The Glories of Divine Grace…

As I will be away from my computer for several days, I leave a post which I wrote almost two years ago about a most beautiful book. This too, is one of those books that you can never really “finish” reading. Grace is so glorious, that one never tires of reading about and contemplating it. And…one’s thoughts are drawn with awe and gratitude toward the God Who so loves His creatures that He gives them a share in His Own Divine Life through this marvel of Sanctifying Grace. Blessed be He forever and ever!

(When I return, I will complete part III of the series I have been writing on my involvement with the occult.)

There is a book, The Glories of Divine Grace, listed on my bookstack page, about which I have yet to post a review.

That is because a worthy review of this book is a task best reserved for a Saint, or maybe an angel.

The publisher makes an effort on the back cover:The Glories of Divine Grace will undoubtedly become one of the two or three most influential Catholic books that a person will ever read.”

I bought this book six years ago, and have been reading it ever since, a page, a paragraph, a sentence at a time. Randomly selected passages outdo one another in extolling the exquisite beauty of a soul possessed of Sanctifying Grace — a soul so magnificent that it is the chosen bridal chamber of the Divine Spouse, Who, so completely enamoured of this creature bearing His Own Image delights to take her both as His bride and His dwelling place.

And in reading these pages, Grace is presented as unspeakable glory, and the loss of Grace, in all of its misery, horror and shame. The reader is instilled with a new terror of sin, of losing this priceless gift of Grace, or rather this Grace bought at such a Price as the Blood of the Son of God.

I’ve long known these things intellectually, yet somehow this book succeeds in transforming the abstract into realities that are simply breathtaking to comprehend. Like the dream one yearns to be true, this book unfolds the drama of Divine Love — of a God deeply and madly in love with His creatures.

And yet, the Saints have told us so, again and again. Read St. Catherine’s prayer to the Trinity on this blog. She knew. This book is helping me to know.

And to that I will simply add: If you too want to know how passionately God loves you, how breathtakingly beautiful you are to His Divine Glance, the splendor with which He has adorned your soul, so that He, the Lord of all, cannot resist you, then read this book.

I share below a few random excerpts:

God is not concerned with the beauty of bodies, which He by His word brought out of nothingness. He can be astonished at nothing that is not divine. As He considers throughout eternity His infinite beauty with the same endless delight, His eye also rests with unspeakable satisfaction upon the image of His Divine Nature, which the Holy Ghost impresses as a seal upon our soul. He is astonished, as it were, at the wonderful power of His love, which is able to adorn with such beauty a poor, miserable creature and to make it so much like Himself. He is astonished with the gold of His grace. He is astonished with the beautiful and lovely garden, with never-fading bloom, which His love has planted, refreshed by the breath of His Holy Spirit as by a mild, vernal breeze, and in which He dwells with unspeakable delight. And thus He cries out repeatedly: “How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou!’ (Song of Songs 4:1)

…..

The soul adorned with grace is but a golden setting in which the most precious jewel, the Holy Ghost, God Himself, is enclosed. As in a ring, the gold is distinct from the jewel, and yet they are so closely united that they form but one whole and one beauty, so likewith the Divinity is distinct from the just soul, but is so intimately united with it through love that the beauty of both appears to be one and the same.

…..

Every glance toward God, every virtuous act performed in grace and every sigh of the soul that loves God, even though so light as a hair, becomes an arrow that wounds, not the unstable heart of man, but the eternal and constant heart of God. Every step that you take in the pathway of grace is so beautiful and lovely that God, beholding you, exclaims: “How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O prince’s daughter!” (Songs. 7:1) Every word that you address to God is so dear and precious that it brings down upon you His richest blessing, as the Psalmist sings: “Grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee forever.” (Psalm 45:3)

….

What a heavenly life will then be developed in our heart when it dies to itself and is absorbed in the divine heart of Jesus and feels no longer its own pulsations and impulses, but rather those of God! How heavenly will our life be when our Savior takes our heart out of our breast and places His own in its stead!

The Glories of Divine Grace

By: Fahter Matthias J. Scheeben

Tan Books and Publishers, Inc.

Copyright 2000

pp: 133-134,137,160

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Tuesday adoration….Fire and nothingness

descendingfire

Whenever I hold this book in my hands, I feel like I’m holding onto fire.

The reluctant author was a priest born in the late 19th century.  I presume that he was a Benedictine monk, since the brief preface was written by Dom Vincent Artus, OSB, who tells us that Father Jean Petit (pseudonym) only allowed his journal notes to be published if “we” take on full responsibility of their publication, and keep his identity unknown.

