First Notebook – Paragraphs 61-70
61. O Jesus, I thank you for this great grace; namely, that You Yourself have deigned to choose a confessor for me, and that You had made him known to me in a vision even before I had met him [Father Sopocko]. When I went to confession to father Andrasz, I thought that I would be released from following these interior inspirations. Father replied that he could not dispense me from this, “but pray, Sister, that you be given a spiritual director.” After a short but fervent prayer, I saw Father Sopocko for a second time, in our chapel, between the confessional and the altar. I was in Cracow at that time. These two visions bolstered up my spirit, all the more when I found him to be just as I had seen him in the visions, once at Warsaw during my third probation, and a second time at Cracow. O Jesus, I thank you for this great gift! And now when I hear people sometimes say that they have no confessor; that is to say, a director, fear takes hold of me, because I know very well how much harm I myself experienced when I did not have this help. It is so easy to go astray when one has no guide!
62. O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain! When I look at everything with the eyes of faith, no two hours are alike, and the dullness and monotony disappear. The grace which is given me in this hour will not be repeated in the next. It may be given me again, but it will not be the same grace. Time goes on, never to return again. Whatever is enclosed in it will never change; it seals with a seal for eternity.
63. + Father Sopocko must be well loved by God. I say this because I myself have experienced how much God defends him at certain moments. When I see this, I rejoice greatly that God has such chosen ones.
1929. The Trip to Calvary. (note33)
64. When I came to Vilnius for two months to replace a sister who had gone for her third probation [Sister Peter, who worked in the kitchen], I stayed a little longer than two months. One day, the Mother Superior [Irene (note34)], wanting to give me a bit of pleasure, gave me permission to go, together with another sister, (note35) to Calvary to “walk the paths,” as they say. I was delighted. Although it was not very far, it was Mother Superior’s wish that we should go by boat. That evening Jesus said to me, I want you to stay home. I answered, “Jesus, everything is ready for us to leave tomorrow morning; what am I to do now?” The Lord answered, This trip will be harmful to your soul. I replied to Jesus, “You can find a way out. Arrange things in such a way that Your will may be done.” At that moment the bell announced the time for sleep. I gave Jesus a parting glance and went to my cell.
Next morning the weather was beautiful, and my companion was filled with joy at the prospect of the great pleasure we would have in getting to see everything. But as for me, I was sure we would not go, even though there were no obstacles for far.
We were to receive Holy Communion earlier and leave right after the thanksgiving. But during the time of Communion, all of a sudden, the weather changed. Clouds covered the sky, and the rain came down in torrents. Everyone was astounded at such a sudden change in the weather.
Mother Superior said to me, “I am so sorry you cannot go, Sisters!” I answered, “Dear Mother, it doesn’t really matter that we cannot go; it was God’s will that we stay home.” However, no one knew that it was Jesus’ express desire that I stay home. I spent the whole day in recollection and meditation, thanking the Lord for having kept me home. That day, God granted me many heavenly consolations.
65. One time during the novitiate, when Mother Directress sent me to work in the wards’ kitchen, I was very upset because I could not manage the pots, which were very large. The most difficult task for me was draining the potatoes, and sometimes, I spilt half of them with the water. When I told this to Mother Directress, she said that with time I would get used to it and gain the necessary skill. Yet the task was not getting any easier, as I was growing weaker every day. So I would move away when it was time to drain the potatoes. The sisters noticed that I avoided this task and were very much surprised. They did not know that I could not help in spite of all my willingness to do this and not spare myself. At noon, during the examination of conscience, I complained to God about my weakness. Then I heard the following words in my soul. From today on you will do this easily; I shall strengthen you.
That evening, when the time came to drain off the water from the potatoes, I hurried to be the first to do it, trusting in the Lord’s words. I took up the pot with ease and poured off the water perfectly. But when I took off the cover to let the potatoes steam off, I saw there in the pot, in the place of the potatoes, whole bunches of red roses, beautiful beyond description. I had never seen such roses before. Greatly astonished and unable to understand the meaning of this, I heard a voice within me saying, I change such hard work of yours into bouquets of most beautiful flowers, and their perfume rises up to My throne. From then on I have tried to drain the potatoes myself, not only during my week when it was my turn to cook, but also in replacement of other sisters when it was their turn. And not only do I do this, but I try to be the first to help in any other burdensome task, because I have experienced how much this pleases God.
