Evening Meditations for Monday after Ascension ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

IV.-THE MEANS OF AVOIDING LUKEWARMNESS AND ATTAINING PERFECTION

I.

The second means of perfection is the resolution to belong wholly to God. Many are called to perfection; they are urged on towards it by grace, they conceive a desire of it; but because they never really resolve. to acquire it, they live and die in the ill-odour of their tepid and imperfect life. The desire of perfection is not enough if it be not followed up by a stern resolve to attain it. How many souls feed themselves on desires alone, but never make withal one step in the way of God! It is of such desires that the Wise Man speaks when he says: Desires kill the slothful-(Prov. xxi. 25}. The slothful man is ever desiring, but never resolves to take the means suitable to his state of life to become a saint. He says: “Oh, if I were but in solitude, and not in this house! Oh, if I could but go and reside in another monastery, I would give myself up entirely to God!” And meanwhile he cannot support a certain companion; he cannot put up with a word of contradiction; he is dissipated about many useless cares; he commits a thousand faults of gluttony, of curiosity, and of pride; and yet he sighs out to the wind: “Oh, if I had but … !” or “Oh, if I could but .. , !” Such desires do more harm than good; because some regale themselves upon them, and in the meantime go on leading a life of imperfection. It was a saying of St. Francis of Sales: “I do not approve of a person who, being engaged in some duty or vocation, sighs for some other kind of life than is compatible with his actual position, or for other exercises unfitted for his present state; for it merely serves to dissipate his heart, and makes him languish in his necessary duties.”

II.

We, must, therefore, desire perfection, and resolutely take the means towards it. St. Teresa says: “God only looks for one resolution on our part, and will afterwards do all the rest Himself: the devil has no fear of irresolute souls.” For this reason mental prayer must be used, in order to take the means which lead to perfection. Some make much prayer, but never come to a practical conclusion. The Saint again says: “I would rather have a short prayer, which produces great fruits, than a prayer of many years, wherein a soul never gets further than resolving to do something worthy Of Almighty God.” And elsewhere she says: “I have learnt by experience that whoever, at; the beginning, brings himself to the resolution of doing some great work, however difficult it may be, if he does so to please God, he has no reason to be afraid.”

Leave a Reply