DIVINE MARTYRDOM – BECOMING A SAINT
Here is one of the most wonderful and terrifying sentences I have ever read, from William Law’s Serious Call, “If you will look into your own heart in utter honesty, you must admit that there is one and only one reason why you are not even now a saint. You do not wholly want to be.”
That insight is terrifying because it is an indictment, but it is wonderful and hopeful because it is also an offer, an open door. Each of us can become a saint. We really can. We really can. I say it three times, because I think we do not really believe that deep down. For if we did, how could we endure being anything less?
What holds us back? Fear of paying the price. What is the price? The answer is simple. T. S. Eliot gave it when he defined Christianity as “a condition of complete simplicity…costing not less than everything.” The price is everything—100 percent. Martyrdom, if required, and probably a worse martyrdom than the quick noose or stake, the martyrdom of dying daily, dying every minute for the rest of your life. Dying to all your desires and plans—including your plans about how to become a saint. (Peter Kreeft, Culture War)
FROM THE LETTERS OF THE SERVANT OF GOD, LUISA PICCARRETA
Letter #10 – “My daughter, forget about everything, and remember only that your Jesus wants love in order to give you love. If you love Me, you will form chains of love, and binding Me with them, you will hold Me tightly in your arms, and I will be your defense, your help, your company, your life.” So, make Jesus content, and do not lose simplicity; do not lose time. Each thought of yourself is a gap of love that you form; you deny Jesus an act of love, and keep Jesus sighing for your little love. Think about it, and be attentive.
Letter #99 – More so, since every time we do an act in the Divine Will, the human will goes through a martyrdom – not of blood, but of will, which never dies. And the Lord is so pleased that He places on it the seal of a divine martyrdom. So we can say to God: “I am your continuous martyr. I die not just once, but so many times for as many times I don’t do my will…” Enough for now; let us move to something else.
Letter #100 – You are right in what you say to me, and I add: what we should care about is to live dissolved in the Holy Will. In each one of our acts, also natural, done in the Divine Will, in the most tiny things, even in one breath, we can form a martyrdom, not human, but divine – more noble, more holy than the martyrdom of shedding our blood, to offer to Jesus His infinite Love, His Sanctity which has no beginning and no end.
Letter #105 – and I wish you a greater martyrdom, more noble and divine, more heroic and more accepted by God – that is, the martyrdom of the Divine Will. This martyrdom surpasses all other martyrdoms; even more, as many times as you do the Will of God instead of doing yours, so many times will you be able to say: “I am martyr for You; the martyrdom I offer You is not of blood or of flesh, but with my will united to Yours, I offer You a divine martyrdom.” Goodness of God! If only our acts enter the Divine Volition, everything is changed into divine in us, and what is human has no longer life.
Here is my wish. I could not send you a more beautiful one; more so, since the opportunities are not lacking. In all circumstances, even painful, you will have a refuge in which to take shelter. Jesus is waiting for you open arms to receive you and to help you to form in you the noble martyrdom of the Divine Will.
Letter #12 – Therefore, what I recommend to you is to correspond to such a great good. Be attentive to listening to sweet Jesus, Who speaks in your heart. He wants to make of you a saint, but wants your will in His hands in order to make of it a prodigy of sanctity.
Letter #13 – What I recommend to you is to look at the Divine Will in all things, both the favorable and the adverse – painful, sorrowful ones – and in the contrasts of life which no one lacks; rather, blessed Jesus allows them in order to form the little rocks on which to raise the building of sanctity within us, since without Cross we would lack the primary element to becoming saints… Saying, “I don’t mean to become a saint” means that you rely too much on yourself; you look at yourself instead of abandoning yourself in the arms of Jesus. Lean on Him, and you will see that all things – pains, crosses, miseries, weaknesses, the very defects, and illness – will lose their look and will all turn into messengers and bearers of sanctity. Sweet Jesus gave you everything to make of you a saint: call to religion, crosses, nourishment… And if you sin and are not holy, do you want to know the cause? Lack of union with Jesus. Union with Jesus floors all sins, love kills all passions, and abandonment in Him and trust are the nourishment in order to grow in sanctity. Here is the means to sin no more: to be united with Jesus, love Him, and always do His Will.
Don’t think about the past, this harms you a great deal; rather, even today, begin your life with Jesus and you will find out for yourself how all things change for you; you will feel like another man, born again in all that is holy.
Lastly, I tell you that if Jesus made me write as many as two times (which I do for almost no one), it is because He loves you and wants you a saint. Therefore I beg you to do the deeds. I leave you in the Divine Volition, clasped within the arms of Jesus.
