Evening Meditations for Sunday after Corpus Christi ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Mediation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

XXIV.-HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST DESIRES NOTHING BUT JESUS CHRIST

I.

Oh, what security is found ill the hidden life for such as wish cordially to love Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ set us the example, by living hidden and despised for thirty years in a workshop. And with the same view of escaping the esteem of men, the Saints went and hid themselves in deserts and caves. It was said by St. Vincent de Paul, that love of appearing in public, and of being spoken of in terms of praise, and of hearing our conduct commended, or that people should say that we succeed admirably and work wonders, is an evil which, while it makes us unmindful of God, contaminates our best actions, and proves the most fatal drawback to the spiritual life. Whoever, therefore, would make progress in the love of Jesus Christ, must absolutely give a death–blow to self-esteem. But how shall we inflict this blow? Behold how St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi instructs us: “That which keeps alive the appetite or self-esteem is the occupying a favourable position in the minds of all; consequently the death of self-esteem is to keep oneself hidden so not to be known to anyone. And till we learn to die in this manner, we shall never be true servants of God.”

O my Jesus, grant me a desire to please Thee, and make me forget all creatures and myself also. What will it profit me to be loved by the whole world if I be not loved by Thee, the only love of my soul! My Jesus, Thou camest into the world to win our hearts; if I am unable to give Thee my heart, do Thou be pleased to take it and replenish it with Thy love, and never allow me to be separated from Thee any more. I have, alas, turned my back upon Thee in the past; but now that I am conscious of the evil I have done, I grieve over it with my whole heart, and no affliction in the world can so distress me as the remembrance of the offences I have so often committed against Thee. I am consoled to think that Thou art Infinite Goodness; that Thou dost not disdain to love a sinner who loves Thee. My beloved Redeemer, O sweetest Love of my soul, I have heretofore slighted Thee, but now at least I love Thee more than myself! I offer Thee myself and all that belongs to me.

II.

In order, then, to be pleasing in the sight of God, we must avoid all ambition of appearing and of making a parade in the eyes of men. And we must shun with still greater caution the ambition of governing others. Sooner than behold this accursed ambition set foot in her convent, St. Teresa declared she would prefer to have the whole convent burnt, and all the nuns with it. So that she signified her wish, that if ever one of her Religious should be caught aiming at superiorship, she should be expelled from the community, or at least undergo perpetual confinement. St. Mary Magdalen de Piazzi says, “The honour of a spiritual person consists in being put below all, and in abhorring all superiority over others.” The ambition of a soul that loves God should he to excel all others in huInility, according to the counsel of St. Paul: In humility let each esteem others better than themselves-(Philipp. ii. 3). In a word, he that loves God must make God the sale object of his ambition.

O my dear Jesus, I have only one wish: to love Thee and to please Thee. This forms all my ambition; accept of it, and be pleased to increase it, and exterminate in me all desire of earthly goods. Thou art indeed deserving of love, and great indeed are my obligations of loving Thee. BeHold me, then, I wish to be wholly Thine; and I will suffer whatever Thou pleasest, Thou who for love of me didst die of sorrow on the Cross! Thou wishest me to be a saint; in Thee I place my trust. And I also confide in thy protection, O Mary, great Mother of God!

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