“Let us not lose a moment of suffering, for one cannot love without it.”

Jesus on the cross

A letter from Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque to Sister Félice-Madeleine de la Barge (on January 5, 1689):

I am satisfied, most beloved dear Sister, that we should write to each other, provided that we speak only of love and the cross. For the only thing I can say to you is that we must strive with all our strength to make ourselves living copies of our crucified Spouse and show Him forth in all our actions.

Ah, my dear friend, how good it is to suffer always and finally die on the cross, overwhelmed by the weight of every kind of suffering, misery, and contempt, abandonment and humiliations! The cross is a precious balm which loses its sweet odor before God when it is exposed. That is why we must hide it and carry it in silence in so far as we can. Let us not lose a moment of suffering, for one cannot love without it.

Ah, how good the cross is, always, everywhere! So let us embrace it lovingly, without caring what kind of wood it is made of, or what tool has fashioned it. It alone should suffice for us, since nothing unites us so intimately to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ as does the cross. It is the most precious gauge of His love.

Thank Him for me, dear friend, for having at times blessed me with it, but at the same time ask His pardon for my having used it so badly. That is why I always remain poor, in spite of possessing this precious treasure without which I should find life insupportable.

Not that we must ask for suffering. The greatest perfection is to ask for nothing, refuse nothing, but give ourselves up to pure love to let ourselves be crucified and consumed according to His Will.

I am very consoled at the happy progress this divine love is making in your heart. I am sure all these holy inspirations are coming from Him, since they give you peace of soul and keep you in a state of precious annihilation. How fortunate are they who live altogether lost and annihilated in this divine love by a perfect forgetfulness of self!

Love for our own abjection is a perfect remedy for healing the wounds self-love makes in our hearts. Mine is languishing very much by reason of this accursed self-love. Let us ask the lovable Heart of our good Master that He consume it in the sacred fire He came to bring upon earth, so as to ever inflame well-disposed hearts.

Finally, dear friend, we must love Him, no matter what it costs. Pure love wants everything or nothing. So let us keep nothing back from Him. Let us abandon to Him all that we are without worrying about the future or thinking about ourselves or our weaknesses. He will be sure to take care of everything, provided only we leave ourselves to Him.

Why are you afraid and argue with Him over the complete sacrifice of your heart? It is already His but He wants undisputed possession of it, free from any danger of returning to itself and detached from absolutely everything, no matter how holy it may seem to us to be. From the moment He divests us of everything, we must rest content and be conformed to His most holy Will, completely despoiled of all pleasure, friends, consolation, talent, and even of merit.

We must remain submissive and conformed to His most holy Will at prayer as at all other times, rejoicing when we find His good pleasure in the annihilation of all that we are and of all self-satisfaction. Our heart is so small that it cannot contain two loves. Being made for the divine, it finds no rest when there is admixture of any other.

I would have to love you as much as I do, dearest Sister, in order to write your charity at such great length. I would be afraid of wearying anyone else. But your kind heart will excuse everything and will not complain any longer of the silence of one who cherishes you tenderly in His holy love.

It is true that my dear Sister Saumaise has sent the litany you mention. It is very beautiful. I am most grateful to you for having remembered me during your retreat. Continue showing me this charity. I have the greatest need of it. My retreat was spent on the cross. You have had a share in what I have had the good fortune of suffering.

A thousand greetings, expressions of respect and love to our dear Sister the former Superior [Sister de Soudeilles]. The Sacred Heart makes her ever dear to my poor heart. And you, too, dear friend. I hope you may be completely consumed in the flames of pure love.

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (Luke 12:49)


A child of Jesus and Mary.

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