Special Obligation for the Priest to belong Entirely to God.
Means to be Employed for Belonging Entirely to God.

Special Obligation for the Priest to belong Entirely to God.

PETER DE BLOIS says that a priest without Divine love "may be called a priest but is not a priest." From the day of his ordination a priest is no longer his own, but belongs to God. St. Ambrose has said: "A true minister of the altar is in the world for God and not for himself." And before him God Himself said: They offer the burnt-offering of the Lord, and the bread of their God, and therefore they shall be holy. [Lev. xxi. 6.] Origen has called a priest "a being consecrated to God." From his very entrance into the ecclesiastical state the priest declared that he wished for no other portion than God. If, then, adds St. Ambrose, God is the portion of the priest, he should live only for God. Hence the Apostle has said, that he who is devoted to the service of the Divine majesty should not engage in worldly affairs, but should seek only to please Him to Whom he has given himself: No man being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular business; that he may please Him to Whom he hath engaged himself. [2 Tim. ii. 4.] Jesus Christ forbade the young man who wished to become one of his disciples to return home for the purpose of burying his father: Follow Me, and let the dead bury the dead. [Matth. viii. 22.] This lesson was, as the same St. Ambrose writes, directed to all ecclesiastics, to teach them that it is their duty to prefer the concerns of the Divine glory to all human affairs, which may be an obstacle to their belonging entirely to God.

Even in the Old Law, God declared to the priests that He had chosen them from among the people that they might be His without reserve. Hence He told them that they should have no possession, no portion among seculars, because He Himself wished to be their portion and inheritance: You shall possess nothing in their land, neither shall you have a portion among them: I am thy portion and inheritance in the midst of the children of Israel. [Num. xviii. 20.] On this passage Oleaster writes: "O priest! understand what great happiness God has conferred upon thee by wishing to have thee as His inheritance. And what can be wanting to thee if thou possessest God?" The priest, then, should say with St. Augustine: "Let others choose for their portion temporal things; God is my portion." And, says St. Anselm, if we love not God, what shall we love? The Emperor Diocletian placed before St. Clement gold, silver, and precious stones, in order to induce him to deny the faith: seeing his God put in comparison with a little dust, the Saint heaved a sigh of sorrow: But one thing is necessary. He who possesses all things without God, has nothing; but he who possesses God without anything else, has all things. Hence, St. Francis had reason to say, and to repeat, as he did for an entire night, My God, and my all. Happy, then, is he who can say with David: For what have I in Heaven? and besides Thee that do I desire upon earth? . . . God is my portion forever. [Ps. lxxii. 25.] My God, neither in Heaven nor on earth do I wish for anything but Thee. Thou art, and shall be always, the Lord of my heart, and my only riches.

God deserves to be loved for His Own sake, because He is an object worthy of infinite love: but we should love Him, at least, through gratitude for the infinite love He has shown in the benefit of redemption. What more could God do for us, than become man and die for us? Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. [John xv. 13.] Before redemption, men could doubt if God loved them with a tender love; but how can they doubt it after having seen Him dead on a Cross for the love of them. This has been, as it was called by Moses and Elias on Mount Thabor, an excess of love: And they spoke of His decease [excess] that He should accomplish in Jerusalem. [Luke ix. 31.] An excess that all the Angels shall not be able to comprehend for all eternity. Who among men, says St. Anselm, could deserve that a God should die for him? But it is certain that this Son of God has died for each of us: Christ died for all, [2 Cor. v. 15.] The Apostle writes, that when the death of our Saviour was preached to the Gentiles it appeared to them foolishness: We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling-block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness. [1 Cor. i. 23.] It was neither foolishness nor a lie, but a truth of faith,----a truth which, as St. Laurence Justinian says, makes God appear to us foolish through love for man. O God, if Jesus Christ wished to show His love for His eternal Father, could He give him a more convincing proof than by dying on a Cross, as He has died, for each of us? I say more: If a servant had died for us, could we but love him? But where is our love and gratitude towards Jesus Christ?

