Quotations from Dom Marmion, OSB
NEWMAN PRESS, 1952
With Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1952
"Suffering is a world-wide fact. No man escapes it. It waits for every man to enter into the world and it walks him to the grave. It smites every man and grasps the whole of him: body and soul, heart and mind. It stalks him over the entire breadth of his being and of the multiple powers he bears within himself.
Like the Cross, its loftiest and most meaningful symbol, suffering is scandal for some, folly for others. For others still, it is the acid test of faithfulness, the golden key to perfection and union with Christ, the fertile seed of glory." [From the Preface of the Book]
Our Lord is Master of His gifts and, without any merit on their part, He calls certain souls to more intimate union with Him, to share His sorrows and sufferings for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls, Adimpleo in corpore meo quae desunt passionum Christi pro corpore ejus quod est Ecclesia: "I fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His body, which is the Church." "We are the body of Christ and members of His; members." God could have saved men without them having to suffer or to merit, as He does in the case of little children who die after Baptism. But by a decree of His adorable wisdom, He had decided that the world's salvation should depend upon an expiation of which His Son Jesus should undergo the greater part but in which His members should be associated.
Many men neglect to supply their share of suffering accepted in union with Jesus Christ, and of prayers and good works.
That is why our Lord chooses certain souls to be asso- ciated with Him in the great work of the Redemption. These are elect souls, victims of expiation and praise. These are dear to Jesus beyond all one can imagine. [From Union with God, chapter 3, section 2]
Happy are those souls whom God calls to live only in th nudity of the Cross. It becomes for them an inexhaustible source of precious graces.
Sufferings are the price and the sign of true divine favours. ...Works and foundations built upon the Cross and upon sufferings are alone lasting.
The sufferings you have endured are for me a sign of the special benediction of the One Who, in His wisdom, chose to found all upon the Cross.
[From Union with God, chapter 7]
It would be like blasphemy to believe that God is indifferent to our needs and sufferings. God always looks upon us with an infinite look, one that is infinitely intense, penetrating to the very depths of our soul and knowing all its griefs and its needs.
Let us tell ourselves that every day, every hour, every instant of suffering borne with Jesus and for love of Him will be a new heaven for all eternity, and a new glory given God for ever.
Let us never forget it: God alone is necessary. All else could be wanting; but He will never be wanting, and He alone is sufficient for us.
In all circumstances we should have recourse to Jesus by prayer; He is our peace, our strength, our joy-and He belongs entirely to us.
[From an unpublished text]
It is recounted of St. Mechtilde that, in her sorrows, she had the custom of taking refuge with our Lord and of abandoning herself to Him in all submission. Christ Jesus Himself had taught her to do this: "If a person wishes to make Me an acceptable offering, let him seek refuge in none beside Me in tribulation, and not complain of his griefs to anyone, but entrust to Me all the anxieties with which his heart is burdened. I will never forsake one who acts thus." We ought to accustom ourselves to tell everything to our Lord, to entrust to Him all that concerns us. "Commit thy way to the Lord," that is, reveal to Him thy thoughts, thy cares, thy anguish, and He Himself will guide thee: Revela Domino viam tuam, et spera in eo, et ipse faciet. How do most men act? They talk over their troubles either within themselves, or to others; few go to pour out their souls at the feet of Christ Jesus. And yet that is a prayer so pleasing to God, and so fruitful a practice for the soul! Look at the Psalmist, the singer inspired by the Holy Ghost. He discloses to God all that happens to him; he shows Him all the difficultIes that beset him, the afflictions that come to him through men, the anguish that fills his soul. "Look upon my weariness, my miseries, my sufferings! Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Domine quid multiplicati sunt qui tribulant me ...? Look upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities. ..! Bow down Thy ear to me: make haste to deliver me. Be Thou unto me ...a house of refuge to save me. ...I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly. ..my groaning is not hidden from Thee. ..Withhold not Thou, O Lord, Thy tender mercies from me ...for evils without number have surrounded me. ...I am a beggar and poor, but the Lord is careful for me. ..." [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, section 4]
If you contemplate with faith and devotion the sufferings of Jesus Christ you will have a revelation of God's love and justice; you will know, better than with any amount of reasoning, the malice of sin. This contemplation is like a sacramental causing the soul to share in that Divine sadness which invaded the soul of Jesus in the Garden of Olives, to share in His sentiments of religion and zeal and abandonment to the will of His Father.
