Saturday, January 09, 2010

Berthe Petit: A Heavenly Help in Time of Need

The suffering has been intense, strange, lengthy. Someone asked if I'd gone some where for Christmas? Yes, to hell. Been in hell.

But close friends prayed for deliverance. Had medication for pain, but not enough. Never enough, one thinks. Only a very few knew the extent, even if they could possible fathom. But it was the worst pain episode ever in my life, and I nearly did not survive. Putting it behind, however. Was suffering in all aspects of all levels.

Friend mailed a Christmas package. Inside was a print of Our Lady of Ollignies, also called Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Some research brought in the name of Berthe Petit, Belgian victim soul. Born 1860; died 1943.

Purchased book of her life as well as the messages from Jesus regarding the devotion He desires to His Mother, with the emphasis on her sorrows and her immaculate heart. The Life of Berthe Petit helped in ways inexpressible. Much is explained, reminded, about the value of suffering, of vows, of God's choosing souls, and of souls offering themselves, and God's accepting their offers.

This is important: If one makes an offering and God does not accept it, then one must accept God's will. If one makes an offering and God does accept, then there will be a process over time. One is drawn into God by means of suffering, and the suffering is done in reparation for sins of self, of others, to appease the suffering of Mary's sorrowful and immaculate heart, wounded in sorrow over the agonies of her Son.

We never know what kind of sufferings or the duration, the beginning, the end. But the book reminds that a victim soul learns what it is to experience what Christ feels and suffers--just in ways ordinary to our own circumstances. Persecutions occur in our milieu, by those around us, even our fellow Catholics and family members, friends, strangers. Unexpected insults, slights, injustices, bodily injuries, maladies, attacks by the devil in always unexpected ways--the sufferings come. Never what one could anticipate, but they are geared to each person by God's own allowance and formation.

One point made in the book about Berthe Petit is that God will even seem to "dispossess" the one He chooses and accepts as a victim soul--victim of love, of justice, of mercy, whatever. There comes a time in which the person feels dispossessed, passed by, passed over, by God. It is in those time periods that the suffering is all the harder to believe, to endure, to keep focus as to the supernatural effects and value of it all.

For the past 16 and more months, something has been happening to me at Mass. It has been very difficult, the whole circumstance, and a suffering of sorts, even if marvelous in other aspects. So this aspect of being dispossessed has happened off and on, and is most painful when am not given Communion, when passed by, disapproved, doubted, ridiculed, hurt, or sometimes pitied. The only way recently to cope, is to think of Christ and all He endured, helpless on the cross, and how He must have felt, what He endured to a very high degree compared to my very small matter--but quite enough.

I've read on these matters that the Lord does such things to souls in order to strengthen the soul and to help the soul conquer fears. Not sure this soul is making much progress, but some, surely, by the grace of God. Some progress, for now if am forgotten for Communion, or belittled in subtle ways, resented for that which I cannot help from happening, doubted, whatever the tension or hostility, or even curiosity--I pray and consider that God desires me to absorb the Eucharist mysteriously as a wild rose is not given tangible fertilizer. God feeds the wild rose by absorption of elements.

Anyway, Berthe Petit has been called upon these days to help me re-focus the suffering, seek more humility, not snap or despair. Rather, to be inspired by this Belgian woman who offered herself to Jesus and suffered all types of agonies in life--in all aspects of human existence. I know she is here now, as I write, and also today while with an adult daughter and her family who came for a belated Christmas since I have been so very ill with suffering previously. Just having a kind of regular day, and those are a gift from God, a cup of cool water and a touch of grace to fade the memory of such pain.

Somehow this bird atop the snow fountain cherry, photo taken early last spring, made me think of Berthe Petit. Seems she might have been like this robin in many ways, and victim souls suffer very much being alone. Even if people about, there is the solitary aspect of suffering that others cannot quite comprehend, one to another. Even if we are very compassionate, we still cannot quite experience what another suffers unless we suffer it ourselves. So it is that in order to be united with Christ, we must experience the types of sufferings He experiences. And the message He had for Berthe Petit to spread as her mission, is that in order to be united with Him, we must experience the sufferings of His Mother, as well, for she will lead us to His Sacred Heart through her sorrowful and immaculate heart.



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