Tuesday, January 03, 2006

January 4th Octave Day of Holy Innocents

The Child Jesus model and cause of our sanctification (from "Word of life, on the margin of the missal" By Dom Columba Marmion, Abbot of Maredsons)
If with faith and love we contemplate the Child Jesus in His Crib, we shall find in Him the Divine Example of many virtues; if we know how to lend the ear of our hearts to what He says to us, we shall learn many things; if we reflect upon the circumstances of His Birth, we shall see how the Humanity serves the Word as the instrument to instruct us, but likewise to raise us, to quicken us, to make us pleasing to His Father, to detach us from passing things, to lift us up even to Himself.
Christ being rich, became poor. He is not born in a palace; His Mother, finding no room in the inn, had to take refuge in a stable cave: the Son of God, Eternal Wisdom, willed to be born in destitution and laid upon straw.
"Divinity is clad in our mortal flesh... and because God humbles Himself to live a human life, man is raised towards divine things": Dum divinitas defectum nostrae carnes suscepit, humanum genus lumen, quod amiserati, recepit. Unde enim Deus humana patitur, inde homo ad divina sublevatus (St Gregory).

The second conversation, September 1666 continued

That perseverance is required at first in making a habit of converse with God and of referring all we do to Him, but after a little His love moves us to it without any difficulty. That he expected a meed of grief and suffering after the consolations which God had given him, but he had not worried about it, knowing that, since he could do nothing for himself, God would not fail to give him strength to bear whatever should come. That when there was a chance of exercising some virtue he always said to God: "Lord, I cannot do that unless you enable me," and that then he was given the strength required, and more.
That when he was at fault he simply admitted it and said to God: "I shall never do otherwise if you leave me to myself; it is for you to prevent my failing and to correct what is wrong." He then felt assured of God's forgiveness, and did not let the failing prey on his mind. That we ought to act very simply towards God, speaking frankly to Him; and asking His help in things as they occurred, in his experience, God never failed to give it. That he had been sent lately into Burgundy to buy wine. This was a very hard job for him, as he was not good at business, and, furthermore, was lame in one leg, so that he could only get about the boat by sliding from cask to cask. However, he worried neither about this nor about his purchase; he told God that it was His business he was on: and he found that everything went well. He had been sent into Auvergne the previous year on a like errand; he did not know how the business had been done: but done it was, and very well done. It was the same in the kitchen, from which he had by nature a very strong aversion: having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of God, always praying for the grace to get through his work, he had found it quite easy all the fifteen years he had been engaged there. That he was then in cobbler's workshop and enjoyed it, but that he was ready to leave that job too, since he was glad to do any sort of work for the love of God. That with him the time of prayer was not different from any other; he had set times for it, which the Father Prior had appointed; but he neither wanted, nor asked for them, for the most absorbing work did not divert him from God. That, since he knew he must love God in all things and endeavoured to do so, he had no need of a director, but a great need of his confessor to absolve him. He was very much aware of his sins, but was not discouraged by them. He confessed them to God and did not ask Him to excuse them, and when he had done so he returned in peace to his ordinary business of love and worship. That he had not consulted anybody about his difficulties; but knowing by the light of faith that God only was present he directed all his actions towards Him, come what would, and that he was willing gladly to lose all for the love of God for the love is all-sufficing. (From "Practice of the presence of God" by Br Lawrence of the resurrection).
We read in the Editor's introduction that Br Lawrence was born at Herimesnil, in Lorraine, about the year 1611. His family name was Herman, he was christened Nicolas, and he was brought up by his parents, who were religious folks. At the age of eighteen he became a soldier, but was wounded in a raid by the Swedes on the village of Rambervilliers, and he had to give up that profession. For some time he was a footman, but his naturally religious tendency, encouraged by the example of an uncle who was a Carmelite friar, impelled him towards the religious state. Several times he attempted the life of a hermit, but was soon reduced to such a state of spiritual instability and uncertainty that he realized that he must submit himself to a rule. At last, after a further period of irresolution, he offered himself as a lay brother to the Discalced Carmelites of Paris; he was accepted, received the name of Lawrence-of-the-Resurrection and was set to work in the kitchen. The rest of his life may be found in his works. Abbot de Beauford, vicar General of Cardinal de Noailles and chronicler of the Conversations, has written of Him: "Nobody can paint the saints so well as they themselves...so nothing can bring this servant of God more clearly before you than his own words spoken in the simplicity of his heart". Br Lawrence exemplified to a remarkable degree 'the simplicity that is in Christ'......He died as he had lived, finding in his last and painful illness the long-desired opportunity to suffer for God. He received the last sacraments, surrounded by his Carmelite brethren and in his own words, "blessing God, praising God, worshipping God and loving Him with all my heart: that is our one business, brethren, to worship Him and love Him, without thought of anything else". He died at nine o'clock in the morning of Monday, February 12, 1691, being about eight years of age.