“THE CHOSEN ARROW”
He hath made me a chosen arrow; in his quiver he hath hidden me (Is. xlix. 2).
Cardinal Hugo remarks that as the hunter keeps in reserve the best arrow for the last shot in order to make sure of his prey, “so was Jesus Christ reserved in the bosom of His Father until the fulness of time should come, and He was sent to wound the hearts of the faithful.”
St. Augustine says that God, in order to captivate the love of men, has cast several darts of love into their hearts. “God knows how to discharge His arrows at love: He sends the arrow that He may make a lover.” What are these arrows? They are all the creatures that we see around us; for God has created them all for man, that man may love Him; hence the same Saint says: “Heaven and earth and all things tell me to love Thee.” It seemed to the Saint that the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the plains, the seas and the rivers, spoke to him and said: Augustine, love God, because God has created us for thee that thou mightest love Him. When St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi held in her hand a beautiful fruit or flower, she declared that the fruit or flower was a dart to her heart which wounded her with the love of God. St. Teresa said that all the fair things we see, the lakes, the rivers, the flowers, the fruits, the birds — all upbraid us with our ingratitude to God, for all are tokens of the love He bears us. It is related of a pious hermit that, walking in the country, he fancied the herbs and flowers reproached him with his ingratitude; so that as he went along he struck them gently with his staff, saying to them: “Be silent! I understand you! No more! You upbraid me with my ingratitude, for God has created you in such beauty for my sake, that I may love Him, and I love Him not! Oh, be silent, I understand! Enough! Enough!”
Thus then, all these creatures were so many darts of love to the hearts of men. But God was not satisfied with these darts only; they were not enough to gain Him the love of men. He hath made me a chosen arrow; in his quiver he hath hidden me. So, among all His gifts, did God keep Jesus in reserve till the fulness of time should come, and then He sent Him as a last Arrow to wound with love the hearts of men. Thy arrows are sharp; under thee people shall fall (Ps. xliv. 6). Ah, how many wounded hearts do I behold burning with love before the manger of Bethlehem! How many at the foot of the Cross of Calvary! How many before the Holy Presence of the Blessed Sacrament on our altars!
Ah, my Lord, tell me, is there anything else left for Thee to devise in order to make Thyself loved? Make His inventions known among the people, as Isaias cried out. O Redeemed souls, go and publish everywhere the loving devices of this loving God which He has thought out and executed to make Himself loved, by men!
St. Peter Chrysologus says our Redeemer took many various forms to attract the love of men. “For our sake He showed Himself under different forms Who remains in the form of His majesty.” The unchangeable God would appear now as a Child in a stable, now as a Boy in the workshop, now as Criminal on a scaffold, and now as Bread on the Altar! In these varying figures Jesus chose to exhibit Himself to us; but whatever the character He assumed, it was always the character of a Lover.
Oh, how God longs to see, and how dearly He loves, a heart that is wholly His! Ah, what delicate and loving caresses does He not bestow; what good things, what delights, what glory does God not prepare in Paradise for a heart that is wholly His! The Venerable Father John Leonard de Lettera, a Dominican, one day beheld Jesus Christ under the appearance of a hunter traversing the forest of this earth with an arrow in His hand. The servant of God asked Him wherefore He was thus engaged. Jesus answered that He was seeking after hearts. Who knows whether now in these days the Infant Redeemer will have the success to hit and make a prize of some hearts after which He has been pursuing for a long time, and hitherto has been unable to wound and capture!
Devout souls, if Jesus gains us, we shall also gain Jesus. The advantage of such an exchange is all on our side. “Teresa!” said the Lord one day to this Saint, “up to this time, you have not been all Mine. Now that you are all Mine, be assured that I am all yours.” Love is the bond which binds the Lover with the loved one, says St. Augustine. God has every wish to embrace us and unite us to Himself, but it is also necessary for us to strive and unite ourselves to God.
My dear Jesus, inflame me with Thy holy love, since for this end Thou didst come upon the earth. Lord, I have hitherto been ungrateful and blind. Now that I see Thee trembling with cold on the straw, crying and weeping for me – O my Infant God, how can I live without loving Thee! O Mary, great Mother of this great Son, and most beloved by Him, pray to Him for me.