CHAPTER XVII

 

OF HER CONFIDENCE IN GOD, AND OF THE PROTECTION

SHE RECEIVED FROM HIM IN HER NECESSITIES

 

 

A SOUL which has tasted the goodness of Almighty God cannot be diffident of His mercies, for she knows that He is always disposed to protect and assist her; and the same charity which inflames her will, enlightening her understanding by its brightness, gives her so perfect a knowledge of His Divine attributes, that she finds continually fresh motives for confidence.  S. Paul founds it upon three perfections of God, which are, as it were, the agents of his love and His providence, His power, His wisdom, and His goodness.

 

As S. Rose had often experienced its effects in the loving conduct of God towards her, she had an entire confidence in Him in her spiritual and corporal necessities, and in those of others for whom she solicited graces.  She took great pleasure in meditating upon, or in pronouncing these words of the prophet David, “Incline unto my aid, O God. O Lord, make hast to help me.” She had them almost constantly in her mouth and in her heart.  Her confidence n God never allowed her to form the lease doubt of three things in particular, which she was as sure of obtaining as if she had had a revelation from heaven.  First, she never doubted of her salvation.  Secondly, of the inviolable friendship of Almighty God for her.  Thirdly, of His all powerful help in the necessities and dangers in which she might have need of His protection.

 

She was once attacked with a great fear regarding the inscrutable mystery of Predestination, which is, in fact, capable of terrifying the most constant and virtuous souls.  God did not leave her long in this anxiety; He spoke these words of consolation in the interior of her soul: “My child, know that I only condemn those who, by resisting My graces, will obstinately lose their souls: continue, therefore, to make a good use of them, live in peace, and be no longer disturbed with this fear.” After she received this favorable answer from her Divine Spouse, she had so firm an assurance of her salvation, that when Don Juan de Castille asked her if she had had any revelation, which had given her a certainty of salvation, she confessed to him that Jesus Christ had made known to her that she was predestinated to glory from all eternity; and even when lying on her death-bed, overwhelmed with the pains she suffered, she received as assurance from Heaven that her souls should not pass through the fire of purgatory, and that Almighty God was contented with what she endured from the violence of her illness, by which she had fully satisfied His divine justice.

 

In a rapture which she had once in her cell in the garden, she saw in a moment the earth around her all covered with roses.  As she was much surprised to see this singular appearance in the season of winter, Jesus Christ appeared to her, and after having caressed her, He commanded her to gather these flowers.  She did so, and gave them to Him; but He only asked for one, saying to her, “Thou art this rose, of which I have a most special care.” This chaste spouse understood immediately the meaning of these mysterious words, and was quite consoled to see that God kept it at his right hand, which is the place reserved for His elect, as a rose chosen from a great number of others.  She took the remainder of the flowers, and made of them a garland, which she respectfully placed on the head of her Divine Spouse, who disappeared after having received it with a gracious countenance, and given her His benediction.  She had the same assurance of persevering in the grace and friendship of God till death, from a revelation by which he made clearly known to her, that He had confirmed her in this love, and that she should never be separated from it one moment during her life.

 

In this spirit of confidence, she one day told her confessor, that he would sooner make her believe herself to be a stone or a log of wood, than persuade her that Almighty God had a horror or an aversion for her.  This great confidence fortified her mind wonderfully in all the difficulties and dangers which are inseparable from this life, and which so often disturb it.  She met furious bulls in the street without turning out of her way, though her mother and all the others rushed into the nearest houses to avoid the meeting, and called to her to run away for fear of being killed; she contented herself with saying, that she was sure these bulls would not hurt her; which was verified on two occasions, to the astonishment of he spectators, who thought her death inevitable.

 

How great was her confidence in God for things necessary to life! One day seeing that there was no money in the house to buy provisions, nor a bit of bread to eat, she went to open the chest in the assurance that God, who never abandons those who trust in Him, would provide for them. She was not deceived; for she found it full of loaves, whiter and of a different shape from those they were accustomed to eat. On another occasion the honey, which is much used in Peru, having failed, and her brothers having brought word that there was not a single drop remaining, Rose, full of confidence in God, went to the place, and found the vessel quite full of excellent honey, which lasted the family during eight months.

 

When her father, Gaspar Florez, was sick, and oppressed with sorrow at not being able to pay the sum of fifty livres which he owed, and which he was pressed to return, Rose, being told of it, when to church to beg God to assist him on the occasion, and not allow him to be put to confusion.  As she returned she saw a stranger enter the house, who gave her father a little purse, which contained precisely the sum he wanted to satisfy his creditor.  Almighty God favored Rose’s family on many other occasions, and by miraculous means, to reward her admirable confidence in Him, in the great necessities to which her family was often reduced.  

 

Her confidence did not merely regard temporal affairs and necessities; she manifested it particularly in things which related to the glory of God, even so far as to take upon herself, notwithstanding her poverty, to furnish the funds necessary for the Monastery of S. Catherine of Sienna, which was going to be erected.  She told them that they had nothing to do but to begin to dig the foundations, to collect the materials, and seek workmen, and that she would pay for everything; Almighty God had made known to her that her confidence pleased Him, and t hat He would not abandon her on this occasion.  This resolution was spoken of by every one according to their different humors, but nearly all blamed it; some calling it a rash enterprise, others terming it insolence and presumption; even her mother was displeased, and called her foolish and visionary, to talk of raising a building that would cost £10,000 and more, when she had not a penny. Rose answered humbly, that God was the guarantee of His word, and that in a few years she would see this monastery built.  Her mother growing more angry, called her silly and extravagant.  “Well, mother,” answered S. Rose, with her usual mildness, “you will yourself experience the truth of this prediction, for you will enter it; you will there receive the habit of religion, make your vows, and die in the peace of our Lord.” “I become a nun!” cried her mother; what probability is there of that? I am old and poor, and I have never had the least thought of a religions life.” She did not fail, however, to verify her holy daughter’s prediction; for, in the year 1629, after her husband’s death, she received the habit of the order of this monastery, at the age of sixty: she took the name of sister Mary of S. Mary, and when her noviceship was completed, she was professed, and died happily a few years later.  Her poverty was no obstacle to her reception, for she filled one of the places reserved by the foundress for poor girls, who were to be received gratuitously.  We shall speak of this monastery in the next chapter.

 

It will have been remarked from what we have said, that the care she took to assist the poor, and to furnish them abundantly with necessaries in their sickness, was founded only on her generous confidence in God, which was so great, that she took home indifferently all sorts of sick women to nurse them, without troubling herself whether or not there was nay food for them, or any money to buy the necessary drugs and remedies; she confided so entirely in God, that she never doubted of His coming to her assistance in her charity towards them; and in fact she often remarked, that her family was never better off, or more comfortable, than when she had the greatest number of sick persons to provide for.


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Text from the Fr. Faber translation, Peter F. Cunningham, fourth edition, 1855

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