"Nothing is small that comes from the hand of God. If He sends us affliction or suffering, we should accept it with gratitude; for whatever He permits to happen to us is always for our salvation." -"The Imitation of Christ", Book 2, Chapter 10
In a letter to her confessor, Monsignor Volpi, Gemma writes:
Jesus once said to me: "Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me? I desire to possess their souls, entirely, and for this I surround them with crosses, and I enclose them in sufferings and tribulation, that they may not escape from my hands; and for this I scatter thorns, that souls may fasten their affections upon no one, but find all content in Me alone. My daughter, if you do not feel the cross it cannot be called a cross. Be sure that under the cross you will not be lost. The demon has no strength against those souls who for My love groan under the cross. 0 My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified. The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues."
I prayed then to Jesus that He would not concede to me any grace except that of loving Him very much, and Jesus said: "Oh soul dear to me, if you truly love Me, behold My chalice; you can drink it to the last drop. On this chalice I have placed My lips, and I want you to drink it." I told Jesus to do with me as He would. And then He said to me: "I have sent this cross to you, you do not appreciate it; rather it is contrary to your desire, but the more it is contrary, the more it is like Mine. Would it not seem to you a dreadful thing to see a father in the midst of sorrow and the children enjoying themselves? When I shall be your Spouse of blood, I will come to you, but crucified; show your love to me as I have shown it toward you, and do you know how? By suffering, pains, and crosses without number. You ought, therefore, to consider yourself honored, if I lead you on paths hard and painful; if I permit that you be tormented by the demon, that the world despise you, that persons most dear to you afflict you, and with daily martyrdom, I permit your soul to be purified and tested. And you, daughter, think only of practicing great virtue; run in the path of the Divine Will, humbled, assured, that if I hold you to the cross, I love you."
I ask your blessing.
In another letter to Monsignor Volpi Gemma writes:
Sometimes, when I ought to begin to pray, especially on Friday, I seem not to have the inclination, and Jesus says to me: "Embrace the cross, my daughter; be sure that, while you are satiated with suffering, you are satisfying my Heart, and remember, the more bitter the cross is to you, the more it conforms to mine. I, you see, have compassion on your weakness. I send you drop by drop the chalice of my Passion and I give you a little part of My suffering at a time,"
Do I do badly not to have the inclination when Jesus calls me? Even now, on Thursday evening, I feel that I do not wish to suffer this evening, but do you know my Angel Guardian tells me to be patient because Jesus proportions the suffering as he wishes, and so orders the circumstances and disposes my heart to receive it. And then he says that it is not the suffering which ought to conform to us, but we ought to conform to the suffering.
I ask your blessing and pray so much to Jesus for poor me who has so much need.
Again, in another letter to Monsignor Volpi Gemma writes:
Saturday I went to make a visit to Jesus Crucified. There came to me a strong desire to suffer and with all my heart, I asked it of Jesus. And Jesus that evening made me have a very violent pain in the head, and blood almost came; but I was almost overcome and afraid that I would not be able to endure it. Tonight I suffered all night; I asked Jesus if I might have a little peace; and He gave it to me. I do not know whether Signora Cecelia saw me at this time; since yesterday evening I have been with her at her home, you know.
If you think it wise, should I ask Jesus to alleviate a little the pain in my head?
Tonight I told Jesus that I really could not bear it any more, and He replied to me: "My daughter neither am I able to endure any longer the evil that is done Me; this is indeed a time of wickedness [it was carnival time] which I am no longer able to tolerate. You with your suffering bear the punishment which My Father has prepared for so many poor sinners. Will you not do it willingly?" I said yes, but I was afraid of not being able to stand it. He said: "Do not be afraid, I will make you suffer, but I will give you the strength to endure it." Now I am satisfied and even stronger.
I ask for your blessing and pray to Jesus for poor Gemma
Another letter to Monsignor Volpi:
Monsignor, March, 1900
Yesterday evening when I went to confession, I felt very ill; the devil began to say such horrible things about you, blaspheming; he said that in the night he would tear me to pieces if I did not yield to his temptation. He made me so afraid that I was discouraged, and I almost submitted to him. I was disgusted, and I wished to die, because I was tired of having such dreadful nights.
When I returned home, I went at once to my room; I was badly frightened, but before going into the room, I called Brother Gabriel (St Gabriel Possenti -editor). He came at once, but he scolded me sharply, first of all because I was unhappy after the temptation; instead of resisting the temptation strongly, I did it with an oppressed heart; then because I had said I was tired of suffering, and he said to me: "Why do you refuse suffering while Jesus has suffered so much for you; why do you complain of what he has disposed? If the suffering seems long, the recompense will be eternal. If the temptations disturb your heart, and your soul is on the point of submitting to the enemy, come to me; I am ready to help you; trust in me and you will not have to fear falling. Remember to speak as little as possible about all these things; avoid purposeless talk, because so many faults are mingled with useless words." Then he left me.
Scarcely had he left, then that bad one came along. He wishes me to do what he told me but I would not. He struck me violently. Finally I conquered with the help of Jesus. Then I went to Holy Communion later. I felt the presence of Jesus and He told me (because I said that I had waited for Him so long) "All night I was with you .... "
Although Monsignor Volpi knew Gemma since she was a little girl, there came a time when he doubted her “experiences” and told her so. Others who knew her began to doubt her also, primarily because one of the doctors that Monsignor Volpi had sent to examine her wounds said she was a “hysteric”. Jesus allowed this trial to further purify Gemma. These doubts from her longtime confessor whom she greatly loved caused her much suffering. In a letter to him (Monsignor Volpi) Gemma writes “…I suffered in my head and in my heart, but after a little while Jesus came to me and said ‘Do you not remember, My daughter, that I told you that there would come a day when no one would believe in you anymore? Well today is that day. Oh, how much more acceptable you are to Me thus despised, than when everyone believed you to be a saint”
Writing to her spiritual director Gemma states: "Jesus possesses my heart, and being in possession of Jesus I find that I can smile, even in the midst of so many tears. I feel, yes, I feel that I am happy even in the midst of so many discomforts."
I knew that I deserved these reproofs, nevertheless I continued as usual, and Jesus rebuked me again saying, "Gemma, do you realize that you are offending Me when in your great need you consider Me last, after other creatures who cannot give you consolation? I suffer, My daughter, when I see that you forget Me." This last reproof sufficed and served to detach me from every creature in order to turn myself to our Creator.
"It is true Jesus, if I think of what I have gone through as a child and now as a grown up girl I see that I have always had crosses to bear; But oh! how wrong are those who say that suffering is a misfortune!" -St Gemma Galgani