Humility Feeds Love…

One day, someone told St. Francis de Sales that they desired to become humble so that they could grow in love. The Saint replied that he preferred to aim at love in order to become humble. Who is correct? Why does this matter?

The answer to the first question, I believe, can be found in the writings of Ven. Louise Margaret, a daughter of St. Francis de Sales (i.e. a Visitandine). Our Lord told her that love and humility grow together; they mutually nourish one another (so, in a sense, both St. Francis de Sales and his interlocutor were correct). Consequently, there can be no true charity without humility, and no true humility without charity. “The more you love Me,” said Our Lord to Madeline Vigneron, “the humbler you are.”

One can verify this doctrine with ease; simply consider that God is Charity and Truth. This, then, is the litmus test of holiness or union with God: charity and humility. A soul might appear charitable and virtuous in the eyes of the world; but if they lack humility, their works are to that extent lacking in supernatural value. It is quite possible to donate generously to charity, serve the homeless, pray for souls, go to Mass, and read spiritual books, when, all the while, one is spiritually dead in mortal sin. Purity of intention is necessary. We will avoid delusion (to a great extent) if we offer our prayers, words and deeds to God, asking that He will act in and through us. He cannot fail to hear and answer such a prayer.

A good sign that we are progressing in the spiritual life is that we often think of God with pleasure. But even more indicative of a great love for God, is a docile will that – feelings aside – says with Our Lady: “Be it done unto me according to Thy word.”

We should always end our prayer with these words: “Thy Will be done.” I purposely capitalised the word “Will,” because God’s Will is not distinct from Himself, and therefore deserves to be adored (bearing in mind that God is the First Cause of all good, and merely permits evil).

Humiliations Help to Uproot Self-Love

It is very easy for self-love to creep into our actions. We think that we are serving God, but the moment something doesn’t go according to plan, we get irritated, or we throw in the towel. Really, we should accept failure as we would success, and suffering as we would joy; both are fruitful, so long as our will is directed towards God, Who works all things to our good.

If we are humble, we won’t be so surprised at our falls, nor will be so inclined to judge others, or to distrust, or to any other evil, all of which stem from the same root: pride.

Because God loves us so much, and wants to lavish His graces on us, He often sends or permits humiliations of various sorts. Remember that sharp word someone addressed to you? God wanted it to be a means of sanctifying you. Remember that time you fell into impatience, despite your best efforts? God wanted you to humble yourself and rely more on Him. Remember that time you couldn’t focus during prayer? God wanted to let you know what you are without Him, and to reward your perseverance and patience.

‘Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. [2] Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds. [3] Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. [4] Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience. [5] For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.’
– Eccles. 2:1-5

In all difficulties, we must remember that God wants us to be humble. Without humility, there is no union with God, no peace, no happiness, no salvation. By bearing humiliations we give God a precious gift; by acknowledging our misery, rather than rebelling against it, we draw God to us. He seeks only to give.

“My child, the more humble you are, the more love will increase in you.”
– Jesus to St. Veronica Giuliani (August 23, 1715)

“Nothing is more pleasing to Me than to find a soul seeking the humility and meekness of My Heart.
– Jesus to Mother Marie-Dominique Claire Moes (1832-1895)

+PAX+

 

 

10 Inspiring Sayings from the Saints

04- veronica-giuliani-mini03

“I would a thousand times rather die than consent to anything which might displease Thee.”
– St. Veronica Giuliani [pictured] (d. 1727)

“O Lord, perfection or death.”
– Bl. Elizabeth Canori–Mora (d. 1825)

“I would not for the sake of all creation, or for the purpose of saving my life, consider committing a single venial sin.”
– St. Ignatius of Loyola (d. 1556)

“Love has chosen me; Love has called me, I give myself in love to Love.”
– Soeur Gertrude–Marie (d. 1908)

“… O Jesus, either to co–operate with Thy grace, or to die.”
– Soeur Jeanne-Bénigne Gojoz (d. 1692)

“God’s Will is my will.”
– St. Maria Crescentia Hoss (d. 1744)

“I would rather lift a straw from the ground by the will of God, than raise a hundred dead men to life by my own will.”
– St. Maria Crescentia Hoss (d. 1744)

“No pleasure save the good pleasure of Almighty God.”
– Soeur Marie–Catherine Putigny (d. 1885)

“I will have nothing but Thyself and Thy Divine Will.”
– Sr. Mary Cherubina

“TO SERVE GOD IS TO REIGN.”
– Bl. Aimo Taparelli

Some Powerful Motives to Love God

Reflect on these profound words of St. Crescentia, and strive to make the same resolution as her:

“BY LOVE, I can draw down from Heaven, into my heart, Thee, the Supreme Good, and with Thee I can pass through every wall.

BY LOVE, I can soften the obdurate hearts of sinners; I can break the chains made through sin.

BY LOVE, I can redeem the captives of purgatory.

BY LOVE, I can conquer my evil wishes, my vicious nature, my wicked self-will.

BY LOVE, I can defeat all the attacks and temptations of hell.

BY LOVE, I can endure all hardships and pains.

BY LOVE, I can constantly love God more and more.

Therefore, I will now begin, in all earnestness and fervour, to love God in a very holy manner, so that I may attain the end for which I was created, and that by me He may be praised, loved, and honoured through all eternity.”