[From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 8, section 6]
It is above all on days of weariness, sickness, impatience, temptation, spiritual dryness, and trials, during hours of sometimes terrible anguish which press upon a soul, that holy abandonment is pleasing to God.
More than once we have considered this truth, namely, that there is a sum total of sufferings, of humiliations and sorrows, which God has foreseen for the members of Christ's mystical body in order to "fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ." We cannot reach perfect union with Christ Jesus unless we accept that portion of the chalice which our Lord wills to give us to drink with Him and after Him.
[From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, section 4]
All the graces that adorn the soul and make it blossom forth in virtues have their inexhaustible source on Calvary: for this river of life gushed forth from the Heart and wounds of Jesus.
Can we contemplate the magnificent work of our powerful High Priest without exulting in continual thanksgiving: Dilexit me et tradidit semetipsum pro me: "Who loved me," says St. Paul, "and delivered Himself for me"? The Apostle does not say, although it be the very truth: dilexit nos: "He loved us"; but "He loved me," that is to say, His love is distributed to all, while being appropriated to each one of us. The life, the humiliations, the sufferings, the Passion of Jesus --- all concern me. And how has He loved me? To love's last extremity: in finem dilexit.
O most gentle High Priest, Who by Thy Blood hast reopened to me the doors of the Holy of Holies, Who ceaselessly dost intercede for me, to Thee be all praise and glory for evermore! [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part I, chapter 2, section 2]
Devotion to the sufferings of Christ in the Way of the Cross is the one that is most closely linked to the Eucharistic Sacrifice; like the Mass, it continues to recall to us the death of Jesus: Mortem Domini annuntiabitis donec veniat.
In order to have the Blood of Jesus applied to us as fully as possible, this is what must be done: Every morning unite yourself to Jesus, that with Him you may offer to the Father the Blood of Christ to be offered in every Mass that day. But make this act with great intensity of faith and love: in this way you will partake as fully as possible in the chalice of Jesus, for His Blood is offered in every Mass pro nostra omniumque salute.
Then, when you make the Way of the Cross, offer anew to the heavenly Father at each station the Precious Blood, that it may be applied to your soul.
[From Abbot Marmion, chapter 18]
We ought to unite ourselves to Jesus in His obedience, to accept all that our Heavenly Father lays upon us, through whomsoever it may be, even a Herod or a Pilate, from the moment that their authority becpmes legitimate. Let us also, even now, accept death in expiation for our sins, with all the circumstances wherewith it shall please Providence to surround it; let us accept it as a homage rendered to divine justice and holiness outraged by our iniquities; united with the death of Jesus it will become "precious in the sight of the Lord."
My Divine Master, I unite myself to Thy Sacred Heart in Its perfect submission and entire abandonment to the Father's will. May the virtue of Thine grace produce in my soul that spirit of submission which will yield me unreservedly and without murmuring to the Divine good pleasure and to all that it shall please Thee to send me at the hour when I must leave this world. [From Christ in His Mysteries, Part II, chapter 14, section 2]
My Jesus, I accept all the crosses, all the contradictions, all the adversities that the Father has destined for me. May the unction of Thine grace give me strength to bear these crosses with the submission of which Thou gavest us the example in receiving Thine for us. May I never seek my glory save in the sharing of Thine sufferings!
[From Christ in His Mysteries, Part II, chapter 14, section 2]
With Christ, prostrate before His Father, let us detest the risings of our vanity and ambition; let us acknowledge the extent of our frailty. As God casts down the proud, so the humble avowal of our infirmity draws down His mercy: Quomodo miseretur pater filiorum ... quoniam ipse cognotvit figmentum nostrum. Let us then cry to God for mercy, in the moments when we feel that we are weak in face of the cross, of temptation, of the accomplishment of the Divine will: Miserere mei, quoniam infirmus sum. It is when we thus humbly declare our infirmity that grace, which alone can save us, triumphs within us: Virtus in infirmitate perficitur.
