Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fragments from the book "In the silence of Mary" - presenting life of Mother Mary of Jesus, Carmelite Prioress and Foundress (1851-1942). In Chapter 4 of this book, we continue to follow young Sister Mary of Jesus spiritual development and growing intimacy with God - described mostly in her own words. "In the Hands of the Living God" - last fragments of chapter 4.

The secret of her triumph over nature lay in the joy and love that filled her soul. Of both more will be said later, for each grew daily deeper; yet even in this period, when suffering might well have predominated, joy is everywhere uppermost. 'We ought to enter into an endless spiritual joy', she says, 'grief, cross, everything is in this joy, for all is of God, in God, with God'. A note written towards the end of 1875 reveals the same spirit: 'Night passed in strong joy in the accomplishment of the divine will - joy in everything - joy during and with suffering, and joy of suffering. I think He has given me the spiritual joy that you foretold would one day be mine.'
Love was well the well-spring of her joy as of everything else; the whole of this fragmentary record is lit and coloured by its flame. It is the love of which the author of the Jesu dulcis memoria sings - that 'seeking God itself inflames to seek Him more and more.' It grows steadily through these years, consuming, absorbing, approaching ever nearer to that divine Flame with which it would one day be merged in union. There are innumerable sighings after Him. 'I thirst for Him, I long for Him always, I want to belong utterly to God'. When the thought of her frailty presses upon her, she experienced 'a tremendous grief that each moment of my life has so little corresponded to what God wanted and asked', but 'I have asked Him to give me a love greater than that of souls who have never offended Him.' When the pain of love unsatisfied grows almost beyond bearing, 'He wants to break the limits of my heart' is her cry, and she yearns all the more 'to love Him with a love that He makes me understand, but that only He can give me'. Yet even as she burns with these desires, there is 'a fear that I may get used to living without God, of not desiring Him sufficiently.' Love engenders love. Acknowledging its own powerlessness, it abandons all into the strength and power of God, the infinite Lover. 'His love is so incomprehensible. He seems to have resolved so determinedly, so lovingly to give Himself even to my poor soul, that sometimes it happens that He acts, comes to me more than ever after my frailties, as though to tell me that my misery can no more stop Him than my fidelity of itself is capable of drawing Him; that it is solely through love and absolutely gratuitously that He gives Himself....I yield myself up with trembling desire. I confide myself to Him Who trusts, awaits and loves me'.