Let us at least frequently remember what our Redeemer has done and suffered for us. They who frequently remember His Passion give great pleasure to Jesus Christ. If a person submitted to insults, wounds, and imprisonment for the sake of a friend, how great should his gratification be at hearing that the friend frequently remembered and thought of his sufferings. Ah! the soul that frequently thinks on the Passion of Jesus Christ, and on the love that that enamoured God has shown us in his pains and humiliations, cannot but feel herself chained to His love: The charity of Christ presseth us.  [2 Cor. v. 14.] But if all should burn with love for Jesus Christ, we priests should love him with a special love; for Jesus Christ has died in a special manner to make us priests: for, as has been said in Chapter I, without the death of Jesus Christ we should not have the holy and immaculate victim that we now offer to God. Justly, then, has St. Ambrose said: "Although Christ has suffered for all, He has especially suffered for us. But he that receives more, owes more. Let us render love to Him for the Blood that He has shed for us."

Let us endeavor to understand the love that Jesus Christ has shown us in His Passion, and we shall certainly renounce the love of creatures. "Oh, if you knew the mystery of the Cross!'" said the Apostle St. Andrew to the tyrant who tempted him to deny Jesus Christ. As if he said, O tyrant! if you knew the love that your God has for you, and His desire for your salvation, you would certainly cease to tempt me, and through gratitude for so much love, you would devote yourself to His love.

Happy, then, the man who keeps constantly before his eyes the wounds of Jesus Christ! You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains. [Isa. xii. 3.] Oh, what waters of devotion, what lights and affections, do the Saints draw from these fountains of salvation! Father Alvarez used to say, that the ignorance of the riches that we have in Jesus Christ is the cause of the ruin of Christians. The learned boast of their science, but the Apostle gloried in nothing but in the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified: For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus  Christ, and Him crucified. [1 Cor. ii. 2.] Of what advantage are all sciences to him who knows not how to love Jesus Christ? And if . . . I should know . . . all science, said the same Apostle, and have not charity, I am nothing. [1 Cor. xiii. 2.] In another place he said that to gain Jesus Christ he esteemed all things as dung: I count all things to be but loss, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ. [Phil. iiii. 8.] Hence he gloried in calling himself the prisoner of Jesus Christ: I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ. [Eph. iii. 1.]

Oh, happy the priest who, bound by these holy chains, gives himself entirely to Jesus Christ! God loves a soul that gives herself entirely to Him, more than He does a hundred imperfect souls. If a prince had a hundred servants, ninety-nine of whom served him with little affection, always giving him some displeasure, and had one that served him through pure love, always seeking to please him to the utmost of his power, surely the prince would love that faithful servant more than all the others: There are young maidens without number. One is my dove, my perfect one. [Cant. vi. 7.] The Lord loves the soul that serves Him perfectly, as if He had no other to love but her. St. Bernard says: "Learn from Christ how to love Christ." From His birth Jesus Christ has given Himself entirely to us: For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. [Isa. ix. 6.] And He has given Himself through love: Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us. [Eph. v. 2.] It is just, then, that we also though love give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ. He, says St. John Chrysostom, has given Himself without reserve to you, bestowing upon you His Blood, His life, His merits. It is but just that you, too, give yourself without reserve to Jesus Christ, says St. Bernard.

But if this holds for all, it applies in a special manner to priests. Hence, addressing particularly the priests of his Order, St. Francis of Assisi, knowing the special obligation of the priest to belong entirely to Jesus christ, said: "Keep nothing back of yourselves, so that He Who offers Himself entirely may also receive you." The Redeemer has died for us all, that each may live no longer to himself, but only to that God Who has given His life for him: Christ died for all; that they also, who live, may not now live to themselves, but unto Him Who died for them. [2 Cor. v. 15.] Oh that each one of us would continually say to God with St. Augustine: "May I die to myself that I may live only for Thee!" But to belong entirely to God, we must given Him our whole, undivided love, says St. Augustine. "Let your soul," cries out St. Bernard, "be one, that you may serve God alone." Ah! redeemed soul, divide not your love among creatures; keep yourself alone for that God Who alone merits all your love. It was this that Blessed Egidius meant by the words, una, uni, that is, the one soul which we have, we ought not to divide, but give entirely to that one God Whose love for us exceeds the love of all others, and whose claims to our love surpass the claims of all.

