Chapter VII
Love is not Self-Seeking


The Crucifixion - by El Greco - from Museo del Prado, Madrid
Christ on the Cross, at the Moment-of Expiration, with the Virgin Mary and Saint John, and at the Foot-of the Cross, Mary Magdalene.
The Blood and Water, flowing-from the Side-of Christ is considered by many to be the Birth-of His Church, just as Eve was Borne-from
the Side-of Adam.

 

Jesus Christ Died in-Battle, for us

Greater Love than this, no Man hath,
that a Man lay-down his Life, for his Friends.
(John 15:13 - Douay Rheims Bible)

Maiorem hac dilectionem nemo habet
ut animam suam quis ponat pro amicis suis.
(John 15:13 - Latin Vulgate Bible)

 

Some People make Perfection, Consist-in an Austere Life;
others in Prayer; others in Frequenting the Sacraments;
others in Almsgiving. But they Deceive themselves:
Perfect Sanctity consists-in Loving God with our Whole Heart.
Jesus Deserves our Love, because-of the Love He has Shown us,
in His Passion and Death.

 

Nota Bene: Bible Verses quoted-in this Book are from the English Douay-Rheims Translation, commissioned-by the Catholic Church.

 

Chapter VII
Love is not Self-Seeking

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Those who Wish-to Love Jesus Christ, with their Whole Soul, must 'Dislodge' from their Heart, all that is not of God, all that Stems-from Self-Love. This Kind-of Love, 'Demands' that we 'Seek' not our own-Selves, but the Pleasure-of God. "Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with thy Whole Heart, and with thy Whole Soul, and with thy Whole Mind" - Matthew 22:37.

Two (2) Things are Necessary, if we are to-Love God, with our Whole Soul.

We must 'Detach' it of Earthly Concerns, and
We must 'Fill' it with Holy Love.

It is Clear then, that a Heart that Clings-to Earthly Attachments, can never belong Completely-to God. How do we get Rid-of these Attachments? By the Practice-of Mortification and Detachment. Some Complain-that they 'Seek' God, and do not 'Find' Him; they should Listen-to what Saint Teresa says:

Detach your Heart from Creatures;
Seek God, and you will Find Him.

Others 'Want' to-become Saints but according-to a Pattern-of their own Making. They 'Want' to Love Jesus Christ, but they don't 'Want' to Give-up the "Good Things" in-Life. They Love God, but, if they don't 'Manage' to-Get a certain-Office, they are Unhappy. If their Good Name is Attacked, they become Upset; or if they do not 'Recuperate' from an Illness, they Lose all Patience. They Love God, but they Remain Attached to Riches, their Social Position, and their Reputation-for Great Learning.

These People, certainly Pray and 'Receive' Holy Communion, Frequently, but, because their Hearts are Earthbound, they make little Spiritual Progress. Our Lord would 'Speak'-to them, but His Words would not be-Heard, because of the Constant Noise, that 'Surrounds' them. Those who Cling-to Inordinate Affections, then Shut-out the Voice-of-God, that 'Speaks'-to them. If they Continue-to 'Foster' these Attachments, they may Easily-become Blinded-by them; and then One Day, they may Stop Loving Jesus Christ, and Lose God completely.

Is it possible, that Jesus Christ does not Deserve, the full-Measure of our Love? In His Goodness, He Suffered and Died on a Cross, out-of Love for us. The Saints knew this. Saint-Francis-de-Sales even 'Vowed':

If I were Conscious-of one Fiber-of my Heart, that did not Belong-to God,
I would Immediately, Tear it out.

 

Importance of Detachment

Those who 'Seek' Sanctity, must Learn-to 'Detach' themselves from Everything, in this World. It is, however, Sad to-See Certain Persons, Rich-in Virtues and Divine Favors, Fail to 'Reach' Perfection, because they are not Courageous-enough, to 'Break'-off some Frivolous Attachment.

We must therefore, 'Ask' Almighty God to-Rid us, of all Earthly Attachments: "Create a Clean Heart in me, O God: and Renew a Right Spirit, within my Bowels" - Psalm 50:12. Our Lord Himself, 'Reminds' us that we cannot be His Disciples, unless we 'Renounce' our Possessions: So likewise, every one of you that doth not Renounce all that he Possesseth, cannot be My Disciple - Luke 14:33.

