CONSIDERATIONS ON THE RELIGIOUS STATE. VIII.
Consider how dear to God is a soul that gives itself entirely to Him.
The Son of God has already given Himself entirely to us. A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. He has given Himself to us through the love He bears us. When St. Teresa gave herself to Jesus the Lord said to her: “Now because thou art all Mine, I am all thine.”
One is my dove, my perfect one (Cant. vi. 8). God loves all who love Him. I love them that love me (Prov. viii. 17). Many indeed give themselves to God, but still keep in their hearts some attachment to creatures which prevents them from belonging entirely to Him. How then will God give Himself to a soul that divides its love between Him and creatures? It is just He should act with reserve towards those who act with reserve towards Him. On the other hand, He gives Himself entirely to those souls who drive from their hearts everything that is not for God, and who can truly say: My God and my All!
St. Teresa, as long as she entertained an inordinate affection, though not an impure one, towards a certain person, could not hear from Jesus Christ what she afterwards heard, when, freeing herself from every attachment, she gave herself entirely to Divine Love, and God said to her: “Since now thou art all Mine, I am all thine!”
My beloved to me and I to him! (Cant. ii. 16). Since then, O my God, Thou has given Thyself entirely to me, I should be ungrateful, indeed, were I not to give myself entirely to Thee; since Thou wouldst have me belong wholly to Thee, behold, O my Lord, I give myself entirely to Thee. Accept me through Thy mercy and disdain me not. Grant, O Lord, that my heart, which once loved creatures, may turn now wholly to Thy infinite goodness. “Let me at last die,” said St. Teresa, “and let another live in me. Let God live in me and give me life. Let Him reign, and let me be His slave, for my soul wishes no other liberty.” My heart is too small, O God most worthy of love, and it is too little able to love Thee, Who art deserving of an infinite love. I should then be guilty of too great an injustice were I to divide it by loving anything besides Thee. I love Thee, my God, above everything. I love only Thee; I renounce all creatures, and give myself entirely to Thee, my Jesus, my Saviour, my Love, my All.
Consider that the Son of God has not hesitated to give Himself all to us. A Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us (Is. ix. 6). He has given Himself to us through the love He bears us. He hath loved us and hath delivered himself for us (Eph. v. 2). It is, then, just, says St. Chrysostom, that as God has given Himself to you without reserve — “He has given thee all, nothing has He left for Himself” — you should give yourself to God without reserve, and burning with divine love should henceforth sing to Him:
Thine wholly will I always be;
Thou has bestowed Thyself on me;
Myself I wholly give to Thee.
St. Teresa, appearing after her death, revealed to one of her nuns that God loves a soul that, as a spouse, gives herself entirely to Him, more than a thousand who are tepid and imperfect. The choir of Seraphim is completed from these generous souls belonging entirely to God. The Lord Himself says that He loves a soul that tends to perfection so much that He seems not to love any other: One is my dove, my perfect one is but one (Cant. vi. 8). Hence Blessed Giles exhorts us: “One for one — una uni,” by which he wishes to say that this one soul of ours we ought to give wholly, undivided, to that One Who alone deserves all love, on Whom depends all our good, and Who loves us more than all others love us. “Leave all and you shall find all,” says Thomas a Kempis. Leave all for God and in God you will find all. “O soul!” concludes St. Bernard, “be alone, that you may keep yourself for Him alone.” Keep yourself alone, give no part of your affections to creatures, that you may belong alone to Him Who alone deserves an infinite love, and Whom alone you ought to love.
What have I in heaven, and besides Thee, what do I desire on earth?… Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever (Ps. lxxii. 25). I desire nothing, either in this life or in the next, but to possess the treasure of Thy love. I am unwilling that creatures should any longer have a place in my heart; Thou alone must be its Master. To Thee alone shall it belong for the future. Thou only shalt be my God, my repose, my desire, all my love. “Give me only Thy love and Thy grace, and I am rich enough.” O most holy Virgin Mary obtain for me that I may be faithful to God, and never recall the gift which I have made of myself to Him. Amen.