Means to be Employed for Belonging Entirely to God


Let us now see what a priest must do in order to belong entirely to God. First of all, he must have a great desire of sanctity. For the beginning of her is the most true desire of discipline. [Wisd. vi. 18.] Holy desires are the wings with which souls fly to God: But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward, and increaseth even to perfect day. [Prov. iv. 18.] The way of the just is like the light of the sun, which from his rising increases as he advances in his course; but, on the other hand, the light of sinners, like that of the evening, constantly grows more dim, until it is entirely lost, so that the miserable beings no longer see where they are going: The way of the wicked is darksome; they know not where they fall. [Ibid. 19.]

Miserable then, the man who is content with his conduct, and seeks not to advance. "Not to advance is to go backward," says St. Augustine. And St. Gregory has said, he who remains in a river without making an effort to make way against the current, shall be carried back by it. Hence St. Bernard said to a tepid soul, "You do not wish to advance. You will then go backward." Are you unwilling to advance? Then you wish to go backward. You perhaps will answer: I wish to remain as I am, neither better nor worse. But this is impossible. "This," adds the Saint, "is what cannot be done." This cannot be, since Job has said, that man never continueth in the same state. [Job xiv. 2.] To win the prize that is, the eternal crown, we must run till we obtain it: So run that you may obtain. [1 Cor. ix. 24.] He who ceases to run, shall lose all his labor and the crown of glory.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice. [Matth. v. 6.] For, as the Divine mother said, God fills with His graces the souls that desire to become Saints. He hath filled the hungry with good things. Mark the words, the hungry, those that hunger. But to become a Saint, a simple desire is not enough: a strong desire, and a certain hunger after sanctity, are necessary. As flame runs through a  dry reed, so they who have this blessed hunger do not walk, but run in the way of virtue. The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. [Wisd. iii. 7.] Who, then, shall become a Saint? He who wishes to become one: If thou Wilt be perfect, go, etc.
[Matth. xix. 21.] But he must wish for sanctity with true humility. The tepid Christian, as the Wise Man says, also wills, but not with a sincere will. He desires, and always desires, but his desires bring him to destruction; for he feeds on them, and in the mean time goes from bad to worse: The sluggard willeth and willeth not. [Prov. xiii. 4.]----Desires kill the slothful. [Prov. xxi. 25.]

Wisdom, that is sanctity, is easily found by them who seek it: It is found by them that seek her. [Wisd. vi. 13.] But to find sanctity it is not enough to desire it; we must desire it with a determined will to attain it: If you seek, seek, [xxi. 12.] says Isaias. He who desires sanctity with a resolute will of acquiring it, easily attains it. "Not with the feet of the body," says St. Bernard, "but with the desires of the soul; is God sought." And St. Teresa has written: "Let our thoughts be great; from great thoughts our advancement shall come. Our desires must not be low and grovelling, but we must trust in God; that, gradually doing violence to ourselves, we shall, with the Divine grace, arrive at the sanctity which the Saints have attained."

Open thy mouth wide, says the Lord, and I will fill it. [Ps. lxxx. 11.] A mother cannot give suck to an infant if it open not its mouth to take the milk. Open thy mouth wide; that is, says St. Athanasius, "Increase thy desires." By holy desires the Saints have arrived at perfection in a short time: Being made perfect in a short time, he fulfilled a long time.
[Wisd. iv. 13.] This was verified particularly in St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who in a few years attained such sublime sanctity, that to St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, who saw him in bliss, it appeared that his glory was scarcely surpassed by that of any of the Saints. And she was told that he attained to such glory by the ardor with which he desired, during life, to love God as much as he deserved to be loved.

