Monday, April 6, 2009

Love of God (Lenten Meditations Part 2)

Second Point

God deserves to be loved because of what He stands ready to do for you in the future out of infinite goodness and love. What is it that God is ready to do for you, my soul? Ah! He would give Himself entirely to you. If you do not understand the greatness of this gift, of this marvel of love, then put to use all your intellectual powers and put what effort you can to the task of looking into the depths of a mystery which is the most comforting of the mysteries of our holy religion.

(1) To possess God is to gain the fulfillment of all our desires – At the moment when the soul separates from the body (at death), a supernatural light, a sudden clear perception, makes the soul recognize that God is the Supreme and Only Good and is its supreme and only real source of happiness and well-being.

Following immediately upon this light, there is such a strong desire to enjoy this Only and Supreme Good, this Only and Supreme Happiness, that being without It causes the greatest pain that damned souls suffer in hell…

In fact, to satisfy this powerful desire, God joins the worthy soul closely to Himself, and as He makes it enjoy all the vastness of His Divinity, He causes it to feel in an instant a boundless satisfaction and to remain plunged deep in an ocean of delight.

(2) To possess God is to contemplate God and love Him – There will not be a moment in all eternity in which this soul does not see God and does not discover as it sees Him, the infinite treasures of His Almighty Power, of His Goodness, His Beauty, and His other perfections which charm it with a boundless delight. Throughout all eternity there will not be an instant in which it does not feel continually on fire with new flames of love which raise it to Divine heights of infinite joy.

(3) To possess God is to possess an infinite happiness – The happiness with which you will be blessed in Heaven, my soul, will be the very happiness with which God Himself is blessed. Understand this fact well. You will enjoy the very pleasures, the very sweetness, the very contentment that God enjoys. But to what extent will this be so?

Listen, my soul, to something amazing, which is yet an undeniable truth. Just a faint ray from that eternal happiness would be enough to fully delight all the condemned souls with a joy greater beyond comparison, than all the painful punishments which they now suffer. Just a tiny sample of that boundless bliss would be enough to fill all those who are chosen for salvation, with gladness to an overflowing degree.

Just a little drop from that measureless ocean of joys would be capable of giving an eternal blessedness to all creatures together, even if a greater number were newly created than there are grains of sand on all seashores. In short, these joys are of such a nature and so great that they are enough to satisfy God Himself, Who is capable of experiencing infinite happiness.

(4) To possess God is to be loved by God with an infinite loving kindness – God never looks upon the good soul except as His tenderly beloved child, whom He wants to enrich with all the treasures of His goodness, like a bride in whom He finds all His delight and satisfaction.

There is no tenderness, no loving kindness on earth that can be compared with the tenderness of God’s loving kindness. For, as God is an Infinite Power which infinitely surpasses all human powers, it is equally true that He is an Infinite Love which goes infinitely beyond all degrees of human tenderness and kindness. Yes, it is He alone Who can receive a soul into His Heart and give it a drink from the stream of those sweet delights which no creature can give and which the human mind hopes in vain to comprehend.

(5) To possess God means to live as long as God lives and to be happy as long as God is happy – God’s Happiness is a happiness that has no end and undergoes no interruption nor does it ever grow less. O my soul, your happiness will possess these same properties.

(a) Your happiness will be without end. As many years will pass as there are grains of sand on all seashores, atoms in the air, drops in all waters of springs, rivers, and oceans. But in all that long time not even half, not even the smallest fraction of this happiness will have passed away, for it will be eternal and without end.

(b) It will be a happiness without interruption; for in each moment you will always find in God new perfections. As God is Infinite Beauty, there will remain in Him an endless expanse to see which you will not yet have seen. As He is Infinite Goodness, always some other benefit will remain which you are yet to gain, and in each instant you will feel yourself burning with new flames of love for Him. As He is Infinite Delightfulness, always some other endless expanse will remain which you will not yet have enjoyed, and every moment you will meet new streams of joy and pleasure.

(c) It will be a bliss that never grows less. You will truly have very ardent desires to taste more of God, and it will be apparent to you that you are not overfed with Him; but you will always have the satisfaction of tasting Him fully and will always enjoy Him with total possession.

Affective Acts
(1) Love – O my Supreme and Only Good, how blind I have been until now! I have not known Thee nor Thy love. Now I know Thee and I know Thy love. What can I do but try to duly respond to a love so wonderful and immense, and return another love which is small indeed, but more sincere than up to now? My God, look at me kneeling to pay Divine Honor to Thee, to offer the sacrifice of my whole heart. It is a sacrifice I owe to Thy boundless Goodness and Love. I love Thee, and I love Thee with all my affections, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength.

I hate and detest all those affections and inclinations which are not directed to Thee…I love Thee alone, my Sovereign Good. Only Thee do I want to love as long as I live; and I will prefer Thy Honor, Thy Will, Thy Good Pleasure, to all creatures, even those that I hold as dearest in the world.

(2) Desire to love God perfectly – But no matter how much I love Thee, no matter how much I do as I have resolved to do, what is such a love of mine in comparison with the love with which Thou hast loved me? It is really nothing. Ah! I wish I could squeeze into my heart all the love which all the saints have for Thee. I would wish, yes, I would wish singly to make the acts of love of all Angelic Spirits, so as to love Thee with their acts of love, O my Sovereign Good and Loyal Lover.

But of what use will these desires of mine be unless Thou, Who art the Supreme Good and thus deserve infinite love, enkindle in my heart a truly perfect flame of love? O God of Love, have pity on me and make me experience Thy Almighty Power today in my favor; for I crave nothing else and desire no more than to love Thee with all my being.

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