Liturgy of the Hours
Jane Frances de Chantal
Office of Readings
From the From The Memoirs by the secretary of St. Jane Frances de Chantal
Love is as strong as death
One day Saint Jane spoke the following eloquent words, which listeners took down exactly as spoken:
“My dear daughters, many of our holy fathers in the faith, men who were pillars of the Church, did not die martyrs. Why do you think this was?” Each one present offered an answer; then their mother continued. “Well, I myself think it was because there is another martyrdom: the martyrdom of love. Here God keeps his servants and handmaids in this present life so that they may labor for him, and he makes of them both martyrs and confessors. I know,” she added, “that the Daughters of the Visitation are meant to be martyrs of this kind, and that, by the favor of God, some of them, more fortunate than others in that their desire has been granted, will actually suffer such a martyrdom.”
One sister asked what form this martyrdom took. The saint answered: “Yield yourself fully to God, and you will find out! Divine love takes its sword to the hidden recesses of our inmost soul and divides us from ourselves. I know one person whom love cut off from all that was dearest to her, just as completely and effectively as if a tyrant’s blade had severed spirit from body.”
We realized that she was speaking of herself. When another sister asked how long the martyrdom would continue, the Saint replied: “From the moment when we commit ourselves unreservedly to God, until our last breath. I am speaking, of course, of great-souled individuals who keep nothing back for themselves, but instead are faithful in love. Our Lord does not intend this martyrdom for those who are weak in love and perseverance. Such people he lets continue on their mediocre way, so that they will not be lost to him; he never does violence to our free will.”
Finally, the saint was asked whether this martyrdom of love could be put on the same level as martyrdom of the body. She answered: “We should not worry about equality. I do think, however, that the martyrdom of love cannot be relegated to a second place, for love is as strong as death. For the martyrs of love suffer infinitely more in remaining in this life so as to serve God, than if they died a thousand times over in testimony to their faith and love and fidelity.”
FROM THE BOOK OF HEAVEN
V 6 – 11.13.04
“My daughter (Luisa), since I (Jesus) was Man and God, My Humanity could see, present, all sins, chastisements and lost souls. It would have wanted to seize all this in one single point, destroy sins and chastisements, and save souls; It would have wanted to Suffer, not one day of Passion, but all days, to be able to contain all these Pains within Itself and spare the poor creatures. But in spite of the fact that I (Jesus) would have wanted to, and could have done it – because I could have destroyed the free will of creatures and I (Jesus) would have destroyed these heaps of evils – yet, what would have happened to man without his own merits, without his own will in operating Good? What impression would he ever have made? Would he ever have been an Object worthy of My Creative Wisdom? Certainly not. Oh, would he not have been like a foreign son in someone else’s home, who, not having worked together with the other sons, has no right and no inheritance? This son is always full of blushes if he eats or drinks, because he knows that he has done not one favorable act to prove his love for that father, therefore he can never be worthy of the love of that father for him. So, the creature would never have been Worthy of Divine Love without a free will.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: “When shall it be that we shall taste the sweetness of the Divine Will in all that happens to us, considering in everything only His good pleasure, by whom it is certain that adversity is sent with as much love as prosperity, and as much for our good? When shall we cast ourselves undeservedly into the arms of our most loving Father in Heaven, leaving to Him the care of ourselves and of our affairs, and reserving only the desire of pleasing Him, and of serving Him well in all that we can?”
FROM THE BOOK OF HEAVEN
V35 – 3.30.38
“…You must know that I can repay and I know how to repay even the small sacrifices and attentions—and certainly the big ones. I count everything, and I do not leave even a breath done for Me without Reward; even more, if these sacrifices are done for one who Loves Me—for one who wants to Live in My Will—I feel as if they were done for Myself. So, in order for these sacrifices to be done in My Will, I place in them My Divine Flavor, so that they may feel the taste and the pleasure in making these sacrifices, and the need for making them—taste and pleasure in sacrifice. They are like the salt and spices for the food, like the grease for the wheels that could barely move, but once the grease has been applied, they can run. The Divine Taste empties the sacrifice, making it Light and pleasant. This is the reason why, in Our Love, We Created a Holy Passion, a taste and a pleasure that makes it impossible for Us not to Love the creature.
“…What did this necessity to Love that I felt within Me not make Me do? It made Me suffer Unheard-of Pains, feel the most humiliating Humiliations—and even Death, among atrocious spasms. But Our Passion of Love is not satisfied if We do not let the creature participate in It. Therefore, in the sacrifices that We have her make, We Create the Holy Passion, providing It with flavor and pleasure, to have her make the Most Beautiful Conquests. This Passion becomes ingenious, finding a thousand New forms, and it seems It cannot remain or Live without being Operative. If there is not a passion and taste for sacrifice—even in holy works—it seems that these works are just painted—not alive; they have a coldness and an apathy that produce more disgust than savor, and maybe more evil than Good. Therefore, My daughter, don’t be concerned for the sacrifices that others make for you. Actually, I must tell you that they do it for Me, not for you; and I will Infuse so much Grace, taste and pleasure so as to empty the sacrifice. Then, according to the love with which they will do it, I will pour Myself into them, and as they make that sacrifice wanted by Me, I will make My Life grow within them.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: “We should go to prayer with deep humility and an awareness of our nothingness. We must invoke the help of the Holy Spirit and that of our good angel, and then remain still in God’s presence, full of faith that He is more in us than we are in ourselves.”