O Christ Jesus, prostrate beneath Thy Cross, I adore Thee. "Power of God," Thou showest Thyself overwhelmed with weakness so as to teach us humility and confound our pride. O High Priest, full of holiness, Who passed through our trials in order to be like unto us and to compassionate our infirmities, do not leave me to myself, for I am but frailty. May Thy power dwell in me, so that I fall not into evil: Ut inhabitet in me virtus Christi. [Ibid.]
Nothing that is human should hold us back in our path towards God; no natural love should trammel our love for Christ; we must pass onwards so as to remain united to Him.
Let us ask the Blessed Virgin to associate us with her in the contemplation of the sufferings of Jesus, and to make us share in the compassion that she shows towards Him, that we may gain therefrom the hatred of sin which required such an expiation. It has at times pleased God to manifest sensibly the fruit produced by the contemplation of the Passion, by imprinting on the bodies of some Saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi, the stigmata of the wounds of Jesus. We ought not to wish for these outward marks; but we ought to ask that the image of the suffering Christ may be imprinted upon our hearts. Let us implore this precious grace from the Blessed Virgin: Sancta mater istud agas, crucifixi fige plagas cordi meo valide. [Ibid.]
"And going out they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon, him they forced to take up His Cross."
Jesus is exhausted. Although He be the Almighty, He wills that His sacred humanity, laden with all the sins of the world, shall feel the weight of justice and expiation. But He wants us to help Him carry His Cross. Simon represents us all, and Christ asks all of us to share in His sufferings; we are His disciples only upon this condition: "If any man will come after Me, let him ... take up his cross, and follow Me." The Father has decreed that a share of sorrow shall be left to His Son's mystical body, that a portion of expiation shall be borne by His members: Adimplebo ea quae desunt passionum Christi in carne mea pro corpore ejus, quod est Ecclesia. Jesus wills it likewise and it was in order to signify this Divine decree that He accepted the help of the Cyrenean.
But at the same time, He merited for us the grace of fortitude wherewith to sustain trials generously. In His Cross He has placed the unction that makes ours tolerable; for in carrying our cross, it is truly His Own which we accept. He unites our sufferings to His sorrow, and He confers upon them, by this union, an inestimable value, the source of great merits. Our Lord said to St. Mechtilde: "As My divinity drew to itself the sufferings of My humanity, and made them its own (it is the dowry of the bride), thus will I transport thy pains into My divinity; I will unite them to My Passion and will make thee to share in that glory which My Father bestowed upon My scared hu,anity in return for all its sufferings."
Jesus, I accept from Thy hand the particles that Thou didst detach for me from Thy Cross. I accept all the disappointments, contradictions, sufferings and sorrows that Thou dost permit or that it pleases Thee to send me. I accept them as my share of expiation. Unite the little that I do to Thine unspeakable sufferings, for it is from them that mine will draw all their merit. [Ibid.]
A Woman Wipes the Face of Jesus
Tradition relates that a woman, touched with compassion, drew near to Jesus, and offered Him a linen cloth to wipe His adorable face.
Isaias had foretold of the suffering Jesus: "There is no beauty in Him, nor comeliness, and we have seen Him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of Him": Non est species ei, neque decor, nec reputavimus eum. The Gospel tells us that during those terrible hours after His apprehension the soldiers had dealt Him insolent blows, that they had spat in His face; the crowning with thorns had caused the blood to trickle down upon His sacred countenance. Christ Jesus willed to suffer all this in order to expiate our sins; He willed that we should be healed by the bruises that His Divine face received for us: Livore ejus sanati sum us.
Being our Elder Brother, He has restored to us, by substituting Himself for us in His Passion, the grace that makes us the children of His Father. We must be like unto Him, since such is the very form of our predestination: Conformes fieri imaginis Filii sui. How can this be? All disfigured as He is by our sins, Christ in His Passion remains the beloved Son, the object of all His Father's delight. We are like to Him in this, if we keep within us the principle of our divine similitude, namely, sanctifying grace. Again we are like to Him in practising the virtues that He manifests during His Passion, in sharing the love that He bears towards His Father and towards souls, His patience, fortitude, meekness and gentleness.
O Heavenly Father, in return for the bruises that Thy Son Jesus willed to suffer for us, glorify Him, exalt Him, give unto Him that splendour which He merited when His adorable countenance was disfigured for our salvation. [Ibid.]
