BY Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SS.CC.
”Into Thy Hands.…”
(Luke xxiii, 46.)
FATHER, my spirit, my life, my desires, my hopes, my eternal future, I commend all into Thy hands.
Properly speaking, abandonment is nothing but a logical consequence of the spirit of faith and the summit which is easily reached, through confidence and a love as strong as death. Needless to say, there is nothing common between a “stupid quietism,” an indolent folding of the arms, trusting that God will do everything without any cooperation or sacrifice on my part and this true self-abandonment which is the supreme expression of true love.
In this, as in everything, Jesus can say: “I have given you an example.” (John xiii, 15.) Think of His abandonment in Holy Communion, not to speak of His Incarnation in the Heart of His Immaculate Mother, or of His life in Nazareth when He was subject to Mary and Joseph. I would make special mention of His abandonment in the forgetful, frivolous, often disloyal heart of a communicant. Given that he is at that moment in a state of grace, was he so yesterday? Will he be so tomorrow? How justly Jesus could, at times, interrupt our many protestations of fidelity and say: “Stop, do not keep on affirming that you love Me, nor promise that you will love Me. I have heard the same words so often, and as many times afterwards you have pierced My Heart.” Is that how Jesus speaks? No! When we receive Him, poor frail beings as we are, and assure Him that we are His, He lovingly listens to our words and never says: “I do not believe you.” Still less does He lock the Tabernacle to those who, yesterday, offended Him grievously. Holding out His arms, He comes to us keeping nothing back and giving His soul, His body, His blood, His divinity. Jesus is wholly ours, as if we were saints, as if we had always been such, as if He were sure of our eternal fidelity. He abandons Himself to us through love. What a sublime and entrancing example! Let us do as much. How reasonable it is that the slime of the earth should abandon itself to the Ark of Gold, the Heart of Jesus. But what divine folly that He, the heaven of heavens should commit Himself to the vessel of clay, the stained earthenware chalice of our poor little hearts.
“I give thee an example, copy it, follow Me!” True love consists, for Jesus as for us, in abandonment one to the other, the son to his mother, the wife to her husband. But what mother or spouse can ever be compared to Jesus? If then, I firmly believe in His wisdom and justice, above all in His merciful love, I must, logically, give myself up to His designs, to His Heart. Jesus knows and understands as no one else does both my temporal and eternal interests; guided by His infinite love, and constantly anxious about me, He turns everything to His glory and my good. Is it not, therefore, supreme wisdom to say to Him: “Lord, do whatsoever pleaseth Thee, dispose of me, burn or rend, heal or wound me, as Thou wilt, blessed be Thou in life and in death?”
The most instinctive and at the same time rational gesture of a child is to throw himself into his mother’s arms. There he will play and sleep, be tenderly fed and cared for. Why should we not do the same in the spiritual life, since for us there is not only a question of confiding ourselves to the most loving of mothers, but to Jesus. Can I truly love Him without giving myself up to Him?
Is not self-abandonment through love the most sublime and simple realization of the prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done”? How do I know whether sickness or health, riches or poverty is for my good or ill today? But He knows. Let Him, therefore, proceed with a free hand and a Father’s Heart. Let Him dispose of me, make His decision, without consulting me, wayward, ignorant child as I am. Is not this wisdom and prudence? Is not this loving God above all things?
Thus, in a life of struggle or of ease, my place will be within Thy Arms, on Thy Heart, O Jesus. As for the rest, whether I rise or sink, whether my portion is sweet or bitter, let it be according to Thy Will. I cannot say it is indifferent to my weak nature, which never hesitates in its choice between the aloe and the sweetmeat; but with the help of Thy divine light and grace here I am, Jesus, I come to say that I wish to do Thy Will in everything and to abandon myself entirely to Thee.
The unalterable peace enjoyed by the Saints had no other secret. Like us, they passed through countless vicissitudes and temptations which tried them like a fiery crucible. Nevertheless, their soul experienced perfect tranquility; nay more, a happiness so deep, so enrapturing, that in this exile they had, at times, a foretaste of Paradise. Oh! if we knew how good it is to live in the Heart of Jesus, entirely submissive to His will and desires, wishing for or refusing nothing, but accepting equally and with love the thorns as well as the flowers! Let us during these days resolve to reach that height where perfect calm reigns, where everything but Jesus is indifferent to us. May His Heart find us perfectly docile even in our attempt to accomplish these our resolutions.
Then indeed He will be able to say to us as to St. Margaret Mary: “I am a very wise director and can guide souls without the slightest danger if they will only submit entirely to Me and forget themselves! This director never fails, never leaves you; He is never transferred, nor does He die; you will find Him always within reach, faithful and vigilant. Oh! give to Him the tiller of your little barque! How holy will then be your voyage! How sweet it will be to wake on the other shore, having been borne, piloted, guided thither by Jesus!
Abandon yourselves blindly into His Arms; abandon yourselves upon His Heart.
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