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Wednesday in Easter Week

The practice of the love of Jesus Christ - 001

From book "Evening Meditations for all days of the year from texts of Saint Alphonsus of Liguori"... I.-HOW DESERVING JESUS CHRIST IS OF OUR LOVE ON A...

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Evening Meditations

Saint Alphonsus


The whole sanctity and perfection of a soul consists in loving Jesus Christ our God, our sovereign Good, and our Redeemer. Whoever loves Me, says Jesus Christ Himself, shall be loved by My Eternal Father: The Father himself loveth you, because you have loved me. (John xvi. 27). Some, says St. Francis de Sales, make perfection consist in an austere life; others in prayer; in frequenting the Sacraments; others in alms-deeds. But they deceive themselves: perfection consists in loving God with our whole heart. The Apostle wrote: Above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection. (Col. iii. 14). It is charity which keeps united and preserves all the virtues that render a man perfect. Hence St. Augustine said: "Love God, and do whatever you please"; because a soul which loves God is taught by that same love never to do anything that will displease Him, and to leave nothing undone that may please Him.

But perhaps God does not deserve all our love? I have loved thee with an everlasting love. (Jer. xxxi. 3). O man, says the Lord, behold I was the first to love thee. Thou wast not yet in the world, nay, the world itself was not, and I already loved thee. As long as I am God, I love thee; as long as I have loved Myself, I have also loved thee. With good reason, therefore, did St. Agnes, that young holy virgin, reply to those who wished to unite her to an earthly spouse: "I am engaged to another Lover." "Go," said she, "O lovers of this world, cease to ask my love; my God was the first to love me. He has loved me from all eternity: it is but just, then, for me to give Him all my affections, and to love none other but Him."

II. As Almighty God knew that man is won by kindness, He determined to lavish His gifts upon him, and so take captive the affections of his heart. For this reason He said: I will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love (Osee, xi. 4). I will catch men by those very snares by which they are naturally caught, that is, by the snares of love. And such exactly are all the favours of God to man. After having given him a soul created to His own image, with memory, understanding, and will, and a body with its senses, He created Heaven and earth for him; yes, all that exists, all for the love of man, the firmament, the stars, the planets, the seas, the rivers, the fountains, the hills, the plains, metals, fruits, and a countless variety of animals: and all these God made that they might minister to the uses of man, and that man might love Him in gratitude for so many admirable gifts. "The heavens and the earth and all things tell me to love Thee," says St. Augustine. "My Lord," he said, "whatever I behold on the earth, or above the earth, all speak to me and exhort me to love Thee; because all assure me that Thou hast made them for the love of me." The Abbot de Rance, founder of La Trappe, when from his hermitage he stood and surveyed the hills, the fountains, the birds, the flowers, the planets, and the skies, felt himself animated by each one of these creatures to love that God Who had created all through love for him.

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Seeing and enjoying God for ever

Tuesday in Easter Week