Desires, says St. Laurence Justinian, give strength to the soul, and render labor light. Hence the Saint adds, "that he who has an ardent desire of victory has already conquered." St. Augustine has said: "For him that labors, the road is narrow; for him that loves, it is wide." To him who has but little love for sanctity, the way is narrow and difficult to be trodden; but he who ardently loves perfection, finds the way broad, and walks in it without labor. The broadness, then of the way is found not in the way, but in the heart; that is, in a determined will to please God: I have run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou didst enlarge my heart. [Ps. cxviii. 32.] Blosius says that the Lord is not less pleased by holy desires than by ardent love.
He that has not the desire of becoming a Saint, let him at least ask it of God, and God will give it to him. And let us be persuaded that to become a Saint is not difficult to him who desires it. In the world it is difficult for a vassal to obtain the friendship of  his sovereign, however ardently he may desire it, but, said the courtier of the emperor mentioned by St. Augustine, to obtain the friendship of God it is enough to wish for it: "Behold, if I wish I am instantly his friend." And St. Bernard has written that a man cannot have a greater proof of being the friend of God, and of enjoying His grace, than when he desires greater grace in order to please God. And adds the Saint, it matters not that he should have been a sinner, for "God attends not to what a man has done, but to what he wishes to be."


Secondly, the priest who wishes to be a Saint, must do all his actions for the sole purpose of pleasing God. All his words, thoughts, desires, and actions must be an exercise of Divine love. The spouse in the Canticles assumed at one time the character of a fowler; at another, of a warrior; now a gardener; again, a cultivator of the vine; but in all these occupations she presented the appearance of a lover, because she did all for the love of her spouse. So, in like manner, all the words, thoughts, sufferings, actions, of a priest, whether he says Mass or hears Confessions, or preaches, or meditates, or assists the dying, or mortifies the flesh, or whatever else he does, should all proceed from the same love; for he ought to do all in order to please God.

Jesus Christ has said: If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. [Matth. vi. 22.] By the eye the holy Fathers have understood the intention. Then, says St. Augustine, 'The intention makes the work good." The Lord said to Samuel: Man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the heart. [1 Kings xvi. 7.] Men are satisfied with the works that they see, but God, Who beholds the heart, is not content with any work unless He sees it performed with a view to please Himself. I will offer up to Thee holocausts full of marrow, [Ps. lxv. 15.] says David. Works performed without the proper intention, are victims without marrow, which God rejects. In the oblations made to Him He regards not the value of the offering, but the affection with which it is presented. "God," says Salvian, "looks not so much at the value of the offering as at the disposition with which it is offered." Of our Saviour it was justly said: He hath done all things well. [Mark vii. 37.] For in all His actions He sought only the pleasure of His eternal Father: I seek not My Own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. [John v. 30.]

But, alas! only few of our works are perfectly pleasing to God; because few are done without some desire of our own glory. "It is rare," says St. Jerome, "to find a faithful soul that never acts out of vain-glory." How many priests on the day of judgment shall say to Jesus Christ: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied, and cast out devils in Thy name, and done many miracles in Thy name?
[Matth. vii. 22.] Lord, we have preached, we have celebrated Masses, we have heard Confessions, we have converted souls, we have assisted the dying. The Lord shall answer: I never knew you: depart from Me, you that work iniquity. He shall say: Begone, I have never known you as my ministers, for you have not labored for me, but for your own glory or interest.

Hence Jesus Christ exhorts us to conceal the works which we perform: Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth.
[Matth. vi. 3.] The Son of God tells us to conceal our works, that, as St. Augustine remarks, what we do for God may not be afterwards lost through vanity. God abominates rapine in the holocaust: I the Lord . . . hate robbery in a holocaust. [Isa. lxi. 8.] By rapine is meant precisely the seeking of our own glory, or of self-interest in the works of God. He who truly loves, says St. Bernard, merits a reward, but does not seek it: the only recompense that he demands is to please the God Whom he loves. In a word, as the same Saint says in another place, "True love is content with itself;" that is, with being love, and demands nothing more.

The marks by which a priest may know whether he acts with a pure intention are the following: 1. If he loves works that are attended with greater inconvenience and less glory. 2. If he preserves peace when he has not attained the object that he proposed. He who works for God has already attained his end, which is to please God; and, on the other hand, he who is disturbed when he fails in the attainment of his object shows that he has not labored solely for God. 3. If he rejoices in the good done by others as if it had been done by himself, and entertains no jealousy when others engage in the works that he performs, but desires to see all laboring to give glory to God, and says with Moses: Oh that all the people might prophesy! [Num. xi. 29.]

