Courageous and Impatient Love
Presence of God – May Your love, my God, make me intrepid in seeking You, and impatient to possess You.
Although the soul subjected to interior purifications by the Holy Spirit is profoundly conscious of its own misery and unworthiness, it is nevertheless “sufficiently bold and daring to journey toward union with God” (John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul II, 13,9). Whence comes such audacity? From the love which is ever-growing within it; indeed, “the property of love is to desire to be united, joined, and made equal and like to the object of its love” (John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul II, 13,9). Therefore, the more love increases in the soul, the greater is the longing for union with God. Even if its love is still imperfect—since it has not yet brought the soul to union—nevertheless, it is sincere and thanks to “the strength set by love in the will,” the soul experiences “hunger and thirst for that which it lacks, which is the union” to which love tends (John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul II, 13,9). Besides, how could the soul which has grasped something of the infinite beauty and immense love of God not aspire to unite itself to Him? That same divine light which reveals to it the abyss of its own nothingness and that of creatures, enlightens it, by contrast, as to the infinite transcendence of God, so that the soul remains seized and captivated, while God Himself, in the measure that He purifies it, draws it to Himself by infusing new love in it.
Humbled by the knowledge of its own unworthiness, but emboldened by the love which is growing within, and by the invitation which God Himself addresses to it, drawing it secretly to Himself, the soul dares to aspire to this supreme good which is divine union. It is humble in its audacious desire, because it knows that it does not merit such a gift; but it is also daring, because it feels that God Himself wills to give this union, and because its hunger and thirst for God are so great that it cannot live apart from Him.
“Why should not the confiding soul venture toward the One whose noble image and glorious likeness it is conscious of bearing within itself?” exclaims St. Bernard.
God’s love has gone before it, willing to render it like unto Himself by creation and by grace. This divine resemblance, natural and supernatural, best expresses the desire of God to unite the soul to Himself and, at the same time, constitutes the basis of such union. God, who has established this basis, certainly wills to bring His work to completion; and to do it He only waits for the soul to concur with His action, letting itself be purified, despoiled of self, and clothed completely with divine Life.
“O Lord, my life and my strength, one of the greatest of the divine mercies which You have bestowed upon me is that of deigning to invite a creature so sinful and ungrateful as I am to love Your Majesty. In Your presence the heavenly seraphim veil their faces, dazzled by the splendor of the divinity and the fire of Your love. I am honored by such liberality and at the same time impelled to love You in return for Your love and for the desire which You have to unite me to Your heart, that sweet refuge, to which I long to fly that I may find repose therein.
“Let others look after their affairs and worldly pretensions; as for me, I shall occupy myself with You alone and shall importune You to grant me Your love. I know not, nor can I ask anything but You alone: I love You and seek You; I shall love You and always seek Your Face, that I may be drawn and captivated by its divine beauty.
“Cast me not away from You, most amiable Lord! You, who have ever been most liberal and divinely merciful, even toward those who have not asked it of You, be not severe with me, who implore from the bottom of my heart the kindness and sweetness of Your love.
“May it please Your most tender Heart, O Son of the Most High, to accept me for Your service, to number me among the servants of Your house, who suffer, labor, bear the burden of the day, and desire no other recompense than You Yourself.
“But my desire goes further still, for I aspire to unite myself to You by an indissoluble bond. O Beauty full of majesty which ravishes hearts with an infinite power, and makes them like unto Yourself, realize this transformation in me, I implore, so that I may no longer live in myself but in You. May the most sweet law of Your grace and the power of Your love direct all my thoughts, words, and works” (Venerable John of Jesus Mary).
Note from Dan: This post on courageous and impatient love is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.
Art for this post on courageous and impatient love: Mirror of El Venerable Padre Juan de Jesús María (The Venerable Father John of Jesus Mary), artist unknown, date unknown, from non-copyrighted open source material, PD-old. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.