We will start a short series on the need placed within us by God to draw much closer to Him as we slowly progress from mortal sins, to serious venial sins, to smaller but many venial sins, to the road of complete self giving. Father Thomas Dubay, one of the true masters of the spiritual life, makes a very startling point: the vast majority of “good” Catholics never cross over into the last two stages, and only a tiny fraction ever commit to love with complete self giving in this life as our Lord and our Mother did. Why is that? Does that not seem to be a great failure on our part?
There are two key reasons why we fail to cross into the last two states here on earth. First, we do not know or accept that it is a Gift from God, which must be desired and asked for sincerely. The second is that we must commit our free wills to this Gift, and correspond to it with greater commitment of our will, and especially of our time to learn the spiritual journey so we can know and experience that the radical self giving will be turned into utter joy! Most people who do not want to offend God are held back by their selfishness and fear (further influenced by satan) of losing their comforts, time spent on entertainment and their previous lifestyle with friends and family. The effort needed just seems too difficult…too harsh. Yet, it is here… in this falsehood…that satan wins. For God has promised in His Words….”My burden is easy and My yoke is light!”
God can not lie, so we must admit that it simply due to our selfishness. Now, God being all wise knows this, so in His infinite Wisdom, He knows He must provide infallible means to his weak and selfish children. And so He does: and these two gifts are trust (based in true repentance) and persistence. The key: pray each day and beg for these two gifts, which spring from the Grace of our Baptism: the three Theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. And to make it infallible, He gives us life long Divine help by nature…the Holy Spirit, THEE GIFT of the Father and Son, always in our souls when we are in a state of Grace, and Divine help by Grace… through Mary His Mother and our Mother and the spouse of the Holy Spirit! We must know and have deep, personal relationships with both the Holy Spirit and the Mother of God in order to advance!
St. John of the Cross, the great Doctor of the Church on the spiritual journey, states this truth:
“If a man remains faithful…the Lord will not cease raising him degree by degree until he reaches the Divine union and transformation…If the individual is victorious over the devil in the first degree, he will pass on to the second; and if so in the second, he will go to the third; and likewise through all seven mansions.”
Now, trust with sincere repentance means we first must truly and radically repent… and this is a life long process starting with the first movement of conversion within our minds and souls. We can’t possibly reach the levels of union God desires for us if we DON’T use the Gift of the Sacrament of Penance often, every week or every other week!! No excuses…ever. We are radically addicted to sin, to rebellion from God’s Will and preference for our will (pride!). This is why we Must accept the Gift of Grace offered in the Sacrament of Penance and use it very frequently. The thought that I do not need to go frequently is from satan!
We must be completely convicted of how even the tiniest venial sin is a horrendous offense against the love and majesty of God. St. Faustina experienced this reality so she could confirm this Truth. She was shocked to learn that we must account for even the tiniest venial sin. Here is what our Lord told her about this Sacrament of His Mercy: “When you approach the confessional, know this, I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Tell souls that from this fount of Mercy souls draw Graces solely with trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of Grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My Grace turns away from them to humble souls.”
So, as part of our new mission each day we should continue to beg for the Grace of true repentance, which comes from humility. So, the prayer all of us have learned should be on our lips constantly throughout the day, “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Yours.” And as a family seeking to be the intimate friends of God, let us add this one: “Lord, I am a miserable sinner, have mercy on me, give me the Grace to go to Confession every two weeks.”
Finally, we now have an extraordinary Grace to assist us in this repentance and transformation, the Grace of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Once you take and know you have this Grace operating within your soul, the transformation does happen much faster and more securely! This is the sole purpose of this “Greatest Grace”. When you read the Spiritual Diary of Elizabeth Kindelmann, you will note how often she repents of her sin and that of all other souls. She never stops repenting! Let us never stop repenting!