Saint Francis de Sales never ceases to lead us to discuss the most serious topics. He mentions being so consumed by a present suffering that we are unable to grasp other realities. Some questions:
- What does this mean? Is he saying that this experience is a good thing or a bad thing?
- Saint Francis also mentions the example of Jesus on the Cross to highlight this point, where Jesus had no option but to surrender to God’s will. How does this relate to our spiritual tribulations?
- Reflect for a moment on Jesus nailed to the Cross. How might it signify being “nailed” to God’s will (especially in times of tribulation)?
- Being that we are approaching the end of the Easter season, let us focus also on the mention of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. What would that experience be like to encounter the Lord but not know it was He? And how can we bring that back to help us better understand this current reflection?
"Living Jesus" Chat
Visitation Sister: The first question begins with the sense of a suffering that so consumes our attention that it is hard to focus on anything else.
Visitation Sister: This is an experience that can happen with sickness for example. Whether it is good or bad I would not venture to say just yet, for some types of suffering if united with the Lord, lead to good.
Visitation Sister: Welcome, viewers.
Visitation Sister: Hi, Denise! Tough topic again!
Ginny: Just a thought but our suffering becomes a blessing as we become one with our Lord and savior, “Jesus.”
Denise: Hi, Sr! and a good topic!
Visitation Sister: Wonderful thought!
Visitation Sister: It can be hard to pray when in pain.
Denise: Very hard.
Visitation Sister: Saint Francis de Sales mentions the example of Jesus on the Cross to highlight this point, where Jesus had no option but to surrender to God’s will. How does this relate to our spiritual tribulations?
Ginny: To bear pain for our Lord and to offer it for others is a blessing and unselfish love.
Rebecca: I’m back, just read the selection as quickly as I am able. Some of it makes a lot of sense to me. Partly I am not sure I understand.
Denise: Is this where our will comes in? and we begin to say small prayers, not seeking consolation yet trusting God will hear them nonetheless.
Visitation Sister: I think that would be so, Denise, we are uniting our will to His.
Visitation Sister: What is the difficult part, Rebecca.
Rebecca: I probably have no business disagreeing with St. Francis, but I think — as Bishop Barron would say — Jesus on the Cross was free, completely free. He was the picture of freedom. Because freedom means being ABLE to choose the Good, being able to CHOOSE to do the Will of the Father.
Visitation Sister: Hmmm.
Ben: Hi Sr Susan, Denise, Rebecca, and Ginny! God Bless You!
Visitation Sister: I agree yes Jesus was the free-est! But He gave it all.
Visitation Sister: Hi, Ben!
Denise: Hi, Ben, Rebecca, and Ginny!
Ginny: We are not perfect but thru faith and prayer we strive to perfect our will and become more perfect. I think I did not greet all online so good evening all.
Rebecca: And to say “Jesus had no choice” seems to me to take some of the merit and love of his SACRIFICIAL act away from it. Jesus’ self-offering on the cross was not simply an execution which he HAD to go through. It was an act of LOVE and of OBEDIENCE to the Father — FREE.
Visitation Sister: Once Jesus was on the Cross - had gone there freely with His Will united to His Father’s - then He would not be able to change His choice.
Visitation Sister: You are right, Rebecca!
Ginny: Yes, his Divine self knew what he would do out of love, yet his human side suffered great, again out of love.
Ben: Sometimes we must go through great suffering so that others can see our Faith through suffering and take the next step towards our Lord Jesus Christ!
Denise: I thought with this reflection, sometimes, as St F says. we can become so consumed by our suffering we do not know how to get to our interior to see what is going on.
Visitation Sister: Ah good point!
Denise: Yes, Ben!
Visitation Sister: And some tribulations are unavoidable in reality but our freedom comes in through how we accept, or resist them.
Ben: Jesus, I Trust in You!
Ben: Amen, Sister!!!
Rebecca: In the Garden of Gethsemane, when he suffered inner conflict — as a human, begging to be freed of the suffering that he knew would be his if he “drank the cup” — if he accepted the crucifixion — but still declaring “Not my will but yours be done,” the Father, in his mercy, sent Jesus an angel to comfort, console, and strengthen Jesus.
Ginny: Yes, we can be bloody by our own pain but in knowing our Lord, it becomes part of our path. It is then our faith and love of Jesus that these obstacles can be overcome.
Ben: Greater Love has no man but this, that a man lay down his life for his friends!
Denise: Recent experience: not in the least feeling like it, as I usually do, struggling with it all I knew, the way out was thru the Sacraments. But these things did not come to awareness all at once.
Denise: Come, Holy Spirit!
