Evening Meditations for the Twenty-first Wednesday After Pentecost~ St Alphonsus Liguori

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Evening Meditation




We must bring our will into conformity to the Divine Will even as regards our degree of grace and of glory. Highly as we ought to esteem the glory of God, we ought to esteem His will yet more. It would be good to desire to love God more than the very Seraphim, but it would not be right to desire to ascend to a higher degree of love than what the Lord has determined for us. Blessed John of Avila says: “I do not think there ever was a Saint who succeeded in becoming as holy as he had wished to be. But that never disturbed a Saint, because Saints wish to become holy only to please God, and not for their own satisfaction. Therefore, they were satisfied with that degree of holiness to which God’s grace raised them, even though it was not as high as what they aimed at. They believed that there was more true love in being content with what God gave than in wishing for more.”

All this means, as Father Rodriguez explains it, that we should be diligent in trying to reach the highest perfection possible so as not to turn our own lukewarmness and laziness into an excuse, as those do who say that God must make them a present of holiness if He wants them to be holy, since they themselves can do little or nothing. Nevertheless, when we fail in our efforts we must not lose our peace of mind, nor our conformity to God’s will, nor our courage. God’s will permits our fall. What we have to do is to rise at once, to humble ourselves by repentance, and with greater earnest than ever in prayer pursue the way of perfection.

It would, moreover, be but too evident a fault to desire to possess gifts of supernatural prayer — such, especially, as ecstasies, visions, and revelations; whereas, on the contrary, spiritual writers say that those souls on whom God bestows such graces ought to pray to Him to deprive them of them, in order that they may love Him by the way of pure Faith, which is the safest way of all. There are many who have attained perfection without these supernatural favours. Chief amongst the virtues that raise the soul to highest sanctity stands conformity to the will of God. If God does not choose to raise us to a high degree of perfection and of glory, let us conform ourselves in all respects to His holy will, praying that He would at least save us through His mercy. And if we act in this manner, the reward will not be small which, of His goodness, our good Lord will give us, for above everything He loves those souls that are resigned.


In short, we ought to regard whatever comes to us as proceeding from God’s hand, and everything we do we should direct to this one end, the fulfilment of God’s will, and to do it simply because God wills it to be done. And in order to proceed with greater security in this, we must follow the guidance of our superiors as regards what is external, and of our directors with regard to what is internal, that so we may, through them, understand what God desires of us, having great faith in those words of Jesus Christ: He that heareth you heareth me (Luke x. 16). And, above all, let it be our study to serve God in the way it is His will that we should serve Him. I say this, that we may not deceive ourselves as many do who say: “Oh, if I were in a desert; if I could enter into a monastery; if I could go somewhere, and not have to remain in this house, away from these relatives or these companions of mine — I would sanctify myself; I would do so much penance; I would say so many prayers.” He says: “I would do this; I would do that”; but in the meantime, as he bears with a bad will the cross God sends him, and does not walk in the way God wills, he not only does not sanctify himself, but goes from bad to worse. These desires are mere temptations of the devil, for they are not in accordance with the will of God; we must, therefore, drive them away, and brace ourselves up to the service of God in that one way which He has set before us. By doing His will, we shall certainly sanctify ourselves in any state wherein God places us. Let us, then, ever will only that which God wills, so that He may take and press us to His Heart; and, for this end, let us make ourselves familiar with some of those passages of Scripture that invite us to unite ourselves ever more and more to the Divine will: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts ix. 6). My God, tell me what Thou desirest of me; for I desire to do it all. I am thine: save thou me (Ps. cxviii. 94). O my Lord, I am no longer mine own, but Thine; do with me whatsoever Thou pleasest. And at such times especially as any very grievous calamity befalls us — as in the case of the death of parents, the loss of property, and such like — Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in thy sight (Matt. xi. 26). Yes, my God and my Father, let it be even so; for so it hath pleased Thee. And, above all, let us love that prayer which Jesus Christ has taught us: Fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra! — Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven! The Lord told St. Catharine of Genoa that whenever she said the Our Father, she was to pay particular attention to these words, and pray that His holy will might be fulfilled by her with the same perfection with which it is fulfilled by the Saints in Heaven. Let us, too, act in this manner, and we shall certainly become saints ourselves.

May the Divine will, and the Blessed and Immaculate Virgin Mary, be ever loved and praised. Amen.

O WILL OF GOD! O WILL DIVINE!’Tis Thy good pleasure, not my own,
In Thee, my God, I love alone;
And nothing I desire of Thee
But what Thy goodness wills for me.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.In love no rival canst Thou bear,
But Thou art full of tenderest care;
And fire and sweetness all Divine
To hearts which once are wholly Thine.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.In Thee all pure affections live,
To love Thou dost perfection give;
While ever burning with desires
The loving soul to Thee aspires.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.Thou makest crosses soft and light
And death itself seem sweet and bright.
No cross nor fear that soul dismays
Whose will to Thee united stays.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.To all the glorious choirs of Heaven
Their very bliss by Thee is given;
And Heaven itself deprived of Thee
Would be a land of misery.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.Yea, to the lost who burn in hell,
If in their souls Thy love could dwell,
The very flames and torments there
Would seem but sweet and light to bear.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.Oh! that one day my life may end
In closest bonds to Thee enchained
For thus to die is not to die,
But live, and live eternally.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.To Thee I consecrate and give
My heart and being while I live;
Jesus, Thy Heart alone shall be
My Love for all eternity.
O will of God! O will Divine!
All, all our love be ever thine.Alike in pleasure and in pain
To please Thee is my joy and gain;
That, O my Love, which pleases Thee
Shall ever more seem best to me.
May heaven and earth with love fulfil,
My God, Thy ever-blessed will!

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