To Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

“Grace enables the soul to raise itself far above its natural limitations, to behold God in His infinite nature, to possess and enjoy Him. How could it do this if it did not contain something of the infinite power of God?”

“St. Thomas [Aquinas] says that ‘nothing is able to set limits to supernatural love [and the same may be said of grace], since it has its origin in the infinite power of God, and is itself nothing else but a participation in the sanctity of God.’ Certainly, the vessel which receives it is narrow and limited, but grace extends the capacity of our nature, and every measure of grace received qualifies it for a still greater measure; every degree of grace is a step leading to the next degree, so that the farther one progresses the higher is our ascent.”

“Every supernatural action performed in the state of grace, every moment utilized and made to bear fruit, merits another increase of grace from God; and it rests only with man to double this grace again in a short time, and the greater this increase of grace the greater also the merit of our works.”

“Grace gives an immense scope to our aims and desires, and yet leaves them the freest possible play. We have only to desire it in order to obtain it, and only to love its donor to receive it. By this ardent desire for grace, and of the love of our heavenly Father, we acquire all good gifts, and that according to the measure of our love and desire.”

“Oh that we were as eager to lay up treasures in heaven as we are to add to our possessions here below! The desire to acquire money is a source of endless disquietude, but a holy thirst for Divine grace leads us to an eternal rest in God, who will satisfy us the more in proportion to the greater love and desire we have had for Him on earth. Grace, moreover, permits us to enjoy our possessions on the way to that end, because at every step we make in our upward ascent we experience more and more how sweet is the Lord to those who serve Him and are of a right heart.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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When I Am Weak, Then Am I Powerful

“By nature a man is a servant of God; by grace he is made His child. He ascends a step in the ladder of beings, is placed in a new relation to God, to his fellow-men, and to corporal things, and enters a new sphere of life, one which is heavenly rather than earthly. Man in his natural state is composed of two natures—a corporal and a spiritual. Again, there are in him two men, an outward and inward man, to whom the Apostle gives the name of ‘a mortal and an immortal man’ (2 Cor 4:16). Since we cannot serve both natures at the same time, we must subject the corporal to the spiritual. But as the flesh should serve the spirit, so should our spirit serve God and His grace; for as the spirit is superior to the flesh, so is grace superior to the spirit. If the spirit subjects itself to the flesh, it is drawn down to the level of the flesh and becomes carnal itself; but if it gives itself up to grace, and is penetrated and moved by it, it becomes in a measure Divine.”

“In the same measure in which we co-operate with grace, and tend towards the Author of grace, the Father of light, we are filled with His light and glory and partake of His nature. Lest, however, we should forget, as Lucifer and our first parents forgot, that of ourselves we are nothing, and that we owe all we possess to the goodness of God, He has given us a powerful reminder in the ‘sting of our flesh,’ for our chastisement, our confusion, and our wholesome humiliation. But even this knowledge of our weakness and the lowliness of our origin should not rob us of the sense of our heavenly dignity. For with the Apostle we may say: ‘I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For which cause I please myself in my infirmities: . . . for when I am weak then am I powerful.’ (2 Cor 12:9-10)”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Clothed With Grace

“By grace, as we have seen, man receives a participation of the Divine Nature. . . . This St. Paul describes as a transformation. ‘You are,’ he says, ‘transformed into the image of God, from glory to glory’ (2 Cor 3:18); for by it we are created anew.”

“St. Cyril of Alexandria speaks of this re-creation in the following terms: ‘If we have once taken leave of the life of the senses, is it not evident by this surrender of our former selves and union with the Holy Spirit that we are changed into a heavenly image, and transformed, to a certain extent, into another nature? We can then, with justice, be called, not men only, but children of God, having become participants in the Divine Nature.'”

“What has been said of a transformation of one nature does not mean that our natural substance is destroyed, or absorbed in the Divine Substance. . . . The change wrought by grace comes from God, not from the will or power of the creature. It is a miracle of the Divine Omnipotence which lifts us into a higher sphere, far above human limitations.”