I purchased this book about ten years ago, but for the past couple of years, it is always close at hand.  It is a small book, and only 155 pages, but it is stirring, passionate, surprising, bold yet humble.  And, it is on fire.  The words leap into sentences and the sentences pulsate with Father Petit’s burning love for God, and his ecstatic wonder and joy over God’s Love for him.

Although he mentions a few other Saints, he is utterly taken with that great Saint of Love, Therese of Lisieux.  He quotes from her frequently, and includes the entire text of her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love within the notes that compose this book.

Today in adoration, I read the following paragraphs:

The immense stream of flames descending upon man from the Trinity through the union of the divinity and the humanity in the Person of Christ will bear me along by its impetuous force, will destroy in me what remains of my self, will change me little by little into Himself, will make me disappear into His unfathomable mystery and what remains of me will be fashioned into a new being that will still be me, yet no longer me, a creature swallowed up in the consuming fires of divinity.

…To what extent will divinity pervade my being? Already grace makes the substance of my soul divine. The Holy Trinity abides in me…”We will make our home with him…as in a temple: “You are God’s temple.” (John 14:23, 1Cor 3:16)

I participate in the divine nature. I live in Christ and Christ lives in me; I no longer live anything but the life of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been given to me.

“You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.” (Ps 82:6)
“Just as fire can make an object glow with incandescent heat,” says St. Thomas (Aquinas), “so God can deify souls.”

….Therese with ingenious simplicity took on the ideal to live, not only in love, but in “an act of love.” In order that her acts of charity might be perfect, she desired to live not only in love, not only in perfect love, but in “a single act of perfect love.” She desired to live in this single act; she desired her whole life to be this single act. To live in this unique act of perfect love, she offered herself as a victim to Merciful Love.

One day you will have disappeared into the flames of the Infinite.

Nothingness…have you understood?

Nothingness…do you dare to understand?

You will live in the Unique Act of the One who is Charity.

You will be consumed in the One who is the Supreme Good.

You will shine in the One who is Being.

Have you understood?

Father Petit’s little book was first published in French in 1953. He was still living then. But surely now, he has achieved that final union with the flaming Furnace of Charity that is the Most Blessed Trinity

I only wish I knew his real name. But, I keep reading his words, praying that I too will catch fire.

Descending Fire
The Journal of a Soul Aflame
By Jean Petit
Sophia Institute Press
English translation, Copyright 2000, Sister Mary Grace, CSE

“Leave in me only fire..” Fr. Jean Petit

The following is an excerpt from a little book which has been my companion this Lent. The holy religious priest (now deceased) who penned these passionate words, did so under the order of his superiors. Throughout his writings, he refers often to Therese, and shares deep insights into her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love (which is printed at the back of the book). Two kindred souls, I would say. Two hearts aflame with love for God at a white-hot intensity which few of us are ever privileged to reach.

Yet, to draw near to these flaming souls is to dream of catching fire, imploring the Holy Spirit to plunge us too into the Furnace of His Divine Love!

 ________________________________________________________________________

In the heart of Your child,  
O Father, stir up only flames,
for the sake of the whole Mystical Body.

Here is my desire, my sole desire. I live for it; I will die for it. I will live for it through all eternity. It pursues me during the day and illuminates my night. It is my nourishment, my health, my passion, and my immense happiness:

To give myself credit for nothing, to feel my total incompetence, to possess nothing as mine; and in proportion to this voluntary and acknowledged weakness, to be totally bound to live Your Life, to be abandoned unreservedly to the One Who is eternal– to my Father, Who loves me beyond all measure, and to the Holy Trinity, Who burns to make me participate in Its Divine Life; to be totally bound to wait for the One Who possesses all and Who desires to give all. What unspeakable joy!

I know it. I feel it. Your fire, O my God, surrounds me, pierces me through, insinuates its way into the most intimate fibers of my heart, fills to overflowing the almost infinite caverns of my soul, and responds to my littleness by making me a participant of Your Divinity.

My lips speak of daily events; my eyes behold houses and trees; my ears hear conversations. But in all of this my heart sees only shadows and illusions. You alone, adorable Trinity, are the reality. It is You Whom I seek; it is You for Whom I thirst. Toward You alone my lips, my eyes, my hands, and my ears aspire…..

From the book: Descending Fire, The Journal of a Soul Aflame, compiled from the writings of Father John Petit (pseudonym)
pp. 114-115

When Jesus sleeps…..

