In a Monthly Devotional Magazine
March 03, 2019
“Suffering is the great law of the spiritual world. God’s chosen ones escape it less than others; they pay the ransom for others, sometimes at a very high price. We will know only later the work accomplished by our suffering and our sacrifices. It all goes to the heart of God, and there, joined to the redemptive treasure, it expands in souls in the form of grace. We can convert, sanctify, console, without going out of our home or out of ourselves. Ceaselessly united top the One who acts in all of us, we offer and obtain without flagging. And God lavishes our humble gifts on others. When we present to him the most intimate heartaches, this “blood of the heart” that makes spiritual martyrs, we become very powerful with him. There is almost nothing our recent trials cannot accomplish, my friend. They will pass away, and you will obtain heaven;…there will be no more conflict between our love for God and our human affections. Divine love will enfold and take delight in all our loves.”
I have read again and again this short extract from the writings of Elisabeth Leseur, who died just around the time WW1 broke out, and whom, I am assured, in 2014 was a person/soul “whose cause for canonisation is under way”.
I just do not know what to make of it? As I read it the piece advocates borderline psychotic thinking and beliefs? Its tenor as I see it tends towards a terrible gratification implicated in a set of, perhaps genuinely felt, recommendations and assertions.
I cannot accept it as it being a valid piece of theological writing; and I do question how and why it found its way into this small softcover magazine “Magnificat” in the edition for February 2014 pages 94 and 95. “Magnificat” is/was a Roman Catholic devotional monthly.
The writer of the piece Elisabeth Leseur has laid out an economy which puts in place an arrangement between God and His “chosen ones”, whereby via various transactions between these parties, the pain and suffering of the “chosen ones” are gifted to God and amplified in/by His care, and reissued as transformed by Him into healing, loving, works among the peoples of the world. The clear implication is that a “chosen” person need only offer up to God his/her sufferings, and that this is sufficient for this special economy to be rolled into action by God.
What else, I ask, can these sentences mean?
“We will know only later the work accomplished by our suffering and our sacrifices. It all goes to the heart of God, and there, joined to the redemptive treasure, it expands in souls in the form of grace. We can convert, sanctify, console, without going out of our home or out of ourselves.”
Sufferings and sacrifices of “chosen ones” accomplish conversions, sanctifications, consolations, without “chosen ones” having to go “out of our homes or out of ourselves” – whatever “out of ourselves” might mean exactly?
Although the word is absent from this extract I have copied out, I am assuming that it is by way of prayer that we are being recommended, given that we are “chosen ones”, to offer up our pains and cares to God? And if I am correct about prayer here then the writing becomes even more disturbingly scary than ever; since its claims made for the power of prayer are literally God-like, and in an uncanny and frightening way endow upon ‘chosen ones’ such powers as God’s Word has.
Not quite in the way that God’s Word once spoken by Him is enacted; but a token which by way of human suffering and pain is type of currency which when sent up to Heaven is able to work there to supply abundant Divine grace to others on earth, but blindly so, in two separate distinct ways.
Firstly blindly because “We will know only later the work accomplished by our suffering and our sacrifices,” Secondly because we are not asked to ask for anything from God in prayers, only to present our suffering to Him and he will dispense out and dispose in return a magnified amount of grace towards persons and places etc unknown, without any link between the sufferings offered and the grace dispensed other than a (close to) causal generation of one by the other?
Thus we are told that “We can convert, sanctify, console, without going out of our home or out of ourselves.” Not God notice, but we, can do so??!!! Thus by a deviation and detour via and around Heaven we are aggrandised. Thus: “When we present to him the most intimate heartaches, this “blood of the heart” that makes spiritual martyrs, we become very powerful with him. There is almost nothing our recent trials cannot accomplish, my friend.”
I do accept the writer may well have been going through immense pain and suffering when she wrote this as her solace; and this, if it was so, is not to be scoffed at but sympathised with and condoled, made due allowance for; only what is this effusion cried out in pain and sorrow doing in a devotional magazine, and set here as a sample of comfort coming from the pen of a person/soul “whose cause for canonisation is under way”?
Roman Catholicism I know takes great care in what is published under its auspices. All is checked over and ‘made correct’ before issue. So was this effusion of this person AOK by the checkers of published materials for the Roman Church? Is it then to be understood to be Standard and fit for consumption by Roman believers?
There are lots of other problems I have with this piece of writing; about the merit which its author appears to be aggregating to and upon those ‘chosen’ who suffer and send their suffering Heavenwards in this way; about the absence of action or actual use of hands and feet etc by sufferers, perhaps even sufferers are not being in any way asked to make special mental effort in applying to God, so need not ‘go out of themselves’? And especially about the great power thing the writer suggests is redounding upon the suffering praying chosen ones as part of their returns from God.
This piece of devotional writing appears to appeal too viscerally to human failings, to yearnings in us best mortified, and which seek after place, position, force and power, importance, station, and even perhaps here and there, in regard to the non-chosen ones, this piece of writing is sailing close to the same wind which blew that Pharisee into the Synagogue and who boasted himself better than that ragged ne’er-do-well beside, him when at prayer together? The same certainty of heaven seems to be expressed.
I respect the writer’s pain and earnest, her religion and her plain desire, only I am really concerned that she should be being considered in 2014 for Sainthood. Maybe I am not to judge; maybe I am just like her, mixed up and struggling in my own ways; I do believe though that none of us should be ambitious, not even for Sainthood, (by the way I do not accept this special high appellation at all, not for anyone) and perhaps especially we should not aspire to Sainthood as this being a station of special high degree.