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  • Sarah Raad

Lukewarm

“My daughter, your love compensates Me for the coldness of many souls.” (Saint Faustina, Diary 1816).

The Passion of Christ (James J Tissot)

When I was a little girl – and still to this day – my father quotes an old cliche that goes like this…


“The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who sit on the fence.”


Now, when my father speaks like this, he is usually encouraging one of his children to decide about something. The matter is usually nothing serious, and when he speaks those words to us, we are very well aware that he is not talking of our literal descent into hell, and so, they have become a bit of a family joke...


At least that is what I used to think before I finishing the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska about a month ago! But now – in relation to the spiritual basis of my father’s oft-quoted words – I am not so sure that there is room for laughter…


You see, Christ appeared to Saint Faustina, who he called His Secretary of Mercy and He explained many things to her about His infinite Mercy, which she recorded faithfully at His command, in her diary, which was published after her death.

As part of this communication over years of the Saint’s life, Christ explained the suffering and pain He feels, which is caused by “lukewarm souls”.

In her Diary Entry 1228, Saint Faustina writes the words of Christ, who commanded, “Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.”


These are strong words. In the Garden of Gethsemane – prior to His physical torture by His captors – Christ sweated BLOOD. This phenomenon was not metaphorical. It was not symbolic. It was literal. Christ literally sweated BLOOD out of the pores of His Skin. We are told this explicitly in the Gospel of Saint Luke… “An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:43-44).


It is an extremely rare thing for a human being to sweat blood. Sweating blood is called hematohidrosis and can result from bleeding disorders or in people experiencing extreme stress. When an individual is under extreme stress, the blood vessels that form a net-like structure around the sweat glands become constricted and cause blood to be released from the sweat glands. In this way, a human-being can – under very rare circumstances – sweat blood.


And I think about that now…


When Christ was sweating in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was sweating blood because He was under EXTREME stress. And the cause of that extreme stress, was not His pending torture and execution. It was not His fear of death or His worry about the loss of His Earthly life’s work through the upcoming betrayal of His apostles. He was not worried about the Evil One. He was not worried about His Blessed Mother, and Her sufferings – great though they would be…


And then the apostles slept... For on that night - even His apostles were lukewarm souls. What anguish my Beloved felt that night! What terrible anguish!

My Beloved sweated blood for lukewarm souls! Mine – perhaps yours too… Souls that receive the Blessed Eucharist the morning, and sin in the afternoon. Souls that show a careless disregard of God…

In her Diary Entry 1229, Saint Faustina composed a prayer to Christ where she said, “Most Compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let these tepid souls, who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardour of Your love; and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.”


For Christ – through His INIFINITE mercy – brings what is lacking to souls. That means where souls experience a deficiency of love for Him, He brings them the love that they lack.


At times, in His words to Saint Faustina, Christ expressed His pain at entering a lukewarm soul through the Blessed Eucharist. And I have been reflecting very much on those words in the weeks since finishing that text… You see, they shine a great light on the MAGNITUDE of the GIFT of the Eucharist. For when Christ instituted the Eucharist – it was so that He could REMAIN with us to help us out of LOVE for us. And this means that He chose to stay with us because though He knew that this very institution that would HELP so many of us, He also knew that it would continue to cause Him pain even until the end of the world…


For Christ will NEVER refuse a soul. Even if a soul is dead (in a state of MORTAL SIN), if that soul receives the Blessed Eucharist, Christ will enter that SOUL – at GREAT PAIN TO HIMSELF…


What awesome humility that is from our God. He will enter a soul that has ABSOLUTELY rejected Him, and He will do so willingly out of love for even the most ungrateful soul.


Oh, His Poor Suffering Pain…


Saint Faustina recorded Christ saying in her Diary Entry 1702, “Souls without love and without devotion, souls full of egoism and self-love, souls full of pride and arrogance, souls full of deceit and hypocrisy, lukewarm souls who have just enough warmth to keep them alive: My Heart cannot bear this. All the graces that I pour out upon them flow off them as off the face of a rock. I cannot stand them, because they are neither good or bad… There is neither penance nor atonement. O heart, which received Me in the morning and at noon are all ablaze with hatred against Me, hatred of all sorts!...”

And so, upon reflection, as I think of my father’s oft-quoted words, and I pray to Saint Faustina, it occurs to me to pray – as she did – so that souls would LOVE my Beloved, because this would spare Him pain...

After all, in His own words He told Saint Faustina, “My daughter, your love compensates Me for the coldness of many souls.” (Diary 1816).


And how I long to emulate the example of such a saint, who “lived in an act of reparation” for many souls (Diary 1816).


And I long for the day when my Beloved could say such words to me…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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