Jesus Falls the Second Time
Let us consider our Divine Saviour again sinking under the weight of the Cross. God has laid all the sins of the world upon His shoulders: Posuit Dominus in eo iniquitatem omnium nostrum. They are our sins that crush Him. He beholds them all in their multitude and in their every detail. He accepts them as His own to the extent that He no longer appears, according to St. Paul's own words, anything but a living sin: Pro nobis peccatum fecit. As the Eternal Word, Jesus is all-powerful; but He chooses to feel all the weakness of a burdened humanity: this wholly voluntary weakness honours the justice of His Heavenly Father, and merits strength for us. Never let us forget our infirmities; never let us give way to pride. However great may be the progress that we believe we have made, we always remain too weak of ourselves to carry our cross after Jesus: Sine me nihil potestis facere. The divine virtue that goes out from Him alone becomes our strength: Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat; but it is only given to us if we often ask for it.
O Jesus, become weak for love of me, crushed under the weight of my sins, give me the strength that is in The, so that Thou alone mayest be glorified by my works.
Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem
"And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said: Daughters of Jesusalem, weep not over Me; but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren. ... Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us. ... For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?"
Jesus knows the ineffable exigencies of His Father's justice and holiness. He reminds the daughters of Jerusalem that this justice and this holiness are adorable perfections of the Divine Being. Jesus Himself is "a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners." He does but substitute Himself for them; and yet see with what rigour divine justice strikes Him. If this justice requires of Him so extensive an expiation, what will be the rigour of the stripes dealt to the guilty who obstinately refuse to unite their share of expiation to the sufferings of Christ? Horrendum est incidere in manus Dei viventis. Upon that day, the confusion of human pride will be so great, so terrible will be the chastisement of those who wanted to do without God, that these unhappy ones, outcast from God for ever, will ganash their teeth in despair ... [Ibid.]
Jesus Falls for the Third Time
"The Lord was pleased to bruise Him in infirmity," said Isaias, speaking of Christ during His Passion: Dominus voluit conterere eum in infirmitate. Jesus is crushed beneath the weight of justice. We shall never be able, even in Heaven, to measure what it was for Jesus to be subject to the darts of divine justice. No creature has borne the weight of it in all its fullness, not even the damned have done so. But the sacred humanity of Jesus, united to this divine justice by immediate contact, has undergone all its power and all its rigour. This is why, as a Victim Who has delivered Himself out of love to all its action, He falls prostrate, crushed and broken beneath its weight.
O my Jesus, teach me to detest sin which obliges justice to require of Thee such expiation. Grant that I may unite all my sufferings to Thine, so that by them my sins may be blotted out and I may make satisfaction even here below.
Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
"They parted My garments amongst them; and upon My vesture they cast lots." This is the prophecy of the Psalmist. Jesus is stripped of everything and placed in the nakedness of utter poverty; He does not even dispose of His garments; for, as soon as He is raised upon the Cross, the soldiers will divide them among themselves and will cast lots for His coat. Jesus, moved by the Holy Spirit: Per Spiritum sanctum semetipsum obtulit Deo, yields Himself to His executioners as the Victim for our sins.
Nothing is so glorious to God or so useful to our souls as to unite the offering of ourselves, absolutely and without condition, to the offering which Jesus made at the moment when He gave Himself up to the executioners to be stripped of His raiment and fastened to the Cross, "that through His poverty, [we] might be rich." This offering of ourselves is a true sacrifice; this immolation to the divine good pleasure is the basis of all spiritual life. But in order that it may gain all its worth, we must unite it to that of Jesus, for it is by this oblation that He has sanctified us all: In qua voluntate sanctificati sumus.
O my Jesus, accept the offering that I make to Thee of all my being; join it to that which Thou didst make to Thy Heavenly Father at the moment of reaching Calvary; strip me of all attachment to created things and to myself! [Ibid.]
Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
"They crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst." Jesus delivers Himself up to His executioners "dumb as a lamb before his shearer. The torture of the nails being driven into the hands and feet is inexpressible. Still less could anyone describe all that the Sacred Heart of Jesus endured in the midst of these torments. Jesus must doubtless have repeated the words He had said on entering into this world: Father, Thou wouldst no more holocausts of animals; they are insufficient to acknowledge Thy sanctity ... "but a body Thou hast fitted to Me": Corpus autem aptasti mihi. "Behold I come."
