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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

God wishes Us to speak to Him with Confidence and Familiarity.

HOLY Job was struck with wonder to consider our God so devoted in benefiting man, and showing the chief care of his heart to be, to love man and to make himself beloved by him. Speaking to the Lord, he exclaims, What is man, that Thou shouldst magnify him, or why dost Thou set Thy Heart upon him?

Hence it is clearly a mistake to think that great confidence and familiarity in treating with God is a want of reverence to his Infinite Majesty.

You ought indeed, O devout soul! to revere him in all humility, and abase yourself before him; especially when you call to mind the unthankfulness and the outrages whereof, in past times, you have been guilty.

Yet this should not hinder your treating with him with the most tender love and confidence in your power.

He is Infinite Majesty;

but at the same time he is Infinite Goodness, Infinite Love.

In God you possess the Lord most exalted and supreme ; but you have also him who loves you with the greatest possible love. He disdains not, but delights that you should use towards him that confidence, that freedom and tenderness, which children use towards their mothers.

Hear how he invites us to come to his feet, and the caresses he promises to bestow on us: You shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you : as one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you? As a mother delights to place her little child upon her knees, and so to feed or to caress him; with like tenderness does our gracious God delight to treat the souls whom he loves, who have given themselves wholly to him, and placed all their hopes in his goodness.
Consider, you have no friend nor brother, nor father nor mother, nor spouse nor lover, who loves you more than your God. The divine grace is that great treasure whereby we vilest of creatures, we servants, become the dear friends of our Creator himself: For she is an infinite treasure to me; which they that use become the friends of God. For this purpose he increases our confidence; he emptied himself and brought himself to nought, so to speak ; abasing himself even to becoming man and conversing familiarly with us: He conversed with men. He went so far as to become an infant, to become poor, even so far as openly to die the death of a malefactor upon the cross.

He went yet farther, even to hide himself under the appearance of bread, in order to become our constant companion and unite himself intimately to us:

He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me, and I in him. In a word, he loves you as much as though he had no love but towards yourself alone. For which reason you ought to have no love for any but for Himself. Of Him, therefore, you may say, and you ought to say, My Beloved to me, and I to Him. My God has given himself all to me, and I give myself all to him ; He has chosen me for his beloved, and I choose him, of all others, for my only Love: My Beloved is white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands?

Say, then, to him often, O my Lord! wherefore dost Thou love me thus ? what good thing dost Thou see in me ? Hast Thou forgotten the injuries I have done Thee? But since Thou hast treated me so lovingly, and instead of casting me into hell, hast granted me so many favors, whom can I desire to love from this day forward but Thee, my God, my all ? Ah, most gracious God, if in time past I have offended Thee, it is not so much the punishment I have deserved that now grieves me, as the displeasure I have given Thee, who art worthy of infinite love. But Thou knowest not how to despise a heart that repents and humbles itself: A contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise?

Ah, now, indeed, neither in this life nor in the other do I desire any but Thee alone: What have I in heaven ? and besides Thee what do I desire upon earth! Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever? Thou alone art and shalt be forever the only Lord of my heart, of my will; Thou my only good, my heaven, my hope, my love, my all: "The God of my heart, and the God that is my portion forever." St. Alphonsus, How to Converse Familiarly with God, Part I.

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