Rebecca: By the time the soldiers came to take him away, Jesus could easily have evaded them — just as he had at other times when he simply “disappeared” or walked through a fickle crowd who’d earlier lauded him but then were ready to kill him.
Denise: But he so perfectly united his will to that of the Father’s.
Ginny: Being of the Father it was his destiny. He has blessed us so.
Visitation Sister: That brings us to the question about being “nailed” to God’s Will I never heard that expression used but rather as united.
Rebecca: In fact, a friend who visited the Holy Land, told me that at Gethsemane all he would have had to do was to take a few steps in one direction to be out of the jurisdiction of those who were intent on killing Him.
Rebecca: He had made up his mind, FREELY, with the help of the angel to “offer the fourth cup” — the cup of Salvation, our salvation — his own body and blood.
Denise: Nailed! oh I have not heard it, but it describes it.
Visitation Sister: Yet nail implies force.
Visitation Sister: Unite implies free will.
Ben: Jesus chose to give His Life for Us!!! Can you imagine how difficult it was for the Father to endure the suffering Jesus endured and for them all to hold back the Holy Angels from rescuing Him at any moment!!! Beyond our comprehension!!! Total Love and Sacrifice for others!!!! We must serve our Lord the same way as unprofitable Servants even willing to give up our life for God if necessary!!!
Visitation Sister: Ah! Never looked at it quite that way!
Denise: Oh! did Jesus nail his will using force?
Visitation Sister: No.
Visitation Sister: Being that we are in the Easter season, let us focus also on the mention of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. What would that experience be like to encounter the Lord but not know it was He?
Ben: You might be doing something that you know God wants you to do and you may not want to do it and all hell is against you doing it but your Great Love for God allows you to persevere and get the job done for the Lord !!!! Always confirmation afterward that what you did was God’s Will!!!
Visitation Sister: Yes!
Ginny: I may have this wrong but Jesus Is the Father manifest as is the Holy Spirit. He is the fulfillment of all the prophecies and the beginning of a new way there, for it was already written and decided that he would be the perfect sacrifice.
Rebecca: Ben, what you say here, is so, so true. Being Baptized unites us to the suffering and death — AND resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are given a Mission to evangelize, to help others come to the salvation God wills for all of Mankind — EACH individual. Giving LOVE And in a world full of conflict it CAN lead to.
Ben: We can be so overcome with Grief that our vision can become distorted!!! Jesus always clears up our Vision!!!
Denise: yes. Amen.
Ben: Amen, Rebecca!!!
Ben: We cannot Trust our feelings, we must Trust God!!!
Rebecca: Death. The Sacrament of Confirmation is meant to strengthen us to offer our whole lives, every moment, every action, every thought, and if need be our very bodily LIFE for the love that is Our God.
Ben: Amen, Rebecca!!!
Visitation Sister: Sometimes we encounter Christ in another person but do not acknowledge the Christ in that person. That can be similar to St Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
Denise: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being with us, here, tonight. Amen.
Rebecca: Yes, and thank you for Denise’s prayerful spirit.
Ben: Amen, Sister and Denise!!!
Ginny: Have to go. May all be blessed to their needs and for this website chat.
Visitation Sister: Thanks for being here!
Ginny: This site and the wisdom shared here in….
Ben: God Bless You, Ginny!!!!
Denise: Peace be with you, Ginny. see you again.
Visitation Sister: Any more thoughts on the empty tomb?
Rebecca: I find that scene, Mary Magdalene speaking with “the gardener” fascinating. Maybe it was partly her grief that made her unable to recognize him, maybe it is partly something about the resurrected body — especially before Jesus ascended to the Father — that obscured his identity.
Rebecca: The disciples had some similar experiences. Mary M. recognized Him when he spoke her name.
Visitation Sister: I am struck by it too, Rebecca.
Visitation Sister: Hi, Cindy.
Ben: Wow it’s like viewing the Birth of a Child but a billion times more!!!!
Rebecca: The other disciples recognized Him in the breaking of the bread.
Denise: Helpful refection Sr, sometimes it may be later when we realize God was speaking to us thru someone.
Rebecca: Good point, Denise.
Visitation Sister: There is something about Jesus’ Resurrection that veils recognition.
Ben: The Empty Tomb is like being there for the creation of the World!!!
Cindy: Hi everyone - just “catching up” and awestruck at how each of you have spoken words that resonate with my heart right now… Thank you.
Denise: what are your thoughts, Sr on the veiling.
Rebecca: Yes. I had an experience recently — it’d take a short story to tell it — but it sure seems to me that without another human being present — only a “voice” — God helped me to KNOW that He has plans for me that are, what you might call “resurrection” plans. Perhaps I’ll find a way to write up what happened. . .
