Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest

"GOD knoweth best what is needful for us, and all that He does is for our good. If we knew how much He loves us, we should be always ready to receive equally and with indifference from His hand the sweet and the bitter; all would please that came from Him. The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, but when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them in the hand of GOD, who dispenses them: when we know that it is our loving FATHER, who abases and distresses us: our sufferings will lose their bitterness, and become even matter of consolation. Let all our employment be to know GOD: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love: and if our love of GOD were great we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures. Let us not amuse ourselves to seek or to love GOD for any sensible favours (how elevated soever) which He has or may do us. Such favours, though never so great, cannot bring us so near to GOD as faith does in one simple act. Let us seek Him often by faith: He is within us; seek Him not elsewhere. Are we not rude and deserve blame, if we leave Him alone, to busy ourselves about trifles, which do not please Him and perhaps offend Him? ‘Tis to be feared these trifles will one day cost us dear. Let us begin to be devoted to Him in good earnest. Let us cast everything besides out of our hearts; He would possess them alone. Beg this favour of Him. If we do what we can on our parts, we shall soon see that change wrought in us which we aspire after. I cannot thank Him sufficiently for the relaxation He has vouchsafed you. I hope from His mercy the favour to see Him within a few days. Let us pray for one another."

-- Fifteenth letter by Br Lawrence of the Resurrection, ocd


aspiring... said...

ocd sister, if you have time to elaborate, what do you make of this?

"...And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love..."

Realizing they are gifts of God, I nonetheless look at intellect and knowledge and things of the mind in general as 'utilities' of a sort, in serving mankind and God. Perhaps that is wrong. At the moment I don't have a way to see knowledge as a measure of love.

I'm not familiar with Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, ocd... Oh wait! I am, too! I had forgotten he is Carmelite - the author of Practicing the Presence of God, right?

God bless you, ocd sister...

ocd sister said...

Hi, aspiring!

I'm not a Thomist or theologian but I'll try to answer your question. Development of the intellect is a very good thing if done serve God and his creation, but one must be careful not to fall into pride and arrogance. A humble and true scholar will recognize and admit that the more they study and learn, the more they realize how little they really know. Remember the story of St Thomas Aquinas? He said: "all that I have written seems like straw to me," and he wrote The Summa! One can only wonder what type of mystical experience he had of His Majesty, as St Teresa used to call God.

Now, another thing is knowledge of someone. What Brother Lawrence is getting into is that one must get to know God in order to love him. Just like humans "fall in love" with other humans and that love may develop after getting to know the other person by spending time with them, so must all of us get to know God to love him to our maximum capacity. How do we do this? By spending time in personal prayer with Him, going to Mass, receiving the Sacraments frequently, reading Scripture and doing spiritual reading to feed our souls. You cannot love what you don't know. If you want to love God, you need to get to know Him. Remember the story of St Therese and the thimbles? The thimbles represented souls, some are bigger, some are smaller, but what matters is that they are full of love according to their capacity. One will not be fuller than the other because both will be full to their maximum capacity.

The more you know God, the more you love Him and His creation. The more you love Him, the more faithful you will be to His invitation to follow Him, the more you will grow in virtue and the more you will be sanctified. As your knowledge of Him develops, the more your love will grow and you won't need to do "great things" to attracts other to Him: your love alone will suffice to be a witness of Christ's love for man.

Hope this helps.

Please pray for me.

aspiring... said...

Oh, yes! Very much so, and I thank you. And I thank our good Lord for His help through you :) !

God grant you and your community safety and means, truth and healing, relief and comfort, purfication from sin and, ultimately, eternal salvation, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus and through the merits of His Most Precious Blood. Amen.