St Gemma's submission to the will of God

Letter from Gemma to Father Germano C.P.

June 1901
On opening this letter, Father mine, you will say, "I wonder what new thing that silly Gemma will have to tell me this time?" It is indeed a new thing that I have never before experienced. Get ready to listen. Well, you know it is customary that on Thursday and Friday, dur­ing the day, Jesus gives me some little present (suffering) and to the usual ones he has now added another very precious one this week. He made me experience some blows of a whip all over my body, quite painful, Father.
But I know that it can't be anything compared to the terrible blows of my poor Jesus. You recall how we prayed together that Jesus would take away every exter­nal sign and, see, He has instead added another. Praise be to Jesus. May He be infinitely thanked.

But he assured me that He would satisfy me by taking away the signs, adding: "However, I will increase your suffering and a different life will begin for you." 
You will be satisfied, won't you, my Father, even you, now that Jesus has made me this promise? But I need a little help from you. Father, my heart still continues the violent palpitations.
[Here Gemma is referring to a phenomenon where her heart would enlarge and beat so violently that it literally would shake the entire bed, as several witnesses, including Fr. Germano, have stated.]

In a letter that Cecelia Giannini sent to Father Germano together with that of Gemma’s letter, the good lady began by saying:

"Father, I have no words with which to describe to you the scene of Thursday and Friday; what strange things are happening, Father. Blessed be Jesus who has so absorbed Gemma in Himself! You would believe that you saw Jesus Himself scourged. Gemma has written to you, but she has not told the hundredth part of what she suffered.... She endured those blows all night and until Friday morning at ten; because I saw that she could bear no more, I said to her: "Father Germano wants you to be well; enough now." And would you believe it, she felt better immediately, and thanked me for making her do this, because she said she really was not able to bear the scourging longer.

But after dinner, she returned to her room and suffered again until half past two when Jesus relieved her because as she herself said, Jesus had compassion on her because she was a little child.”

Cecelia Giannini wrote to Father Germano again on the October 5, 1901:
“Gemma suffers terribly. It seems as if her soul would depart at any moment; from the distress that seizes her, three ribs have been dislocated. Under obedience to the confessor, she had me feel those near the heart today, and I perceived that they were much elevated; they could be felt outside. I believe that it is torture, and I suffer very much."

Here we see how the force of Gemma's heart actually pushed outwards three of her ribs near her heart--a fact that was later medically verified at Gemma's exhumation after her death, as stated by Father Germano in his book "The life of St Gemma Galgani".

Now the time came where Jesus began asking her to lay herself upon the cross and be crucified. The letters of 1902 and 1903 tell of this final holocaust. Father Germano commanded her again and again to pray herself back to health, but to no avail. Fr. Germano writes:
“... With regard to your health, in the name of Jesus, I command you to return to good health, to take on flesh by the end of the year. Ask Jesus to let this come about through holy obedience on your part. “

Signora Cecelia replies in a short note:
Today, June 27, 1902, in an ecstasy, Gemma said: "Jesus, we will soon be at the end of your month, June. I have to carry out the command of Father Germano, under obedience, to return to health."

Concerning this command of Father Germano for a return to health, Gemma, in the same month, writes:
“In regard to your command laid upon me to be in good health, I have something to tell you. Jesus, I hope, will let me be obedient; indeed, I am certain that, by the end of next month, I will not reject food any more. But Father, it seems to me that Jesus inspires me to ask a favor of you. Do not be angry, Father, I will do as you say. It is nothing wrong that I ask of you. You may have many reasons to offer, but these reasons really don't count. Are you willing that I ask Jesus the grace of not being able as long as I live to distinguish any taste in food anymore? Father, I want this favor. I hope Jesus will concede it to me; however, I shall be satisfied as He wills. Please consider it.”

Jesus then makes a pact with Gemma:
July 9, 1902
Dear Father,
Today Jesus and I made a pact concerning food.
Father, food shall have no taste for me anymore. Jesus will let me retain it, however, as you request, if I take only very little. If I take much I will reject it as before. After the pact I spoke with Jesus of my health and in your name, Father, I asked Him again if I could be well and gain a little flesh according to your wish. This was His reply: "Tell your father that this time I will allow it, but only for a very short time." 
I understood not what he meant. Will you explain it to me?...”

Father Germano let her ask Jesus for the extinction of taste, but only on condition that she retain the food that she ate. And Jesus gave assent to Fr. Germano’s request, but only for a short couple of months, for the time of her crucifixion was soon at hand.

