Letters of St Gemma to her spiritual director

Letters from St Gemma, writing to her spiritual director, Venerable Father Germanus C.P.

"Jesus continues to make me aware of Himself several times a day; in the evening, the morning, and at all times and in all places . . . And what strength it takes for me to hide this from others, especially when I am in the Church, outside, or when I even find myself alone. When at times I spend the whole day repressing this desire, be­cause by obedience to Monsignor I am not free to let myself sink into the sea of love for Jesus, (except for a few moments after Communion, and this with haste because I am afraid) ... in the evening then I have a bit of fever; and this comes from the violence with which I restrain myself. Jesus tells me He is pleased with my obedience. But, Father, will it always be possible for me to restrain myself this way? I am afraid not, because the impulses become always stronger and more frequent; I am very much afraid of the time when I can control them no longer.
Father, how long must I remain in the world? Yester­day morning I prayed Jesus to liberate me from the body; I told Him it seemed imprisoned, and I asked Him to free me that I might go to Him. And Jesus playfully said to me: "And where would you fly?" "To You!" And then Jesus answered: "Let Me come a little while longer to you and then, when I shall free you, you will come to Me."
I have another curious thing to tell you, Father. Jesus asked me what you said in your last letter. I answered that you recommended that I be always humble and detached; but I told Him that you did not explain what you meant; and I said, "Monsignor also tells me to be humble but I do not understand about being detached because I have nothing, so I do not know from what I can be detached. I have only you, Jesus." Then Jesus said, "Tell me, daughter, are you not really too much attached to something?" Do you know what Jesus meant? That tooth of the Venerable Gabriel. I then complained to him, saying, "But, Jesus, that is a precious relic!" (Gemma had been previously cured through the intercession of St Gabriel Possenti, and Father Germanus had given her a tooth of St Gabriel, as a precious relic. Because of her great devotion to St Gabriel, Gemma was very attached to it -editor) and I almost wept. And then Jesus, somewhat seriously said:
"Daughter, I tell you, Jesus is enough." I know it is true, Father, Jesus is right; I am too attached to it. When Sister Maria asked me to let the nuns see it, one day, I gave it to her but I wept afterwards. I wanted to have it always with me . . .
Father, how much I should like to tell you so that you can understand something about me. At times I am constrained to exclaim: "Where am I? Who is near me?" Without any fire at hand, I feel myself burning; without any chain, I feel myself bound to Jesus; by a hundred flames that make me live and make me die, I feel myself destroyed. I suffer, alternately, Father; I live, I die; but my life I would not exchange for that of anyone else in the world. To all I wish to cry: "Love Jesus only."
When I find myself alone with Jesus, I feel myself in delightful company. This is a curious thing: the more I wish to be released the more I find myself bound to Jesus. More than is possible I wish to abandon every­thing in the world, but instead I find all; I flee from all the pleasures of life, and I enjoy instead a pleasure so much greater, that makes me so happy. I burn continu­ally, and I should like to burn even more; I suffer and I should like to suffer more . . . I should like to live, I should like to die ... I tell you plainly I do not even know myself what I desire . . . I seek and I do not find, but then I do not know what I seek ... I love Jesus so very little; I should like to love Him so much more ... I feel love, but whom I love I do not know, I do not understand . . . But in the midst of my great ignorance, I feel that there is an immense God. And Jesus. . . .
Oh Father, if you know of some soul wounded with love of Jesus, ask him what remedy he finds, when sick with love he feels the bitter pain of an ardor which burns, and then tell me about it.
If you could be near, how many things I should like to tell you . . . There remains only Jesus, Father, Jesus alone! ... How good is His mysterious love that never tires! And in me finds nothing but weakness, misery, sins, yet loves me, loves me so much! He does not cease to let me hear His voice in my heart, to let me live in His dear Presence; indeed, so great is the happiness that I expe­rience, that at times I feel myself leaving the world; and more and more I want to leave earth and betake myself to Heaven. Oh Paradise! ... Where there is only one thing to do; to love.
What beautiful moments my good Jesus lets me spend! Yesterday I sent you my Angel. Did he come? Did he tell you everything?
Bless me; Poor Gemma

If you could see, taste, and realize the good gifts that Jesus gives me. I say, Father, that there is not a minute that I do not feel His dear presence; He reveals Himself ever more loving. Today in Communion He was almost playful; He said: "See, Gemma, I have in My Heart a little daughter whom I love so much. This daughter al­ways calls me love and purity, and I Who am the True Love, the True Purity, have given as much of them to her as a human creature can receive. I treasure in her that purity as a celestial lily in My pure love."
Father, how good Jesus is! I would fail utterly, if He did not support me; I should die, if He did not vivify me. Indeed I have been able to penetrate into that de­pravity of those which the world holds lightly; if you could see how they appear in the eyes of God! Help me, Father, Bless me and keep me in your prayers.
I am poor

December 17, 1900
My Father,
I received Holy Communion a little while ago. Jesus, after eighteen days, has come again at last. The first thing He asked me was this: "Gemma, shall I advance My work?" I replied, "Yes," without knowing what He meant. "Do you know Me?" "Oh my Father, Jesus!" Jesus asked me if I still knew Him. He said: "What do you think is the greatest grace that I can give you upon earth?" I did not know what to say. "I will tell you-to keep you on Calvary." Hearing Him say Calvary, I began to understand.

