Second Notebook – Paragraphs 931-940
931. February 10, , Today is Ash Wednesday
During Holy Mass, I felt for a short time the Passion of Jesus in my members. Lent is a very special time for the work of priests. We should assist them in rescuing souls.
932. A few days ago, I wrote to my director [probably Father Andrasz (note168)], asking permission for some little mortifications during Lent. As I did not have the doctor’s permission to go to town, I had to do this by letter. But Ash Wednesday is already here, and I still have no answer. This morning after Holy Communion, I asked Jesus to inspire my director with His light so that he would answer me, and I knew in my soul that Father was not against my practicing these mortifications for which I had asked permission, and that he would give his permission. So, in peace, I began to undertake these practices. That same afternoon I received a letter from Father, saying that he readily gives me permission to undertake those practices for which I had asked permission. I was very pleased that my interior knowledge was in agreement with my spiritual Father’s opinion.
933. Then I heard the following words in my soul: You will receive a greater reward for your obedience and subjection to your confessor than you will for the practices which you will be carrying out. Know this, My daughter, and act accordingly: anything, no matter how small it be, that has the seal of obedience to My representative is pleasing to Me and great in My eyes.
934. Small practices for Lent. Although I wish and desire to do so, I cannot practice big mortifications as before, because I am under the strict surveillance of the doctor. But I can practice little things: first – sleep without a pillow; keep myself a little hungry; every day, with my arms outstretched, say the chaplet which the Lord taught me; occasionally, with arms outstretched, for an indefinite period of time pray informally. Intention: to beg divine mercy for poor sinners, and for priests, the power to bring sinful hearts to repentance.
935. My contact with the dying is, just as it has been in the past, very close. I often accompany a person who is dying far away, but my greatest joy is when I see the promise of mercy fulfilled in these souls. The Lord is faithful; what He once ordains – He fulfills.
936. + A certain person in our ward was beginning to die. Amidst terrible tortures, she was dying for three days, sometimes regaining consciousness. Everyone in the ward was praying for her. I longed to go to her, but Mother Superior had forbidden me to go to visit the dying, so I prayed for that poor soul in my room. But when I heard the she was still in agony, and thee was no saying how long it was going to take, I suddenly felt inspired in my soul and said to the Lord, “Jesus, if all I do is pleasing to You, I ask You, as evidence, to let that soul stop suffering and pass on immediately to her happy eternity.” A few minutes later I learned that the person had passed away so peacefully and quickly that they did not even have time to light the candle.
937. + I will say a word more about my spiritual director [Father Andrasz or Father Sopocko (note169)]. It is strange that there are so few priests who know how to pour power, strength and courage into a soul so that it can make constant progress without getting tired. Linder such direction a soul, even of lesser strength, can do much for the glory of God. And here I discovered a secret; namely, that the confessor, or rather the spiritual director, does not make light of the trifles that the soul brings to him. And when the soul notices that it is being controlled in this, it begins to exert itself and does not omit the slightest opportunity to practice virtue and also avoids the smallest faults. And from these e efforts, as with little stones, there rises within the soul a most beautiful temple. On the contrary, if the soul notices that the confessor neglects these little things, it likewise neglects them and ceases to vive an account of them to the confessor and, worse still, will begin to grow negligent in little things. Thus, instead of going forward, it gradually retreats backward and becomes aware of the situation only when it has already fallen into some serious trouble. Here, a serious question poses itself: who is at fault, the soul in question or the confessor; that is to say, the director? It seems to me that all the blame should be put on the imprudent director; the soul’s only fault is to have taken upon itself the choice of a director. The director could well have led the soul along the road of God’s will to sanctity.
938. The soul should have prayed ardently and at greater length for a director and should have asked the Lord himself to choose a spiritual director for it. What begins in God will be Godly, and what begins in a purely human manner will remain human. God is so merciful that, in order to help a soul He himself chooses the spiritual guide and will enlighten the soul concerning the one before whom it should uncover the most hidden depths of its soul just as it sees itself before the Lord Jesus Himself. And when the soul considers and recognizes that God has been arranging all this, it should pray fervently for the confessor that he might have the divine light to know it well. And let it not change such a director except for a serious reason. Just as it had prayed fervently and at a great length in order to learn God’s will that he leave this director and choose another. If God’s will is not absolutely clear, he should not make this change, for a person will not go far by himself, and Satan wants just this: to have the person who is aspiring for sanctity direct himself because the, without doubt, he will never attain it.
939. There is an exception [to this], and that is when God Himself directs the person, but the director will immediately recognize that the person in question is being guided by God Himself. God will allow him to know this clearly and distinctly, and such a person should be even more under the director’s control than anyone else. In this case, the director does not so much guide and point out the road along which the soul is to journey; but rather, he judges and confirms that the soul is following the right path and is being led by a good spirit.
In this situation, the director should be not only holy, but also experienced and prudent, and the soul should give priority to his opinion over that of God Himself, for then the soul will be safe from illusions and deviations. A soul that will not fully submit its inspirations to the strict control of the Church; that is, to the director, clearly shows by this that a bad spirit is guiding it. The director should be extremely prudent in such cases and test the soul’s obedience. Satan can even clothe himself in a cloak of humility, but he does not know how to ear the cloak of obedience and thus his evil designs will be disclosed. But the director should not be overly afraid of such a soul, because if God puts that special soul in his care, He will also give him great divine light regarding it, for otherwise how could he deal wisely with the great mysteries which take place between the soul and God.
940. I myself suffered a great deal and was much tried in this respect. Therefore, I am writing only about what I myself have experienced. It was only after many novenas, prayers and penances that God sent me a priest who understood my soul. Oh, there would be many more saintly souls if there were more experienced and saintly confessors. Many a soul, earnestly striving for sanctity, cannot manage by itself during times of trial and abandons the road to perfection.