Part IV - The Soul Submits Itself
to the Divine Will
The fourth part of this consecration comprises the total delivery of everything the soul possesses.
In the first place, it says: "From this very moment, I surrender my will completely to Thine."
Does the soul know what it is to deliver its will to God? Oh, sorrow! How many errors there are on this point, and how often, even among souls consecrated exclusively to the service of God. It is the most sorrowful, the most costly, the most difficult thing for a human creature; but the best thing we can give to God.
When a man has acquired the secret science of knowing how to deprive himself of his own will, to give it up to His God, he has given Him everything and has made a precious gift to Him that He values more than all other great human works. . .more than all of Heaven and earth.
God longs for nothing from us more than our making a "gift" to Him of our will. "Men are free agents," an author has aptly said, and the cause of God's joy is precisely because on receiving the gift of the human will, God receives and possesses His own creature completely, and is certain of it. That is: of acquiring it for Heaven. Because then He can work in it freely, disposing of everything with that perfect wisdom of which the Psalmist sings: "Great are the works of the Lord: sought out according to all His wills." (Ps. CX:2) Thus, He will work in that most fortunate soul not only to sanctify it, but even to satisfy in it, superabundantly, the holy ideals that He makes it conceive; or, to say it another way: so the soul may now have no problem to solve in seeking the means to save other souls, in order to serve and give glory to God. Thus Kind David confirms it when he says: "Commit thy way to the Lord, and trust in Him, and He will do it. Delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart." (Ps. XXXVI:4-5)
The Apostle has said: "It is the will of God that all men be saved," (1 Tim. II:4) in agreement with what Jesus said, according to St. John (Jn. VI:39) so that, when the soul knows how to subject its own will to that of God, that is when He truly receives the glory that He merits; that is, in a word, when He realizes fully His redemptive work in that soul.
This quality is the one for which the victim soul must exert itself most in practice, until uniting itself with Jesus, Who does nothing else, from His Incarnation until the present continuation of His mystical life in the Eucharist, but "the will of His Heavenly Father."
In the Old Testament it was written, in a prophecy concerning Jesus, that one of the characteristics by which He is known is this: "Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of Me that I should do Thy will. O My God, I have desired it and Thy Law in the midst of My heart." (Ps. XXXIX:8-9)
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave testimony of this with His life and His words, even to the point of saying: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me." (Jn. IV:34)
He valued the practice of this virtue so highly that, implicitly and explicitly, He made it contain in itself all sanctity, all blessedness, for His own doctrine comprised nothing more than the synthesis and sum of the Will of His Heavenly Father. He calls those that know how to fulfill the Divine Will to be as His Mother and His brethren (Mt. XII:49-50) by which He indicates how much they please His Heart.
Convinced of this luminous truth, the victim soul hastens to give up its human will to God, in order to place it under the sure guidance of His Divine Will. And from then on, it must exert itself to learn and to practice this divine science, which God will surely show it, in the measure in which it opens channels to grace, to inspirations, to love. And let it be faithful in its delivery and submission, until it succeeds in emptying itself to such a degree of every trace of human desire that its will is united with that of its God, so that it is an echo of that Divine Will.
Such must be the condition of a victim in regard to the submission of its will, that in its spiritual life as well as in its exterior life, it must have no other desire than that God dispose of it as He will.
To such an extent that, if God should arrange in its surroundings an environment that impedes it from carrying out its life in conformance with its sentiments of piety, it accepts it with generous resignation and suffers it with love.
