Jesus to the Heart of His Minister

 

Some words Father Dolindo addressed particularly to priests and their mission

 

Balm Drops and Sparks of Love

 

You are, like me, the shepherd of my sheep, and you must lead them to

supernatural pastures. If you let the world's miseries show in you,

you walk in a stony ground, where only thorns grow. Every worldly

act, every act fashioned according to human custom, is a bundle of

thorns that does not nourish but stings, that does not gladden but

stains with blood.

 

Live on me, my child, and you will let me live on you in turn. Love

me with all your heart, and you will make me beloved. Like an angel,

lead souls on God's way, and do not attract them like one indulging

in the weakness of the world, or considering it an easy inducement to

good. I know, you do not always live, even in your religious life, in

a supernatural world. But if shrubs should burn with acrid smoke,

climb high, in the open, where all is blue, and by the example of

your holy, very holy, life extinguish the twigs of misery that burn

and smother.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Every act of your life, my son, must be a priestly act, and nothing

natural, nothing worldly must mingle with it. As a priest you must

shine in the rays of God's goodness, like a diamond shining in the

rays of the sun. You must be meek, sweet and calm. God's goodness

must show through you; and his mercy.

 

Let you soul soar above souls, in your holy ministering, a dove of

peace and purity, among the flowers of charity. Do you strongly feel

the impulses of your nature? Is your character strong and often

vehement? Turn your eyes to me who bore the Cross for your sake

without complaining, and my last word was meekness: Father forgive

them, and pity: They know not what they do.

 

Let the patience and sweetness of your ways be great for my love.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

My dear son, I look for healing souls also, and mostly, in religious

houses. Let your love heal the betrayals I suffer, let your prayer

heal the laziness that envelops consecrated souls in sloth. Let your

immaculate purity heal the degradation of others' senses, and be all

mine, so that the charm of the creatures be completely extinguished

in my love!

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Do not lose heart in your sufferings and do not desire the pleasures

of this world. You must save yourself and them. As I did not save but

through the Cross, so you must now follow me on the way of the Cross,

if you will save yourself and others.

 

If you aspire to the vain enjoyments of this world, and let yourself

be overcome by temptations, you are poor, miserable and defeated;

instead of carrying the standard of victory, you lie prostrate in the

dust. Free yourself from all attacks, love God alone!

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

My son, through your priestly ministering you further my work of

redemption and salvation. I did not come to the world for the just,

but for the sinners. I said: The healthy do not need a physician, the

sick do - So welcome those who are sick with the most incapacitating

infirmity: sin. In them you will further my eternal ministering of

love and mercy. In the rays of your ministering you light up sinners

and in the holiness of your life you make their souls whole.

 

So be a light and a balm to souls.

Light shines but does not wound; be thus as calm as light.

A balm does not burn but soothes; be thus full of sweetness in healing souls.

 

Be holy yourself, so as to communicate justice to sinners. Be healthy

in purity and in faithfulness to your vocation, so as to give others

the health of the soul.

 

Do you have past or present weaknesses and miseries in your soul?

Make them, by humility and penitence, as the vaccine for an infirmity

in a sinner's soul. Your humility will draw God's grace on the infirm.

 

What will you do with a relapsing soul? Heal it, not seven times, but

seventy times seven. Call upon Mary, mother of grace, to help you

heal it. If you do not remove at least a little pus from a wound, it

will cause a gangrene, and gangrene brings death. Wounds are not

dressed once only, nor is it possible, with one wrench, to heal a

festering infection.

 

Be as merciful as the divine Father has been to you.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

You are in the world and you feel its influences in your soul, heart and flesh.

 

You walk through the waters, which spray you as with little droplets;

waters of the world, that you do not even notice, because you do not

realize where the droplets come from. Your hand gets wet? But it's a

drop, not a gush, and you take no notice of it.

 

Yet the droplet comes from a tiny hole, which as it sprays grows

wider; it becomes a gush and you find yourself drenched. You get a

cold, you have trouble breathing... then you start coughing, get a

fever. Such are the brushes with the world and with creatures.