To love God is to believe in His love, and to do His Adorable Will. We must submit faithfully to the teachings of the Catholic Church. One cannot love Our Lord, Who is the Head of the Church, if they do not love His Mystical Body.

If faith were alive today, our churches would be filled to the brim. Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle. If we visit Him frequently, we will soon be touched by the flames of His love, as St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi says. If we despise the countless graces that God offers us through His holy Church, it is to be feared that we will meet the same fate as the following individual, who this same saint saw in a vision. It is reported that “she saw the soul of an unhappy man at the moment that he passed from his death bed to the eternal torments. God revealed to her that the chief cause of his damnation was his having held in contempt the treasures of Holy Church, laughing at the indulgences and all the other graces the Church benignly imparts to her faithful.”

Is this not the attitude of many indifferent Christians today? Sadly, this has been my attitude at times. But God has rescued me from the wide gate that leads to perdition.

Whatever we may have done in the past, we must not become discouraged. We must have the same confidence as St. Crescentia. She was no stronger than us; like us, she could do absolutely nothing without God’s grace. But she had faith in God. She relied on Him entirely, and was docile to His inspirations. If I do this; if you do this, our faith will invigorate us and we will find joy and salvation from the Lord.

“I am your Spouse – when will you make up your mind to love Me truly? I am all yours; I come to you to draw you to Myself; I come to you to make you one with Me; I come to you to change you completely into Myself.”

– Jesus to St. Veronica Giuliani

Powerful Reflections on Eternity.

Powerful Reflections on Eternity.

The purpose of this post is threefold: 1. To increase our desire for Heaven; 2. To increase our fear and hatred of sin; 3. To increase our love of God; (and thereby to save our souls) “In whatever you do, … Continue reading

Do We Value God’s Love As Our Only Good?

“I would a thousand times rather die than consent to anything which might displease Thee.”

– St. Veronica Giuliani

After reading the lives of the Saints, I am often left wondering: How is it that anyone could possess so much love?!

… After much prayer and consideration I am convinced that the only way to arrive at such love is to love. “We learn to love by loving,” says a Saint. And how exactly do we love God? By doing His will. And what is His will? Our Lord says the following: “Keep My commandments… Take up your cross and follow Me… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart…”

Charity unites us to God, who is Love itself. The closer the bond, the greater our love. Love is not merely act of the will, nor does it consist in “headwork”, but rather it is “… the result of accepting generously all sacrifices, in accepting with a loving heart all trials” (Saudreau).

After having been purged of their sinful affections, the Saints were able to comprehend the most sublime spiritual truths. Sin appeared to them in all its vileness as nothing more than a detestable thorn in the side of their Beloved; worldly goods and honour were despised as temptations to pride, vanity and self-love, which stain the soul, displease God, and take us far from the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. “No more sin! No more sin!” cried out St. Catherine of Genoa. “Enough of sin! LOVE HIM! LOVE HIM!” exclaimed Bl. Alexandrina. These are the words of souls in love with God; souls who knew that sin has frightful consequences, and that it has nothing to offer us but emptiness; for where sin is, there God is not.

St. Paul was able to exclaim: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in Me.” These are the words of one who has reached a state of sublime union with God! These words are not fitting for one who takes delight in sin, however small. It is only in uniting our will with God’s will that we allow His love to act within us, to transform us, and to carve us into beautiful statues fit for the Garden of Paradise!

Jesus suffered excruciating torments for 33 years so that we might give ourselves entirely to Him, just as He offered Himself to us without reserve. We lose nothing by such generosity; on the contrary, we stand to gain eternal life, happiness, the conversion of sinners, peace, and something – or rather, Someone -truly worth living for:

***

“Do you not actually possess all things if you have Him who possess all? Nothing is wanting to him to whom God is present, nothing is lacking to him for whom Christ is all-sufficient.”

-Peter de Blois (Serm. 42, in fest. OMnium Sanct. II, col. 691)

***

Daily Meditation

As it is impossible to value something that we do not know, let us make a resolution to meditate for at least 15 mins a day (if we do not already do so) on God’s love for us. (All the Saints recommend this, and charity demands it, considering that God’s showers countless graces upon us each day)… We may consider the graces that He has bestowed upon us, what He suffered for us, the countless times He has drawn us from sin to repentance etc. etc.

Here are some pertinent words from a Saint: “When the Blessed Angela of Foligno asked God what she could do to please Him more, He vouchsafed to appear to her several times, both sleeping and waking, always as crucified on the cross, and He told her to look at His wounds, and then showed her, in a marvellous manner, how He had endured all those things for her; and lastly, He said,

“What then can you do for Me which would be enough?”

Another time, as the Bollandists relate, He appeared to her, and said,

“Whosoever wishes to find grace, let him never take his eyes from the cross, whether My providence be visiting him with sorrow, or with joy.”

God can only will what is best for us. We please Him greatly when we place no small value on His love, which is no less in times of adversity than in times of consolation. The truth is, God is the source of all good; the more we come to know the love of God, the more we will see that in Him is everything we need and could possibly desire:

“Give me your heart to place in mine in order that you will have no other love but for me and for the things that are mine.”

– Jesus to Bl. Alexandrina

Pax Domine!