“As the defects and imperfections of iron are burnt up and destroyed when it is plunged into a furnace, and yet its substance remains the same, in a similar manner, St. Cyril teaches, we do not put off the substance of our nature, but only its lowliness and defects.”

“We lose nothing by sanctifying grace that we have hitherto possessed; rather do we receive what was hitherto wanting to us; according to the word of St. Paul, ‘We would not be unclothed, but clothed upon; that that which is mortal may be swallowed up by life’ (2 Cor 5:4). The garment of grace is not only superadded to the soul, as raiment is to the body; it likewise invests and penetrates the soul in the same way as the glow of fire penetrates the iron which is submitted to its heat.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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That Our Joy May Be Complete

“Providence has implanted in our hearts a great thirst for knowledge and truth, but this knowledge and this truth can only be found in Him. . . . He Himself introduces us into His admirable light. ‘In Thy light we shall see light,’ says the Psalmist. Only in His own light, and not in our light, can we see God.”

“If, then, we experience, in common with every child of Adam, an inexpressible desire for the perception of truth and the enjoyment of the beautiful, why do we not seek to satisfy it at its Source? That is, in God. The light of grace will introduce us to the light of God. In heaven He will manifest to us His own beauty, in the enjoyment of which He, with the Son and the Holy Ghost, is happy for ever and ever: that beauty which unites in itself all the possible and imaginable beauties of His works with all their wonderful diversity.”

“‘My face hath sought Thee,’ we should say with the Psalmist: ‘Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.'”

“‘I cannot express, O my God,’ says St. Anselm, ‘how happy Thy elect will be; certainly they will rejoice according to the measure of their love, and they will love after the measure of their knowledge. But how great will be their knowledge, and how great their love! Certainly no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered in this life into the heart of man, how much they will know, and love Thee in the world to come. I beseech Thee, O God, that I may know Thee, love Thee, rejoice in Thee; and, if I cannot do so perfectly in this life, that I may at least progress from day to day until I arrive at this perfection. Let my knowledge of Thee progress here, and be perfect there; let my love increase here, and become perfect there, that my joy may be great in hope here, and perfect in possession there. O Lord, Thou biddest and counsellest us to ask through Thy Son, and dost promise that our joy will be full. I beseech Thee, then, O true and faithful God, grant that our joy may be complete. May in the meantime my soul consider it, my tongue speak of it, my heart love it. May my spirit hunger for it, my flesh thirst for it, my whole being desire it, until I enter into the joy of the Lord.'”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Then I Shall Know As I Am Known

“Man, inasmuch as he is a reasonable being, bears some resemblance to God, but the distance between his nature and that of God is no less than infinite. God therefore can only be seen at an immeasurable distance. ‘Every one beholdeth Him afar off.’ Creatures only see, as it were, the hem of His garment, the reflex of His glory in His great and glorious creation; He Himself, ‘the invisible King of Ages, whom no man hath seen nor can see, inhabiteth light inaccessible’ (1 Tim 6:16), says the Apostle. Even the Cherubim cover their faces and sink prostrate before Him, in the deepest reverence. God Himself alone can by His nature behold His being; only the ‘only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father,’ and is of the same nature with Him, beholds Him face to face; only the Holy Spirit, who is in God, penetrates and fathoms His innermost nature.”

“To behold God, we must either be God or participate in the Divine Nature. Thus, the spiritual sight of man must become in a sense Divine, and his soul partake of the Divine Nature, if he will see God face to face; and this the Holy Spirit effects in us when by grace He makes us partake of the Divine Nature. For what else is the meaning of these words: ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord’ (2 Cor 3:18)? St. John teaches likewise: ‘We shall be like to God, because we shall see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2). Our Lord also at the Last Supper addressed His Father thus: ‘Father, the glory Thou hast given Me, which I had with Thee before the world was, I have given to them’ (John 17:22).”

