A Cup of Cold Water:
The Value of Daily Actions

"And whoever shall give to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink because
he is my disciple, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." – Matthew 10:42

THE Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31). The same apostle wrote, "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17)

In the Scriptures, Christ promised that he would pour out his spirit upon men and women of all conditions (Acts 2:17-18). The wisdom of God can do all things, and remaining itself the same, renews all things, and through nations conveys itself into holy souls, making them friends of God and prophets. (Wisdom 7:27). In 1922 Christ revealed himself to Josefa Menendez, a sister at the convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, in Poitiers, France.

"Write for my souls," He said. "The soul who constantly unites her life with mine glorifies me and does a great work for souls. Thus, if engaged in work of no value in itself, if she bathes it in My Blood or unites it to the work I Myself did during My mortal life, it will greatly profit souls, more perhaps, than if she had preached to the whole world, and that, whether she studies, speaks or writes, whether she sews, sweeps or rests, provided first that the act is sanctioned by obedience or duty and not done from mere caprice; secondly, that it is done in intimate union with Me, with great purity of intention and covered with My Blood.

"I so much want souls to understand this! It is not the action in itself that is of value; it is the intention with which it is done. When I swept and laboured in the workshop of Nazareth, I gave as much glory to My Father as when I preached during My public life. "There are many souls who in the eyes of the world fill important posts, and they give My Heart great glory; this is true. But I have many hidden souls who in their humble labours are very useful workers in My vineyard, for they are moved by love, and they know how to cover their deeds with supernatural gold by bathing them in My Blood. My love goes so far that My souls can draw great treasure out of mere nothing. When as soon as they wake they unite themselves to me and offer their whole day with a burning desire that My Heart may use it for the profit of souls, when with love they perform their duties, hour by hour and moment by moment, how great is the treasure they amass in one day!

"I will reveal My love to them more and more. It is inexhaustible, and how easy it is for a loving soul to let itself be guided by love." (Nov. 30, 1922). Jesus was silent. Josefa laid down her pen, and for a few instants remained in adoration before Him who thus opened His Heart so widely before her. "Adieu," He said at last, "go back to your work; love and suffer, for love is inseparable from suffering. Abandon yourself to the care of the best of Fathers, and to the love of the tenderest of Partners." This was ever the lesson dearest to God Our Savior. His Cross is a choice gift, surpassing the most precious of favors. On this First Friday He left it to Josefa, who carried it both day and night.

On Saturday, December 2, she noted simply: "With great difficulty, I managed to go to meditation, for my strength is gone."

At eight o'clock, however, she was at her post, and Jesus soon joined her. "Write for souls," He said, as on the preceding day.

Josefa knelt at her small table, and Our Lord spoke, standing beside her. "My Heart is all love and it embraces all souls, but how can I make My chosen souls understand My special love for them, and how I wish to use them to save sinners and so many souls who are exposed to the perils of the world? For this reason I would like them to know how much I desire their perfection, and that it consists in doing their ordinary actions in intimate union with Me. If they once grasped this, they could divinize their life and all their activities by this close union with My heart, and how great is the value of a divinized day!

"When a soul is burnt up with desire to love, nothing is a burden to her, but if she feels cold and spiritless everything becomes hard and difficult. Let her then come to My Heart to revive her courage. Let her offer Me her dejection, and unite it to My fervour; then she may rest content, for her day will be of incomparable value to souls. All human miseries are known to My Heart, and My compassion for them is great.

"But I desire souls to unite themselves to Me not only in a general way. I long for this union to be constant and intimate, as it is between friends who live together; for even if they are not talking all the time, at least they look at each other, and their mutual affectionate little kindnesses are the fruit of their love.

"When a soul is in peace and consolation, doubtless it is easier for her to think of Me, but if she is in the throes of desolation and anguish, she need not fear. I am content with a glance. I understand, and this mere look will draw down on her special proofs of my tenderness.

"I will repeat again to souls how My Heart loves them, for I want them to know Me thoroughly, that they may make Me known to those I place in their care.

"I ardently desire My chosen souls to fix their eyes on Me, and never turn them away, and among them there should be no mediocrity, which usually is the result of a misunderstanding of My love. No! it is neither difficult nor hard to love My Heart, but on the contrary, it is sweet and easy. They need do nothing extraordinary to attain to a high degree of love; purity of intention, be the action great or small, intimate union with My Heart, and love will do the rest."

Jesus stopped; then bending down towards Josefa who was prostrate at His feet: "Go," He said, "and have no fear. It is I who cultivate this little flower, that it may not perish! Love Me in peace and joy."

Every night the Master brought Josefa His Cross which He asked her to carry for the soul that was causing Him such sorrow.

