How can anyone become a saint? St. Therese of Lisieux gives us the answer. She said, "I understood that to become a saint one had to suffer much, seek out always the most perfect thing to do, and forget self. I understood, too, that there are many degrees of perfection and each soul was free to respond to the advances of the Our Lord, to do little or much for Him, in a word, to choose among the sacrifices He was asking" (Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, p.27).
As human beings we are afraid of suffering. Fortunately, St Faustina through her writing and experience gives us the answer to this problem. She wrote, "At the beginning of my religious life, suffering and adversities frightened and disheartened me. So I prayed continuously, asking Jesus to strengthen me and to grant me the power of His Holy Spirit that I might carry out His holy will in all things, because from the beginning I have been aware of my weakness" (Diary of Saint Faustina 56). So, we need to pray and trust God that He will give us the graces necessary to carry out His will.
As St. Therese said, “Never does our suffering make Him happy, but it is necessary for us, and so He sends it to us, while, as it were, turning away His face.... I assure you that it costs Him dearly to fill us with bitterness. The good God, who so loves us, has pain enough in being obliged to leave us on earth to fulfill our time of trial, without our constantly telling Him of our discomfort; we must appear not to notice it...Far from complaining to Our Lord of the cross which He sends us, I cannot fathom the infinite love which has led Him to treat us this way...What a favor from Jesus, and how He must love us to send us so great a sorrow! Eternity will not be long enough to bless Him for it" (Saint Therese, Joy In Suffering, pg.8)
“Do not be afflicted if your heart often experiences repugnance and dislike for sacrifice. All its power rests in the will, and so these contrary feelings, far from lowering the value of the sacrifice in My eyes, will enhance it" (Jesus said to St. Faustina, Diary 1767).
Furthermore, regarding the sufferings of Saint Pio, Jesus said to him, “How many times would you have abandoned Me, my son, if I had not crucified you. Beneath the cross, one learns love, and I do not give this to everyone, but only to those souls who are dearest to Me." (Padre Pio, Secrets of a Soul, p.47)
“Pure love gives the soul strength at the moment of dying. When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. I want your last moments to be completely similar to Mine on the cross. There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them.” (Diary of Saint Faustina 324).
"From the moment I came to love suffering, it ceased to be a suffering for me. Suffering is the daily food of my soul" (Diary of Saint Faustina 276).
“Sufferings, adversities, humiliations, failures and suspicions that have come my way are splinters that keep alive the fire of my love for You, O Jesus." (Diary of Saint Faustina 57).
In addition, Jesus said to St. Faustina, 'My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone. I want to see you as a sacrifice of living love, which only then carries weight before Me... And great will be your power for whomever you intercede. Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer." Diary of Saint Faustina 57).
"I seek and desire souls like yours but they are few." (Diary 718).
I believe that for this very reason Jesus spoke these words to St. Gemma Galgani; "My child, I have need of victims, and strong victims, who by their sufferings, tribulations, and difficulties, make amends for sinners and for their ingratitude." (Saint Gemma Galgani, letters).
I pray that all of us as St. Therese of Lisieux in her childhood made the commitment to God by crying out saying: “My God I choose all!' I do not want to be a saint by halves. I'm not afraid to suffer for You. I fear only one thing: to keep my own will; so take it, for I choose all that You will!" (Saint Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul, p.27).
"This firm resolution to become a saint is extremely pleasing to Me. I bless your efforts and will give you opportunities to sanctify yourself. Be watchful that you lose no opportunity that My providence offers you for sanctification. If you do not succeed in taking advantage of an opportunity, do not lose your peace, but humble yourself profoundly before Me and, with great trust, immerse yourself completely in My mercy. In this way, you gain more than you have lost, because more favor is granted to a humble soul than the soul itself asks for..." (Diary 1361).
“The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer, the immolation of one poor little soul to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood. Jesus has for us a love so incomprehensible that He does not wish to do anything without making us His co-operators. He wills that we should have a part with Him in the salvation of souls.” (St Therese of Lisieux).
Let us take part in this great mission to suffer for souls as Jesus suffered for us, by offering everything to Jesus.
St Therese as St. Joan of Arc
St. Therese & St. Joan of Arc pray for us!
God Bless you!
Esmeralda is the author of "The Adoption Movement: Saving Souls through Jesus Christ" which involves the spiritual adoption of anyone who touches your heart. She is also a social media expert and blogger and co-owner of Dolls from Heaven, Editor in Chief of My Catholic Family Magazine.