Invitation to Sanctity
Presence of God – I place myself in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, contemplating Him as the Redeemer and Sanctifier of my soul.
“Where sin abounded, grace did more abound” (Romans 5:20). Adam’s fall brought about the destruction of God’s plan for man’s sanctification. Our first parents, created to the image and likeness of God, in a state of grace and justice, and raised to the dignity of children of God, were hurled into an abyss of misery, drawing with them the whole human race. For centuries man groaned in his sin, he could no longer call God by the sweet name of Father, he did not even dare to pronounce His name, regarding the Most High with a sense of terror: “He is a powerful and terrible God, the God of justice and vengeance.” Sin made an insurmountable abyss between man and God, and man groaned in the depths of the abyss, utterly incapable of rising from it.
To do what man could not do, to destroy sin and restore divine sonship to the human race, a Savior was promised. The most merciful God, “so loved the world, as to give His only-begotten Son” (John 3:16) for its salvation. The Word, the splendor of the Father, and the figure of His substance became flesh in order to destroy sin and restore grace to us, that “we might once again be called, and really be the children of God” (cf. 1 John 3:1).
God wants us “all to be saved”; for this reason He gave us His Son, and with Him and through Him, all the means necessary for our salvation. Therefore, if a soul is not saved, it alone will be responsible.
“It grieves me, my God, that I should be so wicked and that I am able to do so little in Your service. I well know that it is my own fault that You have not granted me the favors which You gave to those who went before me…. I grieve over my life, Lord, when I compare it with theirs; and I cannot say this without weeping. When I meditate, my God, upon the glory which You have prepared for those who persevere in doing Your will, and when I think how many trials and pains it cost Your Son to gain it for us, and how little we have deserved it, and how bound we are not to be ungrateful for this wondrous love which has taught us love at such a cost to itself, my soul becomes greatly afflicted. How is it possible, Lord, that all this should be forgotten, and that, when they offend You, mortal men should be so forgetful of You? O my Redeemer, how forgetful are men! They are forgetful even of themselves. And how great is Your goodness that You should remember us when we have fallen and have tried to strike You a mortal blow, and that You forget what we have done and give us Your hand again and awaken us from our incurable madness so that we seek and beg You for salvation. Blessed be such a Lord, blessed be such great mercy and praised be He forever for His merciful pity! O my soul, bless forever so great a God! How can a soul turn against Him?” (Teresa of Jesus Foundations 4 – Exclamations of the Soul to God 3).
O Lord, although I know how much this poor soul of mine has cost You, yet how often have I offended You, resisted Your grace, been unfaithful to Your love, and deaf to Your invitation to a more perfect life, to sanctity.
You, my God, have given everything, You have given Yourself entirely for me; therefore, it is not seeking too much in return to ask me to give myself entirely to You, to give You everything in order to match Your love for me. Yes, I know that You are not satisfied with my thinking only of saving my soul, just as You were not satisfied to acquire for me only the means necessary for my salvation, but willed also to acquire the means necessary for my sanctification. You have already purchased and paid for all of them; therefore, if I do not become a saint, it is entirely my own fault.
But, O Lord, how can a soul as weak and miserable as mine, one so full of faults, selfishness and meanness aspire to an ideal as high as that of sanctity? Oh yes, my pretensions would certainly be the greatest temerity if You Yourself had not shown me that this is exactly what You will. You have even given me a precious commandment concerning it, “Be you therefore perfect as also Your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
I beseech You, O Lord, repeat this sublime invitation to my poor soul, pressingly, compellingly, so that held by this ideal, it may be urged to greater generosity, stronger resolutions, and more complete confidence in Your merciful work of redemption and sanctification.
Note from Dan: This post on the invitation to sanctity 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 the invitation to sanctity: Mirror of Teresa of Avila, Peter Paul Rubens, 1615, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.