Jesus unceasingly gazes into the face of His Father, and, with incommensurable love, He yields up His body to repair the insults offered to the Eternal Majesty: Factus obediens usque ad mortem. And what manner of death does He undergo? The death of the Cross: Mortem autem crucis. Why is this? Because it is written: "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." He willed to be "reputed with the wicked," in order to declare the sovereign rights of the Divine Sanctity.
He delivers Himself likewise for us. Jesus, being God, saw us all at that moment; He offered Himself to redeem us because it is to Him, High Priest and Mediator, that the Father has given us: Quia tui sunt. What a revelation of the love of Jesus for us! ...
O Jesus, Who "in obeying the will of the Father, and through the co-operation of the Holy Ghost did by Thy death give life to the world; deliver me, by Thy most sacred Body and Blood, from all my iniquities and from all evils; make me ever adhere to Thy commandments and never suffer me to be separated from Thee." [Ibid.]
Jesus Dies Upon the Cross
"And Jesus crying with a loud voice said: Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit. And saying this, He gave up the ghost." After three hours of indescribable sufferings, Jesus dies. The only oblation worthy of God, the one sacrifice that redeems the world, and sanctifies souls is consummated: Una enim oblatione consummavit in sempiternum sanctificatos.
Christ Jesus had promised that when He should be lifted up from the earth, He would draw all things to Himself: Et ego si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. We belong to Him by a double title: as creatures drawn out of nothing by Him, for Him; as souls redeemed by His precious Blood: Redemisti nos, Domine, in sanguine tuo. A single drop of the Blood of Jesus, the God-Man, would have sufficed to save us, for everything in Him is of infinite value; but besides many other reasons, it was to manifest to us the extent of His love that He shed His Blood to the last drop when His Sacred Heart was pierced. And it was for all of us that He shed it. Each one can repeat in all truth the burning words of St. Paul: He "loved me, and delivered Himself for me."
Let us implore Him to draw us to His Sacred Heart by the virtue of His death upon the Cross; to grant that we may die to our self-love and our self-will, the sources of so many infidelities and sins, and that we may live for Him Who died for us. Since it is to His death that we owe the life of our souls, is it not just that we should live only for Him? Ut et qui vivunt, jam non sibi vivant, sed ei qui pro ipsis mortuus est.
O Father, glorify Thy Son hanging upon the gibbet. Since He humbled Himself even to the death of the Cross, exalt Him; may the name that Thou hast given Him be glorified, may every knee bow before Him, and every tongue confess that Thy Son Jesus lives henceforward in Thy eternal glory! [Ibid.]
The Body of Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross and Given to His Mother
The mangled body of Jesus is restored to Mary. We cannot imagine the grief of the Blessed Virgin at this moment. Never did mother love her child as Mary loved Jesus; the Holy Spirit had fashioned within her a mother's heart to love a God-Man. Never did human heart beat with more tenderness for the Word Incarnate than did the heart of Mary; for she was full of grace, and her love met with no obstacle to its expansion.
Then she owed all to Jesus; her Immaculate Conception, the privileges that make of her a unique creature had been given to her in prevision of the death of her Son. What unutterable sorrow was hers when she received the blood-stained body of Jesus into her arms!
Let us throw ourselves down at her feet and ask her forgiveness for the sins that were the cause of so many sufferings.
O Mother, fount of love, make me understand the strength of thy love, so that I may share thy grief; make my heart glow with love for Christ, my God, so that I may think only of pleasing Him. [Ibid.]
Jesus is Laid in the Sepulchre
Joseph of Arimathea, having taken the body of Jesus down from the Cross, "wrapped Him in fine linen, and laid Him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid."
St. Paul says that Christ was "in all things to be made like unto His brethren"; even in His burial, Jesus is one of us. They bound the body of Jesus, says St. John, "in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." But the body of Jesus, united to the Word, was not "to suffer "corruption." He was to remain scarcely three days in the tomb; by His own power, Jesus was to come forth victorious over death, resplendent with life and glory, and death was no more to "have dominion over Him."
