From the Writing of St. Rose of Lima

From the writings of Saint Rose of Lima, virgin (1586-1617)

Let us know the love of Christ which surpasses all knowledge

Listen to

Narrated by Frank Dugan, Huntington Beach, California

Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.”

When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex and status: “Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips: We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to attain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.”

That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of the body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying: “If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains andafflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.”

Source: The Liturgy of the Hours – Office of Readings

Saint Rose (1586-1617) was born in Lima, Peru in 1586. As a child she developed a deep love for all things relating to God. She was especially devoted to the Infant Jesus and his Blessed Mother. At 15 she received the habit of a Third Order of St. Dominic but, in obedience to her parents, did not enter the convent. Instead, she remained at home practicing great austerities, doing penance and spending much time in mystical prayer. She would spend hours in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. She attended Mass and received the Holy Eucharist daily.

Rose read about the life of St. Catherine of Siena and took her as her model. Her daily devotions and piety of life were rewarded with amazing mystical gifts and visions of such an extraordinary nature that a commission of priests and doctors was appointed to examine her. Their investigation determined her experiences were most certainly of supernatural origin.

Stories of her holiness spread. Her garden became the spiritual center of the city. Her days were filled with acts of charity and work making exquisite lace and embroidery which helped support her home. Her nights were devoted to prayer and constant penances. At twenty, she received the habit of St. Dominic, becoming a Dominican nun. She then offered all of her austerities and mortifications to Christ in expiation for offences against His Divine Majesty, for the idolatry of her country, for the conversion of sinners, and for the souls in Purgatory.

When a major earthquake struck nearby, her prayers were credited with sparing Lima. She suffered a lingering illness in the last three years of her life and died on August 24 in 1586. St. Rose is the first saint canonized from the Americas and is the patroness of South America.