Thérèse of the Child Jesus: I Am Not Always Faithful, but I Never Lose Courage Tuesday, Oct 1 2013 

St.-ThereseIt pleases Jesus to lavish His gifts on certain souls in order to draw yet others to Himself; in His Mercy He humbles them inwardly and gently compels them to recognize their nothingness and His Almighty Power.

Now this sentiment of humility is like a kernel of grace which God hastens to develop against that blessed day, when, clothed with an imperishable beauty, they will be placed, without danger, on the banqueting-table of Paradise.

Dear little sister, sweet echo of my soul, Thérèse is far from the heights of fervour at this moment; but when I am in this state of spiritual dryness, unable to pray, or to practise virtue, I look for little opportunities, for the smallest trifles, to please my Jesus: a smile or a kind word, for instance, when I would wish to be silent, or to show that I am bored.

If no such occasion offer, I try at least to say over and over again that I love Him. This is not hard, and it keeps alive the fire in my heart. Even should the fire of love seem dead, I would still throw my tiny straws on the ashes, and I am confident it would light up again.

It is true I am not always faithful, but I never lose courage. I leave myself in the Arms of Our Lord. He teaches me to draw profit from everything, from the good and from the bad which He finds in me.

He teaches me to speculate in the Bank of Love, or rather it is He Who speculates for me, without telling me how He does it – that is His affair, not mine. I have but to surrender myself wholly to Him, to do so without reserve, without even the satisfaction of knowing what it is all bringing to me….

After all, I am not the prodigal child, and Jesus need not trouble about a feast for me, because I am always with Him. I have read in the Gospel that the Good Shepherd leaves the faithful ones of His flock in the desert to hasten after the lost sheep. This confidence touches me deeply.

You see He is sure of them. How could they stray away? They are the prisoners of Love. In like manner does the Beloved Shepherd of our souls deprive us of the sweets of His Presence, to give His consolations to sinners; or if He lead us to Mount Thabor it is but for one brief moment … the pasture land is nearly always in the valleys, “it is there that He takes His rest at midday” (Cant. 1:6).

Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897): Letters of Saint Thérèse to Her Sister Celine, 16.

Bede the Venerable: “My Soul Proclaims the Greatness of the Lord” Wednesday, Dec 22 2010 

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it; and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it.

I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving.

As I contemplate his greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgement, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that Saviour, whom I have conceived in this world of time.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Mary looks back to the beginning of her song, where she said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

Only that soul for whom the Lord in his love does great things can proclaim his greatness with fitting praise and encourage those who share her desire and purpose, saying: Join with me in proclaiming the greatness of the Lord; let us extol his name together.

[…] His name is called holy because in the sublimity of his unique power he surpasses every creature and is far removed from all that he has made.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy.

In a beautiful phrase Mary calls Israel the servant of the Lord. The Lord came to his aid to save him.

Israel is an obedient and humble servant, in the words of Hosea: Israel was a servant, and I loved him.

Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul.

But anyone who makes himself humble like a little child is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

This does not refer to the physical descendants of Abraham, but to his spiritual children.

These are his descendants, sprung not from the flesh only, but who, whether circumcised or not, have followed him in faith.

Circumcised as he was, Abraham believed, and this was credited to him as an act of righteousness.

The coming of the Saviour was promised to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

These are the children of promise, to whom it is said: If you belong to Christ, then you are descendants of Abraham, heirs in accordance with the promise.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Commentary on Luke (Lib 1, 46-55) from the Office of Readings during the Fourth Week of Advent on December 22 @ Crossroads Initiative.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange: To Hear The Divine Inspirations We Must Create Silence In Ourselves; To Be Docile To The Holy Ghost, We Must First Hear His Voice. Saturday, May 22 2010 

To be docile to the Holy Ghost, we must first hear His voice.

To do so, recollection, detachment from the world and from self are necessary, as are the custody of the heart, the mortification of self-will, and personal judgment.

If silence does not reign in our soul, if the voice of excessively human affections troubles it, we cannot of a certainty hear the inspirations of the interior Master.

For this reason the Lord subjects our sensible appetites to severe trials and in a way crucifies them that they may eventually become silent or fully submissive to our will animated by charity.

If we are ordinarily preoccupied with ourselves, we shall certainly hear ourselves or perhaps a more perfidious, more dangerous voice which seeks to lead us astray.

Consequently our Lord invites us to die to ourselves like the grain of wheat placed in the ground.

To hear the divine inspirations, we must, therefore, create silence in ourselves; but even then the voice of the Holy Ghost remains mysterious.

As Christ says: “The Spirit breathes where He will; and you hear His voice, but you do not know whence He comes and whither He goes. So is everyone that is born of the Spirit”.

Mysterious words, which should make us prudent and reserved in our judgments about our neighbor, attentive to the attractions placed in us by the Lord, which are the mixed seed of a future known to divine Providence.

They are attractions toward renunciation, toward interior prayer; they are more precious than we think.

Some intellectuals from an early age have an attraction to silent mental prayer, which alone perhaps will preserve them from spiritual pride, from dryness of heart, and will make their souls childlike, such as they must be to enter the kingdom of God, and especially the intimacy of the kingdom.

A vocation to a definite religious order may often be recognized by these early attractions.

The voice of the Holy Ghost begins, therefore, by an instinct, an obscure illumination, and if one perseveres in humility and conformity to the will of God, this instinct manifests its divine origin clearly to the conscience while remaining mysterious.

The first gleams will become so many lights which, like the stars, will illumine the night of our pilgrimage toward eternity.

The dark night will thus become luminous and like the aurora of the life of heaven, “and night shall be my light in my pleasures”.

To succeed in being docile to the Holy Ghost, we need, therefore, interior silence, habitual recollection, attention, and fidelity.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange OP (1877-1964): The Three Ages of the Interior Life.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange: Prayer and Spiritual Rebirth Wednesday, Nov 11 2009 

In this interior conversation with God, which tends to become continual, the soul speaks by prayer, oratio, which is speech in its most excellent form.

Such speech would exist if God had created only a single soul or one angel; for this creature, endowed with intellect and love, would speak with its Creator.

Prayer takes the form now of petition, now of adoration and thanksgiving; it is always an elevation of the soul toward God.

And God answers by recalling to our minds what has been said to us in the Gospel and what is useful for the sanctification of the present moment.

Did not Christ say: “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you”? [John 14:]

Man thus becomes more and more the child of God; he recognizes more profoundly that God is his Father, and he even becomes more and more a little child in his relations with God.

He understands what Christ meant when He told Nicodemus that a man must return to the bosom of God that he may be spiritually reborn, and each day more intimately so, by that spiritual birth which is a remote similitude of the eternal birth of the Word.

The saints truly follow this way, and then between their souls and God is established that conversation which does not, so to speak, cease.

Thus it was said that St. Dominic knew how to speak only of God or with God; this is what made it possible for him to be always charitable toward men and at the same time prudent, strong, and just.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange OP (1877-1964):The Three Ages of the Interior Life