoids everything that might bring it recovery. Third word – obedience. A disobedient soul will win no victory, even if the Lord Jesus himself, in person, were to hear its confession. The most experienced confessor will be of no help whatsoever to such a soul. The disobedient soul exposes itself to great misfortunes; it will make no progress toward perfection, nor will it succeed in the spiritual life. God lavishes His graces most generously upon the soul, but it must be an obedient soul. 114 (54) + Oh, how pleasing are the hymns flowing from a suffering soul! All heaven delights in such a soul, especially when it is tested by God. It mournfully sings out its longing for Him. Great is its beauty, because it comes from God. The soul walks through the jungle of life, wounded by God‟s love. With one foot only it touches the ground. 115 + When a soul has come out of these tribulations, it is deeply humble. Its purity of soul is great. It knows better without need of reflecting, as it were, what it ought to do at a given moment and what to forbear. It feels the lightest touch of grace and is very faithful to God. It recognizes God from afar and continuously rejoices in Him. It discovers God very quickly in other souls and in its environment in general. The soul has been purified by God Himself. God, as Pure Spirit, introduces the soul to a life which is purely spiritual. God Himself has first prepared and purified the soul; that is, He has made it capable of close communion with Himself. The soul, in a state of loving repose, communes spiritually with the Lord. It speaks to God without the need of expressing itself through the senses. God fills it with his light. The enlightened mind sees clearly and distinguishes the various degrees of the spiritual life. It recognizes [that state] when its union with God was imperfect: where the senses were involved, and the spirit was linked with the senses in a manner – exalted and special, to be sure – but not yet perfect. There is a higher and more perfect union with God; namely, intellectual union. Here, the soul is safer from illusions; its spirituality is purer and more profound. In a life where the senses are involved, there is more danger of illusion. Both for the soul and for its confessor, prudence must play a greater part. There are moments when God introduces the soul to a purely spiritual state. The senses dim and are seemingly dead. The soul is most closely united to God; it is immersed in the 58 Deity; its knowledge is complete and perfect, not sporadic as before, but total and absolute. It rejoices in this. But I want to say more about those moments of trial; at those times the confessor must have patience with such a soul. But the soul must have even greater patience with itself. 116 (55) My Jesus, You know what my soul goes through at the recollection of these sufferings. I have often marveled that the angels and saints hold their peace at the sight of a soul suffering like that. Yet they have special love for us at such moments. My soul has often cried out after God, as a little child who cries as loudly as he can when his mother covers her face and he cannot recognize her. O my Jesus, honor and glory to You for these trials of love! Great and incomprehensible is your mercy. All that You intended for my soul, O Lord, is steeped in Your mercy. 117 I will mention here that those who live with such a person should not add external sufferings; for indeed, when the soul‟s cup is full, the little drop we may add to it may be the one drop too much, and the cup of bitterness will overflow. And who will answer for such a soul? Let us beware of adding to the suffering of others, because that is displeasing to the Lord. If the sisters of the superiors knew or even suspected that a soul was suffering such trials, and they nevertheless added still other sufferings, they would be sinning gravely, and God Himself would demand an account of them on behalf of such a soul. I am not speaking here of instances which of their very nature are sinful, but of things which in other circumstances would not be sinful. Let us be on our guard against having the weight of such a soul on our conscience. This is a grave and common defect in religious life; namely, that when one sees a suffering soul, one always want to add even more suffering. I do not say that everyone acts like this, but there are some. We take the liberty of passing all sorts of judgments, and we repeat them when we would do better to remain silent. 