What follows is not so much a review, but rather a set of impressions regarding Sr. Josefa Menendez and her extraordinary book The Way of Divine Love.
A first impression: I have been struck by the blurb for the book given by TAN books, the publisher:
Twentieth Century revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to a young Spanish nun. Undoubtedly TAN’s most inspiring and influential book. Makes lasting devotees.
Now, I know such product descriptions are so often hyped, but TAN books is a rather glorious publisher, I think. I trust them.
And so I find these words striking indeed – that TAN should so single out this one volume from all the hundreds that they publish. Moreover, I understand why TAN does so.
I say that, even though this is a big book, and I have not read it completely through.
No, rather than reading it straight through, I absorb this very beautiful volume just a little at a time. Bit by bit. And each time I come away refreshed—as well as morally and spiritually encouraged.
(Here is partly why I cannot claim this a review, even though I must perforce place it in the reviews section of this site).
Sr. Josefa Menendez (1890-1923) was a Spanish nun of the Society of the Sacred Heart, who in 1920 went to Poitiers in France.
She went, in fact, to the motherhouse of the Society of the Sacred Heart founded by St. Madeleine Sophie-Barat.
And there in Poitiers, she began to report conversations and meetings with Our Lord (as well Our Lady and the Holy Mother of her order St. Madeleine Sophie-Barat).
There she beheld his Sacred Heart and heard a message that in so many ways is reminiscent of that which Our Lord gave to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque at Paray-le-Monial in France.
Yes, I come back again and again to this very, very beautiful book and I am very deeply moved every time.
I understand that the cause for Sister Josefa’s beatification has been opened by Rome.
It would appear that Rome recognises her cause and is investigating it slowly and throughly, before she pronounces her judgment – as is the way of Rome.
For myself, if I should live to see Sister Josefa’s beatification or even canonisation, I shall be overjoyed.
For it seems to me that the revelation of the Heart of Jesus to Sister Josefa (in France, yet again!) is a very important part of the unfolding tradition of the Sacred Heart that we explore at this website.
No, dear Reader, I cannot yet review this book, for I have not fully read it. Though I am not sure how such a book might ever be reviewed, if it is given over to the words of Our Lord …
We will just include a very few of these, which may give you a sense for the book:
Then, He fixed His eyes on Josefa: “O! If you could but see the beauty of a soul in grace. But such beauty is invisible to mortal eyes, Josefa. Look rather with eyes of faith, and realizing the value of souls, consecrate yourself to giving this glory to the Blessed Trinity, by gaining many souls in which the Triune God may find a dwelling”.
Jesus continued instructing her in very simple language: “Every soul can be instrumental in this sublime work …
Nothing great is required, the smallest acts suffice: a step taken, a straw picked up, a glance restrained, a service rendered, a cordial smile … all these offered to Love are in reality of a great profit to souls and draw down floods of grace on them.
No need to remind you of the fruits of prayer, of sacrifice, of any act offered to expiate the sins of mankind … to obtain for them the grace of purification, that they too may become fitting sanctuaries for the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity.
No, I would not dare to ‘review’ such words. All I can is say that this book haunts me, as I read it, bit by bit, finding things like this, as well:
‘If a man devotes his life’, He said, ‘to working either directly or indirectly for the salvation of souls, and reaches such a degree of detachment from self that without neglecting his own perfection he leaves to others the merit of his actions, prayers and sufferings … that man draws down abundant graces on the world … he himself reaches a high degree of sanctity, far higher than he would have attained had he sought only his own advancement.’
There may in time be much more to say, when I finish the book and ponder the life of Sr. Josefa Menendez more.
Right now, I shall only say this by way of repetition, I fully understand the publishing blurb above. And in this case, trust that it is not hype, but completely sincere:
Undoubtedly TAN’s most inspiring and influential book. Makes lasting devotees.
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