Without God, Grace, We Can Do Nothing June 29, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
From meditation 233 from Divine Intimacy by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, on how generous God is in His goodness and how we must rely upon it to do good which is pleasing to Him. This is absolutely NOT to say that our works are useless or that they do not profit us anything at all; they most certainly DO! But it is to say that by our own efforts we could never be saved, that we rely upon Grace, and that works done through Grace are immensely efficacious of still more Grace and, it is to be fervently hoped, salvation.
God loves us so much, however, that he is incredibly diffusive with His Grace and goodness, freely sharing them with us fully to the degree that we correspond with them. That is to say, God makes available to us infinite Grace, superabundant Grace, but we must correspond or cooperate with it in order to receive the benefits it provides:
God’s goodness is so gratuitous that it gives itself to creatures without any merit on their part; it is so liberal that it always precedes them and never fails to impart its light to them even when, by abusing their liberty, they show themselves unworthy of it. God’s goodness is so patient that it does not stop at the ingratitude, the resistance, or even the crimes of His creatures, but His Grace always pursues them. God could, in all justice, requite man’s sins by depriving him of life and all the other good things He has bestowed upon him, but His infinite goodness prefers to shower upon man new gifts and new proofs of His kindness. Has He not said: “I desire not the death of the sinner, but that he may be converted and live?” (Ez xxxiii:11)
Consider now your goodness, and see how weak, narrow, calculating, and self-interested it is, when compared with the goodness of God. How often you act like the publicans of whom the Gospel speaks: “who love only those who love them” (Mt v:46). You are good to those who are good to you, you help those who help you in return; but many times you are hard and miserly with your gifts to those from whom you can expect no recompense. Does it not often happen that you are sweet and benevolent toward those who approve of you and share your opinions? In the presence of coldness, ingratitude, insults, or even a trifling lack of consideration, your good nature is offended, closes up, and withdraws into itself and you are no longer capable of benevolence towards your neighbor. See what need you have to meditate on the words of Jesus, inviting you to imitate His heavenly Father’s goodness: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven, who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust” (Mt v:44-5).
[Now, a reflection from St. Catherine of Siena] “O eternal Father! O fire and abyss of charity! O eternal clemency, O hope and refuge of sinners! O eternal, infinite Good! Have You any need of Your creatures? You must have, since You act as if You could not live without her, You, the life of every creature, without whom nothing lives. Why, then, do you act in this way? Because You are in love with Your work, and You delight in it, as if You were overcome with the desire of our salvation. Your creature flees from You and You go looking for her; she moves away, and You draw near. You could come no closer than You did when You took upon Yourself her humanity.
“What shall I say? I must cry with Jermias: “Ah! Ah!” because I cannot say anything else, my limited words cannot express the affection of my soul which so greatly desires You. I ought to repeat St. Paul’s words: “Tongue cannot tell, nor ear hear, nor eye see, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to know what I saw.” What did I see? ‘Vidi arcana Dei,’ I saw the ineffable mysteries of God. And what can I say? I, with my dull feelings, can add nothing more; I only say to you, my soul, that you have tasted and have seen the abyss of the sovereign, eternal Providence. Now I thank You, O eternal, sovereign Father, for the unlimited goodness You have shown me, so wretched and unworthy of every grace.
“Can I ever thank You sufficiently for the burning charity which You have shown me and to all creatures? NO! But You, O sweet, loving Father, will be grateful to me, that is, the affection of Your charity itself will return thanks to You, for I am she who is not. If I said I could do something by my own power, it would not be true, for You alone are He who is. My being and all other good things have come from You, who give them to me unceasingly because You love me, and not because You owe me anything.
“O infinite goodness, inestimable love, wonderful are the marvels You have worked in Your rational creature!”