 

Tiny droplets of affection sparkle from a face, from a smile, from

the coquettish movement of an eye; opening as though in

contemplation; closing as though in a wink... A naughty movement,

shaping and attracting the gaze. Little droplets that do not seem

important, but broaden and beget a disease. They do not sprinkle,

they flood and drench, and the soul no longer breathes in God.

 

The Church calls the Communion the fat of the soul. Live of my

sacramental body, because water does not penetrate fat; even when

water touches fat, it runs on the ground or evaporates.

 

A spark is carried by the wind. It stops on a woolen dress and it

ignites it, little by little, when you do not notice it, because it

is a spark. But it broadens and can become a flame; it grows and can

become a fire.

 

Little familiarities a little pushed forward are sparks; they will

grow into flames. It is necessary for the soul to make itself immune.

A fireman must extinguish the fire, but clads himself in asbestos,

which repels fire. He can feel the heat but will not burn.

 

If your soul lives on my sacramental body, if it is cautious in

dressing itself in purity and reserve, it is covered in supernatural

asbestos, and the sparks of the creatures and of the world will not

bite into it.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

It is dark in your soul... what used to be the light of your ideal

has grown into darkness.

 

The world is darkness but appears as a horizon hiding a happiness

which is denied to you, which you denied yourself... The soul

slumbers and sleeps dreaming. This is temptation. My poor son, as in

dreams bizarre visions appear like charming scenes, delusions

enjoyments to be conquered. Light up the flame of Communion, love me.

That light awakens you, you are not in the nightmare of the dark

night, you dream no longer. I am you richness, I am your joy, I am

your confort.

 

You may be attracted by an artistic hand? Look at my pierced hand; it

is more beautiful. It is pierced for your love. You may be attracted

by a face adorned by beautiful hair? Look at my bloody face, crowned

in thorns. It is more beautiful, because crowned by love. Be faithful

to my love. Every creature is passing vanity. Love me with all your

heart.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Everything changes and discards its former dress. Trees grow green in

the spring, birds change their feathers, even snakes change their

skins and take up a new one. So why does not the soul discard the

dress of its miseries and weaknesses of character and habits? Even

the world has a fashion which changes with the seasons and with the

patterns. Does not the soul have a heavenly fashion and a pattern

worthy of its admiration in me and Mary? In the circumstances of your

life and of your apostolate, change and dress yourself in me, dress

yourself in Holy Mary your loving mother.

 

You are a lighted lamp on my candelabrum, in my Church, as a Priest,

a lamp for the position you hold in your Community.

 

You must shine, so that others may draw light from your flame. A

living book open to the people and to your dependants, so that they

may be able to read, in your examples and words, the way they must

follow to come to me.

 

Every one of your faults is like a draught that decreases the flame

and turns the page to the void. Your dignity does not dwell in the

cloth and in your ring, it dwells in your habit of holiness, and in

your most intimate tie to me.

 

I want you to be holy.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Do not lightly say "this is the way I am" to excuse your weaknesses,

but think that you must watch over yourself and change.

 

Are you short-tempered?... Quite the reverse, you must be always

meek, because bouts of temper do not sanctify, but are repulsive

dissonances that spoil the harmony of Charity. You are outspoken, you

say?... But outspokenness cannot be rashness, cannot become a

stinging jest, but only humble, serene truth.

 

You cannot stand other people's deceitfulness and insincerity? But

don't you think that your reactions make you twice as off-putting,

and instead of correcting the fault, you make it bigger by the

reaction you elicit? If you feel troubled by your senses, do not say

that such is your nature, because by saying so you do not justify but

condemn yourself, as I have transformed you into myself by

consecrating you as my minister, my son.

 

Watch over yourself and change your own nature, to keep it from

ruling and overcoming you. You must be a living pattern of Christian

and priestly virtues among the souls who are entrusted to you, made

their pattern with all your soul, as St Peter says. Do not be eassily

offended, but collect yourself humbly, acknowledging that you are a

sinner.

