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I place all my hope in Thee; in Thee the treasury of all mercy. If I am sick, Thou art my physician; if thirsty, Thou art a fountain at which I may quench my thirst; if a sinner, Thou art to me a father; if weak, Thou art my strength; if I dwell amidst darkness, Thou art my light; 0 my God, and my all! When "shalt Thou fill me with joy with Thy countenance " ? (a) "When shall Thy glory appear"? (6). When, O Lord? When?
I love Thee, O my Jesus, I love Thee as God, because Thou art infinite love, infinite sanctity, clemency, sweetness and mercy. I love Thee as man, because, by reason of the fulness of grace, and the treasures of Divine wisdom which are all contained in Thee, Thou hast an infinite dignity and goodness which nothing can surpass. I love Thee as Redeemer, because Thou art our head, and we are Thy members; Thou art the Lord, and we are Thy servants; Thou art the Father, and we are Thy children; Thou art the shepherd, and we are Thy lambs.
I love Thee, because Thou hast first loved us, and has loved us, even at a time when we were Thy enemies; and Thou hast loved us to such a degree as, for our sake, to come down from heaven; to clothe Thyself with our flesh; to live amidst sorrows, insults, and privations; and to die amidst the most cruel sufferings. Finally, I love Thee, because not content with devoting Thy entire life to our service, and shedding every drop of Thy precious blood for our salvation, Thou hast been pleased to leave Thyself to us for ever as a gift in the most holy Eucha
(a) Psalm xv. 11. (6) Ibid. xvi. 15.
rist . Grant, O my Jesus, that my love for Thee may display itself, principally, in imitating Thee in that third degree of humility which Thou didst love so much while upon earth.
L Consider the excellence of the humanity of Christ . 1. His body is the living Temple of the most Holy Trinity; the most perfect work of the Holy Ghost; the sanctuary of every virtue. To beautify and adorn it, the Father employed all His omnipotence; the Son His wisdom; the Holy Ghost His love.
And if the body is such, what shall we say of the soul? His memory is the living mirror of the Divine virtue. His intellect gazes upon the Divine essence "face to face". His will loves it with an immense and infinite love. Who is there, then, that will not love the most holy humanity of Jesus, which consists in a body so beautiful, and a soul so richly endowed?
II. Consider the excellence of Christ because of His divinity. For thy sake Jesus Christ is both God and man; for thy sake God and man are united together by a bond so close as to form but one Divine Person, For thy sake God is called weak, sorrowful, mortal; and man is called immense, omnipotent, infinite. For thy sake Jesus Christ concluded peace between God and man; and by shedding His most precious blood redeemed thee. O wonderful union! O salutary effect of the love of Jesus! and after all this shall we not love Him?
IIL Consider the love of Jesus towards us. And, (1.) Who is it that loves us? It is the Son of God (2.) Whom does He love? a vile and wretched sinner. 3. After what manner does He love him? He loves him with an infinite love. And, moreover, this infinite love towards us was in constant, and gratuitous. Still more, not content with dying through love of us, Jesus wished also, to give Himself entire to us in the Holy Eucharist, making Himself our food and our drink. O love! O love! And will not men correspond with Thee J
On conformity of our will with the will of God.
Since the last end of man, and the scope of the exercises, is the union of the soul with God as the beginning and centre of all things; and since this union consists in love, which cannot be without an entire conformity of our will with the will of God; the order of things requires that we should now apply ourselves to the contemplation of this heavenly virtue, and, in order to reduce it to practice, consider (1,) its excellence; (2,) its equity; and, (3,) its utility. This conformity is defined " a habitual disposition of the soul, in which one is always ready to do or to suffer whatever is pleasing to God".
X Consider the excellence of this virtue. The two greatest miracles which the omnipotence of God ever worked upon earth are the wonderful union of the Word with human nature in Jesus Christ; and the ineffable combination of the privileges of virginity and maternity in the person of Mary His Mother. After these two miracles of wisdom, love, and omnipotence, I see no other work either dearer to heaven or more beneficial to us than the union of our will with the will of God; for it is the triumph which victorious grace gloriously wins over the human will without destroying its liberty. By this virtue the soul is rendered the garden of the Holy Ghost, the temple of God, and the tabernacle of the most Holy Trinity, where it loves to dwell and to take up its abode.
2. This conformity is the most perfect and acceptable sacrifice which we can offer to the Lord; for, by means of it man offers to God that which he holds most dear and precious, namely, his own will. When one resigns riches, refuses honours, or renounces pleasures, he merely makes an offering to God of what belongs to him: but in sacrificing his own will he sacrifices himself. In every other kind of sacrifice he merely consecrates to God that which already belongs to God; but in this instance he offers up to Him his free will, which is man's inalienable right. In all other kinds of sacrifice he gives God that which he cannot deny Him; in this one he makes God the master of that which, if it so pleased him, he might in his malice withhold. See, then, what noble homage, and what a sweet holocaust it is in the eyes of God to conform your will to His.
3. Whoever practises this virtue becomes united to his Saviour by the strongest and closest ties of relationship, since Jesus Christ Himself has said: "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother" (a). Nay, not only does such a one become related to Christ, but he, as it were, becomes incorporated with Him. As S. Bernard says: "to be thus disposal is to be deified ; for to wish what God wishes—this is
(a) Matt. xii. 50.
already to be like God; not to be able to wish otherwise than as God wishes—this also is to be what God is" (a). For as two pieces of wax when melted together become one, so man, by the conformity of His own with the Divine will, becomes one thing with God. Add to this, that such a soul enjoys the two prerogatives which belong to God alone, namely, impeccability and infallibility. For in doing the will of God, she follows the guidance of Divine wisdom, and therefore cannot err; her works are performed according to the standard of infinite sanctity, and therefore she cannot sin. And what else is this but "to be what God is "?
4. Moreover, the conformity of our will with the will of God is a virtue which belongs to all times, and to all states of life; that is, it is a virtue the practice of which is suited to every one, and will last for ever. For poverty, meanness of attire, and austerity of life cannot last always, nor are they suited to all persons; humility, patience, mortification, even the virtues of faith and hope must end with this mortal life. But to fulfil the will of God is a virtue which belongs to all times, and to every condition of men, since there is no one who cannot always and everywhere submit to the Divine decrees. Nay, after having done so during his entire life, it will also be his glorious occupation for eternity in heaven.
In addition to what has been said, it may be also observed, that this excellent virtue includes in itself all the others. Our faith shines forth in it, since we believe that nothing happens without the will of God. By it we manifest our confidence in God,
(a) St. Bernard, tract. de diligendo Deo. cap. x.