118 The tongue is a small member, but it does big things. A religious who does not keep silence will never attain holiness; that is, she will never become a saint. Let he not delude herself – unless it is the Spirit of God who is speaking through her, for then she must not keep silent. But, in order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one‟s soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence, but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in god. One can speak a great deal without breaking silence and, on the contrary, one can speak little and be constantly breaking silence. Oh, what irreparable damage is done by the breach (56) of silence! We cause a lot of harm to our neighbor, but even more to our own selves. In my opinion, and according to my experience, the rule concerning silence should stand in the very first place. God does not give Himself to a chattering soul which, like a drone in a beehive, buzzes around but gathers no honey. A talkative soul is empty inside. It lacks both the essential virtues and intimacy with God. A deeper interior life, one of gentle peace and of that silence where the Lord dwells, is quite out of the question. A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others. I have seen many souls in the depths of hell for not having kept their silence; they told me so themselves when I asked them what was the cause of their undoing. These were souls of religious. My God, what an agony it is to think that not only might they have been in heaven, but they might even have become saints! O Jesus, have mercy! 59 119 I tremble to think that I have to give an account of my tongue. There is life, but there is also death in the tongue. Sometimes we kill with the tongue: we commit real murders. And we are still to regard that as a small thing? I truly do not understand such consciences. I have known a person who, when she learned from someone that a certain thing was being said about her, fell seriously ill. She lost a good deal of blood and she many tears, and the outcome was very sad. It was not the sword that did all this, but the tongue. O my silent Jesus, have mercy on us! 120 I have wandered onto the subject of silence. But this is not what I wanted to speak about, but rather about the soul‟s life with God and about its response to grace. When a soul has been cleansed, and the Lord is on intimate terms with it, it begins to apply all its inner force in striving after God. Yet the soul cannot do anything of itself. God alone arranges everything. The soul knows this and is mindful of it. It is still in exile and understands well that there may yet come cloudy and rainy days, but it must now look upon things differently from what it had up to now. It does not seek reassurance in a false peace, but makes ready for battle. It knows it comes from a warrior race. It is now much more aware of everything. It knows that it is of royal stock. It is concerned with all that is great and holy. 121 (57) + There is a series of graces which God pours into the soul after these trials by fire. The soul enjoys intimate union with God. It has many visions, both corporeal and intellectual. It hears many supernatural words, and sometimes distinct orders. But despite these graces, it is not self-sufficient. In fact, it is even less so as a result of God‟s graces, because it is now open to many dangers and can easily fall prey to illusions. It ought to ask God for a spiritual director; but not only must it pray for one, it must also make every effort to find a leader who is an expert in these things, just as a military leader must know the ways along which he will lead [his followers] into battle. A soul that is united with God must be prepared for great and hard-fought battles. + After these purifications and tears, God abides in the soul in a special way, but the soul does not always cooperate with these graces. Not that the soul itself is not willing to work, but it encounters so many interior and exterior difficulties that it really takes a miracle to sustain the soul on these summits. In this, it absolutely needs a director. People have often sown doubt in my soul, and I myself have sometimes become frightened at the thought that I was, after all, an ignorant person and did not have knowledge of many things, above all, spiritual things. But when my doubts increased, I sought light from my confessor or my superiors. Yet I did not obtain what I desired. 122 When I opened myself up to my superiors, one of them [probably Mother Michael or Mother Mary Joseph] understood my soul and the road God intended for me. When I followed her advice, I made quick progress towards perfection. But this did not last long. When I opened up my soul still more deeply, I did not obtain what I desired; it seemed to my superior that these graces [of which I was the object] were unlikely, and so I could not draw any further help from her. She told me it was impossible that God should commune with His creatures in such a way: “I fear for you, Sister; isn‟t this an illusion of some sort! (58) You‟d better go, Sister, and talk about these matters with your superiors.” And so I would go from the superiors to the confessor and from the confessor to the superiors, and I found no peace. These divine graces became a great suffering for me. And more than once I said to the Lord directly, “Jesus, I am afraid of You; could You not be some kind of a ghost?” Jesus always reassured me, but I still continued to be incredulous. It is a 60 strange thing however: the more I became incredulous, the more Jesus gave me proofs that these things came from Him. 123 + When I saw that my mind was not being set at rest by my superiors, I decided to say nothing [to them] of these purely interior matters. Exteriorly I tried, as a good nun should, to tell everything to my superiors, but as for the needs of my soul, I spoke about these only in the confessional. For many very good reasons, I learned that a woman is not called to discern such mysteries. I laid myself open to much unnecessary suffering. For quite a long time I was regarded as one possessed by the evil spirit, and I was looked upon with pity, and the superior took certain precautionary actions in my respect. It reached my ears that the sisters also regarded me as such. And the sky grew dark around me. I began to shun these divine graces, but it was beyond my power to do so. Suddenly, I would be enveloped in such recollection that, against my will, I was immersed in God, and the Lord kept me completely dependent upon Himself. 