Morning Meditations for Easter Thursday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Meditation

“SHE IS AN INFINITE TREASURE TO MEN.”

The earth, the heavens, and all nature with astonishment beheld Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, the Lord of the Universe, die of intense pain and anguish, on a disgraceful Cross — and why? He hath loved us and hath delivered himself for us (Eph. v. 2). And do men believe this and not love God?

I.

O inestimable value of Divine love which makes us rich before God! It is the treasure by which we gain His friendship. She is an infinite treasure to men, which they that use become the friends of God (Wis. vii. 14). The only thing we ought to fear, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, is the loss of God’s friendship; and the only object of our desires should be its attainment. It is love that obtains the friendship of God. Hence, according to St. Laurence Justinian, by love the poor become rich, and without love the rich are poor. “No greater riches than to have charity. With charity the poor man is rich, and without charity the rich man is poor.”

How great is the joy a person feels in thinking he is loved by a man of exalted rank! But how much greater must be the consolation a soul derives from the conviction that God loves her! I love them that love me (Prov. viii. 17). In a soul that loves God the Three Persons of the Adorable Trinity dwell. If any one love me he will keep my word; and my Father will love him; and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him (John xiv. 23). St. Bernard writes that, among all the virtues charity is the one that unites us to God. St. Catharine of Bologna used to say that love is the golden chain that binds the soul to God. St. Augustine says that “love is a link connecting the lover with the beloved.” Hence were God not immense, where should He be found? Find a soul that loves God, and there God is certainly found. Of this St. John assures us. He that abideth, in charity abideth in God, and God in him (1 Jo. iv. 16). A poor man loves riches, but he does not therefore enjoy them; he may love a throne, but he does not therefore possess a kingdom. But the man that loves God possesses God. He abideth in God and God in him.

How great is the joy a person feels in thinking he is loved by a man of exalted rank! But how much greater must be the consolation a soul derives from the conviction that God loves her! I love them that love me (Prov. viii. 17). In a soul that loves God the Three Persons of the Adorable Trinity dwell. If any one love me he will keep my word; and my Father will love him; and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him (John xiv. 23). St. Bernard writes that, among all the virtues charity is the one that unites us to God. St. Catharine of Bologna used to say that love is the golden chain that binds the soul to God. St. Augustine says that “love is a link connecting the lover with the beloved.” Hence were God not immense, where should He be found? Find a soul that loves God, and there God is certainly found. Of this St. John assures us. He that abideth, in charity abideth in God, and God in him (1 Jo. iv. 16). A poor man loves riches, but he does not therefore enjoy them; he may love a throne, but he does not therefore possess a kingdom. But the man that loves God possesses God. He abideth in God and God in him.

It is true, O my Jesus, that I am so wretched as to have often offended Thee after so many special lights and graces. I am no longer worthy to be consumed in those blessed flames with which the Saints are inflamed. I ought rather to burn in hell fire. But Thou dost command me to love Thee, and I will obey Thee. I will love Thee, Jesus, with my whole heart.

II.

St. Thomas says that love draws in its train all other virtues, and directs them all to unite us more closely to God. Hence, because from charity all virtues are born, St. Laurence Justinian called it the mother of all virtues. Hence St. Augustine used to say: “Love, and do what you wish.” He that loves God can only do what is good; if he does evil he shows that he has ceased to love God. And when he ceases to love God, all things can profit him nothing. If, said the Apostle, I gave all my possessions to the poor, and my body to the flames, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 3).

Love also prevents us from feeling the pains of this life. St. Bonaventure says that the love of God is like honey; it sweetens the bitterest things. And what more sweet to a soul that loves God than to suffer for Him? She knows that by cheerfully embracing sufferings she pleases God, and that her pains shall be the brightest jewels in her crown in Paradise. And who is there that will not willingly suffer and die in imitation of Jesus Christ, Who has gone before us, carrying His Cross, to offer Himself in sacrifice for the love of us, and inviting us to follow His example. If any man will come after me, let him take up His cross and follow me (Matt. xvi. 24). For this purpose He has condescended to humble Himself to death, and to the opprobrious death of the Cross, for the love of us. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross (Phil. ii. 8).

O Jesus, I have believed all this, and yet not only have I not loved Thee, but I have frequently offended Thee. Pardon me, I beseech Thee, and keep me ever mindful of the death Thou hast suffered for me, that I may never more offend Thee, but may always love Thee. Holy Mary, Mother of God, enable me to love Jesus: this is the only favour I ask of thee.

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