Friday, October 15, 2010

St. Alphonsus de Liguori (Doctor of the Church, 17th Century). The Way of Salvation and Perfection.

Part 2, Meditation #5 -- The Two Great Means for Becoming Holy: Desire and Resolution.

(emphasis added)

All holiness consists in loving God, The love of God is that infinite treasure in which we gain the friendship of God. God is ready to give this treasure of his holy love, but he wills that we earnestly desire it. He that faintly desires any good thing takes little trouble to gain it. On the other hand, St. Laurence Justinian said that an earnest desire lightens all toil, and gives us strength. And thus, he who little desires to advance in divine love, instead of becoming more ardent in the way of perfection, ever becomes more and more lukewarm; and thus is ever in imminent peril of falling headlong down some precipice.

And, on the other hand, whoever aspires with fervent desire after perfection, and strengthens himself daily to advance in its path, little by little, with time will attain it. St. Teresa said, " God never gives many favours, except to those who earnestly desire his love." And again, "God leaves no good desire with out its reward." And therefore the saint advises everyone not to suffer his desires to slacken, because, trusting in God, and strengthening ourselves little by little, we shall reach that point which all the saints have reached.

It is a deceit of the devil, according to the opinion of the same saint, which makes us think that it is a mark of pride to desire to become saints. It would be pride and presumption, if we trusted in our own works or intentions; but if we hope for all from God, he will give us that strength which we have not.

Let us, then, desire, with a very great desire, to attain to a lofty height of divine love; and let us say, with courage, I can do all things through Him that strengtheneth me. And if we do not find that we possess this great desire, at least let us ask it urgently of Jesus Christ, that hemay give it to us.