For the Psalmist, speaking of the better and more pleasing sacrifice for God, says, putting these verses in the mouth of the Lord: "I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices; and thy burnt offerings are always in my sight. I will not take calves out of thy house: nor he goats out of thy flocks. For all the beasts of the woods are mine: the cattle on the hills and the oxen. I know all the fowls of the air: and with me is the beauty of the field. If I should be hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Shall I eat the flesh of bullocks? Or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God the sacrifice of praise: and pay thy vows to the Most High. . The sacrifice of praise shall glorify me: and there is the way by which I will shew him the salvation of God." (Ps. XLIX:8-14, 23)
Beautiful in its truth and profound in divine science is this quotation from the Psalter that seems to have been written for no other purpose than to provide an exact norm for the victim soul in regard to the principal condition necessary to please God in its offering. "The sacrifice that God wants offered to Him before all others, and without which He rejects the other sacrifices, is the one that is accompanied by the interior dispositions of adoration, gratitude, love and patience, that victims manifest exteriorly." (Note from the Psalter) And this sacrifice comprises, precisely, the giving up and submission of the human will to the Divine Will. It is for this that, in its prayer of Offering to Justice, the victim soul immediately adds: "And my desires are placed at Thy Divine Feet so that, if it be necessary and pleasing to Thee, Thou mayest sacrifice me."
The soul assumes here, not only its natural desires, but even its supernatural ones, that God Himself with His grace would plant in it, for no other reason than that it suffer interior spurnings and convert them into an instrument of intimate, secret and holy martyrdom.
Because the victim soul must go in search of everything that is transcendent to the cross, sacrifice, immolation, it being enough for the soul to satisfy thus only the Divine Will. The victim soul recalls the perfect submission of Abraham before the divine command: God asked him if he would sacrifice his son and he is ready to carry out the command from Heaven. But God did not want this human sacrifice, except to try His servant. He orders him to stop the execution and Abraham, without becoming perturbed, submits himself again to what the will of his Lord disposes.
In exactly that way, like Abraham the father and Isaac the son in this passage from Sacred Scripture, the victim soul must be ready to set aside its human will before that of its God and Lord, whether it be in accord with, or contrary to, its own desires and pleasures. And thus it continues in its prayer: "I surrender unto thee all my pleasures and longings, both human and spiritual. And from this day forward I desire nothing but to suffer and to suffer whatever Thou wishest." Behold the essence of sanctity. But the soul takes note that, on proposing what it has just made known, it is obliged to "suffer always."
Thus, in all its voluntary works, it will "suffer always" as a norm that it must strive for, and that must be as the very air it breathes.
And, in respect to its just having given up "all its spiritual pleasures," it must be prepared to taste, if it pleases God to give it to drink of, the chalice of interior abandonment, without wondering why, in this bitter path of the spirit, it comes to experience such terrible things as infernal darkness. But let the souls of this victimhood remember that Jesus was overcome in this difficult trial of sorrow until sweating blood in Gethsemane and to the point of exclaiming on the Cross: "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mk. XV:34)
So that the victim soul attain his identification with the Victim, Christ, perhaps it must exclaim with Him: "My soul is sorrowful unto death." (Mk. XIV:34)
But, when the soul has put itself totally in the hands of God, what do these accidental things on its path matter when it knows that its goal is the fulfillment of its objectives? Because everything the victim soul sacrifices on the altars of its love for the glory of God and the rescue of souls, it will reap the benefit one hundredfold since it has established a loving law of reciprocal compensation with Divine Justice: it will suffer, so other souls may enjoy and experience the gifts it sacrifices, as Christ died to give us life and "life more abundantly." (Jn. X:10) And St. Paul says that Our Lord Jesus Christ made Himself poor so we would be rich through His poverty. (2 Cor. VIII:9) And so we might be made the justice of God in Him, He became "sin" for us. (2 Cor. V:21)
