SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING column for August 4-15, 2000
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
Purity of Intention is the Key to loving God unconditionally
My dear friends in Christ, in my last article, I shared with you a mystical experience I had at Lourdes this past May which can best be described as an "illumination of the soul." Now I would like to share what I discerned as PURITY OF INTENTION, the only thing that really counts in the eyes of God. While all of the works of God, all of the devotions, are important in building spiritual character and resolve in our journey toward Heaven, we make it so much more complicated and, thus, often fail because we make it so difficult for ourselves. In the mystical revelations Our Dear Lord gave me at Lourdes, I realized all the more His words in Matthew 11: 29, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
It is indeed easy and the burden light when we learn from Him and strive to be like little children, meek and humble of heart. In our humanness we so often fight this, polarizing our commitment to God by our own pride, no matter how much we might think we are humble. We are not really if we do not have purity of intention.
Purity of Intention, what does this mean? Simply, it means that in all things, whether praying, meditation, contemplating - whether in thought, word, on in the many active deeds of each day, the motive of the spiritual life must always be to LOVE God for His own Sake, for He alone is worthy of all LOVE. There must never be in ourselves any self-seeking, no matter how we talk ourselves into believing that our intentions are good and pleasing to God. What brings purity to our intentions is LOVE OF GOD for His Sake alone, and not for any other reason. It means Trusting with complete Abandonment in Him, Who alone is the cause of our joy, our peace, our liberty, our every thought, word, and deed.
To come to this state, the soul must rest securely upon the Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of His Most Holy Mother Mary, recognizing in a positive manner that of ourselves we are nothing, but with HIM, we are led to perfection, we are made perfect through our own weaknesses, when we recognize that we are weak, and turn to God to be the fulfillment of the desires He alone places upon our hearts. It is good to pray, it is good to have an active spiritual life. But we fall far short of the mark when we do these things with ulterior motives.
Anxiety is one of the things that we most often bring to our prayers. Why? Because we have not yet learned to Trust Him completely with the most minute detail of our lives. We pray for this or that petition, begging God to take action, but by our very anxiety we are shutting out His graces for we are not focuses fully on Him, nor are we trusting, as a small child must be, in letting Him work out the details. So very often, we go to Him in prayer, and then rush off to take action, trying of ourselves to solve this or that problem, when in our heart we very well know that we can do nothing to solve the problem at hand. It is God who does these things, and it is He who enlightens us as to what we should do.
To try to sum up what I was given to understand, I would say it is this: Choose God, not the works of God, and from this all actions and thoughts, words and deeds, flow as on a river of Grace, for the works are not our own, they are His. Our thoughts are not our own, they are His, and so forth. In this way, which is the way of spiritual childhood, of living our lives with Total Trust in God, we learn Abandonment to Him even unto folly, and thus for us perfection in our earthly pilgrimage becomes easy. It is not difficult (by means of many devotions, etc) to practice perfection on earth. It is the disposition of our heart. We must rid ourselves of all of our near-sighted motivations to pray, to go to Mass, to the sacraments, especially Holy Communion, and do all through the simple act of LOVE, which is GOD HIMSELF.
I am not saying that we should not pray, that we should not be active in our daily lives to live and give witness to God. We are to do these things, but we are to do them with one motive alone: LOVE OF GOD WHO IS PERFECT LOVE. Thus, all things then flow from this LOVE given to PERFECT LOVE, and our prayers, our words, our thoughts and our actions are purified in His Heart, and it is truly He Who speaks for us, Who acts through us as His poor instruments who give Glory to His Almighty Power, Justice, and Mercy. In other words, my dear brothers and sisters, we are going about our spiritual lives backwards. We struggle so to do spiritual things, which do not require struggle, only LOVE. Thus, if our motive for prayer, for going to Holy Mass and receiving the Sacraments, of living each moment of our lives in union with His Most Perfect Will is love for Perfect Love, then the struggle becomes lighter, the cross we bear becomes lighter, and the road to perfection becomes a joy rather than a bitter cup. We will always bear crosses as long as we are alive. But to bear them with joy, that is the crowning glory that God desires of all of us.
For many years it has been put upon my heart that at Mass, just after the "Lamb of God", or Agnus Dei, in those precious moments while we prepare to receive Our Lord, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, I say these few words to make ready. "Dear Joseph (the name of my guardian angel) put your wings around me so that nothing may distract me, and lead me to my Lord and My God. Mary, Mother of God and my mother, present me to your Son, obtain from Him for me the graces of which I stand most in need, and with Thy most pure and Immaculate Heart, may I love Him Who is Perfect Love."
Before Lourdes I was saying the words, but without a deep understanding of what I was asking of God. Now, I understand, and only through God's graces, only through the Mercy of Our Lord, am I now able to say these words with purity, ridding myself of all spoken or unspoken petitions. These petitions are in my heart and they are known to God. That is sufficient. My "job" if you will, is to come to Him humble and meek, seeking only Him, and allowing Him to do what He wills with me, instructing me in those minutes after I have received Him to what He wills for me to do.
Thus, all anxiety that often reigns in our hearts, melts away through the Divine Presence in our souls, and all crosses become light and joyous, for we seek only Him, and love only Him, and we are content in possessing Him, for we Trust that He, Whom we Love, will take care of all the problems of our lives in His Time, for His Loves us Infinitely.
My dear brothers and sisters, this is what I was taught at Lourdes, and I want to share with you this knowledge. Yes, the moment will come when all people will see their souls as God sees them. It is not a spiritual moment to dread. On the contrary, we must and should look forward to it, for it is Mercy and Love that motivates God to do this for us, His children. We must prepare ourselves for this moment by learning anew to Love Him for His own sake, and to leave out our laundry list of petitions, freeing us to Love Him with our whole being. Is this not the first Commandment? If we do this, we are fulfilling all the other Commandments, and it is with Love, for Love that we live our lives obtaining from Him His peace and joy and mercy. We are free from having to set right what is wrong, for God shows us the way we are to act.
When we try to do these things on our own, thinking that we are doing it for Him, when in truth we are leaving Him out of the equation, then we fail in Loving God, for we retain our anxieties, our problems which weigh us down and keep God at a distance, rather than welcoming Him into our Souls and Hearts, where should He so Will, He can and desires to remain with us Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity from one Holy Communion to the next! Think about this! If we have Our Lord dwelling with us fully, then what are we worried about? If we have God, we have everything, and from Him, all that we need flows forth in torrents of Divine Mercy. We receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit, and are empowered by the same Spirit to think, to act, to pray.
I pray now that these poor human words have conveyed that which God desires me to convey to you, and I leave you with these thoughts, before I continue to tell you the other magnificent graces given to me, and to my family at Lourdes, which has forever changed me…and I find myself to be a new person, re-created in Him as the source of all my joy and happiness, as the provider in all of my sorrows, the giver of Infinite Peace, amidst the sorrows of this earthly life.
May the Holy Spirit come and so enlighten you, that together, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, we may be strong in the Mystical Body of Christ, which I will tell you about when next I write.
Next issue: (Wednesday, August 16) Members of the Mystical Body
August 7, 2000
volume 11, no. 133
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
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