A few months later Gemma writes to Father Germano concerning premonitions of her death upon which heaven had enlightened her:

October 27, 1902
Reverend Father,
It may be imagination, but I have already had two strong premonitions of approaching death; I should like to see you: I have so many things to do before I die.
Jesus calls me to Himself, I believe, and soon. And I should like to have you, Monsignor, and my good mother, Cecelia, near me. Certainly, Father, I do not know, but I have had two strong premonitions of preparing myself to die. What a lovely grace! I attribute it to my dear sister, Julia, who went to Paradise eight days ago. At once, Father, as soon as you receive a telegram, depart. Who knows, it may not be for some months; but be tranquil; Jesus will let me know the time. I have had clear signs, I tell you frankly, of approaching death, and I thank Him from my heart, but I do not know the time or the hour. Pray and listen to the instruction of Jesus. Come supplied with the Papal Benediction.

Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary makes an appearance - another warning concerning Gemma’s impending death:

Dear Father:
I was lying on my bed, though not asleep, when I seemed to see a beautiful lady approaching me, and as he was about to kiss me; I called out to Cecelia. I do not know whether she came for I lost consciousness and was no longer in the world.
I at once made a thousand protests, and my celestial mother looked at me, smiled, and said:
"Dear daughter, how much pleasing incense you give me."

Father, forgive me if I submitted to her loving em­brace too soon, contrary to your commands. She took me in her arms, and I was on the point of death from so much sweetness ... How many caresses! ... she loves me so . . . She said some words then that I did not under­stand: 
"Daughter make yourself perfect in spirit, and soon ... " 

Here I do not know what happened. That "soon" gave my heart so violent a convulsion that my mother put her beautiful hand upon it; I could not speak, but interiorly I asked her to reply; I opened my eyes, and with them I spoke to her.
She said:  "Tell your Father (Father Germano), that if he does not give you more thought, I will take you to Paradise." She kissed me, saying: "If not, soon, much sooner than he thinks, we shall be together." 

She left me and my soul was wrapped in joy. Father, after such experiences how insignificant the world appears!

I asked her to let me have a little health, a little more of life; she promised me, repeating these words:
"Tell your Father that I will give it to you but if he does not take thought of you, I will bring you with me very soon!"

I am content; I am suffering continually, but I am in peace; I ask no more to go into the convent if a better place awaits me. I asked a sign from my Mother so that I should know that she was truly the Mother of God. And she said, "I give you back your health as a sign, and tell him this." 
Indeed I had a return to health on the same day, and which you know I have been [very ill] for four months.”
-I am,
Poor Gemma
About seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary- From Gemma's Diary:
"I also must say that upon first seeing these things, these figures (that certainly could have been deceptions), I am initially taken with fear; then fear is followed quickly by joy. However that may be, this is what happens to me. I spoke with Her about some of my desires, the most important one being that she should bring me with her to Heaven; this I said to her several times. She answered: "Daughter, you must suffer still more."
"I will suffer up there," I wanted to say, "in Heaven."
"Oh no," was her reply, "in Heaven there is no more suffering; but I will bring you there very soon," She said.
She was near my bed, so beautiful, I contemplated her and could not get enough. I commended my sinner to her; She smiled: that was a good sign ... I further commended to her various persons who were dear to me, in par­ticular those to whom I have a big debt of gratitude. And this I had to do also on the order of my confessor, who last time beseeched me to commend them fervently to Our Lady of Sorrows, saying that I could do nothing for them but that the Blessed Virgin may ask on my behalf and bestow on them every grace.
I feared that She would leave me at any moment and so I called her repeatedly and said She should take me with her. Her presence made me for­get about my protector, Brother Gabriel. I asked about him, why hadn't She brought him along, and She said: "Because Brother Gabriel demands more exact obedience from you." She had something to tell me for Father Ger­mano; to these last words She did not answer.
While we were talking together She constantly held my hand, and then She let go; I did not want her to go and I was about to cry; then She said:
"My daughter, that's enough; Jesus wants this sacrifice from you, now it's time for Me to leave you." Her words calmed me and I answered with tran­quility: "So be it, the sacrifice is done." She left. Who could describe pre­cisely how beautiful, how beloved is the Heavenly Mother? No, for certain there is no comparison. When will I have the good fortune of seeing Her again?

-St Gemma, pray for us!

1 comment:

Steve Browning said...

Saint Gemma, pray for us!
I am so deeply touched by Saint Gemma's love of obedience to her
Confessor; and, her love of suffering,
as a Victim for Souls. Oh what tenderness, love & compassion for
Saint Gemma by the Most Blessed
Virgin Mary, who promises to take
Saint Gemma to Heaven, soon!