Friday, December 19, 2014

What Gentle Violence He Uses

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Daughters, you must keep yourself focused upon the Heavenly Bridegroom.  Desire for Him alone we allow you to not only accept humiliation and the scorn of others but to plead for it.  Love cares not if the world is turned upside so long as it can know the Lord's tender embrace.  Let this love conquer all fear within your hearts and if you are cast down by any affliction this life has to offer, know that you shall be surely lifted up to the glory of paradise.  Learn to know the approach of your Lover and the "gentle violence" He uses to draw your soul to Himself.

Ah! when shall we perfectly imitate our divine Redeemer, Who humbled Himself so much? When shall we be sufficiently humble to glory in being the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people? (Ps. xxi. 7.)  When shall it be our greatest pain to be esteemed and honored?  Ah! when?  Beg of God to grant you this grace.

The deeper our humility, the higher will be our place in heaven.  As Lucifer wished to raise himself to the highest place in heaven, and in punishment of his pride was cast into the depths of hell, so the soul that humbles herself most profoundly causes Satan to tremble and be confounded, and God exalts her to the glory of paradise.

When we see that prayer produces effects and desires befitting our state in life, there is no illusion to fear, provided that there results a fuller consciousness of our indigence, helplessness, and ignorance.  Nothingness and Infinity: these two words comprise sublime perfection.

Let us keep ourselves humble until God Himself will raise us up. Oh, when God wishes to raise up a soul, what gentle violence He uses!  I say gentle, but it is so strong that the soul cannot resist it. So let us remain, at first, in the presence of God in pure faith, with a deep sense of our nothingness, our sins and miseries ; afterwards let us leave free to the soul the attractions of the Holy Ghost. I may add that, though you think that you are rejoicing in your trials, you should not make any account of this disposition, because the devil could thereby easily fill you with vanity. It is better to fear and to distrust one's self, having in view only the will of God. The world is full of snares ; only humble souls can escape them. Do not trust yourself even though your prayer seems to produce good effects. Be not judge in your own case, but distrust yourself, and adore the Father of lights in spirit and in truth. It is written : Happy the man who always fears! To do well and to feel that we do nothing well is a sign of deep humility. He is truly humble of heart who knows himself thoroughly and who knows God. May the Lord grant this grace to all men!

St. Paul of the Cross