On the other hand, nothing must frighten the soul nor detain it in its generous offering, because it is written: "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and He will save the humble of spirit. Many are the afflictions of the just: but out of them all will the Lord deliver them." (Ps. XXXIII:19-20) By which it is understood that, even in the most grievous abandonment and under the lashes of temptation in which a victim soul finds itself by divine permission in fulfillment of its victimhood, He will be faithful in rescuing it, without damage to its conscience. Because Sacred Scripture says elsewhere that, when the just man shall fall (this, apparently is what disturbs souls in the depths of abandonment) he shall not be bruised (that is, he will not suffer the damage of sin) because the Lord putteth His hand under him. (Ps. XXXVI:24)
But how will the soul know if, in those vigorous struggles of temptation and abandonment, it was without damage to its conscience? St John gives the most certain guide when he says: "Dearly beloved, if our heart do not reprehend us, we have confidence towards God." (1 Jn. III:21) Besides, when the temptation comes through God's permission, without the soul's seeking it, without the soul's failure, but so that the Lord might purify it in the battle, then the Apostle says: "God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able: but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. X:13) Which the Apostle St. James confirms when he writes: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him." (James I:12)
Thus, all these holy and most truthful observations are made so the victim soul might not vacillate in willingly dispossessing itself, before Justice, even of the spiritual gifts of charisms and sensible graces; because now the victim must seek nothing but: "the Kingdom of God and Its Justice." That is, that God may be served and Justice given satisfaction, and the rest, for the soul, is secondary, even in regard to its spiritual gifts, not because it attaches little importance to them, but rather from a feeling of holy abandonment, and because it knows that, being in good standing with God, all the rest will be given it, as He Himself promises: in addition. And thus it concludes its prayer: "With all my soul I ask only one thing of Thee for myself: deprive me of life rather than that I be unfaithful to Thee, or voluntarily offend Thee."
These last words of the fourth part of the offering are not an explicit delivery, but rather a petition. Nevertheless, in an implicit manner a new proposition is included, a promise and, what's even better, a promise "not to sin again voluntarily." Because, what could be said for a victim to Divine Justice that offends the Heart of Christ, which is precisely what it must console for the offenses of the world - and which offends Justice when it has resolved to atone to It?
But, is it possible, considering the human and fallible condition, to make such a promise to God? Certainly a formal promise would not be a rational thing: that is why the soul, on making this resolution links with it its supplication, its plea to God. Because it knows that only from Him will it have the strength not to sin again. That is why it asks of Him that inestimable gift, even permitting Him to take away its life rather than permitting it to be able to yield to temptation.
This, then, is the fulfillment of its total delivery to God, beseeching Him, it subjects its free will fully and, on its part, this will imply in itself the fulfillment of the commandments and the counsels of perfection. As St. Paul said to the early Christians: "Let not mortal sin be mentioned among you." (Eph. V:3)
Thus, it is not an innovation for the victim soul to assume this cleanliness of conscience, especially since a condition is that the victim be pure and innocent which, if it uses the means and prays, it will succeed in keeping itself pure in the presence of God and, "I shall be spotless with Him. . .I shall be delivered from temptation; and through my God I shall go over a wall." (Ps. XVII:24, 30) Walls that are possible in the eyes of God, but impossible in the eyes of men. "For all things are possible with God." (Mk. X:27; Lk. XVIII:27)
And if He has promised that "everyone that asketh, receiveth," (Lk. XI:10) how can the soul not receive the grace of not sinning, if it asks for it with all its heart as the only treasure, for which it will sacrifice all others? Let the victim soul have faith that, in the measure in which it is generous and faithful in its mission of victimhood, and thus is united to Him, the Lord will free it from every falling into sin.
This must not be understood erroneously, but as corroborated by divine words. Jesus says: "If you abide in Me, and My words (that is, My doctrine) abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will and it shall be done unto you. In this is My Father glorified; that you bring forth much fruit." (Jn. XV:7-8)
And whoever remains united to Christ, St. John says: "He that keepeth His commandments, abideth in Him and He in him." (1 Jn. III:24) And he that is united to Christ, the same Apostle says elsewhere, "sinneth not." (1 Jn. III:6)
To make these words of Sacred Scripture a reality, then, is what is implied by the promise the victim makes. Thus it asks the grace to know how to fulfill it.
Part V - The Soul Begs from God the Means to Love Him Perfectly