124 In the initial moments, my soul is always a little frightened; but later, it is filled with a strange peace and strength. 125 + All these things could still be endured. But when the Lord demanded that I should paint that picture, they began to speak openly about me and to regard me as a hysteric and a fantasist, and the rumors began to grow louder. One of the sisters came to talk to me in private. She began by pitying me and said, “I‟ve heard them say that you are a fantasist, Sister, and that you‟ve been having visions. My poor Sister, defend yourself in this matter.” (59) She was a sincerely soul, and she told me sincerely what she had heard. But I had to listen to such things every day. God only knows how tiring it was. 126 Yet, I resolved to bear everything in silence and to give no explanations when I was questioned. Some were irritated by my silence, especially those who were more curious. Others, who reflected more deeply, said, “Sister Faustina must be very close to God if she has the strength to bear so much suffering.” It was as if I were facing two groups of judges. I strove after interior and exterior silence. I said nothing about myself, even though I was questioned directly by some sisters. My lips were sealed. I suffered like a dove, without complaint. But some sisters seemed to find pleasure in vexing me in whatever way they could. My patience irritated them. But God gave me so much inner strength that I endured it calmly. 127 + I learned that I would have help from no one at such moments, and I started to pray and beg the Lord for a confessor. My only desire was that some priest would say this one word to me, “Be at peace, you are on the right road,” or “Reject all this for it does not come from God.” But I could not find such a priest who was sufficiently sure of himself to give me a definite opinion in the name of the Lord. And so the uncertainty continued. O Jesus, if it is Your will that I live in such uncertainty, may your Name be blessed! I beg You, Lord, direct my soul yourself and be with me, for of myself I am nothing. 128 Thus I have already been judged from all sides. There is no longer anything in me that has escaped the sisters‟ judgment. But it seems now to have worn itself out, and they have begun to leave me in peace. My tormented soul has had some rest, and I have learned that the Lord has been closest to me in times of such persecutions. This [truce] lasted for only a short time. A violent storm broke out again. And now the old suspicions became, for them, as if true facts, and once again I had to listen to the same old songs. 61 The Lord would have it that way. But then, strangely enough, even exteriorly I began to experience (60) various failures. This brought down on me many sufferings of all sorts, known to God alone. But I tried as best I could to do everything with the purest of intentions. I could now see that everywhere I was being watched like a thief: in the chapel; while I was carrying out my duties; in my cell. 40 I was now aware that, besides the presence of God, I had always close to me a human presence as well. And I must say that, more than once, this human presence bothered me greatly. There were times when I wondered whether I should undress to wash myself or not. Indeed, even that poor bed of mine was checked many times.41 More than once I was seized with laughter when I learned they would not even leave my bed alone. One of the sisters herself told me that she came to observe me in my cell every evening to see how I behave in it. Still, superiors are always superiors. And although they humiliated me personally and, on occasions, filled me with all kinds of doubts, they always allowed me to do what the Lord demanded. Though not in the way I asked, but in some other way, they fulfilled the Lord‟s demands and gave me permission for all the rigors and mortifications [He asked of me]. One day, one of the Mothers [probably Mother Jane] poured out so much of her anger on me and humiliated me so much that I thought I would not be able to endure it. She said to me, “You queer, hysterical visionary, get out of this room; go on with you, Sister!” She continued to pour out upon my head everything she could think of. When I got to my cell, I fell on my face before the cross, and then looked at Jesus; but I could no longer say a single word. Yet I concealed everything from the others and pretended that nothing had happened between us. 129 Satan always takes advantage of such moments; thoughts of discouragement began to rise to the surface – for your faithfulness and sincerity – this is your reward. How can one be sincere when one is so misunderstood? Jesus, Jesus, I cannot go on any longer. Again I fell to the ground under this weight, and broke out in a sweat, and fear began to overcome me. I had no one to lean on interiorly. Suddenly I heard a voice within my soul, Do not fear; I am with you. And an unusual light illumined my mind, and I understood that I should not give in to such sorrows. I was filled with a certain strength and left my cell with new courage to suffer. 