The day after to the liturgical and civil observance of Saint Valentine (bishop and martyr) we have one of the great proponents of Divine Love, the Jesuit Spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque, Saint Claude la Colombiere (1641-1682). The example of Saint Valentine needs to be followed; one of his 17th century disciples was a Jesuit who knew first hand the meaning of what it means to follow God’s approach: love.
The logic of love Claude came to know was manifested in his spiritual paternity of another saint, the Visitation nun and saint, Margaret Mary Alacoque. Margaret Mary was truly a spouse of the Master. This encounter was pivotal for him. Saint John Paul II said in an address:
The decisive event which marked the life and spirituality of Saint Claude La Colombiere was certainly his meeting with Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, which took place in the Visitation Monastery in Paray-le-Monial in February 1675. On the occasion of a meditation which he gave the community, an interior voice suggested to the woman religious to turn to him in confidence: “This is the one I am sending you.” In face, from her first confession, Fr. Claude was aware of the authenticity of the mystical experience of the young Visitation Sister and Margaret Mary knew she was seeing the fulfillment of the vision of the flaming heart of Jesus with two other hearts which became lost in the divine heart: hers and that of the spiritual director who had been sent to her.
It is said that the day after Claude’s death, Sister Margaret Mary received supernatural assurance that Claude needed no prayers, as he was in already heaven; he was enjoying the fullness of communio with the Trinity. Claude was considered a “dry” martyr, having suffered every abuse for the Christian faith except death. The life of Saint Claude was an example of being in correspondence with the Lord Himself –through the logic of Love– that he was know to be concrete example of mercy in the face of trials. Saint Claude’s life of holiness drew many of the Protestants to the Catholic Church. His was a trust that we must adopted: “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”
May we learn from Saint Claude la Colombiere what it means to be in relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd, true Divine Love.