The days of the priest who performs all his actions for God are full days: And full days shall be found in them. [Ps. lxxii. 10.] But of them who act for a selfish end, it is said that they do not reach even the half of their days: Deceitful men shall not live out half their days.
[Ps. liv. 24.] Hence St. Eucherius of Lyons has written, that we ought to consider ourselves to have lived only on the day on which we have denied our own will.
Seneca says that he who makes us a small present through love, imposes on us a greater obligation than another who bestows great favors upon us through a motive of self-interest. Certainly the Lord is more pleased by a trifling act performed in order to do His will, than by the most splendid works done for our own satisfaction. Of the poor widow who gave two mites in the temple, Jesus Christ said that she gave more than all the others: This poor widow hath cast in more than all. [Mark xii. 43.] On this passage St. Cyprian says: "The Lord does not regard how much is given, but with what sentiments it is given." The Lord regarded not the sum, but the affection with which it was given.

The Abbot Pambo, seeing a woman decked out in costly ornaments, began to weep. Being asked the cause of his tears, he said: "O God! how much more does this woman do to please men than I do to please God!" In the Life of St. Louis, king of France, it is related that a Father of the Order of St. Dominic, who was going to court, asked a woman whom he saw with a lighted torch in one hand and a vessel of water in the other, why she carried these things; she answered: With this torch I wish to burn Heaven, and with this water I desire to extinguish Hell, that God may be loved solely because he deserves all love. Oh, happy the priest who labors only to please God! He who seeks only to please God imitates the Souls in Heaven, who, as the angelic Doctor says, "wish that He rather than themselves should be happy."  They rejoice more in the felicity of God than in their own happiness, because they love Him more than themselves.


Thirdly, the priest who wishes to be holy must be ready to suffer in peace for God all things----poverty, dishonor, infirmity, and death. The Apostle says: You bear God in your body. [1 Cor. vi. 20.] In his comment on this text, Gilbert says: "Jesus Christ wishes to be carried by us in peace and joy. He who carries Him with tediousness or complaint, carries not, but drags Him by force."

The love that a soul bears to God is shown in embracing not delights, but insults and sufferings. [Emphasis added here and below.] This we learn from the words of our Redeemer when He went to meet the soldiers who came to capture Him, in order to put Him to death: But that the world may know that I love the Father . . . Arise, let us go hence. [John xiv. 31.] Hence the Saints in imitation of Jesus Christ, have gone with joy to embrace torments and death. St. Joseph of Leonessa, a Capuchin, was once obliged to undergo a painful operation. When some persons present spoke of binding him with cords, he took the crucifix into his hands and said: "What cords! what cords!" My Lord, Who was nailed to the Cross for my sake, binds me sufficiently to endure all pain for the love of Him. Thus he bore the incision without complaint. St. Teresa said: "Who is there that can behold his Lord covered with wounds, and persecuted by enemies, without being willing to embrace and desirous of suffering every tribulation?" St. Bernard writes: "To him who loves his crucified God, insults and pains are very acceptable."

The Apostle says that in patience particularly we priests should make ourselves known as the ministers of Jesus Christ: Let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, . . . in labors.
[2 Cor. vi. 4.] Thomas à Kempis has written: "When the day of judgment cometh, it will not be asked of us what we have read, but what we have done." Many men of learning are acquainted with many things, but know not how to bear anything for God; and what is worse, they are incapable of understanding the great fault which they commit by their impatience. Who have eyes, and see not, [Jer. v. 21.] says the Prophet Jeremias. What does learning profit the man who has not charity? says St. Paul. And if . . . I should know all mysteries and all knowledge, . . . and have not charity, I am nothing. [1 Cor. xiii. 2.] But, as the same Apostle has observed, Charity beareth all things. He who wishes to become a Saint must suffer persecution. All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. [2 Tim. iii. 12.] And before him our Saviour said: If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. [John xv. 20.] The life of a Saint cannot, says St. Hilary, be a life of quiet and tranquillity: it must be often disturbed by contradictions and tried by patience. The Lord chastises those whom He accepts for His children: For whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth: and He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. [Heb. xii. 6.]  Such as I love I rebuke and chastise. [Apoc. iii. 19.] And why? Because patience tries the love and perfect fidelity of a soul: Patience hath a perfect work. [James i. 4.] It was this that the Archangel Raphael meant to say to holy Tobias: Because thou wast acceptable to God, it was necessary that temptation should prove thee. [Tob. xii. 13.]

