Part V - The Soul Begs from God
the Means to Love Him Perfectly
The soul now enters into a kind of tender and loving intimacy with God and commences by saying to Him: "Grant that I may love Thee, Lord, for those who hate Thee." Let the soul note that these words include a humble petition. It has not said: "I will love Thee," because it knows that to love God is a divine work and not a human one. That is why it addresses God Himself, Who is all love, to implore Him to inflame it in that divine love. For it wants to love God so much, as much as others do not love Him. And, on saying that it wants to love Him for those who hate Him, it extends its intention even to the infernal caverns where the devils and the reprobate hate God infinitely, eternally. For the victim soul longs to love God sufficiently to compensate with its love that hate they have toward Him in Hell and similarly to compensate for the hate of the enemies of the Church here on earth.
The victim soul must pronounce these words possessed of the just sentiment that they encompass and convert them into a true act of reparatory love so that it may satisfy the immense desire that God has to be loved. So that its act of love may be pleasing to God, it must be humble, imploring the same grace of knowing how to love Him as much as He desires.
Well then: let the victim to Divine Justice understand that its love for God must exclude all fear. Because, as St. John says, "He that feareth is not perfected in charity. . .for charity casteth out fear." (1 Jn. IV:8) So that it must make as a condition of its perfect love of God, the loss of all human and servile fear, which must be replaced in it by complete confidence, as regards the Mercy as well as the Justice of its God, in order to deliver itself to His action without any fear, but rather it will love His Mercy as His Justice and with humility it will recognize in all His divine attributes that its God is worthy of being loved.
Similarly, and with analogous conditions of humility, it next says: "Grant me a perfect understanding of Thy divinity, with all its attributes and charming delights; for those who do not know Thee."
On the soul's asking God for a perfect knowledge of what He is, it does so persuaded that this knowledge of God will cause its heart to love Him more, as the divine love simultaneously gives light to the soul to know God.
Jesus said: "He that loveth Me. . .I will manifest Myself to him." (Jn. XIV:21) What the soul asks for and longs for, then, is to be filled with God, Who is light and love. It wants to receive within itself that indefectible light that the world did not want to receive. (Jn. I:5)
It wants to requite that love that the world has not known how to appreciate nor to comprehend.
To love and to know God. . .!
How much that expression encompasses. . .! But, without digressing to other considerations other than the intention the soul has here, it is fitting to stop a moment to consider the following: those who do not love God are precisely those who do not know Him. As much as the soul is bathed in His divine light, so much the more is the Highest Good loved.
From that one can conclude that only in Heaven is God loved with perfect love, because only there, with that light of glory, is the knowledge of that infinite and divine Majesty attained.
That is why the victim soul obtains this double gift of God, so that, as much as is possible here below, it can unite itself by means of charity and light to its God and glorify Him.
But the soul has considered that the most lamentable creature in wayward humanity is the one who closes his heart to the love of the cross, so that he lives so cold in love and in darkness, without knowing God. Because, as it is written, that wide is the gate and broad the way that leadeth to destruction, but narrow is the gate and straight the way that leadeth to God. (Mt. VII:13-14)
Because St. John says, "No man hath seen God at any time," (Jn. I:18) and Jesus confirms it saying: No one knoweth Who the Father is, but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal Him. (Lk. X:22)
And how will we know the Father, if we do not pursue the Son? And how will we pursue the Son, if we despise the path? He Himself has said to us: "And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple." (Lk. XIV:27)
For, has it not been on the Cross where Jesus has manifested the love of the Father to the world? St. John says: "In this we have known the charity of God, because He hath laid down His life for us." (1 Jn. III:16)
The Cross, then, and only the Cross, must be the coveted treasure of the victim soul because it knows that, through the Cross it goes to the Kingdom, as Kempis says. Only through the Cross will we find the Son and unite ourselves to the Son of God. And only finding Him, will He show the Father to us. And only knowing Him, will we be able to love Him, and only loving Him, will we be able to know Him.
That is why in this prayer of its offering, the victim soul asks, saying: "Grant that I may carry Thy Most Holy Cross for those who despise it and seek only worldly pleasures."
Thus the victim will be able to say: let others seek what they will and glory in their ephemeral prosperity; I do not glory save in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (Gal. VI:14)
Well then, on asking for the Cross from Jesus, let the victim to Divine Justice keep in mind that it is asking for a multitude of crosses, since the Cross of Jesus is formed of all the crosses of the world, because he took upon Himself the weight of our crosses. That is why St. John says of Jesus: "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 Jn. II:2)
Thus the victim soul, if its victimhood is to be reparatory, must take upon its shoulders the cross that Jesus carried, must unite itself with Him on the same wood of expiation.
Here is where the victim soul must put its "most important role" into practice, sacrificing itself in everything the world enjoys; to do, that is, everything contrary to the world because, as St. John says: "For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh." (1 Jn. II:16) And he exhorts us in this manner: "Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him." (Ibid. 15)
And thus the vigilance that the soul has over itself must be terribly strict so that its works are not contaminated by the deadly virus of the world. This vigilance will involve it in a continuous renunciation, a constant crucifixion, so that its cross may truly be the Cross of Jesus.
But there is another aspect of the Cross of Jesus which the victim, who must be united to Him, must not overlook if it wishes its victimhood to be fruitful. That is, being despised and persecuted and mocked and even sacrificed by its own, as Jesus was, of Whom it was written: "But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." (Lk. XVII:25)
Thus the victim to Divine Justice must, before accepting the Cross, love it and receive it as the trophy of its victory. Because, "all that will live godly in Christ," say St. Paul, "shall suffer persecution." (2 Tim. III:12)
And finally, after having asked for love, light and the Cross, the soul asks and offers the following: "Grant that I may belong to Thee alone; for those who put their delights or human affections and conveniences in place of Thee!"
It seems there is nothing more that can be added to make perfect donation to God and also a perfect petition that is most pleasing to Him. Because to be everything for God alone means: that the creature will not seek any other goal in anything, but to give itself to God, renouncing everything foreign to this supernatural objective.
This is epitomized in that precept of evangelical perfection in which Jesus orders the absolute renunciation of all creatures and even of oneself. (Lk. XIV:26)
"If any man come to Me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Note concerning the Holy Gospel: the Law of Christ Our Lord does not permit use to hate, not even our enemies, much less our parents. The meaning of the text is, then, that we must keep our will disposed to renounce and do away with anything, no matter how near or dear it may be to us, if it would impede our following Christ.
The soul, understanding that admonition of Christ: "He that loveth father or mother. . .son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me," (Mt. X:37) thus concludes, "In a word, from this very instant, may nothing be found in me except what belongs entirely to Thee. O God of my soul, I am all Thine! Do Thou accept me, I implore Thee!!"
On the victim's asking that God accept it, receive it, let it be disposed to sacrifice: to be destroyed, consumed in complete holocaust. Let it consider, then, that the manifestation of that acceptance will be under the forms that God pleases, with the assurance that He will dispose of everything wisely. Apparent adversity will come perhaps: illnesses, calamities, contradictions, calumnies. Or perhaps God will want to consume His victim secretly, with martyrdoms of the heart. Be what it will, it falls only to the victim, from now on, to make of itself a continued "fiat" until death.
Part VI - The Soul Pleads on Behalf of its Country,
Souls, Sinners, Priests