Evening Meditations for Corpus Christi ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

XXI.–HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST IS NOT VAIN, BUT HUMBLES HIMSELF, AND IS GLAD TO BE HUMBLED

I.

It was a saying of St. Jane Frances de Chantal that “a person who is truly humble takes occasion from receiving some humiliation to humble himself the more.” Yes, for he who is truly humble never supposes himself humbled as much as he deserves. Those who behave in this manner are styled blessed by Jesus Christ. They are not called blessed who are esteemed by the world, who are honoured and praised as noble, as learned, as powerful; but they who are spoken ill of by the world, who are persecuted and calumniated; for it is for such that a glorious reward is prepared in Heaven, if they only bear all with patience: Blessed are you when they shall revile you and persecute you and speak all that is evil against you untruly for my sake: be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven-(Matt. v. 11, 12).

O Incarnate Word, I entreat Thee, by the merits of Thy holy humility, which led Thee to embrace so many ignominies and injuries for our love, deliver me from all pride, and grant me a share of Thy humility. And what right have I, 0 Jesus, to complain of any affront whatever that may be offered me, after having so often deserved hell? O my Jesus, by the merit of all the scorn and affronts endured for me in Thy Passion, grant me the grace to live and die humbled on this earth, as Thou didst live and die humbled for my sake. For Thy love I would willingly be despised and forsaken by all the world; but without Thee I can do nothing. I love Thee, O my sovereign Good; I love Thee, O Beloved of my soul!

II.

The grand occasion for practising humility is when we receive correction for some fault from superiors or from others. Some people resemble the hedgehog; they seem all calmness and meekness as long as they are not touched; but no sooner does a superior or a friend touch them, by an observation on something which they have done imperfectly, than they forthwith become all thorns and answer warmly, that so and so is not true, or that they were right in doing so, or that such a correction is quite uncalled for: in a word, to rebuke them is to become their enemy; they behave like persons who rave at the surgeon for paining them in the cure of their wounds. “Medicanti irascitur-they are angry with their physician,” writes St. Bernard. “When the virtuous and humble man is corrected for a fault,” says St. John Chrysostom, “he grieves for having committed it; the proud man on the other hand, on receiving correction, grieves also; but he grieves that his fault is detected; and on this account he is troubled, gives answers, and is angry at the person who corrects him.” This is the golden rule given by St. Philip Neri, to be observed with regard to receiving correction: “Whoever would really become a saint must never excuse himself, although what is laid to his charge be not true.” And there is only one case to be excepted from this rule, and that is when self-defence may appear necessary to prevent scandal. Oh, what merit with God has that soul which is wrongfully reprehended, and yet keeps silence, and refrains from defending herself! St. Teresa said: “There are occasions when a soul makes more progress and acquires a greater degree of perfection by refraining from excusing herself than by listening to ten sermons; because, by not excusing herself she begins to obtain freedom of spirit, and to be heedless of whether the world speaks well or ill of her.”

I love Thee, O my Jesus, and I hope, through Thee, to fulfil my promise of suffering all for Thee-affronts, betrayals, persecutions, afflictions, dryness, and desolation. Enough it is for me if Thou dost not forsake me, O sole object of the love of my soul. Suffer me never more to estrange myself from Thee. Enkindle in me the desire to please Thee. Grant me fervour in loving Thee. Give me peace of mind in suffering for Thee. Give me resignation in all contradictions. Have mercy on me. I deserve nothing; but I fix all my hopes in Thee, Who hast purchased me with Thine own Blood. And I hope all from thee, too, 0 my Queen and my Mother Mary, who art the refuge of sinners!

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