(6) Praise God in ALL THINGS and for ALL THINGS
What is it that attracts God to our souls? Is it our virtue? Our strength? Our talents?
St. Augustine says that we cannot give what we don’t have. Well, okay – what do we have? “I am good at maths,” one will say; “I am a professional athlete,” another will say; “Yeah, well, I can bench 120!”
Yes, okay – but what do you have of yourself? What do you have that you have not received? (Bear in mind that we do not have existence of or from ourselves; our essence is distinct from our existence).
The answer? Nothing. Nada.
[Actually, there is an exception. Although we have neither existence from ourselves, nor talents, nor grace, we do have a unique claim to our sufferings and our sins].
This might seem all a bit depressing, a bit of a guilt-trip. But it isn’t. Rather, it is the foundation of happiness; it is the bedrock of the spiritual life, of a genuine relationship between the creature and the Creator; it is the key to holiness and, subsequently, to happiness.
It is humility that attracts God to our souls. [Humility and charity grow together.]
Let me attempt to explain.
Because God’s essence is Love, He is always seeking our good; He longs to communicate His Divine Life – which is nothing other than Love Itself – to us, His dear children, for whom He has paid so great a price! Whether we are the greatest sinner in the universe or not, matters little; the only impediment to God’s action in us… is us. If we are full of pride, of self-sufficiency, then God has no room to act (pride and God are like oil and water); but if we are humble, acknowledging our frailty and leaning on God alone, He will supply for our deficiencies, He will fill our empty vessels, bit by bit (“… fill the hearts of Thy faithful… “). And the greater our need, the more God is glorified in helping us!
Let Love be Love. Don’t try to give yourself to God; this is beyond your strength. Rather, ask God to take you to Himself. ‘I am thine: save Thou me’ (Ps. 118:94).
“God alone is capable, properly speaking, of giving – he to Whom ALL THINGS belong.”
– Louis Bouyer (p. 80, ‘The Meaning of the Monastic Life’)
God is more glorified by the feeble works of an imperfect soul who recognises her absolute dependence on God, and who trusts audaciously in His goodness, than He is by the most heroic acts of a soul who believes that, by their works, they are somehow giving God something that wasn’t already His to begin with; for ‘to Him nothing may be added’ (Eccles. 42:21).
God alone communicates life and goodness to His creatures. Until we grasp this truth, our relationship with God will suffer. There is nothing quite like knowing that God’s love for us is perfectly pure; that He seeks us, not because of what we are, but because of what He is. In ALL THINGS, then, let us rely on Him, let us glorify Him, let us thank Him. This is the key to great holiness. A grateful soul is necessarily a humble soul, and a humble soul is necessarily a loving soul, being inundated, as it were, with the graces of God.
ALL THINGS IN GOD, ALL THINGS BY GOD,
ALL THINGS WITH GOD, ALL THINGS FOR GOD
“Thou art my Treasure: be Thou my All!”
– Dom Pius de Hemptinne
Everything is Grace
‘Giving thanks always for ALL THINGS, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God and the Father…’ (Eph. 5:20)
Those Who Possess God are Truly Rich (Even the Poor and Afflicted)
‘… as having nothing, and possessing ALL THINGS.’ (2 Cor. 6:10)
God Seeks Only to Give
‘He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill ALL THINGS.’ (Eph. 4:10)
God Changes Everything we Give Him into Gold
‘And we know that to them that love God, ALL THINGS work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.’ (Rom 8:28)
‘… if we have received good things at the hand of God, why should we not receive evil?’ (Job 2:20)
+ Some Revelations to the Same Effect
(1) “Religious Soul, let thyself be guided in ALL THINGS by Love.“
– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata
(2) “… she [the soul] should have God alone in view in ALL THINGS, His glory, His good pleasure; doing this she will always be at peace.”
– Our Lady to Sr. Benigna Consolata
(3) “A soul who does the Will of God in ALL THINGS, not only accomplishing His Will but studying even His least desires in order to fulfill them, who is, so to say, ever on the alert, is a soul always in prayer.”
– Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata
‘Furthermore I count ALL THINGS to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of ALL THINGS, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ…’ (Phil. 3:8)
“I WILL LOVE HIM IN ALL THINGS;
I will love Him in Himself and out of Himself, in His creatures, in His severity,
in His sweetness, in His magnificence, in my privations, contradictions, censures,
in oppression of heart and joy of soul, in His abundance as well as in my poverty…”
– Sr. Jeanne Benigne Gojos (d. 1692)
[The next post will provide us with the easiest means for finding God, loving God and pleasing God in all things. I have never been so eager to share something.]