130 (61 ) Nevertheless, I began to grow a bit negligent. I did not pay attention to these interior inspirations and tried to distract myself. But despite the noise and the distraction, I could see what was going on in my soul. The word of god is clear, and nothing can stifle it. I began to avoid encounters with the Lord in my soul because I did not want to fall prey to illusions. However, in a sense, the Lord kept pursuing me with His gifts; and truly I experienced, alternately, torture and joy. I make no mention here of the various visions and graces God granted me during this time, because I‟ve written this down elsewhere. 42 131 But I will simply mention here that these various sufferings had come to a peak, and I resolved to put an end to these doubts of mine before my perpetual vows. Throughout my probation, I prayed for light for the priest to whom I was to open up my soul to its depths. I asked God that He Himself would help me and grant me the grace to be able to express even the most secret things that exist between me and Him and to be so disposed that, whatever the priest would decide, I would accept as coming from Jesus 62 Himself. No matter what judgment he would pass on me, all I wanted was the truth and a decisive answer to certain questions. I put myself completely in god‟s hands, and [all] my soul desired was the truth. I could not go on living in doubt any longer although, in the depths of my soul, I was so very sure that these things came from God, that I would lay down my life for this. However, I placed the confessor‟s opinion above all, and I made up my mind to do as he thought best and to act according to the advice that he would give me. I looked forward to that moment which would decide the course of my actions for the rest of my life. I knew that everything would depend on this. It mattered little whether what he would say to me would be in accord with my inspirations or quite the contrary; this no longer mattered to me. I wanted to know the truth and follow it. Jesus, You can help me! From this moment, I have begun anew. I conceal all the graces within my soul and await whosoever the Lord will send me. With no doubt in my heart, I asked the Lord himself to deign to help me during these moments, and a courage of sorts entered my soul. 132 (62) I must again mention that there are some confessors who seem to be true spiritual fathers, but only as long as things go well. When the soul finds itself in greater need, they become perplexed, and either cannot or will not understand the soul. They try to get rid of the person as soon as possible. But if the soul is humble, it will always profit in some little way or other. God Himself will sometimes cast a shaft of light into the depths of the soul, because of its humility and faith. The confessor will sometimes say something he had never intended to say, without even realizing it himself. Oh, let the soul believe that such words are the words of the Lord Himself! Though indeed we ought to believe that every word spoken in the confessional is God‟s, what I have referred to above is something that comes directly from God. And the soul perceives that the priest is not master of himself, that he is saying things that he would rather not say. This is how God rewards faith. I have experienced this many times myself. A certain very learned and respected priest [probably Father Wilkowski, the sisters‟ confessor at Plock], to whom I sometimes happened to go to confession, was always severe and opposed to these matters [which I brought up to him]. But on one occasion he replied to me, “Bear in mind, Sister, that if God is asking this of you, you should not oppose Him. God sometimes wants to be praised in just this way. Be at peace; what God has started, He will finish. But I say this to you: faithfulness to God and humility. And once again: humility. Bear well in mind what I have told you today.” I was delighted, and I thought that perhaps this priest had understood me. But it so turned out that I never went to confession to him again. 133 + Once, one of the older Mothers [probably Mother Jane43] summoned me, and it was as if fiery bolts from the blue were coming down upon me head, so much so that I could not even discover what it was all about. But after a while I understood that it was about a matter over which I had no control whatsoever. She said to me, “Get it out of your head, Sister, that the Lord Jesus might be communing in such an intimate way with such a miserable bundle of imperfections as you! Bear in mind that it is only with holy souls that the Lord Jesus communes in this way!” I acknowledged that she was right, because I am indeed a wretched person, but still I trust in God‟s mercy. When I met the Lord I humbled myself and said, “Jesus, it seems that You do not associate intimately with such wretched people as I.” Be at peace, My daughter, it is precisely through such misery that I 63 want to show the power of My mercy. I understood that this Mother had merely wanted to subject me to a [salutary] humiliation. 