Sometimes we shall be reproved for a fault which we have not committed; but "what matter?" says St. Augustine; "we ought to accept the reproof in atonement for other sins to which we have consented."  Let us attend to the words of holy Judith, who says that in this life chastisements come from God, not for our destruction, but that we may amend, and thus escape eternal vengeance: They have happened for our amendment, and not for our destruction. [viii. 27.] If, then, on account of past sins, we find ourselves debtors to the Divine justice, we should not only accept with patience the tribulations that befall us, but should also pray with St. Augustine: "Here burn, here cut, here do not spare, that Thou mayest spare us in eternity."

Job said: If we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil? [ii. 10.] He said this because he well knew that we gain far more by patiently accepting the evils, that is, the tribulations of this life, than we do by temporal blessings. But whether we will or not, we must suffer the miseries of this life: he who bears them with patience merits Heaven, but he who is impatient under them also suffers from them, but lays up merits for Hell, says St. Augustine. Speaking of the good and the wicked thief, the same Saint says: "The cross united them; the manner of carrying the cross separated them." Both suffered death, but one of them, because he accepted it with patience, was saved; the other, because he blasphemed in his suffering, was lost. St. John the Apostle saw that the Saints who were in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision came not from the delights of the earth, but from tribulations: These are they who are come out of great tribulation; therefore they are before the throne of God. [Apoc. vii. 14.]


Fourthly and lastly, he who wishes to be a Saint must wish only what God wishes. All our good consists in uniting ourselves to the will of God: And life in His good-will. [Ps. xxix. 6.] St. Teresa says: "All that he who practises mental prayer should seek, is to conform his will to the Divine will; let him be assured that in this consists the highest perfection." All that the Lord demands of us is, that we give Him our heart; that is, our will: My son, give Me thy heart. [Prov. xxiii. 26.] St. Anselm says that God asks and, as it were, begs our heart; and when cast off, He does not depart, but repeats His petitions.
The most acceptable offering, then, that we can present to God is the oblation of our will, saying with the Apostle: Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? [Acts ix. 6.] Hence St. Augustine has written: "We can do nothing more pleasing than to say to Him, Do Thou possess us." The Lord said that He had found in David a man according to His Own heart. And why? Because David fulfilled all His Divine wills: I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My Own heart. 
[Acts xiii. 22.] Let us endeavor to say always with David: Teach me to do Thy will. [Ps. cxlii. 9.] Lord, teach me to do nothing but what Thou willest. Hence we must frequently offer ourselves to God, saying with the same holy prophet: My heart is ready, O God! my heart ts ready. [Ps. lvi. 8.]

But we must remember that our merit consists in embracing the Divine will, not so much in things that are pleasing to us, as in those that are opposed to self-love. In these we show the strength of the love we bear to God. The Venerable John d'Avila used to say, that a single Blessed be God, in things that are opposed to our inclination, is of greater value than six thousand acts of thanksgiving in what is agreeable to us. And here it is necessary to understand that all that befalls us happens through the will of God, says St. Augustine. This is the meaning of the words of Ecclesiasticus: Good things and evil, life and death, poverty and riches, are from God. [xi. 14.] Thus when a person offends us, God wills not his sin, but He wills that we bear with the insult. When our reputation or property is taken away, we must say with holy Job: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done! [i. 21.]

