GIVING OF OURSELVES TO GOD WITHOUT RESERVE
God has declared that He loves all those who love Him: I love them that love me (Prov. viii. 17). But it is not to be supposed that God will give Himself entirely to one who loves anything in the world equally with God. At one time St. Teresa was in this state, keeping up an affection, not indeed an impure affection, but an inordinate one, for a certain relative. When, however, she divested herself of this attachment, God was pleased to say to her in a vision: “Now that thou art wholly Mine, I am wholly thine.”
O my God, when will the day arrive when I shall be wholly Thine? Consume within me, I beseech Thee, by the flames of Thy Divine love, all those earthly affections which hinder me from belonging entirely to Thee. When shall I be able to say to Thee with truth: My God, Thee only do I desire, and besides Thee there is nothing that I wish for?
One is my dove, my perfect one, is but one (Cant. vi. 8). God so loves the soul that gives itself entirely to Him that He seems to love no other; and hence He calls it His only dove. St. Teresa after her death revealed to one of her sisters that God has greater love for one soul that aspires to perfection than for a thousand others that are in a state of grace, but are tepid and imperfect. O my God, for how many years hast Thou invited me to become entirely Thine, and I have refused! Death is already approaching, and shall I die as imperfect as I have hitherto lived? No, I hope that death will not find me as ungrateful as I have hitherto been. Help me; for I desire to leave all things to become entirely Thine.
Jesus Christ, through the love which He has for us, has given His whole Self to us. He hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us. (Eph. v. 2). If, then, says St. Chrysostom, “God has given Himself entirely to you and without reserve: if He has given you all, and nothing more remains for Him to give you, as indeed He has done in His Passion and in the Holy Eucharist, reason requires that you also should give yourself without reserve to Him.” St. Francis de Sales says: “The heart is too little to love our bountiful Redeemer Who has loved us even to laying down His life for us.” Oh, what ingratitude, what injustice, to divide our hearts, and not to give them wholly to God!
Let us then say with the Spouse in the Canticles: My beloved to me, and I to my beloved (Cant. ii. 16). Thou, my God, hast given all to me, I will give all to Thee. I love Thee, my sovereign Good. My God and my All! Thou desirest that I should be all Thine, and such do I desire to be. O Mary, my Mother, pray for me, that I may not love aught but God alone.