When I went to adoration the other day, I found myself fighting sleep.  I had taken an antihistamine, and it might as well have been a sleeping pill.  There I was, all alone in the chapel with Jesus for two hours, and all I could do was struggle to stay awake.

I remembered that I had brought with me a little book titled, When Jesus Sleeps, by dear Archbishop Luis Martinez, who also wrote Secrets of the Interior Life which I chose as one of my three favorite books in a recent meme.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of watching Jesus sleep, and of wondering what He dreamed….just the incomparable beauty and wonder of the God of the Universe fast asleep so delights me.  The charm of God.  The sweet mystery of the God-Man.

But Archbishop Martinez expressed similar ideas in such rapt words:

Jesus was exceedingly beautiful when He spoke words of eternal life, accomplished wonders, looked with love, pardoned with mercy and caressed with tenderness. But I would like to have seen Him while He was sleeping because I could have contemplated Him to my heart’s content, without the fascination of His gaze distracting me, without the perfection of His beauty and the glory of His splendor dazzling my eyes and enrapturing my soul. The beauty of Jesus awake is too great for my smallness. Who could support it? I feel it more suited to me veiled by sleep, as the glory of the sun is more adapted to my eyes when I look at it through a translucent lens……

In the presence of that regal immobility and the divine silence of that most comely body, could one guess the interior glory? Through the delicate, celestial veil of human sleep, could penetrating and loving eyes like those of the Virgin discover the deep secret of the interior joy of Jesus? (pp 6,7,9)

And then, I was awake…my heart stirred by the touching portrait of Jesus, shared above only briefly, sketched by this holy Archbishop.

His little book shall be my companion this Lent. After sharing the magnificence of the Son of God at repose, the book continues on to encourage the soul in desolation by reminding her that Jesus has not departed. He is only sleeping. Gaze upon Him within your soul as He rests in you…as He slept on the boat amidst the stormy sea. He is sleeping? Yes, but not as we sleep.

Jesus says to the soul, “I sleep, but my Heart is awake.” (Song of Songs 5:2) He has not forgotten us. He can never forget. His Love never sleeps. In dryness and darkness and desolation, He is present with us, in all of His Glory.

He is only testing our faith, our trust, our love for Him, just as He tested that of the apostles on the lake. “Why are you so frightened, you who have so little faith?”

Let us not wake Jesus when He desires to sleep in our souls. Let us be brave and trust that He will awake at the perfect moment. Like St. Therese, let us permit Him to rest. She liked Jesus to sleep in “her boat,” because, as she said, so few allow Him any rest.

___________________________________________________________________________

My sleeping Jesus,
You are breathtaking
In Your rest.
Your Peaceful Face
belies the Truth
That You are God
Of all Power and Might
Lord and King
Of The Universe.
But the resting place
You choose
Is my heart,
For more than
All else,
You are
LOVE,
Seeking love
That asks nothing save
Your Presence.

Jesus loving in us…….

Excerpt below from the exquisitely beautiful book:
One With Jesus
(The Life of Identification With Christ)
By Father Paul de Jaegher, SJ
Translated from the French
First American Printing, 1946
(currently out of print)

 

 

 

 

Love for His Father prompted Christ to become Man. The thirty-three years of His life on earth were wholly consecrated to this Love and to procuring His Father’s Glory.

He enacted an ineffable drama of Divine Love, the most pathetic scene of which was presented on Calvary. But Christ is risen. Though He died He still lives. The immense Love of the God-Man did not end with the grave. Its influence passes beyond the narrow confines of the human life of Jesus.

…. What does this mean? Does it mean simply that Jesus will be content to love His Father infinitely in Heaven, and in each of our tabernacles? Not so. Grand as would be this homage of Love, it does not satisfy the Heart of Christ. He would do more.

The great drama of Jesus’ Love for His Father is to be continued here on earth. For Jesus, by His life and the redemption of mankind made for Himself a mystical body, in which He continues to live, to love and to glorify His Father. In order to love the more, He has united Himself to new individual human natures, to millions of individual human natures, no longer hypostatically, it is true, but still by a very real, intimate and wonderful union.

Jesus, then, is forever yearning to love His Father unto folly; yearning to love Him not only by His Own Divine Life; not only with His Own Heart on Fire with Love; He is yearning to love Him in millions of hearts and through millions of lives, even to the end of time.

His infinite Love needs to express Itself, to pour Itself out in an infinity of ways. What then does Jesus wish? He wants hearts that will surrender themselves up to Him, that will abandon themselves completely to Him, and allow Him freely to satisfy, in them and by them, His Infinite Passion of Divine Love.

