holiest works for sanctification of the soul
On the Saturday before Quinquagesima Sunday (i.e. Shrove Sunday, or the Sunday before Ash Wednesday) the Saint asked our Lord to prescribe some exercise by which she might serve Him lovingly during these three days, on which men commit so many crimes and excesses.
Our Lord replied, "You could not please Me better than by suffering patiently all that grieves or tires you, whether interior or exterior, in memory of My Passion, and by doing whatever you find most difficult and you will do this most effectually by controlling and restraining your senses. Whoever acts thus in memory of My Passion may hope for a great reward from Me."
"But," continued the Saint, "I desire ardently to know from Thee, O most loving Teacher, what sufferings are most capable of appeasing the just anger which Thou feelest during these three days of excess."
Our Lord replied: "You can do nothing more acceptable to Me than to say the Pater noster three times, or the Psalm Laudate Dominum, omnes gentes; *
And at the first repetition, offer to God all the wearinesses and labours of My Heart for the salvation of men; and suffer or labour, praise or give thanks, in reparation for all the unlawful pleasures in which the human heart indulges at this time.
At the second repetition, offer to God My Father all the abstinences and mortifications of My lips, whether in eating, speaking, preaching, or praying, in satisfaction for all the sins of the tongue now committed.
At the third repetition, offer to God my Father all the actions and movements of My most holy Body, and of each member thereof, with all the bitterness of My Passion and Death, in satisfaction for all the sins which men commit now against their own salvation."
How acceptable good works are to our Lord during the three days of the Carnival; and how such works obtain merit by union with the Passion of Christ.
ON the night of Quinquagesima Sunday the Lord Jesus appeared to Gertrude, seated on a throne, and attended by St. John the Evangelist, who sat at His feet writing. As she inquired what he wrote, our Lord replied:
"I have desired him to note carefully on this paper the services which the community rendered Me yesterday, and I will also have those noted down which they will render Me on the two following days; so that when I am enthroned as Judge by My Father, I may render to each, after her death, good measure for what she has done; that the fruit of My Passion, which is the source of all the merit and excellence the actions of men can have, may render this measure pressed down; and that this parchment which I will bring to My Father may render the measure so heaped up, that it will pour forth abundantly: and this is for the services which they render Me at a time when men overwhelm Me with injuries by their debaucheries; for as I never fail in fidelity, I cannot be wanting in justice to those who serve Me. Furthermore, although King David acknowledged during his life the services which his friends had rendered to him, still he recommended Solomon to show favour after his death to the children of Berzellai the Galaadite, and to admit them to his table, because they came to meet him when he fled from Absolom. For as the services which we render in adversity are far more esteemed than those which are rendered in prosperity, so I esteem far more the services which are offered to me now, when the world offends Me so much more than at any other time."
As St. John sat and wrote, she saw him dipping his reed into the horn which he held in his hand, and then the writing appeared black; but when he dipped his reed into the loving Wound of the Side of Jesus, the writing appeared rose-coloured; in some places it was diversified with black and gold. She understood by this, that the black writing signified the works which were done by the religious through custom, such as fasting, & etc., which all religious communities commence now; that the red letters, diversified with black and gold, indicated the works which were done in memory of our Lord's Passion, to obtain grace or other similar intentions. But those works which were done purely for the glory of God, and in union with the Passion of Christ, for the salvation of all mankind, without any view of self-interest, of grace, or merit, were written in letters of pure gold; and these works would obtain the greatest reward from God, since what is done purely for the love and glory of God is of the highest merit and value, and increases beyond all measure the recompenses of eternal life.
The Saint also perceived spaces between the writing; and as she inquired what this signified, our Lord replied, "As your community is accustomed to remain with Me at this time, and to offer your petitions in honour of My Passion, I have caused each thought and word to be inscribed here; in the vacant places all that you have done in memory of My Passion, and not from mere custom, is inscribed."
"But how could all our actions be thus acceptable?" inquired Gertrude. "They would be so," replied our Lord, "if your fasts, vigils, and regular discipline were performed in memory of My Passion, and were offered to Me in union with the mortification of My senses which I practised during My Passion. For although I could have silenced My accusers by a single word, I was as a sheep led to the slaughter; I inclined My head humbly, and cast My eyes to the ground, never opening My lips before My Judge, or replying even to one of the false accusations which were brought against Me."
"Ah!" exclaimed Gertrude, "teach me, O best of teachers, how to perform even one action perfectly in memory of Thy Passion."
Our Lord replied:
"When you are praying, extend your arms to represent the manner in which I extended Mine to God My Father in My Passion and do this for the salvation of every member of the Church, in union with the love with which I stretched out My arms upon the cross."
"If I do this," she replied, "I must hide myself in a corner, for it is far from being customary."
Our Lord replied:
"If any one prays thus with his hands extended, without fear of contradiction, he pays Me the same honour as one would do who solemnly enthroned a king."
St. Gertrude also observed in these writings, that the actions of those who, for the love of God, gave good advice to others, were noted down from which we perceive the exceeding goodness of God, who not only delights in procuring our salvation, but even seeks to recompense doubly the least good that we do. Then the Saint said: "O Lord! why is it that St. John has been chosen to write these things rather than our holy Father St. Benedict, who belongs to our own Order?" Our Lord replied: "I have chosen My beloved disciple because he has written of the love of God and the neighbour, therefore is most fit for this office for I have confidence in him that he will record what is most suitable to My power and My Divinity, as well as what will be most for your advantage."
* Psalm 116
O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.
Alleluia laudate Dominum omnes gentes laudate eum omnes populi.
Quoniam confirmata est super nos misericordia eius et veritas Domini manet in saeculum.
for further reading see:
'The Life and Revelations of St. Gertrude the Great'
Reparation for Carnival or Mardi Gras
As related by Our Lord to St. Mechtilde
At the time of the Carnival Mechtilde macerated her flesh till the blood flowed, offering this slight reparation to her Well-beloved for all the excesses and wickedness of the world. And our Lord, several times, said He loved to rest on Mechtilde's heart, where He could forget the pain caused Him by other hearts.
It was the Sacred Heart just as Margaret Mary was to know it.
One day our Lord appeared to Mechtilde as though suspended, with hands and feet tied, and said to her:
"Every time a man sins mortally he ties Me thus, and as long as he perseveres in his sin he keeps Me in this torture."
He had already complained of being so ill-treated in His Church. Three things particularly grieved Him: the clergy did not study the Holy Scriptures in the right way, but made to contribute to their vanity; Religious neglected interior things and gave all their attention to things exterior; the people took no care to hear the word of God nor to receive the Sacraments of Holy Church.
Mechtilde asked our Lord to teach her how she could offer satisfaction to Him for the many members of the Church who at this time (it was Quinquagesima Sunday) showered so many insults on Him. Our Lord replied:
"Say 350 times the anthem: Tibi laus, tibi gloria, tibi gratiarum actio, O beata Trinitas! -- 'To thee be praise, to thee glory, to thee thanksgiving, O blessed Trinity,' in reparation for all the indignities offered Me by those who are My members."
for further reading see:
'The Love of the Sacred Heart: Illustrated by St. Mechtilde'