The Apostle St. Paul tells us again that "we are buried gether with Him by Baptism" so that we may die to sin: Consepulti enim sumus cum ilIa per baptismum in mortem. The waters of Baptism are like a sepulchre, where we have left sin behind, and whence we come forth, animated by new life, the life of grace. The sacramental virtue of our Baptism for ever endures. In uniting ourselves by faith and love to Christ laid in the tomb, we renew this grace of dying to sin in order to live only for God.
Lord Jesus, may I bury in Thy tomb all my sins, all my failings, all my infidelities; by the virtue of Thy death and burial, give me grace to renounce more and more all that separates me from Yhee; to renounce Satan, the world's maxims, my self-love. By the virtue of Thy Resurrection grant that, like Thee, I may no longer live save for the glory of Thy Father! [Ibid.]
In the divine plan, Mary is inseparable from Jesus, and our holiness consists in entering as far as we can into the divine economy. In God's eternal thoughts, Mary belongs indeed to the very essence of the mystery of Christ; Mother of Jesus, she is the Mother of Him in Whom we find everything. According to the divine plan, life is only given to mankind through Christ the Man-God: Nemo venit ad Patrem nisi per me, but Christ is only given to the world through Mary: Propter nos homines et propter nostram salu tem, descendit de caelis et incarnatus est ... ex Maria Virgine. This is the divine order and it is unchanging. For, notice that this order was not meant only for the day when the Incarnation took place; it still continues as regards the application of the fruits of the Incarnation to souls. Why is this? Because the source of grace is Christ, the Incarnate Word; but as Christ, as Mediator, He remains inseparable from the human nature which He took from the Virgin.
[From Christ, the Life of the Soul, Part II, chapter 12, section 4]
We may associate ourselves with the Passion by bearing, for love of Christ, the sufferings and adversities which, in the designs of His providence, He permits us to undergo.
There is here an essential truth. upon which we ought to meditate.
The Word Incarnate, Head of the Church, took His share, the greater share, of sorrows; but He chose to leave to His Church, which is His mystical body, a share of suffering. St. Paul demonstrates this by a profound and strange saying. "I ... fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for His body which is the Church." [From Christ in His Mysteries, Part II, chapter 13, section 4]
It is impossible, dear child, to arrive at intimate union with a crucified Love, without feeling at times the thorns and nails. It is this which causes the union. You must not be discouraged if our Lord lets you see a little of your misery. [From Union with God, chapter 3, section 2]
You are on the right road to God, a road which ever leads to Him despite our weakness. It is the road of duty accomplished through love despite obstacles. Jesus is our strength; our weakness assumed by Him become divine weakness, and it is stronger than all the strength of man. [Ibid.]
Let us also accept willingly the mortifications sent to us by Providence: hunger, cold, heat, small inconveniences of place or time, slight contradictions coming from those around us. You may again say that these things are trifles; yes, but trifles that form part of the divine plan for us. Is not that enough to make us accept them with love?
Finally, let us accept illness, if sent to us by God, or what is sometimes more painful, a state of habitual ill-health, an infirmity that never leaves us; adversities, spiritual aridity; to accept all these things can become very mortifying for nature. If we do so with loving submission, without ever relaxing in the service we owe to God, although Heaven seems to be cold and deaf to us, our soul will open more and more to the divine action. For, according to the saying of St. Paul, "all things work together unto good" to those whom God calls to share His glory. [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 9, section 4]
For spiritual direction I say this: I desire that you should try, with the grace of God, to suffer in silence. When Jesus, Eternal Wisdom, was treated like a fool and scoffed at by Herod's soldiers, He "remained silent." For it is by patience that we possess our soul, and it is a great thing and a great source of strength to possess it so.
[From Union with God, chapter 7]
As interior practice, I feel more and more urged to lose myself in Jesus Christ. May He think and will in me and bear me towards His Father. In the Pater, the only petition that He teaches us to make to God for our souls is Fiat voluntas tua SIGUT IN COELO. I try to love His holy will in the thousand little vexations and interruptions of each day. [Abbot Columba Marmion, chapter 8]
I try to meet all vexations with a smile. [Abbot Columba Marmion, chapter 17]
God will care for you just insofar as you cast yourself and and your cares on the bosom of His paternal love and providence. [From Union with God, chapter 4, section 3]
Abandon yourself blindly into the hands of this Heavenly Father Who loves you better and more than you love yourself. [Ibid.]
