Saturday, April 18, 2015

seek refuge in none beside Me in tribulation

Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,

In sorrow and tribulation seek refuge first in the Lord and entrust your griefs and anxieties to the One alone who knows what you need and can truly console your soul.  How many times do we immediately vent our frustrations to others, rather than going immediately to the feet of the Beloved? Learn from the Psalmist and cry out for God's mercy in your affliction.  Offering Him your sorrows He will receive and accept them as a sacrifice of expiation for your sins and give healing, constancy and joy. 

It is recounted of St. Mechtilde that, in her sorrows, she had the custom of taking refuge with our Lord and of abandoning herself to Him in all submission. Christ Jesus Himself had taught her to do this: “If a person wishes to make Me an acceptable offering, let him seek refuge in none beside Me in tribulation, and not complain of his griefs to anyone, but entrust to Me all the anxieties with which his heart is burdened. I will never forsake one who acts thus.” We ought to accustom ourselves to tell everything to our Lord, to entrust to Him all that concerns us. “Commit thy way to the Lord,” that is, reveal to Him thy thoughts, thy cares, thy anguish, and He Himself will guide thee: Revela Domino viam tuam, et spera in eo, et ipse faciet. How do most men act? They talk over their troubles either within themselves, or to others; few go to pour out their souls at the feet of Christ Jesus. And yet that is a prayer so pleasing to God, and so fruitful a practice for the soul! Look at the Psalmist, the singer inspired by the Holy Ghost. He discloses to God all that happens to him; he shows Him all the difficulties that beset him, the afflictions that come to him through men, the anguish that fills his soul. “Look upon my weariness, my miseries, my sufferings! Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Domine quid multiplicati sunt qui tribulant me . . . ? Look upon me, and have mercy on me, for I am alone and poor. The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities . . . ! Bow down Thy ear to me: make haste to deliver me. Be Thou unto me . . . a house of refuge to save me. . . . I am afflicted and humbled exceedingly . . . my groaning is not hidden from Thee . . . . Withhold not Thou, O Lord, Thy tender mercies from me . . . for evils without number have surrounded me. . . . I am a beggar and poor, but the Lord is careful for me. . . .

When the soul is in trouble, in distress, when beset by temptation, when sadness overpowers it, when discouragement takes possession of it, it has but to open the inspired Book: “O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me. Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? Many are they who rise up against me. Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God. But Thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. . . . Arise, O Lord, save me. Why art thou sad, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to Him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God. And let all them be glad that hope in Thee. . . . O Lord, Thou hast crowned us, as with a shield of Thy good will”: Et laetentur omnes qui sperant in te. . . . Scuto bonae voluntatis tuae coronasti nos. “In the Lord I put my trust, how then do you say to my soul: Get thee away from hence to the mountain? Hear, O Lord, the voice of my supplication, when I pray to Thee; when I lift up my hands to Thy holy temple. . . . Save, O Lord, Thy people, and bless Thy inheritance: and rule them and exalt them forever.”

Does the soul need light? strength? courage? Words wherewith to invoke God flow endlessly to our lips: “My soul is as earth without water unto Thee. Send forth Thy light and Thy truth, they have conducted me, and brought me unto Thy holy hill, and into Thy tabernacles. And I will go to the altar of God: to God Who giveth joy to my youth. To Thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp”: Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus.

Whether our troubles come from men, from the devil, or arise from our fallen nature or from circumstances, we ought to confide everything to God.

There is no light and strength that we cannot find in Christ Jesus: He is the surest Friend; He is, as He Himself said again to St. Mechtilde, “essential fidelity.” Let us then say to Him: “Lord Jesus, behold I come to Thee, with such or such a sorrow, difficulty, suffering, or affliction; I unite it to those which Thou didst endure here below, when Thou wast in Gethsemane; I abandon myself to Thee, assured that Thou wilt accept this sacrifice in expiation of my sins: Vide humilitatem meam et laborem meum, et dimitte universa delicta mea. In return Thou wilt give me strength, constancy, and joy.” This confidence will not be deceived; a virtue goes out from Christ Jesus which heals all the wounds of those who unite themselves to Him in this way: Virtus de illo exibat et sanabat omnes. Indeed, says St. Teresa, “this Divine Master will behold you with those eyes, so beauteous and compassionate, big with tears; He will forget His own sorrows to comfort yours, and that only because you went to seek consolation from Him and turned to look upon Him.

Blessed Columba Marmion. 

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