St Alphonsa’s Spiritual Credo
The following extract form St Alphonsa’s diary, original written in Malayalam, spells out her spiritual ideology.
How I Plan to Reorient My Life
1. My God, my all- thus I summarize my life’s ideology.
2. Humility shall be the bedrock of my religious life
3. The three walls of the edifice of my monastic life shall be: i)Prayer ii) Sacrifice, poverty, chastity and obedience iii) Love of all human beings
4. I submit myself to Jesus as a sacrificial offering in expiation of sins and as a token of my love for him.
5. These thoughts I will convey to Jesus after the Holy Mass.
The Men and women who Guided her Steps
Apart her father Joseph Muttathupadathu and her foster mother, Annamma murickal, several persons were privileged to guide her steps during her earthly sojourn. They include Fr. Joseph Muttathupadathu, her grand uncle, Fr. Romulus CMI and Fr. Louis, both her spiritual directors, Sr. Urusula, the Mother Superior of her convent and Mar James Kalassery, her bishop, as also her many friends in the community.
The Foot-steps She followed in
St Alphonsa had assigned to herself, as her role model the life of St. Therese of Lisieux whom she tried to emulate as closely as she could. The ardent love she felt for monastic life was inspired in her by the Little Flower, whose life she also devoted to Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara (b.1805), who, as she disclosed to her fellow nuns, appeared to her once in a vision and granted her a miraculous cure but spoke to her also about the suffering she was to undergo in the following years.
MESSAGE OF ST. ALPHONSA
The central message that comes from the life of Alphonsa is thus only a living experience of Christ can lead us to a loving appreciation of his suffering for us and a meaningful acceptance and offering of our sufferings to the Lord in love. Because the suffering accepted with the crucified Lord is saving and redeeming.
The striking aspects of her life were her childlike simplicity and her identification with the Crucified Christ. She had lofty esteem for the passion of Christ and was eager to fulfill in her body what was lacking in the affliction of Christ. She has held up before a questioning world, her conviction of the ultimate triumph of resignation to the Will of God and her tremendous faith in the redeeming value of suffering – physical and mental – endured on behalf of Christ. The keynote of her life was death to self and life to Christ and in Christ.
St. Alphonsa stands as a challenge to the modern world who deplores their grief and miseries. She was meant by our good God to teach us in this pleasure intoxicated age this truth: ‘unless a grain of wheat fall to the ground and decay, it cannot bear any fruit’ and that ‘he who doth not carry his cross and follow our Crucified Master is not worthy of Him’.
God has sent St. Alphonsa, to show us that suffering is not only useful, but necessary. She considered suffering as a gift from God. She teaches us by her example that we must suffer not only for our own sins, but for the sins of others too, as we are all members of the same Body of Christ. As Christ suffered for us, we too must suffer for one another and thus make up for what is wanting in the sufferings of Christ, since Our Lord can suffer no more, we have to suffer.
The secret of her holy life was that she carried on her ordinary duties in an extraordinary manner. Hers was the little way of St. Therese of Lisieux.
1. I have love towards everyone. It is impossible for me to hate anyone.
2. My only desire is to love my Lord to perfection.
3. My Jesus is sufficient for me. I don’t want anything else.
4. I had aspired zealously to become a saint. I felt that burning desire after reading the autobiography of St. Little Teresa of Lisieux
5. Practise your austerity in strict secrecy; it will fortify your spirit.
6. I desired to be ever faithful to Jesus. I would rather die than break this promise.
7. It is my beloved Spiritual Instructors who guided me to the threshold of Knowledge and enabled me to experience it, by training me to prepare and use each of them in the apt time.
8. By nature, I am affectionate; it seems that my whole heart is full of love.
9. How great is the joy experienced when everything is offered in the Sacred Heart of Jesus!
10. I will rejoice in whatever comes through the hands of my Jesus.
11. . It is my strong faith that nothing shall ever happen to me without the knowledge of my Jesus.
12. I have completely abandoned myself to Jesus. Let Him do with me as He wills.
13. God in His infinite goodness has granted me the strength to preserve inviolate the sanctifying grace I obtained at my Baptism.
