First Notebook – Paragraphs 121-130
121. + There is a series of graces which God pours into the soul after these trials by fire. The soul enjoys intimate union with God. It has many visions, both corporeal and intellectual. It hears many supernatural words, and sometimes distinct orders. But despite these graces, it is not self-sufficient. In fact, it is even less so as a result of God’s graces, because it is now open to many dangers and can easily fall prey to illusions. It ought to ask God for a spiritual director; but not only must it pray for one, it must also make every effort to find a leader who is an expert in these things, just as a military leader must know the ways along which he will lead [his followers] into battle. A soul that is united with God must be prepared for great and hard-fought battles.
+ After these purifications and tears, God abides in the soul in a special way, but the soul does not always cooperate with these graces. Not that the soul itself is not willing to work, but it encounters so many interior and exterior difficulties that it really takes a miracle to sustain the soul on these summits. In this, it absolutely needs a director. People have often sown doubt in my soul, and I myself have sometimes become frightened at the thought that I was, after all, an ignorant person and did not have knowledge of many things, above all, spiritual things. But when my doubts increased, I sought light from my confessor or my superiors. Yet I did not obtain what I desired.
122. When I opened myself up to my superiors, one of them [probably Mother Michael or Mother Mary Joseph] understood my soul and the road God intended for me. When I followed her advice, I made quick progress towards perfection. But this did not last long. When I opened up my soul still more deeply, I did not obtain what I desired; it seemed to my superior that these graces [of which I was the object] were unlikely, and so I could not draw any further help from her. She told me it was impossible that God should commune with His creatures in such a way: “I fear for you, Sister; isn’t this an illusion of some sort! You’d better go, Sister, and talk about these matters with your superiors.” And so I would go from the superiors to the confessor and from the confessor to the superiors, and I found no peace. These divine graces became a great suffering for me. And more than once I said to the Lord directly, “Jesus, I am afraid of You; could You not be some kind of a ghost?” Jesus always reassured me, but I still continued to be incredulous. It is a strange thing however: the more I became incredulous, the more Jesus gave me proofs that these things came from Him.
123. + When I saw that my mind was not being set at rest by my superiors, I decided to say nothing [to them] of these purely interior matters. Exteriorly I tried, as a good nun should, to tell everything to my superiors, but as for the needs of my soul, I spoke about these only in the confessional. For many very good reasons, I learned that a woman is not called to discern such mysteries. I laid myself open to much unnecessary suffering. For quite a long time I was regarded as one possessed by the evil spirit, and I was looked upon with pity, and the superior took certain precautionary actions in my respect. It reached my ears that the sisters also regarded me as such. And the sky grew dark around me. I began to shun these divine graces, but it was beyond my power to do so. Suddenly, I would be enveloped in such recollection that, against my will, I was immersed in God, and the Lord kept me completely dependent upon Himself.
124. In the initial moments, my soul is always a little frightened; but later, it is filled with a strange peace and strength.
125. + All these things could still be endured. But when the Lord demanded that I should paint that picture, they began to speak openly about me and to regard me as a hysteric and a fantasist, and the rumors began to grow louder. One of the sisters came to talk to me in private. She began by pitying me and said, “I’ve heard them say that you are a fantasist, Sister, and that you’ve been having visions. My poor Sister, defend yourself in this matter.” She was a sincerely soul, and she told me sincerely what she had heard. But I had to listen to such things every day. God only knows how tiring it was.
126. Yet, I resolved to bear everything in silence and to give no explanations when I was questioned. Some were irritated by my silence, especially those who were more curious. Others, who reflected more deeply, said, “Sister Faustina must be very close to God if she has the strength to bear so much suffering.” It was as if I were facing two groups of judges. I strove after interior and exterior silence. I said nothing about myself, even though I was questioned directly by some sisters. My lips were sealed. I suffered like a dove, without complaint. But some sisters seemed to find pleasure in vexing me in whatever way they could. My patience irritated them. But God gave me so much inner strength that I endured it calmly.
127. + I learned that I would have help from no one at such moments, and I started to pray and beg the Lord for a confessor. My only desire was that some priest would say this one word to me, “Be at peace, you are on the right road,” or “Reject all this for it does not come from God.” But I could not find such a priest who was sufficiently sure of himself to give me a definite opinion in the name of the Lord. And so the uncertainty continued. O Jesus, if it is Your will that I live in such uncertainty, may your Name be blessed! I beg You, Lord, direct my soul yourself and be with me, for of myself I am nothing.
128. Thus I have already been judged from all sides. There is no longer anything in me that has escaped the sisters’ judgment. But it seems now to have worn itself out, and they have begun to leave me in peace. My tormented soul has had some rest, and I have learned that the Lord has been closest to me in times of such persecutions. This [truce] lasted for only a short time. A violent storm broke out again. And now the old suspicions became, for them, as if true facts, and once again I had to listen to the same old songs. The Lord would have it that way. But then, strangely enough, even exteriorly I began to experience various failures. This brought down on me many sufferings of all sorts, known to God alone. But I tried as best I could to do everything with the purest of intentions. I could now see that everywhere I was being watched like a thief: in the chapel; while I was carrying out my duties; in my cell. (note40) I was now aware that, besides the presence of God, I had always close to me a human presence as well. And I must say that, more than once, this human presence bothered me greatly. There were times when I wondered whether I should undress to wash myself or not. Indeed, even that poor bed of mine was checked many times. (note41) More than once I was seized with laughter when I learned they would not even leave my bed alone. One of the sisters herself told me that she came to observe me in my cell every evening to see how I behave in it.
Still, superiors are always superiors. And although they humiliated me personally and, on occasions, filled me with all kinds of doubts, they always allowed me to do what the Lord demanded. Though not in the way I asked, but in some other way, they fulfilled the Lord’s demands and gave me permission for all the rigors and mortifications [He asked of me].
One day, one of the Mothers [probably Mother Jane] poured out so much of her anger on me and humiliated me so much that I thought I would not be able to endure it. She said to me, “You queer, hysterical visionary, get out of this room; go on with you, Sister!” She continued to pour out upon my head everything she could think of. When I got to my cell, I fell on my face before the cross, and then looked at Jesus; but I could no longer say a single word. Yet I concealed everything from the others and pretended that nothing had happened between us.
129. Satan always takes advantage of such moments; thoughts of discouragement began to rise to the surface – for your faithfulness and sincerity – this is your reward. How can one be sincere when one is so misunderstood? Jesus, Jesus, I cannot go on any longer. Again I fell to the ground under this weight, and broke out in a sweat, and fear began to overcome me. I had no one to lean on interiorly. Suddenly I heard a voice within my soul, Do not fear; I am with you. And an unusual light illumined my mind, and I understood that I should not give in to such sorrows. I was filled with a certain strength and left my cell with new courage to suffer.
130. Nevertheless, I began to grow a bit negligent. I did not pay attention to these interior inspirations and tried to distract myself. But despite the noise and the distraction, I could see what was going on in my soul. The word of god is clear, and nothing can stifle it. I began to avoid encounters with the Lord in my soul because I did not want to fall prey to illusions. However, in a sense, the Lord kept pursuing me with His gifts; and truly I experienced, alternately, torture and joy. I make no mention here of the various visions and graces God granted me during this time, because I’ve written this down elsewhere. (note42)