Letter #15 – Now let’s come to us. You say you have many crosses. Good sign, my daughter. Crosses are divine jealousies and little coins that our Lord gives us. His jealousy is the great love He has in making of us saints; He takes everyone away from us and He Himself, God, Maker and Martyr, with little crosses and with His own hands, works our souls and makes of them His images. What love for us, as we can say, through little and large crosses, “I am similar to my dear Jesus”!
But do you want to know why you feel the weight of your miseries? Because many times you do not try to be together with Jesus and to convince yourself that He is already with you, and you do not unite the pains of Jesus with yours. Before the pains of Jesus, yours lose hardness, empty themselves of their weight, become small, and almost smile, because they love to adorn our souls with the same ornaments as those with which we see Jesus being adorned. What pleasure, what joy, to be able to say: “You have suffered for me, and I for You”! Together with Jesus, pains change their look, miseries disappear; and from pains, miseries and weaknesses the most beautiful conquests, celestial riches and the strength of God arise, and the very Angels and Saints envy our lot.
Therefore, my daughter, here is the secret to becoming a saint: be together with Jesus, never deny Him anything, and in everything you do, even in necessary things of life – in the pains you suffer, in the prayers you say, in the work, in the food, in the sleep, say to Him from the heart: “Jesus, I want to do always your Will.” In this way, you will always keep the Fiat on your lips, in your mind, and in your heart.
Letter #17 – The Lord had to prepare the material in order to make of you a saint; and He has prepared enough of it. So, all you have to say and do is this: “The Heart of Jesus wants me a saint: I must become a saint!” Have we understood each other?
Now I assure you of my prayers for your children; then the Lord will console you even more. I leave you in the Divine Volition to become a saint. Never get disturbed in anything; rather, give all to Jesus, so that He may change it into flames of love. Pray for me. With a thousand regards, I say,
most affectionately yours,
the little daughter of the Divine Will
Corato, January 5, 1935
Letter #31 – When there is prayer, the hour of the Lord will come and He will give us more than we ask for. Our part must be to remain always in our place, to always do the Divine Will, because this is the greatest of miracles, and Our Lord will provide and take care of everything; more than that we ourselves would not do. If we always do the Divine Will, our names will be written in Heaven and our salvation, our sanctity, will be secured. Jesus will be all ours; and what will He not give to us? Everything. Therefore, think about making yourself a saint, and the rest will come by itself.
Letter #52 – If you want to be a saint, search only for Jesus and take from Jesus all that He disposes – privations, lack of help, even spiritual… My daughter, until you strip yourself of everything, even of holy tastes, Jesus, the kidnapper of hearts, will not give you His divine tastes, and therefore you will be always shaken and beaten, now by one wave, now by another one…
I conclude, enclosing you in the wound of the Most Holy Heart of Jesus, so that He may bless you, console you, and hold you tightly in His arms. Pray for me…
The little daughter of the Divine Will
Letter #60 – As far as the future, don’t worry about it either, because it is not ours, but belongs to God. We must obey and make ourselves saints, not for our interest, but for the glory of God. So, banish every doubt, since doubt, fear and agitation do not come from God, but from the devil; rather, think of loving and doing the Will of God, because with doubts we displease the Lord much more than if we sinned.
Letter #61- everything is in denying nothing to the Divine Will. To deny something to It, not letting oneself be dominated by It, means to break the sanctity, to tear it to shreds, in such a way that we ourselves will not be able to make head or tail of anything, in order to really become saints.
Letter #63 – Oh, how the Divine Will wants you a saint! But It wants you to call It continuously, in order to make the day of peace arise in your soul, and make all the miseries which prevent true sanctity, magically disappear from your heart. The Divine Fiat awaits you, to say to you: “Give me life in your acts and I will make you a saint. And everything will turn into happiness.”
Letter #72 – We must be convinced that not the great things make us saints, but the little ones, which we have in our power and which serve as the nourishment of sanctity.
Letter #80 – If you want to be a saint, live always with Jesus. He takes on the commitment to make of you His faithful copy, to the extent of being able to say: “Jesus has made of me another Jesus.” These are His aims. My daughter, make Him content.
Letter #82- If you want to be a saint, live always with Jesus. He takes on the commitment to make of you His faithful copy, to the extent of being able to say: “Jesus has made of me another Jesus.” These are His aims. My daughter, make Him content.
Letter #108 – It is Jesus that wants His daughter similar to Himself; aren’t you happy? So, do not care about anything else but to live abandoned in His Arms. With this you will feel a new strength, and you will no longer feel alone; sufferings will turn for you into sanctity and into celestial joys. Dear Jesus will give you His pains as courting, strength and company.