One of the great gifts of the work of Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene in his classic “Divine Intimacy” is the many teachings and reminders on the absolute necessity of suffering and constant mortification of our senses, and in making the great teaching on the interior life by St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila understandable to the average person.
Father Gabriel gives us many key insights. I will quote or summarize some of his key thoughts on suffering:
To those who dream only of prosperity and earthly glory (most in the entertainment world, Hollywood and those involved in our secular culture) the language of the cross is incomprehensible. Those who have a purely material idea of life find it very difficult to understand anything of spiritual significance, especially that of suffering. Saint Paul said that “Christ crucified” was indeed a stumbling block and foolishness to most who are in the world. Our Lord even had to rebuke Saint Peter, who at our Lord’s first mention of His passion objected strongly that this suffering should be done to Jesus. Our Lord had to state to Peter: “Get behind me Satan because you are thinking as human beings do and not as God does.” Let us take these words into our own hearts and ponder them! How often have we ourselves thought about rejecting suffering and the lessons on fasting and mortification!
To human wisdom, suffering is so disconcerting, that it can cause one to murmur against Divine providence and even to lose all trust in God. However according to the Wisdom of God, suffering is the means of salvation and sanctification!
However, it was not until after the descent of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles fully understood the meaning of the Passion; then instead of being scandalized they considered it the greatest honor to follow and preach Christ crucified. The human mind does not have sufficient light to comprehend the value of the Cross. We must have new light, the Divine Light of the Holy Spirit, in order to understand the need to suffer and the value of the Cross. We must have the Gifts and the Virtues of the Holy Spirit! We must correspond to the Person of the Holy Spirit and the Grace He pours forth into our hearts! If we do not value suffering, it is most likely because we do not know the Holy Spirit as we should. We must ask our Mother to help us to know her Spouse by releasing the Gifts and Virtues of our Baptism and Confirmation!
The world is often astonished at the sufferings of good people and instead of encouraging them to rely on God, they often turn people away from God by urging them to defiance by encouraging fear. Our passions themselves, our innate tendencies towards pleasure, often cry out to us and try by any pretext to prevent us from following Jesus crucified. So, let us remain steadfast in our Faith and always call on the Holy Spirit for Understanding and Counsel and push forward knowing we must suffer to be like Jesus Christ; and that we must deny ourselves often in order to tame our wounded nature, which is always seeking pleasure outside of God!
God in his infinite love and mercy knows how much we do not want to hear and execute this reality of suffering and mortification. Therefore, He constantly sends us Grace with specific help in order to overcome our selfishness and reluctance to suffer. This is the great gift inherent in the Flame of Love Grace of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It is one of the great effects or results of this Grace! Our Lord purposely chose Elizabeth Kindelmann, a mother of six children, in order to demonstrate to us that even in a normal family life, filled with constant duties, all of us can learn with the help of God‘s grace to suffer, to fast, to mortify our senses and to be more like Jesus Christ.
The Flame of Grace is an extraordinary, Signal grace that is designed to disable Satan‘s influence over us, so we may finally overcome all of those bad habits and selfish tendencies, which hold us back from self giving. It is only through this type of extraordinary Grace that we have any ability of overcoming our deep-seated, selfish tendencies, especially our reluctance and unwillingness to suffer, to fast and to give of ourselves completely. But this is precisely what God is asking of us at this time in salvation history, where Satan‘s dominance is so overwhelming and so pervasive that he would take over the world if God did not intervene with such extraordinary Grace. It is up to the few, to those who know how important this extraordinary is to God’s Plan at this time in salvation history! We must beg for more of this Grace to continue and to never give up, in order to spread it to as many people as God‘s plan will allow.
Never be demoralized. Rejoice always even when rejected! Our Lady states that only a few will respond and correspond to the Grace. However, it is by the few that the victory will come! Our Mother’s beautiful, sinless Heart will triumph! We have been promised that Triumph at Fatima. There will be a new Pentecost of the Holy Spirit brought by our Mother! Therefore, pray, fast, hope and don’t worry. God will turn our suffering into our greatest joy! We simply must trust and never give up trying!
We will be ignored by many. We will be vilified by some…mistakenly…because of the addition of the prayer to the Hail Mary. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! The world treated our Lord and His Disciples the same way. Your reward will be great now and for all eternity!
Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the power of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! Fiat! Fiat! Fiat!