Wednesday, February 8, 2017

"The Bond of Perfection"

"All programs and resolutions of the spiritual life are of little value if they are not animated by love and directed to the perfection of love."  ~ The Divine Intimacy, #70
We read in Scripture about "faith, hope, and love . . . and the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13.  We also read that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  John 3:16.  What an incredible love that God would sacrifice His only Son for us?  And yet do we really understand or appreciate that love?  Does our desire to participate in that love drive our relationship with God and our spiritual life?  Or do we get caught up in the details and forget the foundation?
"The spiritual life requires the use of so many means, calls for the exercise of so many virtues that care must be taken lest we become lost in details, forgetting the love which should be the foundation and end of all."  ~ The Divine Intimacy, #70
Developing our spiritual life entails incorporating so many prayers of various forms into our lives.  Of setting apart time each day dedicated to meditation and contemplation of God.  Of bettering our relationship with God so that we can better hear His voice and follow His path for our life.  Of attending mass and the sacraments regularly.  Of practicing virtue, aspiring to Christ's example in our actions and thoughts.  I don't know about you, but I often get so caught up in trying to remember and do ALL these things that I forget WHY I'm doing them.  That my love for God is the underlying foundation, the driving force behind any and all of this!

As my friends know, I'm extremely detail-oriented.  I love planning and checklists and organization.  I don't do terribly well with impromptu changes or no plan at all.  And organizing my spiritual life is helpful to a certain extent; however, I find that sometimes I spend so much time planning out how I'm going to do ALL the things (daily Rosary; daily meditation and reading; Mass on Sundays; etc.) that I forget Who I'm struggling to do all of this for.  Having a plan is great, but if I lose sight of my end, then all the planning in the world is worthless.

The greatest of these is love.  Let us remember that in our daily lives.  As we go about our vocations, keep love at the forefront (I'll write a post later on about the difference between love and just letting people get whatever they want).  Keep God at the forefront of everything.  Let His love for you and your love for Him illuminate and drive your existence! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What Can We Give God?

"Suffering is the only thing that is impossible for [God], Who [is] glorious and omnipotent, the only thing which [God] [does] not have and which I can give [Him.]"
It's hard to believe that I've already been doing the readings in The Divine Intimacy for over two months now.  Time is certainly flying by - how is it already February?  Anyway, I'm extremely grateful that my friend suggested we do this reading.  There isn't always a huge "AHA" moment each day, but every day there is something worth learning and contemplating.  

Yesterday, the reading and meditation was on "Living Christ" - how our "imitation of Christ should not be limited to some particular aspect of His life; it means living Christ and becoming completely assimilated to Him."  The Divine Intimacy, "Living Christ," pg. 181.  The passage went on to talk about how we are called to be an extension of Christ's humanity to the world, a conduit through which He can pour out His graces upon the world.  Now that He is in glory in heaven, He can no longer suffer . . . yet we here on earth can.  And what do you give a God Who has everything?  The one thing He can't do.  

Through our sufferings, if offered up to Him, we can attempt to express at least a small portion of our eternal gratitude to Him for all that He has given us in this life.  There are many ways people have looked at suffering.  Some claim that it is a punishment.  That God wouldn't let us suffer if He really loved us.  On the contrary, He lets us suffer BECAUSE He loves us.  If we do not suffer or struggle in life, how can we see our own inadequacy and eventually turn to rely on Him?  Then there's also the added factor of redemptive suffering, whereby we can offer our sufferings to God for Him to use to aid others. 

And I'll leave you with these quotes from 63. Jesus Calms the Tempest:
"God is not a tyrant who crushes us, but a Father, who tests us because He loves us.  If He permits sorrow, interior or exterior trials, personal or public vicissitudes, it is only to draw out of them some greater good.  Virtue and goodness are strengthened in time of difficulty; the efforts made in bearing trials tend to make us surpass what we would have done had we enjoyed perfect calm."
"If we are disturbed and upset by trials, it means that we lack faith.  Even when God conceals Himself, when everything seems to fail us and we feel terribly alone, we can be absolutely certain that God will never abandon us if we do not first abandon Him.  Instead of becoming bitter or falling into despair, it is the moment to intensify our faith, to make strong acts of faith."
"Many times we fail to surmount interior difficulties because we work alone.  God wants us to experience our own insufficiency; therefore, He lets us struggle until we have recourse to Him with full confidence.  Certainly God wants our efforts, but He does not want us to place all our hope in them.  This accounts for the small progress so many make on the road to sanctity - too much reliance on their own resources, too little on God's help."
Lord, I ask that You help me and all Your people to recognize and acknowledge our own inadequacy and to turn to You for aid through Your grace.  Help us to follow Your path for our lives, wherever that may lead.  To place our faith in Your plan.