Friday
August 5, 2005
vol 16, no. 217

O Jesus Draw Me

by Father Urban Snyder

    For reasons only God knows, He draws and quarters souls so that they might return to Him. Free will, of course, comes into play and only by willing to be drawn to Christ, can He draw us to Him.

      Editor's Note: This is reprinted from a recent issue of The Remnant, and also circulated by Our Lady of the Rosary, and written by the late Father Urban Snyder, a native of the bluegrass state who was a spiritual Daniel Boone in helping forge the frontier of Traditional Catholicism against the savages out to annihilate the one true Faith. Bishop Richard Williamson provides a short eulogy on Fr. Snyder following his death at 82 on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul in 1995. How appropriate that he wrote about that feast in the following 17 years before his death on that very day.What he wrote 27 years ago is just as pertinent today, if not moreso and a perfect follow-up to Fr. James Wathen's article last week on these pages on "Wholehearted Love." Authentic Catholics everywhere should remember the contributions of these early pioneers. The following was originally penned by Fr. Snyder on January 31, 1978.
        "It is for reasons of this kind that the saints learned to welcome trials and tribulations. They knew that great graces of union with God would be the fruit. If we ordinary mortals find ourselves too weak to welcome suffering, let us at least pray for the grace to bear it with patience and trust in God, remembering the example of Our Lady in her Sorrows, of St. Joseph, of St. Paul. St. John of the Cross says that if the whole world should crash in ruins about our head, we ought not to lose our peace. God is always in control. He knows what is best for us, and He never makes a mistake. It is not the work of a loving father to always give his children whatever they want or ask for, but rather what he knows to be best for them."

    In the traditional, unmutilated liturgy of Holy Church, there is always a connection between the Epistle and Gospel of the Sundays of the year. For example the Epistle and Gospel for Sexigesima Sunday are both aimed at reminding us that we have "no lasting city" here on earth, but look for an infinitely better one to come, in that Heaven of which St. Paul had a foretaste by his vision. The saints tell us that many good people go to Purgatory principally because they do not desire Heaven enough. God is a burning fire of Love, Who longs to unite human hearts and souls to Himself in the most perfect and satisfying of all possible unions. He detests lukewarmness and indifference. It is a positive offense against God not to long for union with Him, and for that Heaven which He Himself is. Only He can satisfy the unlimited cravings of our poor human heart.

    Life is meant to be a love affair between God and each individual soul. To neglect this love or to make it secondary to any other interest or attachment is a positive sin. At the same time, we can do nothing without Him. "Without Me you can do nothing," says Our Lord. We cannot even approach Him, unless He Himself draws us by His grace, which by nature we tend to resist, being strongly pulled to material and passing things, which distract or deflect us from God. "No man can come to Me," says Our Lord "unless the Father draw him." We ought, therefore, to beg our Lord continually to draw us by His all-powerful graces.

    See how He drew Saul of Tarsus, a passionate persecutor of the early Church. (Saul, be it noticed, was never a lukewarm person.) God turned him into a fiery lover of souls and the most zealous of all the apostles. If we feel within ourselves any lack of zeal or taste for the things of God and the Christian life, for prayer, for the Mass, for the duties of our state of life, we ought to beg God all the more to draw us, for this He is always willing and able to do.

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone Who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among You, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give Him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

    St. Theresa of the Child Jesus made a prayer out of two words of Holy Scripture: "Draw me!" We should beg God to draw us like an irresistible magnet.

    This brings me to the second point, namely, the place of tribulation in Christian life. In the Gospel Jesus refers to a class of souls whose spiritual life is choked by the riches and pleasures of the present life. His merciful love often sends tribulations to such souls, in the hope of turning them back to Him. And often He succeeds. Thus, Napoleon Bonaparte, impoverished and humiliated on the island of St. Helena, turned back to the God of his youth, and received again the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, to which he had done so much harm when at the height of his glory. Even in the days of his prosperity the grace of God had worked on him, for once, when asked by his generals what was the happiest day of his life, he gave an astonishing answer. His eyes filled with tears, and he said: "The day of my First Holy Communion."

    We know what great tribulations St. Paul endured for the love of God and of souls. He had fortitude, but he was aware that whatever strength he found in himself was the work of the Holy Spirit, and not from himself. To the Corinthians he wrote:

    I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

    Paul, you see, was a man of flesh and blood like ourselves. There is in Scripture the example of another person who bore extraordinary sufferings with patience, meekness and humility. I refer to St. Joseph. St. Paul, in his sufferings, always remembered that he had been a great sinner and had done great harm to the Church, and therefore deserved to suffer. But St. Joseph, on the other hand, was perfectly sinless, and loved God perfectly all of his life. It is generally believed that, like St. John the Baptist, he was cleansed from original sin long before he was born. He was the greatest of all the saints after the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by a special grace never committed a deliberate sin throughout his life. Yet notice that God did not spare him sorrows and sufferings greater than those of any other saint, except the Mother of Sorrows. St. Joseph's sufferings were primarily those of the heart and mind, interior sufferings of the cruelest sort, which it is beyond our capacity to appreciate. No words, for example, can explain or express adequately the unspeakable torment he suffered at the time of the Annunciation. God sent an angel to Mary, but none at that time to St. Joseph, and considering the extraordinary refinement and sensitivity of his soul, who can fathom the depth of his angst, his cruel dilemma, when he realized that Mary, whom he loved and venerated as she deserved, was going to have a child.

    God had come into Joseph's life in a most marvelous and intimate way, but notice that for him the first herald of this event was not an angel of light, but a terribly dark night of torment and anguish. God, Who is infinite wisdom and love and knows what is best for us, very often acts precisely in this way with all of us. I think I can say that it is His usual way. For do not the lives of the saints teach that the greatest graces are preceded by the greatest trials? And so, if our understanding is properly illuminated by Faith and the Holy Spirit, we will see that trials and tribulations are a blessing, they are God's messengers, informing us that He is drawing near to us.

    "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all."

    That is why we should never be too cast down or upset when unexpected blows of any kind fall upon us. They are angels in disguise, so to speak, and their message is: "Fear not, soul, Jesus the Savior is drawing near to you. Make way for Him in your heart, for that which is happening to you is of the Holy Ghost."

    It is for reasons of this kind that the saints learned to welcome trials and tribulations. They knew that great graces of union with God would be the fruit. If we ordinary mortals find ourselves too weak to welcome suffering, let us at least pray for the grace to bear it with patience and trust in God, remembering the example of Our Lady in her Sorrows, of St. Joseph, of St. Paul. St. John of the Cross says that if the whole world should crash in ruins about our head, we ought not to lose our peace. God is always in control. He knows what is best for us, and He never makes a mistake. It is not the work of a loving father to always give his children whatever they want or ask for, but rather what he knows to be best for them.

    Let us beg God to draw us, and leave to Him the things through which we must pass.

      O Jesus, draw me! In sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, in disgrace and in honor, in darkness and in light, in sin and in virtue, do not fail to draw me. Be to me always and everywhere a divine Magnet. Draw me by Your omnipotent love and Your all-powerful grace, until, wholly purified by repentance and suffering, I come to rest in Your Paternal embrace. Amen.



    August 5, 2005
    vol 16, no. 217
    Making Sense of Sensus Catholicus