 

Do not complain about the injustices you think you suffer; think

instead that some adversities are the answer to some faults that

nobody sees, but that God punishes to free you soul from many vain

aspirations...

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

In your tasks and in your calling, do not concentrate yourself on

material interests, and do not think yourself smart in financial

matters.

 

Emulate the economy of God's providence, which makes the fields rich

with its infinite charity. Never attach yourself to money, my son,

and remember such an attachment was Judas' perdition. Do not let

yourself be overcome by material worries, but live more holily,

because providence will never let you down.

 

Choose poverty for yourself. No other quality in God's ministers is

more powerful in bringing souls to appreciate spiritual things. Be

happy with poverty in your spiritual life too, and make yourself

small, very small, before God, if you wish to attract His grace on

yourself.

 

Be blessed to love God in the deep humility of your spirit.

 

Never neglect prayer to balance your accounts...

 

Do not neglect souls in proportion to their wordly goods.

 

I am your wealth; look only to me for help...

 

Do not show yourself miserly, but spread God's gifts in charity.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

I ask you, as I asked Peter "Do you love me more than the others?"

 

And who are the others, if not the souls I have entrusted to your

care, and that you must shepherd? And I ask you again "Do you love

me?"

 

What do you answer? Can you tell me "You know that I love you?"

 

And how do I know, my son? When you are too lazy to pray, do you love

me? And if you hasten your celebration to be over with it as soon as

you can, do you love me? How can one love and be bored by the company

of the beloved?

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

In the midst of the souls that I entrust to your care, you must be my

faithful copy and offer an example of faith, humility and charity.

St. John the Baptist, speaking about deep humility, said "I am not

Jesus Christ, I am not Elias, I am a voice clamouring in the

wilderness".

 

And you, my son, with your easy life, do you mean to affirm, in a

tone of desperation: "I am not... Elias, full of zeal for God's

glory, I am not Jesus Christ nor a prophet... I am a voice in the

desert"?

 

And now I ask you: "Do you love me?"

 

You answer: "Lord, you know all"

 

Yes, my son, I know that you do not come to me with love, that you

deny me like St. Peter, when you do show no appreciation for the gift

of priesthood and do not communicate this appreciation to the souls I

have entrusted to you, and so often prefer the miseries of the world.

Yes, I know all, my son.

Then tell me that you love me, returning to your fervor, which is

like a guttering lamp.

Tell me that you love me by overcoming your nature,

Tell me that you love me by giving me your heart.

A lapsed minister is like a leafy fig tree, adorned with habit,

profession, ministry and receiving the blessing of grace, but which

dries up.

 

Be faithful to me.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

St. Paul calls priests angels; consider this great word, and let your

life be like theirs. If he removed himself from angels a priest would

be a devil.

 

Yet, my son, angels became devils too. They saw themselves, they were

pleased with themselves, they grew proud. They did not see themselves

in the purity of their spirit, but in the impurity of their passion.

They had no body, it is true, but when the spirit decays and lives of

itself and of its pleasures is more impure than a body in its

shameful nudity.

 

Impurity lives in the emptiness of its passions. It lives in the

barrenness of its supreme aspirations. An effluvium of putrefaction

which does not generate but kills, a wandering of unhappiness in the

illusion of enjoyment...

 

Impurity is a suffocated voice that does not pray, does not sing but

roars like a lion at its prey... it jumps, bites, opens its jaws,

which are hungry for life but bites into a corpse swollen with

putrefaction. Impurity is an eye wide open onto the void, which no

longer sees light, no longer sees heaven, but swims in the darkness.

 

Impurity is not poetry, is not an outburst, is not an ideal flight

but a weight gravitating towards the gutter and that in the gutter

finds neither beauty not love nor peace! Be pure, my son, and breathe

the air of heaven.

 

Praise God as an archangel from his throne, love him as a seraphim,

serve him like an angel, a messenger of virtue and peace. Flee what

attracts you... An unholy image is radioactive with death. It blazes,

causes tumours of pernicious anxiety. What looks like an ideal

friendship becomes a poisonous mushroom, a parasite clinging to your

heart, sucking away its life.

