Our Lord hides the holiness of His works.
Sanctity possesses two properties: one, the interior life of the soul with God, and that is the principal one, in which consists perfection and life. Generally, that is sufficient in everything. It consists in the interior contemplation and immolation of the soul. The other is the exterior life. Contemplation consists in the soul’s relations with God, the angels, and the spiritual world. It is the life of prayer, which gives sanctity its value, and which is the root of charity and love. Now, this life must be hidden. God alone should have the secret of it! Man only insinuates pride into it. God reserves it for Himself, and He desires to retain the direction of it. A saint even cannot direct it, it is the nuptial relation of the soul with God, and it is formed in the secret of the oratory with closed doors: "Enter into thy chamber and, having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret." God listens to Him that makes his prayer in secret. Men wish always to be acting or thinking on what they shall do, on what they shall say in such or such circumstances. They do not possess the key to prayer, they do not know how to be silent! Behold Our Lord! He prays. He is the grand Suppliant of the Church! He obtains more by His prayer than all creatures put together, but He prays in His annihilation. Who sees, who hears His supplications? The Apostles saw Him praying when on earth, and they could hear His groanings in the Garden of Olives. But here in the tabernacle — no sound! His prayer is here deeply annihilated, but it is so much the more powerful as it is immolated. Squeeze a sponge, and it gives out the fluid that it holds. Compression is necessary for a great force of expansion. Ah, well! Our Lord annihilates Himself, reduces Himself to nothing, compresses Himself that His love may rise to His Father with infinite force. The contemplative soul finds its Model in the tabernacle. It wishes to be alone and unknown. It shrinks, concentres itself. How many souls, despised by the world, are all-powerful with God because their prayer partakes of the quality of the humble and annihilated prayer of Jesus Eucharistic! To nourish and sustain this hidden and concentrated prayer, they have need of the Eucharist. Should they shut themselves up in self, they would lose their mind. Jesus alone by His sweetness can temper the force of such prayer. The interior life consists, besides, in immolation. The soul in prayer must be free and tranquil; the senses, the body, the faculties, must maintain silence. Thus, every soul that desires to labor interiorly, has to sustain in itself in combat to which none other can be compared. Our Lord’s annihilated life is again our model. Who immolates self more than He? We say He no longer suffers. It is not necessary to suffer actually. To immolate one’s self it suffices to enter into the state and the will of sacrifice. It is a mistake to think that pain felt external and actually makes all the merit of sacrifice. Many persons say: "I have no merit because nothing costs me anything. All comes easy to me, therefore I am doing nothing for God." Such thoughts lead one to abandon the way of sanctity. They spring from the fact, that piety loves so much to see what it is doing, to feel that it is acting and offering! But, tell me, the first sacrifice that you had to make for the practice of such or such a virtue, did that cost you nothing? Did the repetition of the act cost nothing? Does not that prove the perseverance of your will? Know that sacrifice consists in the will. Now, although by habit the pain of sacrifice becomes less lively, the will remains constant and is even strengthened by habit. The agony, the death to self, belongs to the beginning, the first offering. After that, peace returns; but the merit lasts and is increased by the repetition and continuance of the sacrifice.
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