Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Longing of the Apostles

O Jesus, how long is the life of man, even though it is said to be short! It is short, my God, for gaining through it a life that cannot end; but it is very long for the soul that desires to come into the presence of its God. What remedy do you provide for this suffering? There isn't any, except when one suffers for you.
O gentle repose of my God's lovers! You don't fail anyone who loves you, since through you the tormen the beloved causes the soul desiring him must both increase and be mitigated. I desire, Lord, to please you; but my happiness I know well doesn't lie with any mortal beings. Since this is true, you will not blame my desire. See me here, Lord; if it's necessary to live in order to render you some service, I don't refuse all the trials that can come to me on earth...May my desires be worthwhile, my God, before your divine presence, and don't look at my lack of merit. May we all merit to love you, Lord. Now that we must live may we live for you, may our desires and self-interests come to an end. What greater thing can be gained than to please you? O my happiness and my God, what shall I do to please you? Miserable are my services, even though I may have rendered many to my God. Why, then, must I remain in this miserable wretchedness? That the will of the Lord may be done. What greater gain, my soul? Wait, wait, for you know niether the day nor the hour. Watch with care, for everything passes quickly, even though your desire make the certain doubtful and the short time long. Behold the more you struggle the more you show the love you have for your God and the more you will rejoice in your beloved with a joy and delight that cannot end.
-St. Teresa of Avila

"We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you" (Eucharistic Prayer II). I am always in awe of this statement of thanksgiving. He wants us to stand with Him, in His very presence, despite our shortcomings. Not far away in a corner somewhere, but united with Him in love, serving Him. Why? Because He is love and in love He created us to be. As St. Teresa says, "don't look at my lack of merit," Lord, but by your grace alone allow me to respond to you, Love, in and out love, not on my own accord but because you first loved me. It only seems logical to me to desire to serve Him, that is, when the heart is inclined toward He who is. Not out of duty or obligation, but simply because love so greatly envelopes your heart that that is it's only response.

I'm quite sure that the JPII Institute women could comment more profoundly (and I'm sure more coherently) on this, so any further thought would be welcomed. I also wanted to thank all of you who have shared your learnings with me recently on these topics. What a blessing it has been to learn from you and thus have a greater understanding of our most loving God!

Saint Philip and Saint James, pray for us!

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