"Will you carry My Cross?" He asked her. And instantly she offered herself to take it from His sacred shoulders.

On Friday, Sept. 8, 1922, towards evening He came "as a poor man hungry and begging," she wrote, thus accurately describing the atmosphere of sad appeal that seemed to envelop His whole person.

"O slake My thirst to be loved by souls, especially to be loved by those I have chosen. That soul is oblivious of My love," he went on. "It is his ingratitude that puts me into this state."

"Then," wrote Josefa, "I begged Him to accept all the little acts done here, the sufferings of the house, and above all the very real desire we all have to comfort and please Him. I asked Him to purify and transform these very little things, and give them some value in His sight.

"I do not look at the act itself, I look at the intention," He replied. "The smallest act, if done out of love, acquires such merit that it gives Me immense consolation. I want only love, I ask for nothing else."

Others besides Josefa had a share in this ransom: there were at that time at the convent in Poitiers several sisters who by their acceptance of illness or infirmity were closely united to Our Lord crucified. Speaking of them Our Lord said on Sept. 13: "Many are willing to entertain Me when I visit them with consolation. Many receive Me with joy in Holy Communion, but few welcome Me when I visit them with My Cross. When a soul is stretched on the cross, and is surrendered to My will, that soul glorifies me, and consoles Me, and is very close to Me."

He then made His meaning clearer still: "It is because of the sufferings of My religious that that sinner has not fallen lower still; but yet more must be undergone for his conversion. When he has come back to Me, Josefa," He added, so that she might not lose sight of her mission, "I will tell you the secret of My love for souls, for I want them all to know how great it is."

Days and nights passed during which Josefa had no relief from her sufferings of soul or body. "Be not dismayed," said Our Lord to her on Sept. 21, "for that soul will not be lost. He will soon be returning to My Heart, but when a soul is to be saved, much suffering is needed."

This none knew better than Josefa. The devil set himself against her in furious assaults, as if he had guessed the redemptive character of her sufferings for the soul he thought to have securely in his clutches. Descents into hell were added to the other painful afflictions she underwent, and night after night the Cross of Jesus lay heavy on her shoulder. On Sept. 25, after a more than usually painful night, Our Lord manifested Himself to her. His Heart had no wound and was transfused with light and beauty.

He said, "See! that soul has come back to Me and has allowed grace to triumph. O love Me, and refuse Me nothing to obtain for Me the love of many other souls."

Who on reading this account can doubt that the lost sheep is ever the best loved-- the prodigal son the most eagerly sought and the most tenderly received? But Our Lord did not allow Josefa any long respite. Her mission ceased neither day nor night, since souls are in peril, and the world is full of sin. Such is the lesson He seems to be teaching us through her.

Whether You Eat or Drink

The apostle Paul wrote, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31). Our Lord gave a practical lesson about this passage to Josefa in 1922:

On Tuesday, June 14, Jesus the all beautiful came. He bore in His hands the Crown of Thorns, and He asked Josefa with an expression of mildness: "Will you comfort Me?" She assented at once, and He continued: "I want you to work at bringing back to Me a much-loved soul. Direct your attention and offer all you do for him. Often present My Blood to the Father. Kiss the ground, in reparation for this outraged Blood, trampled underfoot by the souls I so dearly love. If you obtain leave, I will tell you all you can do for him." Then He laid out a plan for days of oblation:

"When you awake, enter at once into My Heart, and when you are deep down in It, offer My Father all your actions united to the beating of My Heart. Unite all your actions to Mine, so that it will no longer be you, but I, that act in you." (Galatians 2:20) "During Mass, present this soul that I want to save to My Father, so that He may pour over him the Blood of the Victim that is about to be immolated. When you go to Holy Communion, offer the divine wealth you then possess to pay that soul's debt.

During your prayer, place yourself beside Me in Gethsemane, share My anguish, and offer yourself to My Father as a victim, ready to endure all that your soul is able to bear. When you take your food, think that you are giving Me that alleviation, and do the same whenever you take pleasure in anything whatsoever.

Do not be separated from Me, even for one instant. Often kiss the ground. Do not omit to make the Stations a single day. If I need you, I will tell you.

Look solely to My will in all you do, and accomplish it with the greatest submission. Humble yourself profoundly, but always joining confidence and love to your humility. Do everything out of love, and do not lose sight of what I suffered for souls.

During the night you will rest in My Heart. Mine will hearken to the beats of yours, which will stand as so many acts of love and desire. Thus you will bring back to Me that soul that so offends Me."

I asked Him to be indulgent with me, if one or other of these points is not done exactly as He wishes, for I am very weak. In the evening, during my adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, He came with bleeding hands and feet, and looking up to heaven, He said: "Offer My Father the divine Victim and the Blood of My Heart for that soul."

