Letter of Saint Gemma to Venerable Father Germano CP
Friday, August 29, 1902
Do not be angry at me; as soon as I read your letter and realized that my inability to write derived from Chiappino.[“Chiappino” was Gemma’s nickname for the devil -editor] I got up and instantly seized a pen. I believe it really did come from him but believe me, and I say this with Jesus truly in my heart, I no longer have those thoughts about you. I feel calm and peaceful, with complete faith in you; the only reason I did not write, dear Dad is because I am so weak that if I put my head down, when I raise it up I feel faint, but I will make an effort. Oh my God! ... Oh my Dad! ...
I was at Controne and up there Jesus did not fail to have my good angel pay me a little visit; I was so consoled. After making all my protestations, I started talking with him. My dear Dad, Jesus continues to let me taste such sweetness in prayer. Yes, if Jesus is sweetness, He spreads it all out in the Blessed Sacrament.
But how can it be that such a great majesty tolerates being with such a vile creature? How is this? Maybe He does not see the ingratitude of my soul? Does He not see my heart without devotion? And yet, nevertheless, Jesus puts up with me, loves me; and if Jesus loves me, poor as I am, how shall I not love Him, so rich and strong? Dad, help me! ...
Listen to this strange thing ... Monsignor had allowed me to confess myself with Father Paolo, the apostolic preacher. I confessed thoroughly and he advised me among other things to pray for sinners, which I promised to do. Without thinking further about it, an hour or two after confession, the devil (whom I recognized clearly) said to me: "As long as you are acting on your own behalf, do as you wish, but don't you dare do anything for sinners because you will pay for it!"
I beg you, Dad, on my knees, to think about making an absolute command to my good Mom [Gemma's friend and adoptive mother, Ms. Cecilia Giannini -editor] not to force me to eat. Listen: at Controne she ordered me to eat; I ate and then in throwing up I also spit up clots of blood and you could see that it was too much effort; blood even came from my nose.
Think about making this command once and for all, begging her never to forget it. I pray continuously to good Jesus to make me well, but how can I do this when Jesus permits these things? Let us hope for the best.
I am your poor,
Saturday, August 30, 1902
Jesus still has not let you know about the ingratitude of my soul? Oh dear Dad, help me, do not leave me; I will be sincere, obedient, and not withhold anything.
I would be quite calm, but receiving holy Communion makes me a little afraid; I fear doing it wrong, not preparing properly (even though to this I usually devote most of the night); when I give thanks afterward, Jesus holds me close to Himself; but I do things without concern or reflection, so Jesus cannot be pleased, no way; so what should I do? I await from you, my dear Dad, a helping hand, some counsel.
So much up to today, August 30.
Today, September 3, I take up the pen again; I have a fever, since yesterday after dinner. Long live Jesus!
I have to communicate something to you, Dad. For about eight days I have been feeling a mysterious fire where my heart is, I do not understand. The first few days I made nothing of it because it gave me little if any trouble but today is the third day that this fire is growing rapidly, almost to the point that I cannot bear it; I would need some ice to extinguish it; it is very annoying, prevents me from sleeping, eating, etc. etc. It's a mysterious fire, Dad, that extends to the outside of me as well, and on the skin it leaves a burn mark; it is a fire that does not torment me, you know, it gives me pleasure, but it destroys me, it consumes me. Jesus will make you understand everything tomorrow morning, indeed, He will already have made you understand everything. Great God, I love you! I want to love you so much!
I'll stop, because with my fever I cannot go on. Jesus and my good angel will tell all.
P.S. -Pray for my soul, in danger of falling. Oh God, I will do anything, do not permit it.
Letter to Mother Maria Giuseppa
Sunday, August 31, 1902
Long live Jesus! Long live merciful Jesus! For how long, dear Mother, Jesus has nourished me with His Blessed Sacrament alone! For how long He has guided my life with such affection! And for how long He has placed persons in His place to help me, bear with me, love me.
Do I perhaps receive communion well? Then why do I see no fruit? Do I perhaps receive communion badly? Oh God ... make me die rather than receiving Communion badly and living in sacrilege, no, no ... Dear Mother, pray for me, for this, for all of me.
"Poor Jesus! How does He put up with and suffer such thanklessness and ingratitude from me? Jesus, Jesus who cannot bear the smallest fault in His souls, how does He put up with me, who offends Him at every hour, every moment? Often I hear Him cry, I feel Him afflicted, and He tells me He does this for sinners." -St Gemma Galgani