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upon him the Holy Ghost, who will make him blessed, both in this life and in the next. He then that believes in Jesus Christ, and loves him, shall be enriched with so many graces, that from his heart shall spring up fountains of holy virtues, which shall not only preserve his life, but also give life to others. And indeed this water is the Holy Ghost, the sustaining love which Jesus Christ promised to send us from heaven, after his ascension: Now this he said of the spirit which they should receive who believed in him: for as yet the spirit was not given, because Jesus was not glorified. St. John, vii. 39.
The key which opens the channels of this blessed water, is holy prayer, which obtains all good things in virtue of the promise: "Ask and you shall receive." We are weak and blind and poor and miserable, but prayer will obtain for us strength, and light, and wealth, and happiness. Theodoret says: Prayer, though but one, can effect all things." He who prays, receives all he asks for. God desires to give us his graces, but he desires that we should pray for them.
Affections and Prayers.
LORD, give me of this water. O Jesus, with the Samaritan woman, I beseech thee, give me of this water of thy love, which may make me forget the earth, and live only for thee who art infinitely lovely. "Water our barren clay." My soul is a barren soil which produces nothing but the weeds and the thorns of sin: Oh water it with thy holy grace, that it may yield some fruit to thy glory, before it leaves this world by death! O fountain of living water, O sovereign good, how often have I deserted thee for the defiled waters of the earth, which have deprived me of thy love! O that I had
rather died than offended thee! But for the future I will seek after nothing but thee my God. Succour me, and make me always faithful to thee. Mary, my hope, keep me always under your holy protection.
On divine Love, as the dew which fertilizes our souls.
THUS does the Holy Church teach us to pray : May the infusion of the Holy Ghost cleanse our hearts, and the inward aspersion of his dew fer"tilize them." Love fertilizes our good desires, our holy purposes, and the good works of our souls: these are the flowers and the fruits which the grace of the Holy Ghost produces. Love is also called dew, because it cools the heat of bad desires and temptations. Hence the Holy Ghost is also called:
Refreshment in the excess of heat, and solace in our grief." This dew descends into our hearts in the time of prayer. A quarter of an hour's prayer is sufficient to appease any passion of hatred or of inordinate love, however ardent it may be: He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me. Cant. ii. 4. Holy meditation is this cellar of wine, where love is set in order, to love God above all things and our neighbours as ourselves. He who loves God, loves prayer; and he who loves not prayer will find it morally impossible to overcome his passions.
Affections and Prayers.
O HOLY and Divine Spirit, I desire to live no longer for myself; the days which may remain to me of life, I desire to spend entirely in loving and
pleasing thee. On this account I beseech thee to grant me the gift of prayer. Come thou into my heart, and teach me to pray as I ought. Give me strength not to neglect prayer in the time of dryness and weariness; and give me the spirit of prayer, that is, the grace of praying to thee in such manner, and of offering thee such prayers, as may be most acceptable to thee. I have been lost by my sins; but I am sensible, from the favour which thou hast shown me, that thou desirest my sanctification and salvation; and I earnestly desire to become holy, that I may please thee, and to love more ardently thy infinite goodness. I love thee, my sovereign good, my love and my all; and because I love thee, I give my whole self to thee. O Blessed Virgin Mary, protect me.
On divine love as repose which refreshes us.
AGAIN, love is called true rest in toil and sweat, refreshment in the excess of heat. The principal effect of love is to unite the will of the lover with that of the beloved. For a soul that loves God, in every affront which it receives, in every grief which it endures, in every loss which it suffers, it is sufficient to make it resigned to know that such things are permitted to befal it by the will of its beloved. It finds peace and contentment in all tribulations and adversities, saying: Such is the will of God. This is that peace which surpasseth all the pleasures of sense: "The peace of God which surpasseth all "understanding." St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, by only repeating, "It is the will of God," was always immediately filled with joy.
Every one in this world must carry his cross; but St. Teresa says that the cross is hard to those who drag it after them, but not to those who embrace it. Thus while the Lord strikes, he heals: He woundeth, saith holy Job, and cureth; he striketh and his hands shall heal. v. 18. The Holy Ghost, by his sweet unctions, renders even ignominies and torments sweet and amiable. Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. St. Matt. xi. 26. Thus ought we to say in all adversities which befal us: So be it done, O Lord, for so hath it pleased thee. And when any fear of temporal calamity alarms us, let us always say: "Do "with me, O Lord, whatever thou pleasest, I will accept all as coming from thee." It is good, as St. Teresa advises, frequently in the course of the day to offer ourselves in this manner to God.
Affections and Prayers.
O MY God, how often, for the sake of following my own will, have I opposed thy holy will and despised it! I grieve for this evil above every other evil. O Lord, I desire from this day forward to love thee with my whole heart. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." What wouldst thou have me to do? I will do all that thou requirest of me. Thy will shall be my only desire, my only love. Holy Spirit, strengthen my weakness. Thou art goodness itself: how can I love any other but thee? O do thou draw all the affections of my heart to thyself by the sweet attractions of thy holy love. I renounce all, to give myself entirely to thee. Accept of me, and succour me. O Mary, my Mother, pray for me.
On divine Love as the virtue which strengthens us.
LOVE is strong as death. Cant. viii. 6. As there is no created strength which can resist death; so to the soul that loves God, there is no difficulty which yields not to love. When the soul that loves would please its beloved, love overcomes all losses, contempt, and sorrows: "Nothing is so hard but that it may be conquered by the fire of love." This is the most certain mark by which to know whether a soul really loves God, its being as faithful to him when things are adverse as when they are prosperSt. Francis of Sales says: "that God is as
"amiable when he chastises us as when he consoles us, because he does both from love." Hence when he afflicts us the most in this life, he loves us the most. St. John Chrysostom considered St. Paul bound in chains more happy than St. Paul wrapt to the third heavens. Hence the holy martyrs, in the midst of their torments, rejoiced and gave thanks to God for the great favour which he conferred upon them in allowing them to suffer for his love. And the other saints, where tyrants were wanting to afflict them, became their own tormentors by the penances which they imposed upon themselves, in order to please God. St. Augustin says: "He who loves, either does not feel labour, or loves it."
Affections and Prayers.
O GOD of my soul, I say that I love thee, and yet what do I do for thy love? Nothing. It is a sign therefore that I either do not love thee, or love thee not enough. Send therefore, O Jesus, the