From evensong with love, 2023

an earlier version of this post appeared in December, 2016 and in subsequent years in various versions.

In this twilight of our Christian era, the darkness gathers. Eventually it will bring a purifying chastisement and a rebirth of the Faith.

“Time ill spent is lost forever and what degree of love we have achieved at the time of our death is what we shall have throughout eternity.”
(Sister Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.S.)

My daily readings are from  Divine Intimacy,  by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. In his reading titled, Let Us Make Good Use of Time. Father Gabriel reminds us that time ill spent is lost forever and that what degree of love we have achieved at the time of our death is what we shall have throughout eternity.

He then quotes Sister Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D. , who was under his spiritual direction,  “We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.”  We do that by love, by doing every smallest task entrusted to us, with all the love of which we are capable. Friends, this is the way of spiritual childhood, the way forward for us in this challenging new year, 2017 that awaits us. Let us read Father Gabriel’s writing now through the eyes of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

From Father Gabriel:

“The growth of charity depends upon meritorious acts, that is good works done under the influence of charity. Every good act merits an increase in charity…it is necessary that these works be done with all the love possible, that is, with all the good will and generosity of which the soul is capable. We have only the short day of this earthly life in which to grow in love, and if we wish to derive from it the greatest possible profit, we must overcome our natural inertia and carry out our good works, ‘with our whole heart’. Then our love will grow immeasurably and we shall be able to say to Our Lord like St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus; ‘Your love has grown with me and now it is an abyss..’ We must then, make haste while we still have time, for ‘the night cometh when no man can work’. ” (John 9,4)

Father Gabriel then quotes St. Teresa of Avila,

“How little I have loved You, my God! How badly I have spent my time! How late have my desires become enkindled…Now it will become clear, Lord, if my soul, looking upon the time it has lost, is right in its belief that You, in a moment, can turn its loss to gain. … Restore the time I have lost, my God, by granting me Your grace both in the present and in the future, that I may appear before You wearing the wedding garment, for You can do this, if You will.”

Father Gabriel then ends the meditation,

“I am so weak, so careless, so indolent! I am inclined to flee from exerting myself; I try to avoid making sacrifices. My nature always seeks what is easiest, what is least tiring, and soon falls into negligence and laziness. Help me, O Lord, and strengthen my love by Your almighty power. What I do for You is so little; grant, O my God, that I may at least do it with all the love possible.”

It is immensely encouraging that St. Teresa, who is one of our greatest Saints, struggled with the very same problems we ourselves deal with daily. I guess the main point is, she never gave up.

If Our Lord was pleased to bless St. Teresa so generously with His love and grace, surely He will spare a bit for us as we stumble along. Let us make haste then, to love and serve the Lord and those He has entrusted to us, for truly, “the night comes when no man can work.”

“O Mother who came to smile on me in the morn of my life,
come once again and smile, dear Mother, for now it is eventide!”
(Prayer of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower)

Advent was a time of retreat and prayerful introspection and I took as my guide, St. Thérèse, the Little Flower. Her little way of spiritual childhood offers so much to us in the upheaval and uncertainty caused by this poor benighted pope. Today’s post is an old one, which I’ve updated – I hope you find it useful.

†  †  †

“We must give every moment its full amount of love, and make each passing moment eternal, by giving it value for eternity.””

“Evensong” is a hymn/prayer that accompanies me in this, the eventide of my life.

Sweet Savior, bless us ‘ere we go
Thy word into our hearts instill.
And make our lukewarm hearts to glow
With lowly love and fervent will.
Through life’s long day
And death’s dark night
O gentle Jesus, be our light.

As a postscript, this act of oblation from St. Thérèse, the Little Flower of Carmel:

St. Thérèse’s  Act of Oblation as Victim of Divine Love

(This Prayer was found after the death of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face in the copy of the Gospels which she carried night and day close to her heart.)

O my God, O Most Blessed Trinity, I desire to love Thee and to make Thee loved – to labour for the glory of Holy Church by saving souls here upon earth and by delivering those suffering in Purgatory. I desire to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, and to reach the degree of glory Thou hast prepared for me in Thy Kingdom. In a word, I wish to be holy, but, knowing how helpless I am, I beseech Thee, my God, to be Thyself my holiness.

Since Thou hast loved me so much as to give me Thine Only-Begotten Son to be my Saviour and my Spouse, the infinite treasures of His merits are mine. Gladly do I offer them to Thee, and I beg of Thee to behold me only through the eyes of Jesus, and in His Heart aflame with love. Moreover, I offer Thee all the merits of the Saints both of Heaven and of earth, together with their acts of love, and those of the holy Angels. Lastly, I offer Thee, O Blessed Trinity, the love and the merits of the Blessed Virgin, my dearest Mother – to her I commit this Oblation, praying her to present it to Thee.

Her Divine Son, my sweet Spouse, spoke these words: “If you ask the Father anything in My Name, He will give it you.” Therefore I am certain Thou wilt fulfill my longing. O my God, I know that the more Thou wishes to bestow, the more Thou dost make us desire. In my heart I feel boundless desires, and I confidently beseech Thee to take possession of my soul. I cannot receive Thee in Holy Communion as often as I should wish; but, O Lord, art Thou not all-powerful? Abide in me as Thou dost in the Tabernacle – never abandon Thy little victim. I long to console Thee for ungrateful sinners, and I implore Thee to take from me all liberty to sin. If through weakness I should chance to fall, may a glance from Thine eyes straightway cleanse my soul, and consume all my imperfections – as fire transforms all things into itself.

I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast granted me: especially for having purified me in the crucible of suffering. At the Day of Judgment I shall gaze on Thee with joy, as Thou bearest Thy sceptre of the Cross. And since Thou hast deigned to give me this precious Cross as my portion, I hope to be like unto Thee in Paradise and to behold the Sacred Wounds of Thy Passion shine on my glorified body. After earth’s exile I trust to possess Thee in the Home of our Father; but I do not seek to lay up treasures in Heaven. I wish to labour for Thy Love alone – with the sole aim of pleasing Thee, of consoling Thy Sacred Heart, and of saving souls who will love Thee through eternity.

When comes the evening of life, I shall stand before Thee with empty hands, because I do not ask Thee, my God, to take account of my works. All our works of justice are blemished in Thine eyes. I wish therefore to be robed with Thine own Justice, and to receive from Thy Love the everlasting gift of Thyself. I desire no other throne, no other crown but Thee, O my Beloved! In Thy sight time is naught – “one day is as a thousand years.” Thou canst in a single instant prepare me to appear before Thee.

In order that my life may be one Act of perfect Love, I offer myself as a victim of holocaust to Thy merciful Love, imploring Thee to consume me unceasingly, and to allow the floods of infinite tenderness gathered up in Thee to overflow into my soul, that so I may become a very martyr of Thy Love, O my God! May this martyrdom, after having prepared me to appear in Thy presence, free me from this life at the last, and may my soul take its flight – without delay – into the eternal embrace of Thy Merciful Love!

O my Beloved, I desire at every beat of my heart to renew this oblation an infinite number of times, “till the shadows retire,” and everlastingly I can tell Thee my love face to face. (Marie Francoise Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, 9 June, 1895)

Sweet Heart of Mary, be our salvation, bring us to Jesus, thy Son!

~ posted by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!