Morning Meditation for the Third Thursday in Advent ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Meditation

CONSIDERATIONS ON THE RELIGIOUS STATE. IX.

Consider that in order to become a Saint it is necessary to have a great desire of holiness.

No Saint has ever become a Saint without having a great desire for sanctity. As wings are necessary to fly so holy desires are necessary to the soul in order to advance in the way of perfection. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready! Tell me what Thou desirest of me. I will obey Thee in all things.

I.

Holy desires are necessary to the soul in order to advance in the way of perfection. To become a Saint we must detach ourselves from creatures, conquer our passions, overcome ourselves, and love crosses. But to do all this much strength is required and we must suffer much.

But what is the effect of this holy desire? St. Laurence Justinian answers: “It supplies strength, and makes the pain easier to be borne.” Hence the same Saint adds that he has already vanquished who has a great desire to vanquish. “A great part of the victory is the desire of vanquishing.” He who wishes to reach the top of a high mountain will never reach it if he has not a desire to do so. This will give him courage and strength to undergo the fatigue of ascending; otherwise he will halt at the foot, wearied and discouraged.

St. Bernard asserts that we acquire perfection in proportion to the desire for it which we preserve in our hearts. St. Teresa said that God loves generous souls that have great desires; for which reason the Saint exhorted all, saying: “Let our thoughts be high, for thence will come our good. We must not have weak desires, but have confidence in God by which we shall, little by little, attain that perfection to which, by God’s grace, the Saints attained.” It was thus the Saints gained, in a short time, a great degree of perfection, and were able to do great things for God: Being made perfect in a short space, he fulfilled a long time (Wis. iv. 13). St. Aloysius Gonzaga attained in a few years (he was only twenty-three when he died) such a degree of sanctity that St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, beholding him in spirit in Heaven, said it seemed to her, in a certain way, that there was no Saint in Heaven who enjoyed greater glory than Aloysius. She understood at the same time that he had arrived at so high a degree by the great desire he had to love God as much as He deserved, and that, seeing this beyond his power, the holy youth had suffered on earth a martyrdom of love.

Behold, O my God! here I am. My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready (Ps. lvi. 8). See, I am prepared to do all that Thou shalt require of me. O Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts ix. 6). Tell me what Thou desirest of me. I will obey Thee in all things. I am sorry for having lost so much time in which I might have pleased Thee, and have not done so. I thank Thee that still Thou givest me time to do it. Oh, no, I will not lose any more time. I will and I desire to become a Saint, not to obtain from Thee greater glory and more delights. I desire it that I may love Thee more, and that I may please Thee in this life and in the next.

II.

St. Bernard, when a Religious, was accustomed to say to himself in order to excite his fervour: Bernarde, ad quid venisti? — “Bernard, for what hast thou come hither?” I say the same to you: What have you come to the House of God to do? Why have you left the world? To become a Saint? And what are you doing? Why do you lose time? Tell me — do you desire to become a Saint? If you do not desire it, then, certainly, you will never become a Saint. If you have not this desire, ask Jesus Christ for it: ask Mary for it. And if you have it, take courage, says St. Bernard, for many there are who do not become Saints just because they are not courageous. And so, I repeat, let us take courage and great courage. Why should we fear? Why be cast down? Our Blessed Lord Who gave us strength to leave the world, will give us also the grace to embrace the life of a Saint. Everything comes to an end. Our life, be it a contented or a discontented one, will also come to an end, but eternity will never end. That little which we have done for God will alone console us at death and throughout eternity. The labour will be short, the crown, which is already in sight, will be immortal. How well pleased the Saints are now with all they have suffered for God! If sorrow could enter Paradise, the blessed would be sorry only that they neglected to do more for God than they had done, and now they are unable to do it. Courage, then, make haste, for there is no time to lose; what can be done today we may not be able to do tomorrow. St. Bernardine of Sienna used to say that one moment of time is of as great value as God Himself, for at each moment we may gain God, His divine grace, and higher degrees of merit.

Make me, O Lord, to love and please Thee as much as Thou desirest. Behold, this is all I ask from Thee, O my God! I will love Thee, I will love Thee; and, in order to love Thee, I offer myself to undergo every fatigue, and to suffer every pain. O my Lord, increase in me always this desire, and give me the grace to execute it. Of myself I can do nothing, but assisted by Thee I can do all things. Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus Christ graciously hear me. My Jesus, through the merits of Thy Passion, come to my succour. O Mary, my hope! for the love of Jesus Christ, protect me.

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