Evening Meditations for the Fourth Friday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST

XLIV.-HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST WISHES WHAT JESUS CHRIST WISHES

I.

For obedience to be perfect, we must obey with the will and with the judgment. To obey with the will signifies to obey willingly, and not by constraint, after the fashion of slaves; to obey with the judgment means to conform our judgment to that of the superior, without examining what is commanded. St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi remarks on this: “Perfect obedience demands a soul without judgment.” To the like purpose, St. Philip Neri said that, in order to obey with perfection, it was not enough to execute the thing commanded, but it must be done without reasoning on it; taking it for certain that what is commanded us is for us the most perfect thing we can do, although the opposite may be better before God.

This holds good not merely for Religious, but likewise for seculars living under obedience to their spiritual directors. Let them request their director to prescribe them rules for the guidance of their affairs, both spiritual and temporal; and so they will make sure of doing what is best. St. Philip Neri said: “Let those who are desirous of progressing in the way of God submit themselves to a prudent confessor, whom they should obey as in God’s place. By so doing, we are certain of not having to render an account to God of the actions we perform.” He said, moreover, that we must place faith in the confessor, because the Lord will not permit him to err; that nothing is so sure of cutting off all the snares of the devil as to do the will of others in the performance of good; and that there is nothing more dangerous than to wish to direct ourselves according to our private fancy. In like manner St. Francis de Sales says, in speaking of the direction of the spiritual father as a means of walking securely in the path of perfection: “This is the maxim of all maxims.”

O Jesus, I give Thee my whole heart and all my will. It was at one time, alas! rebellious against Thee; but now I dedicate it wholly to Thee. “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” Tell me what Thou requirest of me, and lend me Thy assistance; for I will leave nothing undone. Dispose of me and of all that concerns me, as Thou pleasest; I accept of all, and resign myself to all.

O Love deserving of infinite love, Thou hast loved me so as even to die for me; I love Thee with my whole heart, I love Thee more than myself, and into Thy hands I abandon my soul. On this very day I bid farewell to every worldly affection, I take leave of everything created, and I give myself without reserve to Thee; through the merits of Thy Passion receive me, and make me faithful unto death. My Jesus, my Jesus, from this day forward I will live only for Thee, I will love none but Thee, I will seek nothing else than to do Thy blessed will. Aid me by Thy grace, and aid me, too, by thy protection, O Mary, my hope.

II.

“Seek as ye will,” says the devout Avila, “you will never so surely find the will of God as in the way of this humble obedience, so much recommended and so practised by all the ancient servants of God.” The same thing is affirmed by St. Bernard, St. Bernardine of Sienna, St. Antoninus, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa, John Gerson, and all theologians and masters of the spiritual life; and St. John of the Cross said that to call this truth in question is almost to doubt of the Faith. The words of the Saint are: “Not to be satisfied with what the confessor says is arrogance and a want of faith.” Among the maxims of St. Francis de Sales are the two following, most consolatory for scrupulous souls: Firstly, a truly obedient soul was never yet lost. Secondly, we ought to be satisfied on being told by our spiritual director that we are going on well, without seeking to be convinced of it ourselves. It is the teaching of many doctors, as of Gerson, St. Antoninus, Cajetanus, Navarrus, Sanchez, Bonacina, Cordovius, Castropalao, and the doctors of Salamanca, with others, that the scrupulous person is bound, under strict obligation, to act in opposition to scruples, when from such scruples there is reason to apprehend grievous harm happening to soul or body, such as the loss of health, or of intellect; wherefore scrupulous persons ought to have greater scruple at not obeying the confessor than at acting in opposition to their scruples. To sum up, therefore, all that has been said in this chapter, our salvation and perfection consist: (1) In denying ourselves; (2) In following the will of God; (3) In praying Him always to give us strength to do both one and the other.

What have I in heaven, and besides thee what do I desire upon earth? Thou art the God of my heart and the God that is my portion forever-(Ps. lxxii. 26). My beloved Redeemer, infinitely amiable, since Thou hast come down from Heaven to give Thyself wholly to me, what else shall I seek for on earth or in Heaven besides Thee, Who art the Sovereign Good, the only Good worthy to be loved? Be Thou then, the sole Lord of my heart, do Thou possess it entirely; may my soul love Thee alone, obey Thee alone, and seek to please no other than Thee. Let others enjoy the riches of this world, I wish only for Thee: Thou art and shalt ever be my Treasure in this life and in eternity.

I will not despair of becoming a saint on account of the sins of my past life; for I know, my Jesus, that Thou didst die in order to pardon the truly penitent. I love Thee now with my whole heart, with my whole soul; I love Thee more than myself, and I bewail, above every other evil, ever having had the misfortune to despise Thee, my Sovereign Good. Now I am no longer my own, I am Thine; O God of my heart, dispose of me as Thou pleasest. In order to please Thee, I accept of all the tribulations Thou mayest choose to send me- sickness, sorrow, troubles, ignominies, poverty, persecution, desolation-I accept all to please Thee: in like manner I accept of the death Thou hast decreed for me, with all the anguish and crosses which may accompany it : it is enough if Thou grantest me the grace to love Thee exceedingly. Lend me Thy assistance; give me strength henceforth to compensate, by my love, for all the bitterness I have caused Thee in past time, O only Love of my soul! O Queen of Heaven, O Mother of God, O great advocate of sinners, I trust in thee!

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