134 (63) + O my Jesus, You have tested me so many times in this short life of mine! I have come to understand so many things, and even such that now amaze me. Oh, how good it is to abandon oneself totally to God and to give Him full freedom to act in one‟s soul! 135 During the third probation, the Lord gave me to understand that I should offer myself to him so that He could do with me as He pleased. I was to remain standing before Him as a victim offering. At first, I was quite frightened, as I felt myself to be so utterly miserable and knew very well that this was the case. I answered the Lord once again, “I am misery itself; how can I be a hostage [for others]?” You do not understand this today. Tomorrow, during your adoration, I will make it known to you. My heart trembled, as did my soul, so deeply did these words sink into my soul. The word of God is living. When I came to the adoration, I felt within my soul that I had entered the Temple of the living God, whose majesty is great and incomprehensible. And he made known to me what even the purest spirits are in His sight. Although I saw nothing externally, God‟s presence pervaded me. At that very moment, my intellect was strangely illumined. A vision passed before the eyes of my soul; it was like the vision Jesus had in the Garden of Olives. First, the physical sufferings and all the circumstances that would increase them; [then] the full scope of the spiritual sufferings and those that no one would know about. Everything entered into the vision: false suspicions, loss of good name. I‟ve summarized it here, but this knowledge was already so clear that what I went through later on was in no way different from what I had known at that moment. My name is to be: “sacrifice.” When the vision ended, a cold sw3eat bathed my forehead. Jesus made it known to me that, even if I did not give my consent to this, I could still be saved; and He would not lessen His graces, but would still continue to have the same intimate relationship with me, so that even if I did not consent to make this sacrifice, God‟s generosity would not lessen thereby. 136 And the Lord gave me to know that the whole mystery depended on me, on my free consent to the sacrifice given with full use of my faculties. In this free and conscious act lies the whole power and value before His Majesty. Even if none of these things for which I offered myself would ever happen to me, before the Lord everything was as though it had already been (64) consummated. At that moment, I realized I was entering into communion with the incomprehensible Majesty. I felt that God was waiting for my word, for my consent. Then my spirit immersed itself in the Lord, and I said, “Do with me as You please. I subject myself to Your will. As of today, Your holy will shall be my nourishment, and I will be faithful to Your commands with the help of Your grace. Do with me as You please. I beg You, O Lord, be with me at every moment of my life.” 137 Suddenly, when I had consented to the sacrifice with all my heart and all my will, God‟s presence pervaded me. My soul became immersed in God and was inundated with such happiness that I cannot put in writing even the smallest part of it. I felt that His Majesty was enveloping me. I was extraordinarily fused with God. I saw that God was well pleased with me and, reciprocally, my spirit drowned itself in Him. Aware of this union 64 with God, I felt I was especially loved and, in turn, I loved with all my soul. A great mystery took place during that adoration, a mystery between the Lord and myself. It seemed to me that I would die of love [at the sight of] His glance. I spoke much with the Lord, without uttering a single word. And the Lord said to me, You are the delight of My Heart; from today on, every one of your acts, even the very smallest, will be a delight to My eyes, whatever you do. At that moment I felt transconsecrated. My earthly body was the same, but my soul was different; God was now living in it with the totality of His delight. This is not a feeling, but a conscious reality that nothing can obscure. 138 A great mystery has been accomplished between God and me. Courage and strength have remained in my soul. When the time of adoration came to an end, I came out and calmly faced everything I had feared so much before. When I came out into the corridor, a great suffering and humiliation, at the hands of a certain person, was awaiting me. I accepted it with submission to a higher will and snuggled closely to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, letting Him know that I was ready for that for which I had offered myself. Suffering seemed to spring out of the ground. Even Mother Margaret herself was surprised. For others, many things passed unnoticed, for indeed it wasn‟t worth paying any attention to them; but in my case, nothing passed unnoticed; each word was analyzed, each step watched. One sister said to me, “Get ready, (65) Sister, to receive a small cross, at the hands of Mother Superior. I feel sorry for you.” But as for me, I rejoiced at this in the depths of my soul and had been ready for it for a long time. When she saw my courage, she was surprised. I see now that a soul cannot do much of itself, but with God it can do all things. Behold what God‟s grace can do. Few are the souls that are always watchful for divine graces, and even fewer of such souls who follow those inspirations faithfully. 