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: “Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to him. That is all the doing you have to worry about.”
FROM THE BOOK OF HEAVEN
V2 – 2.26.99
“Contempt of yourself is praiseworthy when it is well invested with the spirit of Faith; but when it is not invested with the spirit of Faith, instead of doing you good, it can harm you. In fact, in seeing yourself as you are, unable to do anything good, you will be discouraged, disheartened, without daring to take one step on the path of good. But by leaning on Me – that is, by investing yourself with the spirit of Faith – you will come to know and despise yourself, and at the same time, to know Me, confident of being able to do anything with my help. And here is how, by acting in this way, you will walk according to the truth.”
How much good these words of Jesus have done to my soul! I understood that I must enter into my nothingness and know who I am, but I must not stop there. Rather, immediately after I have known myself, I must fly into the immense sea of God, and stop there, to draw all the graces that my soul needs; otherwise, nature becomes weary and the devil will look for means in order to cast it into discouragement. May the Lord be always blessed, and may everything be for His glory.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal: “Love! love! love! my daughters; I know nothing else.”
FROM THE BOOK OF HEAVEN
V 32 – 5.14.33
I felt all immersed in the Supreme Fiat, and repeating my round in It, as I united myself to Its Acts, so I felt Its waves of Love come, that pouring themselves over me, brought me the Love of my Creator. O! how happy I felt feeling myself Loved by God, I believe that there is no greater happiness, neither in Heaven, nor on earth, than that the creature occupies a place in the bosom of the Celestial Father, who makes His Waves of Love rise in order to Love her.
But while I felt under these waves, my sweet Jesus, visiting my little soul, all Goodness told me: “My blessed daughter, to go around in Our Acts that We have done, as much in Creation as in Redemption, for Love of the creatures, makes New Love rise from within Our Divine Being, and invests she who unites herself with Our Divine Acts. She, by uniting herself with Our Works, prepares the little place for where to receive Our waves of Love. And as she receives them, she also Loves Us with New Love, and forms her waves of Love for her Creator, in a way that she has her little place of Love in Our Divine Being, and We have Our Place in the creature.
“You must know that True Sanctity is formed by the degrees of Love with which you have been Loved by God, and this Love the creature then takes possession of when she loves. When she receives His Divine Love and she loves, God disposes Himself to Love her with even more New Love. To be Loved by God with New Love is the Greatest Act that God does toward the creature. And all the Sanctity, the Glory, is formed however many times she has been Loved by God, and however many times she has Loved Him. Therefore you must know that Our Supreme Being Loves everyone, and always in a Universal and general Way. To this is added a Special and direct Love toward the one who, loving Us, gives Us her love. So, if the creature has been Loved by God with Special Love one time, three, ten, a hundred, according to the number, she acquires so many degrees of Sanctity, and therefore of Glory.
“See, therefore, going around in My Will, uniting yourself to Its Acts, calls Us to Love you with Special and New Love, and God calls you in order to make Himself Loved with your New and Special Love, and God Himself will be your witness who will say to all, to Heaven and to earth: ‘It is true, I have Loved, but she has Loved Me.’ I can say that My Love called hers, and hers called Mine, to Love each other. Therefore one who Lives in Our Will places Our Love in safety, nor do We have the Sorrow that there can be rejection. Rather as a sign that she has received It, she responds to Us by giving Us her Love.”
St. Jane is the patron of: forgotten people, in-law problems, loss of parents, parents separated from children, and widows.
An Act of Abandonment:
(By Saint Jane Frances De Chantal.)
0 sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God!
I abandon myself forever to Thy arms.
Whether gentle or severe,
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt;
I will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass,
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me.
My soul finds no rest without the arms
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence,
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart.
Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance,
0 my Saviour,
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances,
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that;
but I will blindly follow Thee
according to Thy Divine Will,
without seeking my own inclinations.
Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee,
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms,
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire,
to will, to wish.
I offer Thee this desire, 0 my God,
beseeching Thee to bless it;
I undertake all it includes,
relying on Thy goodness,
liberality, and mercy,
with entire confidence in Thee,
distrust of myself,
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity.
FROM THE BOOK OF HEAVEN
V17 – 9.18.24
“…To Live in My Divine Will is to make My Will one’s own, as one’s own property, and to dispose of It. To do My Will is to take It into account as Will of God, not as one’s own thing; nor can one dispose of It as he wants. To Live in My Divine Will is to Live with one single Will – That of God; and since It is a Will all Holy, all Pure, all Peaceful, being one single Will that Reigns, there are no contrasts: everything is peace. Human passions tremble before this Supreme Will, and would rather escape It; nor do they dare to even move, or oppose it, in seeing that Heaven and earth tremble before this Holy Will.
Therefore, the First Step of Living in the Divine Will, which allows a creature to receive the Divine Order, is in the depth of the soul, where Grace moves her to empty herself of what is human – tendencies, passions, inclinations and other things.