Posted by: liturgicalyear | October 17, 2013

Keeping Jesus Company While We Sleep

Over twenty years ago I read a book that belonged to my grandmother. It left quite an impression on me.  The Way of Divine Love contains the diary of Sr. Josefa Menendez, a Spanish mystic and nun who died at the age of 33 in 1923 at the Convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Poitiers, France.

A simple, humble instrument, she spread the message of Jesus’ love and mercy upon all sinners, falling somewhere between the Sacred Heart as promulgated by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (whose feast we celebrated yesterday) and St. Faustina’s message of Divine Mercy.  (We celebrated her feast on October 5.)

One thing I remember very distinctly about The Way of Divine Love was Jesus’ revelation to Sr. Josefa regarding his Passion.

As I desire to spend more time meditating on the Passion, I brought The Way of Divine Love with me the other day when I went to the adoration chapel to pray.  In reading about and pondering on His passion, the passage below captured my attention.  I found it reassuring and compelling and, also, rather interesting.  I think you will too, so I pass it along.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!  Anne

After a long silence, Jesus finally said, “Go now Josefa, take My Cross and do not leave Me alone this night, but keep Me company in My prison.”

“How shall I manage, Lord?” she asked diffidently. “I am afraid of falling asleep and of not being able to think of Thee any more.”

With divine condescension Jesus replied:

“Yes, Josefa, you must sleep and you can do so without leaving Me alone. When souls are unable to remain long hours in my presence as they would like to, either because they must take their rest or go to preoccupying work which takes up all their attention, there is nothing to prevent their making a convention with Me, for when love is ingenious it can prove its worth in this way even more than by the ardour of its devotion when free and tranquil.

“So go to rest as you must, but before doing so, lay on the powers of your soul the obligation of rendering Me all night the worship of your love.  Set the tenderest affections of your heart free, that through the slumber of your senses, they may not cease to remain in presence of the only object of your love.  One instant is enough to say to Me: “Lord, I am going to sleep or to work, but my soul will keep Thee company. Its activity alone will rest tonight, or is engaged in this work, but all my powers will still belong to Thee and my heart keep for Thee its tenderest and most constant affection.”

“Go in peace, Josefa, and may your heart remain attached to Mine.”

This direction carefully preserved by Josefa, was to be one of her great comforts during her last months here below. Her wording is perhaps unskillful, but faithful souls will know how to draw from these lines the value that lies in intention when it is directed to the ever Guest within, who in all the wealth of His life dwells there. Hours that otherwise might seem to be wasted will acquire, through union with Him, full redemptive significance.

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