Visitation Sister: Please do!
Denise: Many saw him but did not recognize him! not only Magdalene.
Visitation Sister: I think because we need to have “faith” in the Resurrection, Denise, Jesus’ identity is veiled until we express that faith somehow.
Cindy: Thanks for sharing, Rebecca.
Ben: One of my favorite experiences is to go underneath Niagara Falls on Cave of the Winds tour and read the creation verses from the Bible!!! Soo completely Awesome!!! A tiny bit like what Mary Magdalene experiences at the Empty Tomb! The Full Glory of God!!!!
Visitation Sister: Sounds awesome!
Denise: Rebecca, you have a book inside of you! I look forward to reading your memoirs!
Denise: How beautiful, Ben!
Cindy: I love Mary Magdalene’s simplicity… From moment to moment she accepted the (seeming) reality that met her… She was never trying to read more into it or make more of it….
Visitation Sister: Her love was so powerful.
Ben: Amazing True-Life Movie came out last night Breakthrough. Had donated tickets and was able to bring a van load of our clients!!! Miraculous story of how a Mother’s Prayers and Trust in God brought her son back to life through God’s Great Mercy!!!! And all the while the community helped keep him alive!!!
Rebecca: Wow! that must have been awesome! I’ve stood under a much smaller waterfall and it was amazing. AND come to think of it, there was also a waterfall in my garage under a flooded apartment in my own private Y2K — shortly after I’d purchased my house.
Denise: Breakthrough, thx, Ben.
Denise: Hi, Cindy. She was … simplicity. In God’s presence.
Ben: That movie and true-life story is exactly what Jesus is asking us to do in John Chapter 17. To be One!!! The enemy does everything he can to keep us from being One!!!
Rebecca: It wasn’t funny then, took months to repair, but it didn’t knock me for a loop then or later, thanks be to G_d who made me so grateful for what escaped the bust-pipes flood waters.
Visitation Sister: So true, Ben!
Ben: Denise, I think they spell the title as Breakthrough.
Rebecca: Such a good insight, Ben. Unity! Have you read the book John 17?
Denise: Wonderful your community was able to see it!
Cindy: Are you referring to a book written about John 17.
Rebecca: Breakthrough — or however you spell it (the movie) — is an example of a community coming together.
Visitation Sister: I thank you all once again for a great chat! Have to go. Blessings this week!
Cindy: Goodnight, Sister. Thank you!
Ben: No, Rebecca! Sounds good! Ironically one of the ladies who attended the movie several years ago was on her death bed in ICU and I was given permission to take her twin brother to see her!!! He prayed over her with such passion and Trust in God and she was healed by God!!!!
Denise: Thank you, Sr! God bless you, goodnight.
Rebecca: Cindy, it is a collection of stories — with a forward by Pope Francis — about various Christian leaders coming together to try to make Jesus’ prayer for unity a reality in their local communities.
Cindy: Beautiful - I will look it up.
Ben: Sounds Awesome, Rebecca!!!!
Rebecca: These leaders — mostly pastors from various denominations — began meeting and praying together, LISTENING to one another and to the Holy Spirit.
Cindy: What a glorious testimony, Ben, of God’s never-ending healing power!
Ben: God Bless You, Sister!!! You are a Bright Light for Jesus!!!
Ben: With God All Things Are Possible, Cindy!!!!
Denise: Rebecca is this a book you speak of John 17?
Ben: Rebecca that sounds like a good book for our Men’s Group!!!!
Rebecca: One of the stories, it surprised me took place in Massena, NY, where, in fact, about a half year or maybe a year before I got the book I had attended a brief morning meeting at a non-Catholic Christian church, where the Catholic Pastor, my dear friend, former pastor of our local church was also present. After the get together, we all went out to various parts of Massena, walking the streets praying for all the people who lived in the houses we walked past, and occasionally meeting and talking with people.
Rebecca: Yes, Denise.
Rebecca: John 17: The Heart of God – Pope Francis – Google Books.
Cindy: Thanks, Rebecca! I should say goodnight. Have a blessed week everyone!
Denise: God bless you, Cindy! G’night.
Denise: That is Pope Francis! <3.
Rebecca: A blessed week to all of you. You are precious to me. And I am grateful for your prayers.
Denise: Good night, Rebecca. Thank you! God’s love to you.
Ben: Thanks, Rebecca!!! God Bless You, Rebecca, Denise, and, Cindy!!! Keep Shining for Jesus!!! Your Faith is a Great Inspiration to me!!!!
Denise: And yours, Ben. Thank you for shining so brightly, a light on the hill! God bless.
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