Sunday, 31 August 2014
O Chosen Soul, be Grateful
Never forget dear brethren, that the Lord your God hast delivered you from a lifestyle of vanity, and hast set you firm upon the ways of righteousness. Perhaps you have been intoxicated by the whirls of Satan, the flesh and the world; perhaps you have escaped these evils in advance; or perhaps you currently are immersed in these fouls waters and are being called to live anew; regardless God has delivered you and God has chosen you. This exhortation is tailored for the first two types of soul noted above, yet if you are the latter, by God's grace you shall surely still draw profit; for if you are reading this, chosen you must be, it is just that you have not yet allowed your God to deliver you; so ask Him and ask Him swiftly with earnest and trusting desperation.
Now behold and look around you. Recall to mind all the many people you have known from childhood until this day, look and you will see, you will see that almost all of them live lives of debauchery, of idolatry, of lust, of fornication, tepidity and emptiness. Is there but one among them who does not strive after wind, after things that are base and vain? Who among them prays? Who among them loves God? Who among them desires neither wealth, nor power, nor glory, nor honour or respect? Behold o brother, behold o sister; that you are a blessed soul indeed, for you are a gemstone surrounded by dirt, a standing figure amongst a multitude of lifeless forms. Yet do not congratulate yourself, do not puff yourself up in pride, for who are you to deserve this honour, this privilege, this blessing and most tremendous grace of being delivered from all waywardness and ignorance? Who are you indeed to deserve the lot that has befallen you, the lot that has been given you from above? O if these be wretches all around you, souls who are filled with every misery and blindness; consider then how wretched you must be to have been especially chosen by He? Think not because you are better than they that you have been chosen, nay; for God does not choose in accordance with the natural motives that sway man’s deliberations and favour. For rather God chooses what is base and wretched in the sight of men, in order that His glory might shine forth from such a shattered vessel, therefore confounding the wise and exalting the lowly. Thus it is written: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27). Can there be therefore any greater motive to love and give thanks to your God? A God who has dealt so ridiculously kindly with you, to have redeemed you from the pits of hell to which you deserved? A God who delivered you from that ignorance which clouds the sight of almost all men? A God who lavished and continues to lavish you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places? It is frustrating, so very frustrating, to be unable to write in a manner which could at least motivate you to give but an ounce of the infinite gratitude you should have for your God. But that matters not, ask for the grace to be grateful and give thanks with the Holy Spirit, the Living Thanksgiving that gushes forth from God the Father to God the Son, from God the Son to God the Father.
O happy soul! O fortunate pandered little wretch! What pleasure will be yours when you enter the fullness of eternal bliss, where you shall truly realise how much you have been spoilt above any other soul? Do you not realise that God has chosen you? That God has chosen you precisely because you are miserable beyond compare? Why do not despair, but praise your God for your wretchedness, that unsightliness which has seduced your God to covet you in a most profound and unique manner. It would be unthinkable to slouch in idleness and to chase worldly desires in daydreaming bouts; for the Lord your God has chosen you, and therefore for duties sake you are compelled to toil hard with the graces –the talents- that He has given you. Yet do not serve your God out of mere duties sake, even though a duty it is, for what wife wants to be romanced by a husband who acts not from a genuine love but from a cold sense of duty? Ah but what to do? For your heart is dead and numb and it is incapable of loving to any worthy degree a God so great. Fear not o little chosen one, o little worm that God as a hungry bird yearns to feast upon; for God is Love; and thus if you let Him consume you into the blazing breast of His Love, then you shall become and be filled with that Love Divine; rendering you capable of loving Him with His very own Love!
And do not forget your Mother o soul, for She has mourned much over you that you might obtain the blessings that you possess now. Forget not also, that She beheld Her beautiful Son be stripped bare, as a hunter skins its slaughtered prey. That She beheld Her lovely Son be nailed with cold hard iron, in hands and feet -an act so barbaric that any man would squirm if they beheld this done to naught else but a fox or beaver- yet She was this poor man’s mother. And lastly, forget not also, that She held within Her maternal arms the battered corpse of He whom She first held as the sweetest of infants; He to whom She nursed and cuddled with smiles and laughs. Yet then with tears and cries of sorrow never heard by the ears of man either before or since, She caressed the lifeless body of He Her Love. And why did She suffer such horrendous sights, such torments and pains far greater than hell’s? To give birth to you o soul, her sweet beloved child in Christ Her precious Son. And did She suffer such for you to become a sluggard? For you to become a child who aims for nothing high, but merely wishes to grow up to semi-stature? Why surely not! For no mother yearns that her child should grow to become half the being that they were destined to be; and so certainly not this Mother who is the Mother beyond mothers. She gave spiritual birth to you on Calvary with the desire that you would become a saint, that is, a soul who would live and die for naught else but love of Jesus. So cast away your feeble desires and take hold of this Divine Desire that palpitates in the Immaculate Heart of your Mother. This Desire shall enflame you with Love Divine, and shall inspire in you the longing to be unknown, that Christ might be known; to be forgotten, that Christ might be remembered; and to die and to be dead, so that Christ would live in you and in all.
O give thanks o fortunate soul, for the Lord your God has dealt ever so kindly with you; so waste not His blessings and pray fervently on behalf of those who know Him not. Do not judge those who are not as blest as you, for even St. Francis wept over the fact that had another been given the same graces as he, they would have fared much greater than he. So remain little, remain small, and strive to become ever more childish with confidence and loving joy. In this manner you shall let God be your Greatness, your Love and the perpetual fancy of your heart. Now has not your God being too good to you? Well ‘if it’s too good to be true, it can’t be true’ they say; yet we know that this type of worldly thinking is utter idiocy, for indeed when we reflect upon the graciousness of God we know ‘that if it’s too good, it must be true’. This is grateful thinking, but now let us start grateful living.