“God is moved not only by the overall tenor of our lives, but by every single movement of our heart. Our smallest return of His love has more impact and importance with God than we will ever know.” (Fr. Joseph Langford)
Picking up again with selections from Fr. Joseph Langford’s, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire:
“How often, in struggling with our weakness and failures, have we felt alone and ashamed, unworthy of God, tempted to flee from his presence as Adam and Eve after the Fall? After tasting this inner bitterness and pain wrought by our own sin and our own hands, have we not feared being abandoned by Love?”
“[T]he God revealed in Scripture [is] a God whose thirst moves him to reach out to us, to bring us back when we are lost; a God who is always seeking after us, always drawing us to himself.”
“In our darkest moments, in our own dark night of the soul, we all yearn to know that Love has not left us. We long to be assured that God does not flee from our faults, that he does not demand we first scale some moral Olympus before we can win back his favor.”
More from Fr. Langford on the love of God for us:
“The God who delights in us does not do so from a distance. His longing for union with us, draws him to us constantly. God’s thirst draws him closer to us than we can imagine, closer than we are to ourselves.”
“God attends to every breath we take and every movement of our inmost heart with the fullness of his being. His presence to us is never just a portion of himself–as if the billions of people on the planet only had claim to their tiny portion of the Godhead. God is present to each of us with the totality of his being. No part of the Godhead is ever absent, or distracted, from any of us–so much so even ‘the hairs of your head are all numbered’ (Luke 12.7).
“God’s entire being attends to every faintest whisper of our soul–just as a mother who listens in the night for the breathing of her newborn. We each have, as it were, a personal channel connecting us to God, our own individual frequency to which he is tuned day and night. Even when we are not speaking to or thinking of him, God is listening to us.”
Continuing from Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire. In this selection, Fr. Langford comments on how much God delights in each one of us:
“God’s thirst for us is not dependent on who or how we are. His love is not about us, and does not depend on us–it is rather about him, about a God whose nature it is to love. Because God is free in loving us, he is likewise free to delight in us. Since only his freely given love makes us lovable, it is our willing acceptance of that love, our acceptance of his delight [in us], that transforms us and makes us ‘graceful’, and beautiful, and loving in turn.
“Even where there is no beauty in us, God’s love works its divine alchemy, rendering even the least of us beautiful.”
(Now, did you really read that–I mean, in the sense that it is the truth for you? 😉
I spent a good amount of time during my retreat last week at Our Lady of the Mississippi meditating on sections of Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire (Fr. Joseph Langford). I don’t think I have quoted very much from that book, and I don’t know why. It is a veritable treasure mine of truths about the love of God for us. And so I will sharing some of them with you over the course of the next few days. I hope they bless you as much as they do me.
“It is staggering to realize that the Father loves all of mankind with the same love, with the same magnitude and the same intensity, with which he loves his divine Son. . . it is God’s nature to love this way, to love with the entirety of his being, and he cannot love us any less.”
“Because God is infinite, his love is not divided, with each of us receiving but a portion. We each receive the totality, the fullness of divine love, twenty-four hours a day, every day of our lives.”
“. . . the only way to approach God’s thirst for us is to open to it, without insisting on understanding or being worthy. As theologian Karl Rahner observed, ‘Some things are understood not by grasping, but by allowing oneself to be grasped.'”
“St. Catherine of Siena ‘speaks of the crucified Jesus as “slain with such fire of love. . . as seems insatiable. Yet still he thirsts, as if saying: ‘I have greater ardor and desire and thirst for your salvation that I am able to show you, [even] with my Passion.’ ” Catherine could only descrive the God she encountered as ‘crazed with love.'” (from Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire by Fr. Joseph Langford)
It was wonderful to see so many of you last night at the first meeting of Witnesses to Hope. As promised, you can find the recording of the talk under the tab above: “Talks/Witnesses to Hope”. And here are some of the quotes from the talks. Please, if any of you didn’t get to comment last night, feel free to leave one here. We’d all love to hear from you! (Don’t worry if it doesn’t show up immediately–I have to approve any new contributors.)
The yes of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday with the Great Cry and the yielding of the spirit. . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday. The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers. Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just. The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this ‘as yet.’ St. John tells us, ‘they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead’ (Jn 20:9). In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus? On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope? Is there no loyal remnant? There is, and its name is Mary. In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son. That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival. On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant. (Fr. John Saward, The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty, p. 142)
Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things, on the condition that you believer much more in his love for you than in your own weakness. (Fr. Joseph Langford, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, p. 145)
How important can one small, unspectacular life be? Consider this: the good that each of us can accomplish even with limited resources and restricted reach, not even a Mother Teresa could achieve. No one else on the planet, and no one else in history, possesses the same network of acquaintances and the same combination of talents and gifts as each one of us does—as you do. (ibid., p. 72)
Hope does not come from what I do, but from the awareness that there is Someone who loves me with this everlasting love, who calls me into being every instant, having pity on my nothingness. (Fr. Julian Carrón, quoted in Magnificat)
Mary is a shelter for the shelterless.
A quote about Mary, on this Saturday, her day:
“Our Lady’s heart is the most empty of all human hearts, the most empty of self and empty of pride, and therefore the most ready to give a heart’s welcome and shelter to those who are shelterless.” (Fr. Joseph Langford, Mother Teresa in the Shadow of Our Lady, p. 42)
Is my life of any account compared with the likes of Mother Teresa?
Ever have days when you feel that your life is really of no account–I mean, compared with people like Mother Teresa of John Paul II? You’re “just” at home taking care of three little kids OR you’re “just” working as a clerk in a drug store OR you’re “just ________________. . . you fill in the blank. Reading this excerpt from the book, Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire, may encourage you. (The book was written by the co-founder of the Missionaries of Charity priests.) In God’s eyes, there are no “just”s.
How important can one small, unspectacular life be? Consider this: the good that each of us can accomplish, even with resources and restricted reach, not even a Mother Teresa could achieve. . . . No one else on the planet, and no one else in history, possesses the same network of acquaintances and the same combination of talents and gifts as each one of us does–as you do.
So have hope. God has great confidence in you and in loving those in your life through you. (And doing it perfectly isn’t really anywhere on his checklist, I assure you.)