 

My priest, be an angel.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

You are the light of the souls that have been entrusted to you, you

are the salt that gives them flavour, and must therefore be holy,

deeply holy, to communicate the grace of inner sanctification to

them. You cannot do this without being intimate with my sacramental

presence and with the Holy Mary.

 

There is a great danger for the souls that are preparing for my

ministry: the asphyxiating spirit of the world, a spirit you must

fight and overcome with the science of saints. Let the Virgin Mary be

in the hearts of your spiritual sons, and let their lives be inspired

by her virtues.

 

If Mary does not triumph in people's hearts I don't triumph there

either, because through Mary I have offered myself to humankind, and

to Mary I entrusted from the Cross ministers in particular, in the

person of St. John. Satan attempts to diminish childlike tenderness

towards the Virgin under the pretext of increasing love towards me.

 

A danger which goes under an ugly name: downsizing Mary.

 

This is the height of foolishness, to downsize what God did not

measure in Mary, full of grace.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

You are the minister of the divine word to cooperate in the coming of

the kingdom of God on earth.

 

Form the souls that must work after you to meditate the divine word,

in the light of God and the Church.

 

So often today the word of man is substituted for that of God,

accustoming the soul more to the doubt that is born of an unhealthy

critique than to truth.

 

If a pupil does not have what little humility it takes to accept the

teachers'word and foolishly criticizes it, he does not learn but goes

astray.

 

If, in meditating the word of God, the soul loses itself in human

wanderings, it does not strengthen its faith but loses it.

 

Therefore, be thou the ardent soul, light and salt of the earth,

through a holy life, full of simplicity and of humble faith, so that

you can breed to me ardent souls, real apostles of the kingdom of

God, living it through them.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Follow me in the way to the Cross, and do not let the adversities you

encounter trouble you.

 

Follow me to complete self-immolation, bear your cross as I bore

mine, for your love. Forgive, suffer for my love, pray. With your

forgiveness and prayer, you will open the gates of Heaven to whoever

is ungrateful to you and hurts you.

 

Give no weight to whatever may be said of you, because it has no

value before God, who will judge you. Ask for mercy and God will

grant you mercy. Fear not. If temptations trouble you, do not be

upset: despise them and take refuge into my Heart and in Mary's. When

you chase them away and overcome them, you prove your love of me and

I love you more, my son.

 

Everything you renounce is a pawn and title to a greater gift from

God. You are a pilgrim everywhere. Wherever you go, you are all

right, as someone who passes from one train car to the next and is

carried to the same end station.

Do not let anything upset you, for the end of your journey is Heaven.

Love me.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

My minister, you are a living branch of me, who am the living vine

and you cannot have any life but mine. Eternal Word of God, I am his

glory, and your life must be entirely devoted to the glory of God.

 

Eternal Word of God, I was incarnated and was made man to redeem and

save souls. And you must make yourself everyhting to everyone to save

them. Do not set yourself above anyone, but with meekness and

humility draw souls to you so that they will return to me.

 

Victim of love, I put myself up on the Cross to save souls; offer up

your own sacrifice to save them, denying yourself and your comforts.

 

Victim of love, I am as a prisoner in the Holy Host, so that they may

be free to come to me, and you, servant of souls, be at their

disposal when they clamor for your ministry and your help.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

You have a great mission in your teaching, a great duty to perform:

to orient the minds of the young people who are entrusted to you in

the supernatural way through the natural way.

 

When you say the divine Office, be careful to do so with passionate

attention, so that the harmony of your praise of God will blend with

that of heaven and earth, praising and singing the glory of God.

 

If you do not pay attention during a scientific calculation, you go

astray and spoil an experiment. If you do not pay attention during

prayer and perform it poorly, even though it was inspired by the Holy

Ghost, you go astray in the noblest calculation of your life.

 

Have faith, great faith, and think that the light of faith is the

greatest science of your life.

 


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