Wednesday, July 15, 2015
I die daily
Dear Daughters of St. Philip Neri,
The renunciations you make in the spiritual life are not simply those you choose for yourselves but those God allows under the guidance of His Providence. These are the most difficult to embrace; for little by little they detach us from self-love until we can say with St. Paul "I die daily". However, if embraced with faith such adversities will stir within you a greater and greater longing for the fullness of life in Christ.
Such afflictions do a work in your souls that nothing else could have done. To come through them will make you more dear to the Beloved than you can imagine. The Lord allows these things to befall you in order to draw you closer to His Sacred Heart. Therefore, although deprived of all light and consolation, do not lose confidence in the Lord or succumb to melancholy of spirit.
There are the renunciations that, under the guidance of Providence, we must expect in the course of life, and accept as true disciples of Christ Jesus: there are sickness and suffering; the loss of those dear to us, adversities, the oppositions and contradictions that thwart the realisation of our plans; the failure of our undertakings; our disillusionments; moments of weariness, hours of sadness, the burden of the day that weighed so heavily on St. Paul till, as he says himself, he was weary even of life: Ut etiam taederet vivere—all those miseries that detach us from ourselves and creatures by mortifying our nature and making it die in us little by little: Quotidie morior.
“I die daily.” Those are St. Paul’s words; but if he died daily, it was that he might the better live the life of Christ.
I feel the greatest compassion for you in the trial that the Good God is sending you at this present moment. It is a martyrdom. However, I am entirely conformed to the holy will of our dear Lord Who sends you this cross from His inmost Sacred Heart. Believe me, and I say this to you on the part of God: this trial has been sent to you by the love of our Lord, and it is to do a work in your soul that nothing else could have done. It will be the destruction of self-love, and when you come forth from this trial you will be a thousand times dearer to the Sacred Heart than before. So although I feel great pity for you, I would not for anything in the world have it otherwise, because I see that Jesus, Who loves you with a love a thousand times greater than that with which you love yourself, permits this trial to befall you. You may be sure that during all this time I shall recommend you to the Good God in my prayers and sacrifices, asking Him to give you the strength to profit greatly by this grace.
You know that God chooses to lead us along the path of perfection by the light of obedience, and often He deprives us of all other light and leads us without letting us understand His ways. During this kind of trial you must keep yourself in complete submission and have an unshaken confidence—despite all that the devil or your reason may suggest to the contrary—that He will know how to draw His glory and your spiritual advantage from it in quite a different way from that which you would have chosen for yourself. I tell you in the name of God that this trial is a great grace for you, and I am so convinced of it that as soon as I saw its beginning I knew that it would continue some time; it is most painful, it is the greatest cross that God can lay upon the soul He loves, but as long as you are obedient, there is no danger.
Blessed Columba Marmion.