14. I would rather die than commit consciously even a trivial venial sin and thereby offend God.
15. Humility is the queen of all virtues. I consider all occasions to humble myself as a great blessing.
16. Smile is a wick of light. I shall gaze upon gloomy faces and smile graciously to them.
17. It is the ‘Woman beneath the Cross’ who held me steadfast in my love to my Spouse in times of severe pain and tribulations.
18. Let us keep sealed our Aromatic Phial of Virtues. Jesus alone need know everything.
19. Whenever I make a mistake, no matter how trivial it is, I shall do some acts of penance. This is the easiest way to stop repeating the mistake.
20. It is in giving away; not in receiving that I find joy. I shall flee from those who flatter.
21. How sweet it is to my tongue, to utter the Holy Name of Jesus!
22. The only thing I wish for in this life is to bear suffering for the sake of God’s love and to rejoice in it. I am fully convinced that the worldly pleasures are not for me.
23. Jesus shows us His love, by giving us crosses. He sends crosses and sorrows only to those whom He loves. As for me, suffering is delightful. I consider that day when I don’t have the chance to suffer, as a day which is lost.
24. Whatever my superiors decide for me, I count it as God’s Will for me.
25. I shall never complain, whatever be the miseries that might befall me.
26. Was it not aloft a cross that my Spouse did die? I too must die upon a cross of sufferings.
27. I have a loving Mother in Heaven. My eyes well up with joy when speaking about that Mother.
28. The Lord who gives the bitter concoction will serve the sweetening sugar too.
29. I am a daughter of suffering. It is with stones of suffering and sacrifice that we build mansions for us in heaven.
30. I have offered myself as a holocaust of love and suffering to my Divine Spouse.
31. I should gain more crosses for the consummation of my life. I should drink to the dregs the chalice of suffering given by the Lord.
32. My only work is to suffer. He gives to me everything only after having weighed and measured them.
33. It seems to me that the Lord keeps vigil on me in order to purify me like silver.
34. When the grains of wheat are crushed and ground, wheat flour is obtained. We bake it to form the host for the Holy Eucharist. Similarly we too should be crushed in the mill of suffering and transformed to become like hosts.
35. The grapes are crushed in the wine press to get juice. When we preserve and purify this juice, it becomes inebriating wine. Even so, we mature into spiritual fortitude when purified through miseries and sufferings.
36. The riches of my Spouse are poverty, ignominy and humiliations. Even I too have got it. I am a smart girl.
37. In a sense, it is good that I have no proper sleep at night. I can recite the prayer of love with diligence.
38. I have been fortunate in becoming a perfect religious sister. More than that God has given me the special grace to suffer with Jesus. What else more should I aspire for?
39. Never for once has my good God declined me a favor whatever it is that I did solicit.
40. I have immolated myself totally on the sacrificial altar of love, so that others may not understand my likes and dislikes.
41. Sometimes I have felt like complaining. But I have never succumbed to that.
42. I do not lose my peace of mind in times of grief and suffering.
43. Whenever I get time, I should pay visits to the Most Holy Sacrament.
44. My beloved Lord is dwelling within my heart. Nobody can take Him away from there.
45. I should be careful not to retort to anyone. If possible, I will speak sweetly with them.
46. Even if I am unjustly accused of some faults, I will admit them without justifying myself and apologize, “I am sorry, excuse me.”
47. Lord, do with me as if I am your own.
48. I should pray to bless me with more sufferings.
49. In one sense everyone is alike; there is no difference. But during times of hardships and sufferings, the good is distinguished from the other.
50. No one need know about me. I am none other than a mean worm.
51. God discloses the secrets of His heart to those who are with Him.
52. Consider me insignificant like the smallest atom that is present in the atmosphere.
53. My spirit abides in peace, as, since seven years I am no longer mine. I have sacrificed my whole being as an oblation of love to my Divine Spouse.
54. If there is any good in me and if God wills others to know of it, it will be known by itself.
55. Words cannot communicate the ineffable joy of the success of forgiving.
56. If we hurt the feelings of others, the seriousness of our sin is proportionate to the intensity of the pain it has inflicted on the victim.
57. See only the good of others. Speak only well. Ignore their frailties. Weigh each word in the Love Balance of Jesus before speaking.
58. The food I relish most is the Holy Eucharist.
59. My Divine Bridegroom will call me at the consummation of my sacrifice.