66. O inexhaustible treasure of purity of intention which makes all our actions perfect and so pleasing to God!
O Jesus, You know how weak I am; be then ever with me; guide my actions and my whole being. You who are my very best Teacher!
Truly, Jesus, I become frightened when I look at my own misery, but at the same time I am reassured by Your unfathomable mercy, which exceeds my misery by the measure of all eternity. This disposition of soul clothes me in Your power. O joy that flows from the knowledge of one’s self! O unchanging Truth. Your constancy is everlasting!
67. When I fell sick [probably the beginning of consumption] after my first vows and when, despite the kind and solicitous care of my Superiors and the efforts of the doctor, I felt neither better nor worse, remarks began to reach my ears which inferred that I was making believe. With that, my suffering was doubled, and this lasted for quite a long time. One day I complained to Jesus that I was being a burden to the sisters. Jesus answered me. You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will give them the light and strength to accept My will.
68. The heaviest suffering for me was that it seemed to me that neither my prayers nor my good works were pleasing to God. I did not dare lift up my eyes to heaven. This caused me such great suffering during the community exercises in the chapel that one day Mother Superior [Raphael] called me aside after the exercises and said to me, “Sister, ask God for grace and consolation, because I can see for myself and the sisters keep telling me that the very sight of you evokes pity. I really do not know what to do with you, Sister. I command you to stop tormenting yourself for no reason.”
But all these conferences with Mother Superior brought me no relief, nor did they clarify anything for me. Rather, even greater darkness hid God from me. I looked for help in the confessional but not even there did I find it. A saintly priest wanted to help me, but I was so miserable that I couldn’t even define my trouble, and that vexed me even more. A deathly sadness penetrated me soul to such an extent that I was unable to hide it, and it was apparent to those around me. I lost hope. The night was growing darker and darker. The priest to whom I went to confession said to me, “I see very special graces in you, Sister, and I am not worried about you at all; why are you torturing yourself in this way?” But at that time I did not understand at all what he was saying and was extremely surprised when, by way of penance, I was ordered to say the Te Deum or the Magnificat, or to run fast around the garden in the evening, or else to laugh out loud ten times a day. These penances were very surprising to me; but even with that the priest was not able to give me much help. Evidently, God wanted me to give Him glory through suffering.
That priest consoled me, saying that in my present situation I was more pleasing to God than if I were filled with the greatest consolations. “It is a very great grace, Sister,” he told, “that in your present condition, with all the torments of soul you are experiencing, you not only do not offend God, but you even try to practice virtues. I am looking into your soul, and I see God’s great plans and special graces there; and seeing this, I give thanks to the Lord.” But despite all that, my soul was in a state of torture; and in the midst of unspeakable torments, I imitated the blind man who entrusts himself to his guide, holding his hand firmly, not giving up obedience for a single moment, and this was my only safety in this fiery trial.
69. + O Jesus, eternal Truth, strengthen my feeble forces; You can do all things, Lord. I know that without You all my efforts are in vain. O Jesus, do not hide from me, for I cannot live without You. Listen to the cry of my soul, Your mercy has not been exhausted, Lord, so have pity on my misery. Your mercy surpasses the understanding of all Angels and people put together; and so, although it seems to me that You do not hear me, I put my trust in the ocean of Your mercy, and I know that my hope will not be deceived.
70. Only Jesus knows how burdensome and difficult it is to accomplish one’s duties when the soul is so interiorly tortured, the physical powers so weakened and the mind darkened. In the silence of my heart I kept saying to myself, “O Christ, may delights, honor and glory be Yours, and suffering be mine. I will not lag one step behind as I follow You, though thorns wound my feet.”