He repeated the same words three times. I told Him of my desire to comfort Him and to carry out all He had explained to me.

"Do not be over-anxious; you possess My Heart for all I ask you to do." (June 14, 1921. Poitiers, France)

The Value of Good Desires

"Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble; you will prepare their heart, you will cause your ear to hear." --Psalms 10:17

"Those souls must come back to Me without further delay. Pray hard that they may allow grace to penetrate them. Although you can do no more than desire to see Me loved, this is already much. It relieves My Heart. For this longing is love. Offer yourself for those souls, that love may pierce them through and through."

I prayed to Him for all those souls, begging of Him to make many of them know the goodness of His Heart and love Him.

"It pleases Me to see you famished for My love and burnt up with longing to see Me loved. That by itself is consolation to My Heart. Yes, pray for the souls of which I have given you charge. A few more sacrifices, and they will return to Me."

On Saturday, Nov. 20, He came to her, as a beggar, destitute and asking for love. Many little wounds were lacerating His Heart. "Tell Me, would you not attempt the impossible to comfort Me, Josefa? Share with Me for a moment the bitterness of My heart." Then helpless distress seemed to overpower my soul. He was still there, and gradually His Heart lit up, and all His wounds disappeared. "Listen," He said, "I want you to give Me souls. Only love in all you do is required. Suffer because you love, work because you love, and above all abandon yourself to love. When I let you feel anguish of spirit and great loneliness, suffer in love. I want to make use of you, as a tired man uses a stick to lean upon. I want to possess you, to consume you entirely, but all in great sweetness, so that enduring a martyrdom of love, you thirst to suffer more."

On Nov. 13, 1923, He said to Josefa: “My words will be light and life for an incalculable number of souls.
They will all be printed, read and preached, and I will grant very special grace,
that by them souls may be enlightened and transformed."

On June 19, 1923, Our Lord made a most precious and marvelous promise:

"I tell you once more that grace will accompany My words, and those who make them known.
Truth will triumph, and peace will reign over souls and the world,
and My kingdom will come!"

The Way of Divine Love, by Josefa Menendez. --- This book is more than an account of extraordinary graces granted to a humble soul; it is the message that Our Lord Himself desired to be made known to the world. It is truly a spiritual classic. Approved by Pope Pius XII. 506 pgs. - soft cover - $3.50 + $4.00 shipping.
J.M.J. Book Company, P.O. Box 15,
Necedah, WI 54646 ------------------ Tel. (608) 565-2516

(Selections from The Way of Divine Love, the Message of the Sacred Heart to the World,
by Josefa Menendez, Sister of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, 1890--1923.)

For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -- Psalm 30:5

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. -- Psalm 34:17-18

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. -- 1 Peter 4:12-13

Following His Footsteps,
by Anselmo del Alamo
Chapter 7. Mortification, Suffering

22. It would be very pleasing to me if my friends judged me less cruel. They should have the delicacy of thinking that I do not use severity, except for their benefit and for their greater benefit. I do it through love, and if this were not necessary to cure them or in order to increase their eternal glory, I would not even let the slightest breeze bother them. --- Our Lord to St. Gertrude

24. We never have so many motives for consolation as when we see we are loaded with pains and suffering, for these things are what make us similar to our Lord Jesus Christ. This similarity is the true and secure sign of our predestination. -- St. Vincent de Paul

25. If it is necessary, let us suffer without courage. Jesus also suffered with sadness. Would a soul suffer without sadness? And we would like to suffer generously, with joy? What an illusion! -- St. Therese of Lisieux

26. I do not understand well those who support their tribulation, lamenting and complaining always, because paternal chastisement and my correction proceed from a great love and are truly sweet and benign, in such a way that he should be considered happy from whom affliction is never absent; this his affliction does not proceed from my severity, but rather from the most tender and benign love I feel for him, and I want this to be understood about any cross and tribulation, whether sought spontaneously, or whether it comes from somewhere else, against the will of him who suffers it, for in this case one makes a virtue of necessity. Let him who bears this cross not flee from it against my disposition: let him direct his suffering to my eternal praise, with resignation and humble patience; and the more suffering is accompanied by greater love and a prompt will, so much the more is it noble and to me more agreeable. --- Our Lord to Blessed Henry Suso

27. As the ring is a sign of betrothal, thus adversity, both bodily and spiritual, supported patiently for the love of God, is the most secure pledge of divine election, and a kind of nuptials of the soul with God. -- St. Gertrude

Siguiendo Sus Huellas (Following His Footsteps) was written by Rev. Anselmo del Alamo, Sch. P., in Getafe, Spain (near Madrid) in 1963.