The call of the Lord to offer Him an unceasing, life-long act of love was the foundation of the spirituality of the Venerable Sister Consolata Betrone. He taught her the now well-known prayer, “Jesus Mary! I Love You, Save Souls!” Recently, another religious sister, whose identity remains anonymous, wrote of her experiences as she lived this prayer, in a book entitled I Will Think of Everything. You, Think Only of Loving Me, published with Imprimatur in 2017. The title of this book emphasizes one of the key parts of the ceaseless act of love – that as we concentrate our prayer and attention on loving Him, He will take care of everything else in our lives. It was this promise that attracted our anonymous sister to immerse herself in the teachings that our Our Lord presented to Venerable Consolata.
Our Lord had said to Sister Consolata: “I will think of everything, even the tiniest things; you, think only of Me, I’m thirsty for your love. All of it. Don’t add a single stray thought, it would be a thorn in My head.”
The sister who authored the book is a member of the Children of Mary community; it is based in Ohio, and dedicated to the apostolate of spreading love for our Eucharistic Lord. She tells the story of how she came to find out about the teachings of Jesus to Sister Consolata, or more correctly, how these teachings found her. She offers personal examples of the way the Lord ‘thought of everything,’ as she let go and let Him resolve many practical difficulties, while she instead concentrated on making endless acts of love for God.
Although the ceaseless act of love is greatly facilitated by praying "Jesus, Mary I love You! Save Souls!" as taught by Our Lord, this is just one of many ways of constantly loving Jesus. In harmony with the goal of her religious community, our anonymous sister shows the reciprocity between loving Jesus through Eucharistic Communion and adoration, and persevering in prayer to love Jesus, Mary and souls. This is the fulfillment of the commandments to love God and our neighbor. Our neighbor is in some way God made visible to us.
Her book is interspersed with quotes from the only other book in English about Sister Consolata and the prayer of love, Jesus Appeals to the World, by Fr. Lorenzo Sales. It is a translation from the Italian of the work of Fr. Sales, and first appeared in 1955. (My post about that book is Here.) Her book also often quotes from, no surprise, The Tremendous Lover, by Fr. Eugene Boylan; and also cites Fr. John Hardon, St. John of the Cross, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Catherine of Siena, papal documents, and other sources.
Those who regularly pray, “Jesus Mary I Love You! Save Souls!” as an offering to Jesus, become part of a movement which He termed The Littlest Way of Love. The very first Littlest One to consecrate herself to making the ceaseless act of love during the lifetime of Sister Consolata, was an 85 year-old lay woman named Giovanna Compaire. The Lord foretold that over the course of centuries to come throughout the world, “The Littlest Ones will not merely be counted by the thousands, but by millions and millions. They will not belong exclusively to the feminine sex; there will also be men; yes, there are many Little Souls even among men.”
This Littlest Way can be summarized in three sentences: Make an internal, ceaseless act of Love. Say a cheerful “Yes” to everyone since it’s Jesus we see and deal with through others. Say a grateful “yes” to everything that God asks of us. This act of love becomes a “virginal act of love” when it is not intermingled with any other thought. While centering on this love, one should avoid all useless speech unless it is required by Christian charity; one should resist inquisitiveness about the events of the world or about the affairs one’s neighbor.
A surprise bonus in the book is a question-answer catechism on the Littlest Way of Love written by Fr. Lorenzo Sales. Comprising 99 questions and almost as many pages, Fr. Sales deals with all aspects of the unceasing act of love. It can almost be called a “Catechism of Divine Love”.
The Lord told Sister Consolata that the prayer “Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save Souls!” includes everything: the souls in purgatory, as well as those in the militant Church; the innocent soul as well as the guilty one, the dying one, the atheist, etc., all souls. However, the unceasing act of love is not an escape or a bed of roses. In the above mentioned catechism we read, “Jesus didn’t present the ceaseless act of love to Sr. Consolata as a solace, but as a cross, upon which she was to live her vocation as a victim of love, upon which she was to complete her holocaust of love and suffering for souls.”
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