He who loves the will of God enjoys continual peace even in this life. Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart, said David.  [Ps. xxxvi. 4.] Our heart, which has been created for an infinite good, cannot be satisfied by all creatures which are finite; and therefore, though it should possess all goods but God, the heart is not content; it always seeks after new enjoyments: but when it finds God, it possesses all things----He satisfies all its demands. Hence our Lord said to the Samaritan woman: He that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst forever. [John iv. 13.] And in another place he said: Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall have their fill. [Matth. v. 6.] Hence he who loves God is not afflicted at anything that happens: Whatsoever shall befall the just man, it shall not make him sad. [Prov. xii. 21.] For the just man knows that whatever occurs, happens to him by the will of God. If, says Salvian, the Saints are humbled, they wish for the humiliation; if they are poor, they rejoice in their poverty; in a word, they wish only what their God wishes, and therefore they enjoy continual peace. In afflictions it is lawful to pray to be delivered from them, as Jesus Christ did in the garden: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me
[Matth. xxvi. 39.] But we must also add with the Redeemer: Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.

It is certain that what God wills is best for us. Father John d'Avila once wrote to a sick priest "Friend, think not of what you would do if you were in health, but be content to remain sick as long as it shall please God. If you seek the will of God, is it not as profitable to you to be sick as to be in health?" We must be resigned in all things, even in the temptations by which we are impelled to offend God. The Apostle besought the Lord to deliver him from the many temptations which he suffered against chastity: There was given me a sting of my flesh.  . . . For which thing thrice I besought the Lord, that it might depart from me. [2 Cor. xii. 7.] But in answer God said to him: My grace is sufficient for thee. Let us be persuaded that God not only desires, but is also solicitous for our welfare. The Lord is careful for me. [Ps. xxxix. 18.] Let us, then, abandon ourselves into the hands of God, for he has care of us: Casting all your care upon Him, for He hath care of you.  [1 Pet. v. 7.]

Finally, how happy shall be the death of a soul perfectly conformed to the will of God! But he who wishes to die in sentiments of perfect conformity to the Divine will must first conform to it in all things during life. Let us, then, in all contradictions and crosses that befall us accustom ourselves to acts of resignation, always repeating with the Saints that great prayer which Jesus Christ has taught us: "Thy will be done; Thy will be done." Or let us repeat the words of the same Saviour: Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight. [Matth. xi. 26.] And let us continually offer ourselves to God, saying with the Divine Mother: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord." Lord, behold Your servant, dispose of me, and of all that belongs to me, as You please; I accept all from Your hands. St. Teresa used to offer herself fifty times in the day to God. Let us also say to Him, with the Apostle: O Lord, what wilt Thou have me do. My God, make known to me what Thou wish est from me, and I will do it. The Saints have done great things in order to accomplish the will of God. Some have fled into the desert, others have shut themselves up in the cloister, and others have suffered torments and death. Let us also who are priests, and are bound by stricter obligations to sanctity, unite ourselves to the Divine will; let us become Saints; let us not be diffident on account of past sins. "God does not attend," says St. Bernard," to what man does, but to what he wishes to be." A resolute will, with the Divine aid, conquers all things.

Let us pray always: he who asks, receives: For everyone that asketh, receiveth
[Matth. vii. 8.] Whatsoever we ask in prayer, we shall obtain: You shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you. [John xv. 7.] And among all prayers, let the beautiful prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola be always dear to us; let us repeat it continually: "Grant me only Thy love with Thy grace, O Lord! and I shall be rich enough." Lord, give me Your love and Your grace, and I desire nothing more. But, like St. Augustine, we must ask this gift of Divine love continually and earnestly. The holy Doctor says: "Hear me, hear me, O my God, my King, my Father, my honor, my salvation, my light, my life,----hear, hear me! Thee only do I love, Thee only do I seek. Heal me, and open my eyes. Look upon him who has fled from Thee; long enough have I served Thy enemy. Command that I may be a pure, a perfect lover of Thy wisdom." And in asking the Divine graces, I add, with St. Bernard, let us always have recourse to the intercession of Mary, who obtains for her servants whatever she asks from God.


HOME-----------CHRIST THE KING------------ROMAN MASS-----------CONTACT US