Abandon yourself blindly to Love; He will take care of you despite every difficulty. Nothing honours God so much as this surrender of oneself into His Hands. Ibid.]
The best form of mortification is to accept with all our heart; in spite of our repugnance, all that God sends or permits, good and evil, joy and suffering. I try to do this. Let us try to do it together and to help one another to reach that absolute abandonment into the hands of God. [Abbot Columba Marmion, chapter 17]
I find absolute submission to God's will a sovereign remedy in every trouble, and when I consider that in reality God's will is God Himself, I see that this submission is but the supreme adoration due to God, due to Him in whatever manner He may manifest Himself. [Abbot Columba Marmion, chapter 6]
Once it is thoroughly understood that the will of God is the same thing as God Himself, we see that we ought to prefer His adorable will to all besides, and take it, in what it does, in what it ordains, in what it permits, as the one norm of ours. Let us keep our eyes fixed upon this holy will, and not upon the things that cause us pain and trouble. [Abbot Columba Marmion, chapter 8]
Holy Abandonment, an Act of Faith
To put our confidence in God, is it not indeed to believe in His word? to be assured that in listening to Him we shall attain to holiness, that in abandoning ourselves to Him, He will bring us to beatitude? This faith is easy when we meet with no difficulty, and walk in a way of light and consolation: it is a little like the case of those who read the account of expeditions to the North Pole while comfortably sitting by the fireside. But when we are struggling with temptation, with suffering and trial, when we are in dryness of heart and spiritual darkness, then it needs a strong faith to abandon ourselves to God and remain entirely united to His holy will. The more difficult the exercise of this faith is for us, the more pleasing to God is the homage that flows from it. [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, section 5]
Holy Abandonment, an Act of Hope
Sometimes, it seems to us as if God does not keep His promises, that we are mistaken in confiding ourselves to Him. Let us however learn how to wait patiently. Let us say to Him: "My God, I know not where Thou art leading me, but I am sure that if I do not separate myself from Thee, if I remain generously faithful to all that Thou askest of me, Thou wilt be solicitous for my soul and for my perfection. Therefore, though I should walk m the midst of the shadow of death, even if all should seem to be lost, I will fear nothing for Thou art with me, and Thou art faithful." This is an admirable, heroic act of confidence in God, suggested by the spirit of abandonment; an act which glorifies God's almighty power, and forces from Him, as it were, the most precious favours. [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, section 5]
Holy Abandonment, an Act of Love
The love which abandonment supposes is so great that it honours God perfectly. Is it not equivalent to this declaration: "I love Thee so much, O my God, that I want none but Thee; I only want to know and do Thy will; I lay down my will before Thine, I wish to be directed only by Thee. I leave to Thee all that is to befall me. Even if Thou shouldst leave me the choice of Thy graces, the liberty of arranging all things according to my will, I would say: No, Lord, I prefer to commend myself wholly to Thee; dispose of me entirely, both in the vicissitudes of my natural life, and in the stages of my pilgrimage towards Thee; dispose of everything according to Thy good pleasure, for Thy glory. I desire one thing alone: that all within me may be fully subject to Thy good pleasure, to Thyself and to those who hold Thy place; and this, whatever be Thy will, whether it leads me by a flower-bordered path, or makes me pass by the way of suffering and darkness"? Such language is the translation of ., perfect love; the spirit of self-surrender which is nourished with such dispositions of love and complacency and makes us find in them the rule of all our conduct is likewise the source of a continual homage to the wisdom and power of God. [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, section 5]
Indeed holy abandonment is one of the purest and most absolute forms of love; it is the height of love; it is love giving to God, unreservedly, our whole being, with all its energies and activities in order that we may be a veritable holocaust to God: when the spirit of abandonment to God animates [a monk's] whole life, that monk has attained holiness. What in fact is holiness? It is substantially the conformity of all our being to God; it is the amen said by the whole being and its faculties to all the rights of God; it is the fiat full of love, whereby the whole creature responds, unceasingly and unfalteringly, to all the divine will: and that which causes us to say this amen, to utter this fiat, that which surrenders, in a perfect donation, the whole being to God is the spirit of abandonment, a spirit which is the sum total of faith, confidence and love. [From Christ, the Ideal of the Monk, Part II, chapter 16, introductory remarks]