“In heaven we shall, moreover, know God as He knows Himself, and as He knows us. ‘Then I shall know,’ exclaims the Apostle, ‘even as I am known’ (1 Cor 13:12). . . . Truly we are forced to exclaim with St. Peter: ‘God has called us into His marvellous light.'”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight

“‘I will be as the Most High,’ was the aspiration of Lucifer when he looked upon the glory and beauty with which his Creator had adorned him, and because he wished to possess this glory independently of God he was condemned. But we cannot give God greater praise and render thanks more pleasing to Him than by confessing that by His grace He will make us similar to Himself. Our Lord tells us: ‘Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’; and though these words are doubtless to be understood primarily of moral perfection, they may also be interpreted to mean that we shall partake of the other perfections of God. Accordingly, the poor man—destitute, forsaken, despised by all though he sees himself to be—has no reason to envy the rich man surrounded by friends. For if he is in a state of grace he has the Son of God for his friend, the Paraclete abides in him, and he is a sharer in the riches of the Eternal Father; for Christ has said: ‘The kingdom of God is within you.'”

“But you will answer: ‘All these glories are hidden from me, and of what use is a treasure to me if I do not enjoy it?’ True, it is kept from us during our mortal life; for, as St. John says: ‘We are now the sons of God, but it hath not yet appeared what we shall be when we shall see God as He is.’ As long as the sight of God is withheld from us we cannot see the image of His Divine Nature in us. Grace is, so to speak, the dawn of the light of the Divine Sun, which, when it rises upon us in the everlasting day, will penetrate us with its glory and its heat. Until then we must, in the words of the Apostle, walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in God’s unfailing promises. For ‘by faith,’ says St. Peter, ‘we are kept unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time at the appearing of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet 1:5). And by Him we have the lively hope of ‘an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that cannot fade, reserved in heaven for us’ (1 Pet 1:4). In grace we have the pledge—ay, the root of—our future glorification in soul and body.”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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Called to Dwell With God for Eternity

“God only exists by Himself eternal, immutable, and dependent on no one. Creatures are of themselves nothing; they exist only because God has created them and maintains them in existence. ‘I am who am,’ saith the Lord. And ‘all nations are before Him as if they had no being at all, and counted to Him as nothing and vanity’ (Isa 40:17). All creatures, even the immortal spirits, would in virtue of their nature fall back into nothingness if not sustained by the will of God and His good pleasure.”

“Grace therefore, according to St. Paul, is a new creation, and the foundation of a new indestructible kingdom, by means of which we are received into the bosom of the Eternal God by the side of the Eternal Word, by whose power the Father hath created all things and who is co-eternal with Him. Thus, we are called to dwell in the tabernacle of God’s eternity, at the fountain of all being and of all life.”

“Here we need fear neither death nor destruction. Were heaven and earth to pass away, the stars to fall from the heavens and the powers of heaven to be moved, we should not be affected, because we rest, far above creatures, in the bosom of the Creator. Hence the Book of Wisdom says: ‘The just shall live for evermore, and their reward is with the Lord; therefore shall they receive a kingdom of glory, and a crown of beauty at the hand of the Lord, for with His right hand He will cover them, and with His holy arm He will defend them’ (Wis 5:16).”

“Our first parents, following the example of the fallen Angels, willed ‘to be as God.’ Yea, God Himself wills that we be as He; yet not without Him, not outside Him, nor opposed to Him; He wills not that we should make ourselves as other gods to adore ourselves or be adored. He wills that we be as He, but in His bosom, at His heart.”

“What therefore is the folly and crime of the sinner, who rejects the infinite goodness and mercy of God and sets up his judgment and will in opposition to Him!”

Quotations from Alice Lady Lovat, The Marvels of Divine Grace: Meditations Based on the “Glories of Divine Grace” (Original Treatise by Fr. Nieremberg, S.J., Entitled “Del Aprecio y Estima de la Divina Gracia”) (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1917).

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