MEANS OF ACQUIRING DIVINE LOVE
Love Jesus Christ, then; but know that unless you love Him with your whole heart, He will not be satisfied. Love Him not only with the affections of the heart, love Him also by works. Some that are friends only in name, say to their friends: Friend, you are master of all that I possess. In effect, however, they give him little or nothing. But others that are real friends, give to their friend the better part of their possessions, and offer him the rest. A Religious soul that resolves to give herself to God without reserve, divests herself of all earthly things to which she sees her heart attached; she resolves to subject all her inclinations to holy obedience; she resolves to mortify herself in all that gratifies self-love, to disregard self-esteem, and to embrace with joy derision and contempt. Oh! with what security does such a resolution make her walk! What confidence in God does it inspire! How prompt does it render the soul to bear crosses and contradictions! It makes her perform all her actions with a pure intention; it impels her to pray to Jesus and Mary for help to execute her purposes, and makes her firm and resolute in seeking in all things only what is pleasing of God. When difficulties arise, the same resolution animates her to say with courage: I must please God! Let pleasure be given to Him, though death should be the consequence. Should she sometimes fall into a defect, the resolution she has made prevents dejection, inspires hope, and gives her courage to attend with greater care, for the future, to what she had before neglected. But this resolution must be frequently renewed in Meditation, at Communion, in the Visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and at rising in the morning it is particularly necessary to make the following protestation: My Jesus, I again give myself to Thee, and I promise to endeavour to do always what I shall know to be most pleasing to Thee. I unite this oblation of mine to the perfect unreserved oblation of Thyself, which Thou didst make to Thy Eternal Father. Give me strength to be faithful to Thee. Thy Passion is my hope; Thy merits, Thy promises, Thy love, are my hope. O Mary, my Mother, pray to Jesus for me; obtain for me holy perseverance and the love of thy Son.
If you wish to acquire the great treasure of the love of God, I recommend you to ask it continually, saying: My Jesus, give me Thy love; Mary, obtain for me the gift of Divine love; my holy Angel Guardian, my holy advocates, obtain for me the gift of love. It will be sufficient to say “Love.” God will be always pleased with it, and will always infuse some new sentiment of devotion, will enkindle some new flame, and will excite some holy desire in your heart. Our Lord is liberal in dispensing all His gifts, but particularly in granting the gift of love to those who ask it; for this love is what He demands of us above all things. But let us ask not so much for a tender as for a strong love, that will make us conquer all human respect, and all repugnances of self-love, and render us prompt in doing, without delay or reserve, the things that are pleasing to God; and let us therefore accustom ourselves to seek what is most pleasing to God in all, even in small things; for we shall thus be prepared to do great things. And when you are molested with the apprehension of not having strength to overcome yourself in some extraordinary difficulty, trust in God, and say: I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me. (Philipp. iv. 13). What I am of myself unable to do, I shall be able to do with the aid that I expect from God.
St. Augustine says all the time that is not spent for God is lost time. At death, we shall receive consolation only from having loved Jesus Christ. O God, how great the consolation that they who have loved Him shall enjoy in being able to say with their eyes fixed on the Crucifix: Jesus crucified has been my only love! Even in this life, what greater happiness can a soul enjoy than to say: I give pleasure to God! I am in the presence of God! But we must give ourselves to God, not for our own gratification, but to please Him, altogether forgetful of ourselves, saying with the spouse in the Canticles: He brought me into the cellar of wine: he set in order charity within me: stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love. (Cant. ii. 4, 5). By wine, is signified holy Charity; for as wine deprives men of their senses, so that they no longer see or hear, but are, as it were, dead; so the soul inflamed with Divine love, lives as if it no longer had any sense of earthly things, and, forgetful of created objects, wishes for nothing but God; and therefore it asks the flowers of holy desires, and the fruits of holy works, which support the spiritual life, that is, Divine love, with which and for which, it lives. But this can be said only by the soul that truly gives itself entirely and without reserve to Jesus Christ. What do you say? Have you as yet given yourself to Him, as He desires you to do? Do you still resist? Has He not done enough to merit all your love? Jesus Christ gave Himself to you without reserve once on the Cross, and frequently in Holy Communion; what more do you expect from Him? What more can He do in order to make you belong entirely to Himself? Will you wait till He abandons you, and calls you no more in punishment of your ingratitude? Arise, then, and resist no longer.