Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ways to Become a More Effective Instrument of God's Love in Redemptive Work

Continued from "The Healing Flame of Love", Part 1

Mary Magdalene with Christ1. The value of great desires.

Great desires to do things for Christ can be a great stimulant in letting us be molded into the person that can do those great things. There is great spiritual strength in collective desires. Desires can lead to increased cooperation with grace. Lack of these desires can limit our sanctity to mediocrity. If we desire great things we can say that we helped bring them about.
2. "Giving in" to God.
Increased union with God means progressive detachment from the things of this earth. This detachment can be accomplished by giving in to God every time He asks. He has a way He wants us to follow in order to do the special work assigned to our life. It may not coincide with our own idea of what is to be done or the preparation for it. We must realize that if the possession of God is so exalted, we may be asked to give up our most cherished ideas or possessions to attain it.
3. Giving God permission to sanctify us.
God has given each one of us a task; the work of attaining eternal salvation. He always gives the help, the grace necessary for any task He imposes. Due to our unwillingness to cooperate many graces are merely sufficient. If we give Him permission He can work more easily in us without forcing our free will.
4. Doing things with great love.
A perfect act of love of God has very great force - it can forgive mortal sin, subdue evil and insure future cooperation with grace. The love of neighbor, too, can be very powerful. If this is a proper love we give Christ, we give the Way, the Life, and the Truth. Therefore we give the means of salvation to others.
5. Knowing how grace acts. (See Section 2)
If we really believe that of ourselves we can do nothing to obtain eternal life, we must believe that a means to obtain it has been provided by God. This means is grace. If it is common sense to ascertain facts and then act on them, it is certainly wisdom to understand grace and to cooperate with it.
6. Habitual union of wills.
If there is an habitual union of our will with God's will, it is easier for Him to "lead us around", that is, cooperate with His grace and be led by His Spirit. If you have ever tried to make an animal do what it does not want to do you know how exasperating it can be. Likewise, in respecting our free will God has to use many and varied stratagems to get us to do the things He wants done. If we are docile and learn to take our cues from circumstances, from hints of various kinds, from needs and desires of others, etc. that God arranges He can get us sanctified and doing His work with lots less fuss, struggle and wasted energy.
7. Embracing the substance that is God's will in very circumstance.
Each moment of our life offers us a circumstance planned by God. The only worth it has is the importance He places on it. Therefore we should look beyond, or into, each situation, try to see its why and wherefore and understand its relation to God. In every event in our life we should see God's love that arranged it, His will that brought it into being and the grace that earns eternal life through it.
In any difficult or trying situation we should therefore not only accept, but embrace it. Suppose that you are confronted with such a seemingly intolerable situation that you are completely nonplussed. The usual reactions are to try to lessen the effect, to circumvent it, to change it, or to avert it entirely. But, if you immediately embrace the Will that is giving you this trial, you receive the physical help (positing continued cooperation) to accept or accomplish. Then God can either remove the difficulty or continue it. In this way there is no effort on your part to thwart God's designs.
8. The tremendous power of God that is available to me.
"I am nothing and can do nothing of myself", is one of the truths of the Catholic faith. Yet there is a tremendous reservoir of power available to me and dependent on only a relatively small action on my part (St. Paul calls it the part that is wanting). God has unheard of plans ready for the fulfillment of man's destiny. He is waiting, as it were, for man to take the initiative in helping himself and all mankind. The only necessary condition is that it be synchronized with the Will that is this power. A tremendous example is Moses, who in his weakness, could carry out the exodus.
Each moment posits a situation with a grace that has staggering possibilities. Cooperation with the Supreme Will can materialize plans beyond our fondest dreams.
9. Consecration to Our Lady.
In our natural growth God has given each of us a mother to bring us to manhood in the world of reality. In the spiritual realm He has seen fit to make available a woman preeminently capable to be our mother as she is the true spouse of the Holy Spirit. She always does her best for each one of us, contending with our spirit of worldly independence and self determination. If we choose, we can place ourselves more fully under her most wise guidance. This will enable her to more easily undertake her duties towards us, which our perverse will might otherwise resent, giving us lessons in humility, patience, love, etc., that might have remained unlearned. As we progress spiritually she will introduce us into heavenly society, especially arranging ways for us to become more fully acquainted with he divine Son.
A quotation from St. Louis de Montfort will suffice to explain our Blessed Mother's great power. "But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel; that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children whom she will raise up to make war against him. They shall be little and poor in the world's esteem, and abased before all, like the heel trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body. But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with god's assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph." (from True Devotion to Mary).

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