December 26, 1900
My Father,
Father, all is finished. Yesterday evening at midnight Mass, when the priest came to the Offertory, I saw Jesus, Who offered me as a victim to the Eternal Father. I was very happy. He pressed me to Himself; then He led me to our Mother and presented me to her, saying, "This dear daughter of mine you must regard as a daughter of My Passion”.
Father, my heart still continues the violent palpitation.
The blessed Angel, on Thursday evening, just before I began to suffer, came again. Together we adored the majesty of God Who gave me then so lively a sorrow for my sins that I felt ashamed at finding myself in His Presence, I tried to hide myself, to flee. I endured this torment for some time, but the Angel then gave me courage; He took from his breast a sword and let me see it, and said that Jesus soon would put it through the cross in my poor heart. He had two beautiful crowns; one of thorns and one of lilies. He asked me which I wished. I wished to obey you, Father, and did not answer at first. Then I said, "That of Jesus." He raised the crown of thorns; I kissed it many times, smiling and weeping, and the Angel went away ....

November, 1900

If I think of the past. I weep, recalling the way that Jesus sought to lead me to Himself. Oh, Jesus, when will that happy moment come when I shall go to thank You in Heaven ... When Jesus comes within me I call Brother Gabriel (St Gabriel Possenti CP –editor) and our Mother and we pray together. I will run to Jesus; I will love Him with all the strength of my weak heart. I will love Him with sacrifice. I will love Him even by giving to Him my blood and my life.

My Father,
No longer poor Gemma, but blessed be Gemma! That's so, isn't it, Father? ... Thursday, when I went to Holy Communion, I felt Jesus, but His voice was so gentle that I scarcely heard Him when He spoke. I wept, but they were tears of supreme happiness. A thousand times I asked pardon for my sins, and He promised me that if I would not commit them any more He would pardon me gladly. And then ... how shall I recall those happy moments when I had the grace of hearing the loving invitation of Jesus when He said to me, "Gemma, do you not feel Me?" And another time He said (the same morning) "Who am I?" It was my same Jesus of the past; I could do nothing but repeat: "Jesus, strengthen my weakness ....” and then I added, "Make me conscious, Jesus of Your love, and then everything that I suffer will be a joy through being with You.

But how greatly I fear, 0 Jesus, that instead of giving You joy, I will cause You displeasure." I asked Him if He were satisfied with me, if I had helped Him in any way. Do you know, Father, He seemed very pleased; but He was in such haste that it seemed to me a bad sign -scarcely a quarter of an hour He was with me. He asked me if I loved Him. I wept, for you know, Father, whom I have loved more than Jesus. I have loved myself, and oftentimes creatures and pleasures. What could I answer Jesus? I wept for a long time and that was my reply. It is Jesus alone whom I should love, and I have never love Him as I should. Father, search for all the souls that love Jesus and tell them to love Him for me, to glorify Him for me.
My heart has become ice. It is always cold. Every morning when I go to Communion it seems as if my heart becomes harder. Do you not see, Father, that a miracle of Jesus is necessary? Blessed be Jesus!

Today is Saturday-I am rather calm, but not com­pletely. Thursday and Friday I had pain. I suffered in my hands, feet, head, and heart. Now I want to see whether I can explain to you why I have this pain in my heart. You know, Father, when Jesus is hidden, I search for Him every moment, for I wish Him always with me. When He withdraws, I search for Him -at times I search so hard that I become ill. I don't know how else to explain. Do you understand?
This morning I told Monsignor these things, and he replied that he was very glad that I suffered in this way. He told me that this suffering might come at other times beside Friday; to prepare myself for greater things yet. I was almost afraid, but no, what do I say-I am happy. . . . When I shrink from suffering, Jesus reproves me and tells me that He did not refuse to suffer. Then I say:
"Jesus, Your will, not mine." At last I am convinced that only God can make me happy, and in Him I have placed all my hope ....
Today I did not feel Jesus present, but what does it matter? Yesterday evening I was very sad, I wept for Jesus. Signora Cecelia, who was with me, asked me about it; I replied that Jesus was no longer there. She then said: "What does it matter if He is not here; there will come a day when you will see Him." Then my thought flew to Paradise. "Yes," I said, "the time will come when I shall be full of joy with Jesus; I will go to Him, our God. All that He gives me will be for eternity, and He will give me a great reward for any little pains sufferer for His love."

You know, Father, how foolish I am; I sometimes imagine myself talking with the Angels -but what courage I have to speak thus. In heaven the Angels will be our brothers, and my Mother I shall see as great as she is. And this is how I find consolation when suffering: -thinking of Paradise, and then my suffering becomes joy. My God, when my sins come to mind, I am ashamed of seeking Paradise; but if I look at the Crucifix, even with so many sins, I can do nothin other than desire it ardently.
I am poor Gemma of Jesus."

The information for this article is from the book "Portrait of Saint Gemma -A Stigmatic" by Sister Saint Michael


Anonymous said...

St Gemma, please pray for me!
--A poor sinner.

Anonymous said...

St Gemma, please pray for me that my love for Jesus will grow each second. Please pray that the Lord will create a pure heart in me so my love for Jesus will be pure.
-A poor sinner.