139 Still, a soul which is faithful to God cannot confirm its own inspirations; it must submit them to the control of a very wise and learned priest; and until it is quite certain, it should remain distrustful. It should not, on its own initiative alone, put its trust in these inspirations and all other higher graces, because it can thus expose itself to great losses. Even though a soul may immediately distinguish between false inspirations and those of God, it should nevertheless be careful, because many things are uncertain. God is pleased and rejoices when a soul distrusts Him for His own sake; because it loves Him, it is prudent and itself asks and searches for help to make certain that it is really God who is acting within it. And once a well-instructed confessor has confirmed this, the soul should be at peace and give itself up to God, according to His directions; that is, according to the directions of the confessor. 140 Pure love is capable of great deeds, and it is not broken by difficulty or adversity. As it remains strong in the midst of great difficulties, so too it perseveres in the toilsome and drab life of each day. It knows that only one thing is needed to please God: to do even the smallest things out of great love – love, and always love. Pure love never errs. Its light is strangely plentiful. It will not do anything that might displease God. It is ingenious at doing what is more pleasing to God, and no one will equal it. It is happy when it can empty itself and burn like a pure offering. The more it 65 gives of itself, the happier it is. But also, no one can sense dangers from afar as can love; it knows how to unmask and also knows with whom it has to deal. 141 (66) + But my torments are coming to an end. The Lord is giving me the promised help. I can see it in two priests; namely, Father Andrasz and Father Sopocko. During the retreat before my perpetual voews, 44 I was set completely at peace for the first time [by Father Andrasz45], and afterwards I was led in the same direction by Father Sopocko. This was the fulfillment of the Lord‟s promise. 142 When I was set at peace and taught how to follow God‟s paths, my spirit rejoiced in the lord, and it seemed to me that I was running, not walking. My wings were spread for flight; I soared into the very heat of the sun, and I will not descend until I rest in Him, in whom my soul has lost itself forever. And I subjected myself totally to the action of grace. God stoops very low to my soul. I do not draw back, nor do I resist Him, but I lose myself in Him as my only treasure. I am one with the Lord. It is as if the gulf between us, Creator and creature, disappears. For a few days, my soul was in a state of continuous ecstasy. God‟s presence did not leave me for a single moment. And my soul remained in a continuous loving union with the Lord. But this in no way interfered with the performance of my duties. I felt I was transformed into love; I was all afire, but without being burned up, I lost myself in God unceasingly; God drew me to Himself so strongly and powerfully that sometimes I was not aware of being on earth. I had impeded and feared God‟s grace for so long, and now God Himself, through Father Andrasz, has removed all difficulties. My spirit has been turned towards the Sun and has blossomed in His rays for Him alone; I understand no more….. [The sentence breaks off here and begins a completely new thought in the next line.] 143 + I have wasted many of God‟s graces because I was always afraid of being deluded. God drew me to Himself so powerfully that often it was not in my power to resist His grace when I was suddenly immersed in Him. At these moments, Jesus filled me with such great peace that, later on, even when I tried to become uneasy, I could not do so. And the, I heard these words in my soul: In order that you may be assured that it is I who am demanding all these things of you, I will give you such profound peace (67) that even if you wanted to feel troubled and frightened, it would not be in your power to do so today, but love will flood your soul to the point of self-oblivion. 144 Later Jesus gave me another priest [Father Sopocko], before whom He ordered me to reveal my soul. At first I did so with a bit of hesitation, but a severe reprimand from Jesus brought about a deep humility within my soul. Under his direction, my soul made quick progress in the love of God, and many wishes of the Lord were carried out externally. 46 Many a time have I been astounded at his courage and his profound humility. 145 Oh, how wretched my soul is for having wasted so many graces! I was running away from God, and he pursued me with His graces. I most often experienced God‟s graces when I least expected them. From the moment He gave me a spiritual director, I have been more faithful to grace. Thanks to the director and his watchfulness over my soul, I have learned what guidance means and how Jesus looks at it. Jesus warned me of the least fault and stressed that He Himself judges the matter that I present to my confessor; and [He told me] that…. any transgressions against the confessor touch Me Myself. 