Saturday, January 23, 2010

He never ceases from giving us proofs of His goodness

"Who is He That watches over us with solicitous love and disposes of us by His Providence? It is the good God. He is so good that He is essential Goodness and Charity Itself, and in this sense "none is good but God alone" (Luke xviii, 19). There have been Saints who participated to a wonderful degree in the Divine goodness. Nevertheless, even the very best of men have possessed only a rill, or a stream, or at most a river of goodness, whereas God is the ocean of all goodness, goodness limitless and inexhaustible. When He has poured out upon us benefits almost innumerable, let no one think Him either wearied from giving or impoverished by His munificence. He has still an entire infinitude of goodness to dispense. In truth, the more He gives away the richer He becomes, for He gains the glory of being better known, loved, and served, at least by generous hearts. He is good to us: "He maketh His sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust" (Matt. v, 45). He never ceases from giving us proofs of His goodness, opposing to the multitude of our sins "the multitude of His tender mercies" in order by His goodness to conquer our malice. Sometimes He has to punish, because He is not alone infinitely good but infinitely just also, yet "even in His anger He is not unmindful of His mercy" (Hab. iii, 2).

This God, so infinitely good, is our Father Who is in Heaven. Just as He delights in this title of "the good God," and recalls to us His ancient mercies over and over again; in the same way He loves to proclaim Himself our Father. Because He is so great and holy and we so little and sinful, we might well have been afraid to approach Him. Therefore, to win our confidence and our affection He never tires of repeating in Sacred Scripture that He is our Father and the Father of mercies. It is "from Him all paternity in Heaven and earth is named" (Ephes. iii, 15), and there is no father like our Father in Heaven. He is a father in His devotedness, a mother in His tenderness. There is nothing on earth comparable to a mother's heart for self-forgetfulness, profound affection, and inexhaustible mercifulness; hence, nothing that inspires so much confidence and abandonment. And yet God's tenderness for us immeasurably surpasses that of the best of mothers. "Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee" (Is. xlix, 15). What can He refuse us "Who hath so loved the world as to give us His Only-begotten Son?" (John iii, 16). He knows well, much better than we, what we require for soul and body; and He commands us to ask it of Him, and only reproves us for not asking enough. Nor will He give a stone to His child when he asks Him for bread. And if He sometimes has to exercise severity in order to prevent us from ruining ourselves, it is always the love of the Father that wields the rod. He measures the force of each blow, and when He judges the chastisement sufficient dries our tears and pours soothing balm into our wounds. Let us have confidence in God's love for us, and never doubt His Heart of a Father." 

-- Holy Abandonment by Dom Vitalis Lehodey, OCR

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