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

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Evening Meditation

INTERIOR TRIALS

I.

When you experience more aridity than usual, occupy yourself in the delight of the infinite joy that God enjoys. He is the object of our love, and the most perfect act of love even the Saints in Heaven can perform is to rejoice in the beatitude of God immeasurably more than in their own.

Meditate constantly on the Passion of Jesus Christ. Jesus suffering out of His love for us is the object which most forcibly attracts our hearts. If, while meditating on the Mysteries of the Passion, the Lord grants you any feeling of tenderness, receive it with thankfulness; but whenever you do not experience this, you must know that you will always derive from the practice great comfort for your soul. Frequently go more especially to the Garden of Gethsemani, after the example of St. Teresa, who used to say that she found Jesus there alone; and on considering Him when in affliction so great that He falls into an agony, sweats blood, and declares His sorrow to be such as to be enough to cause Him to die, you will readily find comfort in any afflictions of your own, seeing that He endures it all out of love for you. And at the sight of Jesus preparing Himself to die for you, do you likewise prepare yourself to die for Him. And when you experience in your distress more affliction than usual, then say what St. Thomas the Apostle said to the other disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him (Jo. xi. 16). Let us die with Jesus. Go likewise to Calvary, where you will find Him expiring on the Cross, consumed by suffering; and seeing Him in that condition, it will be impossible for you not to be ready willingly to suffer pain of every kind for a God Who is dying of sufferings undergone through His love for you. St. Paul protested that He neither knew nor wished to know anything in this life save Jesus crucified: For I judged not myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor. ii. 2). Let him who would preserve devotion within his soul, says St. Bonaventure, ever keep the eyes of his heart fixed upon Christ dying upon the Cross. And thus, in all your fears, look at Jesus crucified, and take courage, and brace yourself up to suffer through love for Him.

O Lord, take not Thyself from me, and then take from me all besides, as may seem good in Thy sight. My Love, draw me after Thee, and then it matters not though Thou take from me the consolation of being conscious of it; but let it be forcibly that Thou drawest me out of the mire of my sins. Help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious Blood. I wish to be all Thine own, cost what it may; I wish to love Thee with all my strength; but what can I do myself? Thy Blood is my hope. O Mary, Mother of God, my refuge, neglect not to pray for me in all my tribulations. First of all in the Blood of Jesus Christ, and then in thy prayers, do I trust for my eternal salvation. In thee, O Lady, have I hoped, I shall not be confounded forever. Obtain for me the grace ever to love my God in this life and in eternity, and I ask for nothing more.

II.

And when in your state of desolation why are you disposed to entertain the suspicion that God is angry? You ought not to grieve, but rather to be consoled, seeing that God is dealing with you as He deals with the souls of those of His servants who are most dear to Him. And how has He not dealt with His own Son, of Whom it is written in Holy Scripture: The Lord was pleased to bruise him in infirmity (Is. liii. 10). It was His will to see Him consumed and crushed under sufferings and torments.

If you fear that God may abandon you on account of your ingratitude, do that which was done by the two disciples, who, as they were going to Emmaus, were accompanied by Jesus in the guise of a pilgrim. When they were near the place, and Jesus made as though he would go farther (Luke xxiv.), they constrained Him saying: Stay with us because it is towards evening (Ib.). And then He was pleased to enter into the house, and to remain with them. And thus, when it seems to you as if it were the Lord’s will to leave you, constrain Him to remain with you, saying to him: My Jesus, stay with me, remain with me; I wish that Thou wouldst not leave me. If Thou dost leave me, to whom shall I have to go for consolation and salvation? Lord, to whom shall we go? (Jo. vi. 69). And so pray to Jesus lovingly and tenderly; and do not fear but that, to a certainty, He will not leave you. Then say with the Apostle: Neither death, nor life … nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. viii. 38). Say to Him: My Saviour, show Thyself as much displeased with me as Thou wilt; but know that not the fear of death, nor a desire for life, nor any other of this world’s creatures, shall ever have power to separate me from love of Thee. Or, again, say what was said by St. Francis de Sales, when a young man and in a state of aridity, in answer to the devil, who suggested to him that he was destined to go to hell: “And since I shall not be able to love my God in eternity, I wish to love Him at least in this life as far as it lies in my power.” And so he recovered his cheerfulness. O thou of little faith, why didst thou doubt (Matt. xiv. 31). God is infinite Goodness, and, therefore, he who serves God and is sad does not honour Him but rather dishonours Him. How can you doubt of Jesus pardoning you, says St. Bernard, when He has in fact affixed your sins to the Cross whereon He died for you with the very nails which pierced His own hands and feet.

Ah, my crucified Jesus, Thou dost already know that, out of love for Thee, I have left all; but after that Thou hast caused me to leave my all, I find that Thou Thyself hast left me too. But what am I saying, O my Love? Have pity upon me; it is not I who speak; it is my weakness that makes me speak thus. For myself, I deserve every kind of suffering for such great sins as mine have been. Thou hast left me, as I have deserved, and hast withdrawn from me that loving assistance of Thine wherewith Thou hast so often consoled me; notwithstanding however disconsolate and abandoned I may be, I protest that it is my will ever to love Thee and to bless Thee. Provided that Thou dost not deprive me of the grace of being able to love Thee, deal with me as Thou pleasest. I will say to Thee, in the words of a beloved servant of Thine:

“I love Thee, though I seem
An enemy in Thy sight:
Repel me as Thou wilt,
I will ever follow Thee.”

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