Lenten Meditation 43: Spiritual Goods

As regards our degrees in grace and glory we must bring our own will into conformity to the divine. Highly as we ought to value the things of the glory of God, we ought to value his will yet more. It is right for us to desire to love him more than the Seraphim do, but it is not right for us to go on to wish for any other degree of love than that which the Lord has determined on granting us. Father Avila says, “I do not believe that there was ever a saint who did not desire to be better than he was. But it has not deprived any one of them of his peace; because this desire of theirs had not relation to any cravings of their own, but to God; with whose measures of distribution they rested content, although he might have given them less than others; out of true love deeming that contentment with what God gave them had a greater value than the desire of possessing much.” It all comes to this, as F. Rodriguez explains it, that although we ought to be diligent to attain the greatest perfection in our power, that our own lukewarmness and laziness may not be furnished with an excuse, as in the case of those who say, God has to give me what I need–I can only do so much; nevertheless, when we fall short, we ought not to lose our peace and conformity to the will of God, which has permitted the failing on our part, nor our courage either. Let us raise ourselves up immediately from our fall; let us humble ourselves in acts of penance; and, seeking for greater assistance from God, let us pursue our course. . . . If God does not choose to raise us to a high degree of perfection and of glory, let us conform ourselves in all respects to his holy will, praying to him that he would at least save us through his mercy. And if we act in this manner, the reward will not be small which, of his goodness, our good Lord will give us; loving above everything, as he does, those souls that are resigned.

Text from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, The Way of Salvation and Perfection, ed. Eugene Grimm, 2d ed. (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1886).

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