Sunday, April 24, 2011

God Whispers

Coming into Holy Week and the Triduum I was struck with a sense of God pressing in close to me. It was like when someone leans over to you and you realize they are doing so to say something to you. There is something both awesome and dreadful in a moment like this. It denotes something new, something that I need that I probably don't realize yet that I need; something I lack. And yet, anything He might share is a gift beyond price; that much I know. But what will it mean, I wondered.

Holy Thursday I recognized a tendency, and old tendency, kicking in to life. Rather than leaning over and waiting to hear, I began to try to find my lack myself, to dig around in my heart until I could find the problem and come up with the solution as well. As if I could keep God from putting Himself out on my behalf. How ridiculously silly.

On Good Friday the message came through to me clear enough: following Jesus is about giving a gift of self. Jesus didn't try to be neat about His gift of self. He was not and is not discriminating. His blood fell where it fell, and He didn't even really control that. In His humanity, He was far too consumed with His offering to be orchestrating. His life is for "whosoever."

And then, between Good Friday and Holy Saturday, God gave me the most amazing gift. Some weeks ago I felt moved to seek out an intercessor, a patron saint, for the CD recording project I have underway, and I was led to St. Claude de la Columbiere. I had read a bit of his life at the time, and saw how there were some striking ways he was very fitting. (He was the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Jesus revealed the devotion of the Sacred Heart.) But on these days, I was again inspired to seek out some quotations from him. I found that he wrote a book, which fortunately has been edited and translated into English, which is basically a collection of gems of spiritual direction. You can read excerpts here.

As I read, I found wisdom that spoke into secret places in my heart, answering questions I had not even been able to formulate into words. And in some mysterious way, God used those words to speak to me those words I knew He had leaned over to whisper to me. It was dreadful. And awesome. And once again, life-changing.

Every day with the Lord is an adventure. As long as I cling to Him, my hope is sure.

An Act of Hope and Confidence in God

by St. Claude de la Columbiere

My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. "For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope." This confidence can never be in vain. "No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded."

I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. "In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded."

I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changeable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assaults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. "In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded."

 St. Claude (1641-1682)

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