Once we 'Detach' our Heart from-Creatures, Divine Love Immediately 'Enters', and 'Fills' it. The Human Heart cannot Exist, without Loving. It must Love, either the Creator or Creatures; if it does not Love Creatures, then Assuredly it will Love God. If we, then, 'Seek'-out God, He will be Good to us. "The Lord is Good to them, that Hope in Him, to the Soul that Seeketh Him" - Lamentations 3:25. And after the Love-of-God 'Takes' full Possession-of such Persons, they 'Rid' themselves of everything that might-Prove a Hindrance, to their Belonging Wholly-to God.

 

Detachment from Human Respect,
and from Self-Will

Those who Wish, to-belong Wholly-to God, must 'Free'-themselves of all Human Respect. Even Good-Intentioned Persons, seem-to 'Allow' this Unholy Attitude, to-Keep them Aloof-from God. For Instance, if someone happens-to 'Mention' a certain Fault of theirs, they Try-to 'Justify' themselves. When they do a Good Work, they make-Certain, the Whole World 'Knows' about it. They constantly 'Seek' Widespread-Approval, of everything they do. But the Saints do not 'Act' this Way. They would rather let the World, Know-of their Faults. And in 'Practicing' Virtue, they Prefer that God alone, Know-of it. The Lord says:

"Take Heed that you do-not your Justice before-Men, to be Seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a Reward-of your Father, Who is in Heaven. Therefore when thou Dost an Almsdeed, Sound-not a Trumpet before-thee, as the Hypocrites do in the Synagogues and in the Streets, that they may be Honored by-Men. Amen, I say to you, they have Received their Reward. But when thou dost Alms, let not thy Left Hand know, what thy Right Hand doth. That thy Alms may be in-Secret, and thy Father Who seeth in-Secret, will Repay thee" - Matthew 6:1-4.

Detachment-from Self-Will, is Absolutely-necessary, if we are to-Succeed, in this Area. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus Warns us, that if we Wish-to come-after Him, we must Deny our very-Selves, Take-up our Cross, and Begin to-Follow, in His Footsteps. And Saint-Francis-of-Assisi says, that this is the Greatest Grace we can Receive-from God; the Power to-Conquer ourselves, by Denying Self-Will.

If we become Slaves of our Self-Will, we we cannot 'Reach' Perfection. We have to Love God, in a Way that 'Pleases' God, and not in a Way that 'Pleases' us. Saint Teresa reminds us that the more-Completely we 'Strip' ourselves from Creature Comforts by 'Detaching' ourselves from them, for the Love-of-God the more-Abundantly will He 'Fill' us with Himself, and the more-Closely shall we be United (1) to Him.

Truly, then, those who Love Jesus Christ, Lose all Affection-for Things-of-Earth, in-order-to keep themselves United (1) with Jesus Christ alone. He is the Object-of all their Desires, the Subject-of all their Thoughts. At all Times, their sole-Aim is to-Give Pleasure-to Him.

But to-Reach this Point, we must Learn to-Rid our Hearts of every Affection, which is not of God. And how do we 'Give' ourselves, entirely-to God? Here are Three (3) Ways:

'Shun', what is Displeasing-to God, and 'Do' what is Pleasing-to Him.

'Accept' without-Reserve, all things that come-from God's Hand no matter how Disagreeable they may be.

'Give'-Preferences in all things, to God's Will, over our own.

 

sor_ani.gif (75307 bytes)

"O my God, make me a Saint"
Saint Alphonsus Mary Liguori

 

Prayer

My God and my All. I know that in-spite-of my Ingratitude and Carelessness in Your Service, You still want me to-Love You. How can I Refuse to-Love You, after Seeing You Die-on a Cross, for Love-of me? I Love You, with my Whole Soul, and I have no other Desire, but to Love You in this Life, for all Eternity (∞).

My Love, my Hope, my Courage, and my Consolation, give me the Strength to be Faithful-to You. Give me Light. Make me see the Importance-of Detachment-from, Things-of this Earth. Give me a Strong Will, to Obey you in everything.

I give myself entirely-to You. I want to-Satisfy the Desire which You have, of Uniting Yourself, entirely to-me.

Come, my Jesus, Come and Take possession-of my Heart. Occupy all my Thoughts, and all my Affections. I Renounce all my Appetites, my Comforts, and every Created Thing.

You alone, are Enough-for me. Give me the Grace, to-Think only-of You, to-Desire only You, to-Seek only You, my Beloved.

Mary, Mother of God, Help me to Persevere, in all my Efforts to-become a Saint.

Amen