Spiritual Reading for Passion Saturday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Spiritual Reading

MEANS OF ACQUIRING DIVINE LOVE

The first means is, to desire ardently to attain that perfect love that will make your heart entirely belong to God. Ardent desires are the wings with which the Saints flew to unite themselves with God by perfect love. If you have not this desire, at least ask it of God; for without it you will never be able to arrive at any degree of holiness, but with the aid of such desires you will soon attain to sanctity. St. Teresa has left her spiritual children many excellent lessons on this subject. In one place she says: “Let our thoughts be great: from great thoughts our good shall come.” In another place she writes: “We must not debase our desires, but must trust in God: for by continual efforts we shall, with the Divine aid, gradually arrive at the perfection that the Saints have attained.” She attests that she had never seen a cowardly soul make as much progress in many years as generous souls make in a few days. Hence she says: “The Lord is as much pleased with our desires as if they were already executed.” St. Gregory says that he who pants after God with his whole heart finds Him; but to wish for God with the whole heart, the soul must be stripped and emptied of worldly affections.

The second means necessary to love God with the whole heart is, detachment from all love that is not for God. He wishes to have the exclusive possession of our whole hearts; He will admit no companion. St. Augustine relates that the Roman Senate, after adoring thirty thousand gods, refused to adore the God of the Christians, saying that He was a proud God Who wished to be worshipped alone, without companions. But this Our Lord justly claims; for He is the only and the true God; and our only true Lover, Who, because He loves us tenderly, wishes that we should love Him with our whole hearts. To love God with the whole heart implies two things: it implies, first, the expulsion from the heart of every affection that is not for God.

The enamoured St. Francis de Sales said: “If I knew that there was a single fibre in my heart that was not for God, I would instantly pluck it out.” If the heart is not emptied of earthly affections, the love of God cannot enter. But in a heart detached from creatures, the fire of Divine love burns and always increases. St. Teresa used to say: “Detach the heart from creatures; seek God and you shall find Him.” The Lord is good to the soul that seeketh him. (Lam. iii. 25). He gives Himself entirely to those that leave all things for His sake, as He once said to St. Teresa: “Now that you are all Mine, I am all yours.” He will say the same to you, if you divest yourself of all things in order to belong entirely to Him. Father Segneri the Younger wrote to a spiritual soul: “Divine love is a thief that robs the soul of all her affections, so that she can say: “What else do I wish for than Thee alone, O my Lord?” And St. Francis de Sales has said: “The pure love of God consumes all that is not God, in order to convert everything into itself; for all that is done for the love of God is love.” In the Life of the Venerable Joseph Caracciolo, of the Order of Theatines, we read that after the death of a brother, being in company with his relatives, he said: “Ah, let us reserve our tears for a better occasion; to weep over the death of Jesus Christ, Who has been to us a Father, a Brother, and a Spouse, and has died for the love of us.” We should reserve all our tenderness and compassion for Jesus.

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