This piece was written long ago for young ladies having to make their own way in the world. It is a lovely excerpt, reminding us that our hearts need to be turned toward our true Good, our Friend in every need. And we do this by a continual turning of our minds and hearts to Him throughout the day….
In the first place, have you already got the idea of living chiefly for God and His love strongly fixed in your mind ? If not, then you must begin by getting it so fixed. One cannot keep a thing unless one first gets it.
“Oh, Father! I fear I have not got it. Tell me how it is to be obtained.”
I am glad you desire it, for the very desire is already a beginning. I will tell you now how to get well started, and whatever else I shall say throughout the book will be telling you how to go on with it.
Well, I know no better way to get a good start than to consider and think over these things in the mind, with many devout longings and desires after God. If the beautiful residence that I imagined just now were at a considerable distance from you, you would strain your eyes to see as much of it as you could; you would walk as near to it as possible, and if you had a spy-glass you would look at it through that.
So, in the same way, be thinking in your mind of the great happiness, the immense importance, of fixing your soul in the love of Jesus. Be saying to yourself many times (it cannot be too many): “Oh! had I only the riches of the love of Christ. I long for the love of Christ”….and let the exclamation burst often from your lips:
“O Jesus! Thy love is what I want: let all other loves, and all the things of the world, become irksome and distasteful to me, so that only Thy love may rule my soul.”
A few days of such holy longings and heartfelt wishes would not fail to light up and inflame your soul with an ardent desire to love God. This desire would make everything that tends to increase this love pleasant and agreeable to you, no matter how unpleasant it might be otherwise.
These impressions would be deepened if you would keep yourself quiet, and not allow other thoughts and distractions to occupy and dissipate your mind; if you would take care for a while to avoid much conversation, and from time to time retire, if you have the opportunity, to make a special business of this thinking, and simple, devout prayer to God.
If you had any important business of this world on your mind, you would be glad to get in your room alone, that you might think it over without disturbance. In the same way, steal away by yourself to reflect upon this most important of all things, quietly and without disturbance.
I can speak from experience as to the effect of such a course. I have seen many very careless and sinful people, living in the midst of distractions and occupations, who, being aroused by the word of God on a mission, or elsewhere, have by a few days of earnest desire and prayer become completely changed.
Their eyes have been opened, so that their former sins have become hateful to them and their hearts on fire with the love of God, so that the pleasures of the world were unable to give them satisfaction.
I have seen them persevere after this beginning steadily, year after year, until death has put its seal on the blessed work.
There is an old proverb that “still water runs deep”; so I would advise you to keep your mind perfectly quiet and still and tranquil, for then God, the Holy Ghost, will deepen every good impression.
The devil loves excitement, and hurry, and noise, and passionate feeling. Keep clear of these things, then, if you wish to advance in goodness. Even if you have been a great sinner, do not excite yourself too much.
In that case, clear your conscience by a humble and sincere confession, in a calm and quiet way, without fretfulness or disturbance of mind, and afterward there need never be any serious anxiety on the subject.
Well, then, I will suppose the conscience at rest, and that the only uneasiness the soul has is, that it does not love God half as much as it desires to—a blessed uneasiness, which causes no trouble, but fills the mind with joy.
We must strive to keep up this desire all the time—in peace, however, that the words of our Savior may be fulfilled in us: “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they shall be filled” (St. Matt. V. 6).
We must not merely hunger and thirst after justice (which is the same thing as the love of God) for a day or a week, and then allow the soul to get filled with the world and its desires, but manage in such a way that this blessed hunger and thirst may go on all the time increasing that it may take up the heart, so that no room may be left for anything evil; no relish for anything that does not increase this love, and joy or happiness except it springs from this holy longing and desire that possesses the soul.
If I am not capable of great things, I will not become discouraged, but I will do the small things! Sometimes, because we are unable to do great things, heroic acts, we neglect the small things that are available to us and which are, moreover, so fruitful for our spiritual progress and are such a source of joy: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a few things, I will now trust you with greater. Come and share your Master’s joy.” (Matthew 25:21) -Fr. Jacques Philippe, Searching For and Maintaining Peace https://amzn.to/2WcepLs (afflink)
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He was called the man of his age, the voice of his century. His influence towered above that of his contemporaries, and his sanctity moved God himself. Bernard of Clairvaux–who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine? Undoubtedly, Bernard is the product of God’s grace. This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. With warmth and realism, Venerable Tescelin, Blesseds Alice, Guy, Gerard, Humbeline, Andrew, Bartholomew, Nivard and St. Bernard step off these pages with the engaging naturalness that atttacks imitation. Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.
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