How Jesus and Mary reward the love of them
July 18, 2021 • 6 min
We read in the life of Sister Domenica of Paradise, written by Father Ignatius of Niente, a Dominican, that in a village called Paradise, near Florence, this little girl was born of poor parents.
From her infancy she practised devotion to the divine mother. She fasted every day of the week in her honor, and on Saturday she distributed to the poor the food of which she had deprived herself; and every Saturday she went into the garden, or into the neighboring fields, and there gathered all the flowers she could find, and placed them before a statue of the holy Virgin with the infant Jesus in her arms, which she had in her house.
But let us see now with what favors our most grateful Lady compensated this her servant, for the homage she paid her.
As she stood one Sunday at the window, when she was about ten years of age, she saw in the street a woman with a beautiful countenance, accompanied by a little child, and they both extended their hands as if to ask alms. She went for some bread, and, behold, before she could open the door, they stood beside her, and she saw wounds on the hands, feet, and breast of the child. Then she said to the woman: “Who has wounded this child?” “It was love,” answered the mother.
Domenica, charmed by his beauty and modesty, asked him if his wounds pained him; but he only answered with a smile. As they were standing near the images of Jesus and of Mary, the mother said to Domenica: “Tell me, little girl, what makes you crown these images with flowers?” She answered: “The love I have for Jesus and Mary makes me do it.” “And how much do you love them?” “I love them as much as I can.” “And how much can you love them?” “As much as they will help me.” “Continue, then,” said the mother, “continue to love them, for they will richly return your love in paradise.”
Then the little girl perceived a celestial odor coming forth from those wounds, and she asked the mother with what ointment she had anointed them, and if that ointment could be purchased? “It is purchased,” answered she, “with faith and works.”
Domenica then offered them the bread. The mother said: “The food of this my Son is love; tell him that you love Jesus and he will be satisfied.” The child at mention of this word love, began to show great signs of joy, and turning to the little girl, he asked her how much she loved Jesus. She answered that she loved him so much, that day and night she was always thinking of him, and desired nothing else but to please him as much as she could. “Well,” answered he, “love him; and love will teach you what you must do to satisfy him.”
The odor then increasing which came from those wounds, Domenica exclaimed: “Oh God, this odor makes me die of love; if the odor of a child is so sweet, what must be the odor of paradise?”
But behold the scene was changed; the mother appeared robed as a queen, and surrounded with light, and the child resplendent as a sun of beauty. He took those flowers and strewed them on her head. She at once saw that these persons were Jesus arid Mary, and prostrated herself in adoration before them. And thus ended the vision. Domenica afterwards took the Dominican habit, and died in the year 1553, with the reputation of a saint.
Oh beloved of God! most amiable child Mary! oh, that like thee, who didst present thyself in the temple, and at once and wholly didst consecrate thyself the glory and love of thy God, I might offer to thee to-day the first years of my life, and dedicate myself entirely to thy service, oh my most holy and sweet Lady! But it is now too late, for, unhappily, I have lost so many years in serving the world and my caprices, as it were entirely forgetful of thee and of God. Alas for the time in which I did not love thee!
But it is better to commence late than at all. Behold, oh Mary, to-day I present my self to thee, and offer myself entirely to thy service, for the longer or shorter time that remains for me to live on the earth; and with thee I renounce all creatures, and dedicate myself entirely to the love of my Creator.
I consecrate to thee, then, oh queen, my mind, that I may always think of the love that thou dost merit, my tongue to praise thee, and my heart to love thee. Accept, oh most holy Virgin, the offering which the most miserable sinner presents to thee; accept it, I pray thee, for the sake of that consolation which filled thy heart when in the temple thou gavest thyself to God.
And if late I begin to serve thee, it is right that I should make good the time lost by redoubling my devotion and my love. Aid my weakness, oh mother of mercy, with thy powerful intercession, and obtain for me perseverance and strength to be faithful to thee until death; that always serving thee in this life, I may come to praise thee eternally in paradise.
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