Tuesday, July 28, 2009
From the Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule by Bl John Soreth
"It is from Christ Himself, brother, that you will learn how to love Him. Learn to love Him tenderly, with all your heart; prudently, with all your soul; fervently, with all your strength. Love Him tenderly, so that you will not be seduced away from Him; prudently, so that you will not be open to deception; and fervently, so that downheartedness will not draw you away from God's love. May the wisdom of Christ seem sweet to you, so that you are not led away by the glory of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. May Christ, Who is the Truth, enlighten you, so that you do not fall prey to the spirit of error and falsehood. May Christ, Who is the Strength of God, fortify you when hardships wear you out.
St. Basil says that we are bound to our benefactors by bonds of affection and duty. But what greater gift or favor could we receive than God Himself? For, He continues, I experience the ineffable love of God--a love more easily felt than described. Since God has planted the seeds of goodness in us, we can be certain that He is awaiting their fruits.
So let the love of Christ kindle your enthusiasm; let His knowledge be your teacher, and His constancy your strength. May your enthusiasm be fervent, balanced in judgement and invincible, and neither lukewarm nor lack- ing in discretion. Love the Lord your God with all the affection of which your heart is capable; love Him with all the attentiveness and balance of judgement of your soul and reason; love Him with such strength that you will not be afraid to die for love of Him. May the Lord Jesus seem so sweet and tender to your affections that the sweet enticements of the world hold no attraction for you; may His sweetness conquer their sweetness.
May He also be the guiding light of your intellect and the ruler of your reason: then you will not only avoid the deceptions of heresy and save your faith from their ambushes, but you will also avoid too great and indiscreet an enthusiasm in your behavior. God is Wisdom, and He wants to be loved not only fervently, but also wisely; otherwise the spirit of error will easily take advantage of your enthusiasm. If you neglect this advice, that cunning enemy thereby has a most effective means of taking the love of God from your heart by making you progress carelessly and without discretion. Therefore, may your love be strong and persevering, neither giving in to fears nor being worn out by labors.
Not to be led astray by allurements, that's what it means to love with all one's heart; not to be deceived by false arguments, that's the meaning of loving with all one's soul; not to let your spirit be broken by difficulties, that is to love with all one's strength.
The Rule goes on to say that you should love your neighbor as yourself. For he who loves God, loves his neighbor too; 'for he who does not love his brother whom he sees, how can he love God whom he does not see?'"