On the Contrary Workings of Nature and Grace [I]

On the Contrary Workings of Nature and Grace [I]

My son, carefully observe the impulses of nature and grace, for these are opposed one to another, and work in so subtle a manner that even a spiritual, holy and enlightened man can hardly distinguish them. All men do in fact desire what is good, and in what they say and do pretend to some kind of goodness, so that many are deceived by their appearance of virtue.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Bk 3 Ch 54

June 15th - Saint Germaine Cousin, Virgin


Saint Germaine Cousin was born in 1579 in Pibrac, a small village not far from Toulouse, France. From her earliest years she was a frail, sickly child, and throughout her life was afflicted with scrofula, a tubercular condition affecting particularly the glands of the neck. In addition, her right arm and hand were deformed and partially paralyzed. In spite of her many afflictions, the emaciated child possessed a charming, sweet disposition. Germaine endured not only bodily sufferings, but harsh, cruel treatment from her stepmother, who had a deep aversion for the little girl. The child was almost starved to death and obliged to sleep in the barn on a pile of leaves and twigs under the stairway. At break of day, summer and winter, she would drive the sheep into the fields to graze, then watch them until evening. She had to spin during this time, and if the allotted wool was not spun, she was severely punished.

The village children, not sharing the hostility of the adults toward this forlorn child, loved to listen to her speak about the goodness and love of God while she guarded her flock. The only instruction Germaine ever received was the catechism taught after Sunday Mass in the village church, which she attended with joy. During the long hours of solitude she spent in the fields and in the stable at night, she remained in sweet communion with God, and never complained of her hard life.

Every morning she was at Mass, and afterwards went to kneel before Our Lady's shrine. To reach the church she had to cross what was ordinarily a small stream; but after a heavy rain it would become a raging torrent. Several times at those moments, the villagers were amazed to see the rushing waters separate when Germaine approached, and then to watch her cross on dry land. When she left her sheep to go to church, she would place her staff upright in the ground, and the sheep never went far from it. One day the stepmother was seen pursuing Germaine as she drove the sheep down the road. She was accusing the girl of having stolen some bread and concealing it in her apron. When Germaine unfolded her apron, fragrant flowers, foreign to that region, fell to the ground.

Germaine died one night in the year 1601, at the age of twenty-one, and was buried as was the custom in those days, in the village church. Forty-three years later, when a relative was to be buried near her and the stones were removed, the grave-digger found to his amazement, the body of a beautiful young girl in a state of perfect preservation. His pick had struck her nose, and the wound was bleeding. Some of the older residents identified the girl as Germaine Cousin. Miracle after miracle occurred, and in 1867 the neglected little waif of Pibrac was inscribed in the list of Saints by Pope Pius IX. Annually thousands of pilgrims visit the church of Pibrac, where the relics of Saint Germaine are enshrined.

Source: Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day, by Rosalie Marie Levy, (Saint Paul Editions: Boston, 1958).

Saint Quote:
Let us learn from Jesus in the manger, to hold the things of the world in such esteem as they deserve.
--St. Francis de Sales

Bible Quote:
Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will not enter into it. (Mark 10:15)

The Fifteen Secret Tortures of Our Lord

Revealed to the pious, God-loving Sister Mary Magdalen of the Sancta Clara Order, Franciscan, who lived, died and was beatified in Rome. Jesus fulfilled the wish of this Sister who desired ardently to know something about the secret tortures which He endured the night before His death.

"The Jews considered Me as the most wretched man living on earth so that is why . . ."

"They fastened My feet with a rope and dragged Me over the stepping stones of the staircase, down into a filthy, nauseating cellar."

"They took off my clothes and stung My body with iron joints."

"They attached a rope around My body and pulled Me along the ground, from end to end."

"They hanged Me on a wooden piece with a slipknot until I slipped out and fell down. Overwhelmed by this torture, I wept bloody tears."

"They tied Me to a post and pierced My body with arms."

"They struck Me with stones and burnt Me with blazing embers and torches."

"They pierced Me with awls; sharp spears tore My skin, flesh and arteries out of My body."

"They tied Me to a post and made Me stand, barefoot, on an incandescent metal sheet."

"They crowned Me with an iron crown and wrapped My eyes with the dirtiest possible rags."

"They made me sit on a chair covered with sharp pointed nails, causing deep wounds in My body."

"They poured on My wounds liquid lead and resin and, after this torture, they pressed Me on the nailed chair, so the nails went, deeper and deeper into my flesh."

"For shame and affliction, they drove needles into the holes of My uprooted beard. Then they tied My hands behind My back and led Me walking out of prison with strikes and blows."

"They threw Me upon a cross and attached Me so tightly that I could hardly breathe any more."

"They threw at My head as I lay on the earth, and they stepped on Me, hurting My breast."

"They poured into My mouth the most immodest excretions, as they uttered the most infamous expressions about Me."

Then Jesus added:

"My daughter, I desire that you let everyone know these fifteen secret tortures, in order that every one of them be honored."

"Anyone who daily offers Me, with love, one of these sufferings and says with fervor the following prayer, will be rewarded with eternal glory on the day of judgement."

Devotional Prayer:

"My Lord and My God, it is my unchangeable will to honor You in these fifteen secret torments when You shed Your Precious Blood. As many times as there are grains of sand around the seas, as grains of wheat in the fields, as blades of grass in the meadows, as fruit in the orchards, as leaves on the trees, as flowers in the gardens, as stars in the sky, as angels in Heaven, as creatures on earth -- so many thousands of times may You be glorified, praised and honored, O most love-worthy Lord Jesus Christ - Your Holiest Heart, Your Precious Blood, Your Divine Sacrifice for mankind, the Holiest Sacrament of the Altar, The Most Holy Virgin Mary, the nine glorious choirs of Angels and the Blessed Phalanx of the Saints, from myself and everyone, now and forever, and In the eternal ages."