Saturday, November 4, 2017

For the Love of Jesus

"O my soul, love a God who is bound like a criminal for you;
a God scourged like a slave for you;
a God made a mocking for you;
a God, in short, dead upon a cross, as the vilest outcast for you!
Yes, my Savior, my God, I love You, I love You!
Bring continually to my remembrance, I beseech You,
All that You have suffered for me,
so that I may never more forget to love you.

O cords that bound my Jesus, bind me to Jesus;
thorns that crowned my Jesus, pierce me with the love of Jesus;
nails that transfixed my Jesus, nail me to the cross of Jesus,
that I may live and die united to Jesus.
O blood of Jesus, inebriate me with His holy love!
O death of Jesus, make me die to every earthly affection!
Pierced feet of my Lord, I embrace you."

From: The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, pg. 60-61

Pure, holy, true love is that like the Love of Jesus. He forgot Himself and only thought of His love for others. This love delivered Him to the cross to die a painful death. Where does our love take us? We must ask ourselves, do we love so much that we forget ourselves? Or, ironically, are we still so concerned over our own well being and comfort so that while thinking to love our life we actually deny ourselves of fully loving our Lord, who gives us life?

O Lord, may our love for you be pure, holy, and true. Help us to forget ourselves for love of you! Amen.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Spiritual Growth

"Many beginners, delighting in the sweetness and joy of their spiritual occupations, strive after spiritual sweetness rather than after purity and discretion, which is that which God regards and accepts in the whole course of the spiritual way. For this reason, over and above their imperfection in seeking after sweetness in devotion, that spirit of gluttony, which has taken possession of them, forces them to overstep the limits of moderation, within which virtue is acquired and consists. . . Inasmuch then as all extremes are vicious, and as in this course of conduct men follow their own will, the consequences are that they grow in vice and not in virtue; at least they minister to their spiritual gluttony and pride, for they do not walk in the way of obedience.
-St. John of the Cross in Dark Night of the Soul, pg. 26

I know that is a long excerpt, but it sadly is the reality in which many Christians live out their Christian faith today. There remains in them a desire for only that which is easy and pleasing, and thus they cease to grow in the spiritual life. This is also explained in Hebrews:

"Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. About this we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, for you have become sluggish in hearing. Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil.
Hebrews 5:11-14

It begs us to ask the question, is our love for God really pure when we only love with the expectation of receiving something in return (namely consolations and spiritual highs) and which requires nothing of ourselves to give in return?

Lord, help us to love you more each day and to strive for a love that is as pure and holy as You. Amen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Seeking God

Allow God to make us insignificant in the eyes of the world. It is for our betterment. We are weak, prone to pride, and very easily enticed toward vanity. 

As we learn to let go of ourselves--our wishes and desires and selfish tendencies--we will soon realize the beautiful treasure God is giving us. For it is when we let go of ourselves that we cling to Our Lord and find true life and satisfaction in Him alone. 

How easily ensnared we are in vanity and our desire for significance! The problem is we seek beauty, appeal, and significance from the world and not from God. If we truly only sought His delight, how different we would be. How truly beautiful we would be! A beauty that we can take with us into Heaven, a beauty that is not ours but Our Lords reflected in us. 

We must realize how much appearance deceives us. We must take special care to not project our own ideas of what God finds beautiful. 

"God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. 
The LORD looks into the heart." 
1 Samuel 16:7

We also must take special care to not place value in things typically highly valued in our world. Often what God values, the world despises. Since we have a disordered desire to appeal to those around us, we can shun what God values in exchange for what the world values. This is dangerous of course because we will begin to slowly reject God without even realizing it at first. 

“No one can serve two masters. 
He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. 
You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24

Let us cling to God alone and orient our lives toward Him and the things of Him. Pray for humility, ask how we can love Him more in our lives, and ask for the help to forget ourselves and find Him.