In order to enter into a closer union with each one of us, His members, He asks for the entire possession of our being: our body, and our soul with all its powers, that He may make them His Own, appropriate them, and live through them His life of devotion to His Beloved Father…….

Then the King will fall in love with your beauty… Psalm 45:11

As I will be away from my computer for several days, I leave a post which I wrote almost two years ago about a most beautiful book. This too, is one of those books that you can never really “finish” reading. Grace is so glorious, that one never tires of reading about and contemplating it. And…one’s thoughts are drawn with awe and gratitude toward the God Who so loves His creatures that He gives them a share in His Own Divine Life through this marvel of Sanctifying Grace. Blessed be He forever and ever!

(When I return, I will complete part III of the series I have been writing on my involvement with the occult.)

There is a book, The Glories of Divine Grace, listed on my bookstack page, about which I have yet to post a review.

That is because a worthy review of this book is a task best reserved for a Saint, or maybe an angel.

The publisher makes an effort on the back cover:The Glories of Divine Grace will undoubtedly become one of the two or three most influential Catholic books that a person will ever read.”

I bought this book six years ago, and have been reading it ever since, a page, a paragraph, a sentence at a time. Randomly selected passages outdo one another in extolling the exquisite beauty of a soul possessed of Sanctifying Grace — a soul so magnificent that it is the chosen bridal chamber of the Divine Spouse, Who, so completely enamoured of this creature bearing His Own Image delights to take her both as His bride and His dwelling place.

And in reading these pages, Grace is presented as unspeakable glory, and the loss of Grace, in all of its misery, horror and shame. The reader is instilled with a new terror of sin, of losing this priceless gift of Grace, or rather this Grace bought at such a Price as the Blood of the Son of God.

I’ve long known these things intellectually, yet somehow this book succeeds in transforming the abstract into realities that are simply breathtaking to comprehend.  Like the dream one yearns to be true, this book unfolds the drama of Divine Love — of a God  deeply and madly in love with His creatures.

And yet, the Saints have told us so, again and again. Read St. Catherine’s prayer to the Trinity on this blog. She knew. This book is helping me to know.

And to that I will simply add: If you too want to know how passionately God loves you, how breathtakingly beautiful you are to His Divine Glance, the splendor with which He has adorned your soul, so that He, the Lord of all, cannot resist you, then read this book.

I share below a few random excerpts:

       God is not concerned with the beauty of bodies, which He by His word brought out of nothingness. He can be astonished at nothing that is not divine. As He considers throughout eternity His infinite beauty with the same endless delight, His eye also rests with unspeakable satisfaction upon the image of His Divine Nature, which the Holy Ghost impresses as a seal upon our soul. He is astonished, as it were, at the wonderful power of His love, which is able to adorn with such beauty a poor, miserable creature and to make it so much like Himself. He is astonished with the gold of His grace. He is astonished with the beautiful and lovely garden, with never-fading bloom, which His love has planted, refreshed by the breath of His Holy Spirit as by a mild, vernal breeze, and in which He dwells with unspeakable delight. And thus He cries out repeatedly: “How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou!’ (Song of Songs 4:1)
…..
The soul adorned with grace is but a golden setting in which the most precious jewel, the Holy Ghost, God Himself, is enclosed. As in a ring, the gold is distinct from the jewel, and yet they are so closely united that they form but one whole and one beauty, so likewith the Divinity is distinct from the just soul, but is so intimately united with it through love that the beauty of both appears to be one and the same.
…..
Every glance toward God, every virtuous act performed in grace and every sigh of the soul that loves God, even though so light as a hair, becomes an arrow that wounds, not the unstable heart of man, but the eternal and constant heart of God. Every step that you take in the pathway of grace is so beautiful and lovely that God, beholding you, exclaims: “How beautiful are thy steps in shoes, O prince’s daughter!” (Songs. 7:1) Every word that you address to God is so dear and precious that it brings down upon you His richest blessing, as the Psalmist sings: “Grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee forever.” (Psalm 45:3)
….
What a heavenly life will then be developed in our heart when it dies to itself and is absorbed in the divine heart of Jesus and feels no longer its own pulsations and impulses, but rather those of God! How heavenly will our life be when our Savior takes our heart out of our breast and places His own in its stead!

The Glories of Divine Grace
By: Fahter Matthias J. Scheeben
Tan Books and Publishers, Inc.
Copyright 2000
pp: 133-134,137,160