Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Self-Will vs Surrendering All to God

from the book, Uniformity with God’s Will & the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ
Page 178 Detachment from Human Respect and from Self-Will

“… Unhappy the man that lives the slave of self-will!  For he shall have a yearning for many things distasteful and bitter to his inclinations:  From whence are wars and contentions among you? Are they not hence? From your concupiscences, which war in your members? You covet, and have not." (James, iv.1,2). 

The First War springs from the appetite for sensual delights Let us take away the occasion; let us mortify the eyes; let us recommend ourselves to God, and the war ill be over.

The Second War arises from the covetousness of riches: let us cultivate a love of poverty, and this war will cease.

The Third War has its source in ambitiously seeking after honors:  let us love humility and the hidden life, and this war too will be no more.

The Fourth War, and the most ruinous of all, comes from self-will: let us practice resignation in all things which happen by the will of God, and the war will cease.

St. Bernard tells us that whenever we see a person troubled, the origin of his trouble is nothing else but his inability to gratify self-will.  “Whence comes disquiet,” says the saint, “except that we follow self-will?” 

S. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi
Our Blessed Lord once complained of this to St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi, in these words: “Certain souls desire My Spirit, but after their own fancy; and so they become incapable of receiving it.”

We must therefore love God in the way that pleases God, and not that pleases us.  God will have the soul divested of all, in order to be united to Himself, and to be replenished with His Divine love.  

St. Teresa writes as follows: “The prayer of union appears to me to be nothing more than to die utterly, as it were, to all things in this world, for the enjoyment of God alone.  Once this is certain, that the more completely we empty ourselves of creatures, 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 with Him.” (Interior Castle, chapter 1) 

Many spiritual persons would attain to union with God; but then they do not desire the contrarieties (oppositeness, contradiction) which God sends them: they fret at having to suffer from ill-health, from poverty, from affronts; but, for want of resignation, they will never come to a perfect union with God. 

St. Catherine of Genoa
Let us hear what St. Catherine of Genoa said: “To arrive at union with God, the contrarieties which God sends us are absolutely necessary; His purpose is, to consume in us, by means of them, all irregular movements, both within and without.  And hence all contempt, ailments, poverty, temptations, and other trials, are all indispensable, to give us the opportunity of fighting; that so, by the way of victory, we may eventually extinguish all inordinate movements, so as to be no more sensible of them; furthermore, until we begin to find contradictions sweet for God’s sake, instead of bitter, we shall never arrive at Divine union.”

I here subjoin the practice of it, taught by St. John of the Cross.
St. John of the Cross
  The Saint says, that in order to perfect union, “a thorough mortification of the senses and of the appetites is necessary.  On the part of the senses, every single relish that presents itself to them, if it be not purely for the glory of God, should forthwith be rejected for the love of Jesus Christ; for example, should you have a desire to see or hear something in no wise conductive to the greater glory of God, then refrain from it.  As to the appetites also, endeavor to force ourselfs always to choose the worst, the most disagreeable, or the poorest, without fostering any other wish than to suffer and to be despised.”

In a word, he that truly loves Jesus Christ loses all affection for things of earth, and seeks to strip himself of all, in order to keep himself united with Jesus Christ alone.  

Jesus is the object of all his desires, 
Jesus the subject of all his thoughts; 
for Jesus he continually sighs; 
in every place, at every time, 
on every occasion, 
his sole aim is to give pleasure to Jesus.  

But to reach this point, we must study unceasingly to rid the heart of every affection which is not for God.  

And, I ask, what is meant by giving the soul entirely to God?  

It means, first, 
to shun whatever may be displeasing to God, 
and to do what is most pleasing to Him; 
secondly, it means to accept unreservedly all that comes 
from His hands, how hard or disagreeable soever it may be; 
it means, thirdly, to give the preference in all things 
to the will of God over our own; 
this is what is meant by belonging wholly to God.