Have you ever thought about becoming a saint?
I used to think that there was no point for me to try to become a saint. Being conscious of my selfishness and sin, I had no desire for holiness as I thought it was unattainable. One day, I came across a book that truly changed the way I perceive God’s love and mercy; and hence, the true meaning of holiness.
Fr Michael Gaitley of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception wrote a book called Consoling the Heart of Jesus. When I first saw this book, my heart was shouting with hope: “Yes, Jesus! I want to console your heart!”.
However, within seconds these questions came through my mind: “Why do we need to console Jesus?”.
What I find difficult to understand is why do we need to console Jesus? Isn’t he happy in Heaven? At this point, I would recommend for you to get this book as it explains many of the theological reasonings. However, Fr Gaitley explained shortly and simply:
“Yes, it’s true that Jesus is happy in Heaven and that, therefore, he no longer suffers. So, to speak of giving consolation to Jesus actually applies only to giving consolation to the members of his body. In other words, we console Jesus by consoling one another, for we’re all members of the Mystical Body of Christ.”
Another question that came into my mind was: How is it possible for me to console the heart of Jesus?
I am a sinner, and I thought that other people ‘holier’ than I should be the ones answering this call, for I have failed Jesus too many times. Upon reading this gem, I realised that Fr Gaitley spoke not of the consoling Jesus from our failures and sins. Jesus would forgive us repeatedly, to the point that we may be the one getting tired of asking for forgiveness. His love and mercy are without measure.
“Behold this Heart which loves so much yet is so little loved.”
We first need to understand that God’s love and mercy extend to not just those who love Him, but to everyone. Jesus would die on the Cross again, even if you are the only person in the world, no matter what your belief, moral values, or state you are in life.
It is important for us to know this because His merciful love is rejected by so many people. Yet it is very easy to console Jesus, it simply takes our trust, and to accept His rejected love and mercy.
Isn’t that too good to be true… What are the consequences?
God will give us a heart like His, a sensitive heart; full of compassion and love. As easy as it is to console Jesus, it is also easy to upset Him by our lack of trust.
Don’t worry! It was also daunting for me but know that our God is gentle. Fr Gaitley took the readers into meditation, and I want you to have a taste of it.
Many of us including myself have said: “Jesus I trust in you” too many times, yet there’s a lack of trust in our heart; especially when things are out of our control. This is because we cannot see God’s full plan.
Now imagine yourself by the beautiful sea of Galilee, after a long day following Jesus and a few other of His disciples. You see the Lord sitting by the campfire, alone. You sit next to Him, yet He continues to stare at the blaze, silent, and seems sorrowful.
You then go on to say: “Lord, here I am. I don’t know exactly why you’re so full of sorrow, but I’m here to console you. Jesus, I’m very weak. I don’t have much to offer. In fact, too often I’ve been distant as I’ve followed you – and yet… behold, here I am, Lord. Take me and use me as you desire. Use me to make you known and loved, weak though I am. Help me to love you. Jesus, I see how gentle you are, and I trust you. I know that you know me better than I know myself. You know what I can take. I put myself completely in your hands. Use me to help you, weak though I am. You may not be able to do much with me… Then again, I’ve seen your miracles before. Do with me what you can. Behold, I believe. Help my unbelief. I trust in you”.
This is what He has been waiting for you to say.
We are all called to accept his merciful love. Many saints felt the same way, unworthy even until their last moments on earth. That humility is what makes them a saint – striving for holiness, by accepting God’s grace.
Fr Gaitley wrote this wonderful prayer, which can be prayed daily to renew our trust in Jesus:
Dear Jesus, relying on your grace and the prayers of Mary and all the angels and saints, I will strive to keep before my eyes the deep sorrow of your heart and respond, with Mary, by consoling you in the following two ways:
First, I will give you my trust. Jesus, I trust in you. I will try not to be afraid of going to you as I am (ecce), even when my sins and weaknesses weigh heavily upon me. With an open heart, I choose to accept your mercy (fiat), even all that mercy other souls reject. Finally, I will do my best to praise and thank you in all things (Magnificat), even when you give me the privilege of sharing in your Cross.
Second, I will strive to show mercy to my neighbour through my deeds, words, and prayers, remembering that by consoling others, I am also consoling you. Heavenly Father, for the sake of the sorrowful Passion of your Son, I beg you: Send forth your Holy Spirit to help me fulfil this choice.
Theodorus Hartanto is the Sacramentum Event Coordinator for Catholic Youth Ministry Perth.
Reproduced with permission from Issue 26 (October 2020) of The Record Magazine, the official publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.