66 When, under his direction, my soul began to experience deep recollection and peace, I often heard these words in my soul: Strengthen yourself for combat – repeated over and over at various times. + Jesus often makes known to me what He does not like in my soul, and He has more than once rebuked me for what seemed to be trifles, but which were, in fact, things of great importance. He has warned me and tried me like a Master. For many years, He Himself educated me, until the moment when He gave me a spiritual director. Previously, He Himself had made clear to me what I did not understand; but now, He tells me to ask my confessor about everything and often says, I will answer you through his mouth. Be at peace. (68) It has never happened to me that I have received an answer which was contrary to what the Lord wanted of me, when I presented it to the spiritual director [Father Sopocko]. It sometimes happens that Jesus first asks certain things of me, about which no one knows anything, and then, when I kneel at the confessional, my confessor gives me the same order – however, this is infrequent. + When, over a long period of time, a soul has received much light and many inspirations, and when the confessors have confirmed the source of these inspirations and set the soul at peace; if its love is great, Jesus now makes it known that it is time to put into action what it has received. The soul recognizes that God is counting on it, and this knowledge fortifies it. It knows that to be faithful it will often have to face various difficulties, but it trusts in God and, thanks to this trust, it reaches that point to which God is calling it. Difficulties do not terrify it; they are its daily bread, as it were. They do not frighten or terrify the soul, just as a warrior who is constantly in battle is not terrified by the roar of the cannon. Far from being frightened, it listens to determine from which side the enemy is launching his attack, in order to defeat him. It does nothing blindly, but examines and ponders everything deeply and, not counting on itself, it prays fervently and asks advice of other warriors who are experienced and wise. When the soul acts in this way, it nearly always wins. These are attacks when a soul has no time to think or seek advice; then it must enter into a life-or-death struggle. Sometimes it is good to flee for cover in the wound of the Heart of Jesus, without answering a single word. By this very act the enemy is already defeated. In time of peace, as well, the soul continues making efforts, just as in time of battle. It must exercise itself, and do so with energy; otherwise it has no chance of attaining victory. I regard the time of peace as a time of preparation for victory. The soul must be ever watchful; watchfulness and again, watchfulness. The soul that reflects receives much light. A distracted soul runs the risk of a fall, and let it not be surprised when it does fall. O Spirit of God, Director of the soul, wise is he whom You have trained! But for the Spirit of God to act in the soul, peace and recollection are needed. 146 (69) Prayer. – A soul arms itself by prayer for all kinds of combat. In whatever state the soul may be, it ought to pray. A soul which is pure and beautiful must pray, or else it will lose its beauty; a soul which is striving after this purity must pray, or else it will never attain it; a soul which is newly converted must pray, or else it will fall again; a sinful soul, plunged in sins, must pray so that it might rise again. There is no soul which is not bound to pray, for every single grace comes to the soul through prayer. 67 147 I recall that I have received most light during adoration which I made lying prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament for half an hour every day throughout Lent. During that time I came to know myself and god more profoundly. And yet, even though I had the superiors‟ permission to do so, I encountered many obstacles to praying in such a way. Let the soul be aware that, in order to pray and persevere in prayer, one must arm oneself with patience and cope bravely with exterior and interior difficulties. The interior difficulties are discouragement, dryness, heaviness of spirit and temptations. The exterior difficulties are human respect and time; one must observe the time set apart for prayer. This has been my personal experience because, when I did not pray at the time assigned for prayer, later on I could not do it because of my duties; or if I did manage to do so, this was only with great difficulty, because my thoughts kept wandering off to my duties. I also experienced this difficulty: when a soul has prayed well and left prayer in a state of profound interior recollection, others resist its recollection; and so, the soul must be patient to persevere in prayer. It often happened to me that when my soul was more deeply immersed in God, and I had derived greater fruit from prayer, and God‟s presence accompanied me during the day, and at work