Thursday, September 12, 2013
Just wait a day
Patience has never been my thing. You, too?
Being this human being, in other words, a sinner, I am impatient (even though my mother spent most of my childhood telling me patience is a virtue -- I guess it wasn't one I practiced, nor still do in a great many ways). And I apparently don't learn from one experience to the next that I can not do anything without God's aid. Such is the journey.
This morning's Divine Intimacy meditation, like it does so often, spoke the words my heart needed to hear just now, or more exactly two days ago. If I had just been patient, I would have heard them before I shot my mouth off in an unholy manner.
Blessed are the Meek
By the gift of fortitude the Holy Spirit strengthens our heart, by the gift of piety He makes it meek and gentle. When we practice the virtue of meekness, we are doing our part -- as we should do at all costs -- to acquire that meekness of heart which Jesus has so strongly recommended and which He Himself tells us brings interior peace as its fruit. "Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest to your souls" (Mt 11:29). However, we have not yet acquired a sustained habitual meekness and the continual pace that accompanies it, if when we meet with unexpected trials, contradictions, injuries, or offenses, our meekness fails and our peace of heart vanishes, at least momentarily. These daily experiences, although painful and humiliating, are salutary, because, far more than any reasoning, they make us realize the insufficiency of our efforts and the extreme need we have of God's help. This help He has already willed to give us by infusing into our soul the gift of piety. When the Holy Spirit moves us through this gift, He quenches in us every trace of ill-feeling toward our neighbor; He softens our hardness and, so to speak, takes our heart in His hands to establish it in meekness and habitual peace.
As long as this poor heart remains in our own hands, we shall never succeed in being wholly master of it; but even if, in spite of all our frequently renewed resolutions, we fail in meekness every day, we should not on this account desist from our undertaking, but cheerfully renew our efforts and at the same time, beg God's help with humble persistence. "Come, Holy Spirit, bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen, warm the chill, guide the steps that go astray."
"O Jesus, Savior of the world, in the midst of Your sufferings, persecutions, and revilings, You did not utter any threat or maledictions; You did not defend Yourself! You were spat upon, but You did not turn Your face away' Your hands and arms were stretched upon the cross, but You did not draw them back; in all things You surrendered Yourself to the will of Your executioners, in order to accomplish the work of the Redemption. This is a mystery of infinite mercy, but it is also an example. Thus, O Lord, You give us an example of meekness and patience in tribulations and adversities; You teach us not to render evil for evil, but on the contrary, to render good for evil.
"Read then, O my soul, read again in this book of life which is Christ crucified! Read the infinite meekness of God! How can you still protect and murmur against tribulations, against those who make you suffer, when your God has immolated Himself for you as the meekest of Lambs?" (St. Angela of Foligno)
"O Holy Spirit, give me a simple heart which will not retire within itself to savor its own sorrows, a heart magnanimous in giving itself, easily moved to compassion, a faithful, generous heart, which does not forget any favor received, nor hold resentment for any injuries done to it. Make my heart meek and humble, quick to forgive and capable of bearing tranquilly all opposition, a heart which will love without expecting love in return, content to vanish in the hearts of others, sacrificing itself before the heavenly Father, a great and indomitable heart, that no ingratitude can close and no indifference can weary, a heart tormented by the glory of Jesus Christ, wounded by His love, with a wound which cannot be healed except in heaven" (Leonce de Grandmaison, SJ).