there was more recollection and greater precision and effort at my duty, this was precisely when I received the most rebukes for being negligent in my duty and indifferent to everything; because less recollected souls want others to be like them, for they are a constant [source of] remorse to them. 148 (70) + A noble and delicate soul, even the most simple, but one of delicate sensibilities, sees God in everything, finds Him everywhere, and knows how to find Him in even the most hidden things. It finds all things important, it highly appreciates all things, it thanks God for all things, it draws profit for the soul from all things, and it gives all glory to God. It places its trust in God and is not confused when the time of ordeals comes. It knows that God is always the best of Fathers and makes little of human opinion. It follows faithfully the faintest breath of the Holy Spirit; it rejoices in this Spiritual Guest and Holds onto Him like a child to its mother. Where other souls come to a standstill and fear, this soul passes on without fear or difficulty. 149 When the Lord himself wants to be close to a soul and to lead it, He will remove everything that is external. When I fell ill and was taken to the infirmary, I suffered much unpleasantness because of this. There were two of us sick in the infirmary. Sisters would come to see Sister N., but no one came to visit me. It is true that there was only one infirmary, but each one had her own cell. The winter nights were long, and Sister N. had the light and the radio headphones, while I could not even prepare my meditation for lack of a light. When nearly two weeks had passed in this way, I complained to the Lord one evening that I was suffering so much and that I could not even prepare my meditation because there was no light. And the Lord said that He would come every evening and give me the points for the next day‟s meditation. These points always concerned His sorrowful Passion. He would say, Consider My sufferings before Pilate. And thus, point by point, I meditated upon His sorrowful Passion for one week. From that moment, a great joy entered my soul, and I no longer wanted either the visitors or the light; Jesus sufficed me for everything. The superiors were indeed very solicitous for the sick, but the Lord ordained that I should feel forsaken. This best of masters withdraws every created thing in order that He Himself might act. Many a time, I have experienced such sufferings and persecutions that Mother M. [probably Mother Margaret] herself said to me, “Sister, along 68 your path, sufferings just spring up out of the ground, I look upon you, (71 ) Sister, as one crucified. But I can see that Jesus has a hand in this. Be faithful to the Lord.” 150 + I want to write down a dream that I had about Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I was still a novice at the time and was going through some difficulties which I did not know how to overcome. They were interior difficulties connected with exterior ones. I made novenas to various saints, but the situation grew more and more difficult. The sufferings it caused me were so great that I did not know how to go on living, but suddenly the thought occurred to me that I should pray to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus. I started a novena to this Saint, because before entering the convent I had had a great devotion to her. Lately, I had somewhat neglected this devotion, but in my need I began again to pray with great fervor. On the fifth day of the novena, I dreamed of Saint Therese, but it was as if she were still living on earth. She hid from me the fact that she was a saint and began to comfort me, saying that I should not be worried about this matter, but should trust more in God. She said, “I suffered greatly, too, but I did not quite believe her and said, “It seems to me that you have not suffered at all.” But Saint Therese answered me in a convincing manner that she had suffered very much indeed and said to me, “Sister, know that in three days the difficulty will come to a happy conclusion.” When I was not very willing to believe her, she revealed to me that she was a saint. At that moment, a great joy filled my soul, and I said to her, “You are a saint?” “Yes,” she answered, “I am a saint. Trust that this matter will be resolved in three days.” And I said, “Dear sweet Therese, tell me, shall I go to heaven?” And she answered, “Yes, you will go to heaven, Sister.” “And will I be a saint?” “But, little Therese, shall I be a saint as you are, raised to the altar?” And she answered, “Yes, you will be a saint just as I am, but you must trust in the Lord Jesus.” I then asked her if my mother and father would go to heaven, will [unfinished sentence] (72) And she replied that they would. I further asked, “And will my brothers and sisters go to haven?” She told me to pray hard for them, but gave me no definite answer. I understood that they were in need of much prayer. This was a dream. And as the proverb goes, dreams are phantoms; God is faith. Nevertheless, three days later the difficulty was solved very easily, just as she had said. And everything in this affair turned out exactly as she said it would. It was a dream, but it had its significance.