How generous God is! He is TOO generous!
As mentioned in this Sunday's reflection, lately I have been spending a lot of time examining my faults, lamenting at what I am doing wrong. After a time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament this week when I was particularly down about my failures to love Jesus and fulfill the promises I have made Him and myself, He assured me there was something in the book Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales for me that I had brought with me to the chapel and not taken out of my bag yet.
As I flipped through the pages, I knew I was looking for a section on what to do when one is facing scruples such as mine. If you do not own this book, you must get it! The guidance in it is so practical for lay people, since St. Francis de Sales so often spoke of the ways we, too, can be holy outside a convent or monastery. Here is what I found...
from Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales: Part V, Chapter 13
The Love Which Jesus Christ Bears to Us
Consider the Love with which our Dear Lord Jesus Christ bore so much in this world, especially in the Garden of Olives and on Mount Calvary; that Love bore you in mind, and through all those pains and toils He obtained your good resolutions for you, as also all that is needful to maintain, foster, strengthen and consummate those resolutions. How precious must the resolutions be which are the fruits of our Lord's Passion! and how dear to my heart, since they were dear to that of Jesus! Saviour of my soul, Thou didst die to win them for me; grant me grace sooner to die than forget them. Be sure, my child, that the Heart of our most Dear Lord beheld you from the tree of the Cross and loved you, and by that Love He won for you all good things which you were ever to have, and amongst them your good resolutions. Of a truth we have all reason like Jeremiah to confess that the Lord knew us, and called us by our name or ever we were born,the more that His Divine Goodness in its Love and Mercy made ready all things, general and individual, which could promote our salvation, and among them our resolutions. A woman with child makes ready for the babe she expects, prepares its cradle, its swaddling clothes and its nurse; even so our Lord, while hanging on His Cross, prepared all that you could need for your happiness, all the means, the graces, the leadings, by which He leads your soul onwards towards perfection.
Surely we ought ever to remember this, and ask fervently: Is it possible that I was loved, and loved so tenderly by my Saviour, that He should have thought of me individually, and in all these details by which He has drawn me to Himself? With what love and gratitude ought I to use all He has given me? The Loving Heart of my God thought of my soul, loved it, and prepared endless means to promote its salvation, even as though there were no other soul on earth of which He thought; just as the sun shines on each spot of earth as brightly as though it shone nowhere else, but reserved all its brightness for that alone. So Our Dear Lord thought and cared for every one of His children as though none other existed. "Who loved me, and gave Himself for me," Saint Paul says, as though he meant, "for me alone, as if there were none but me He cared for."
Words cannot express the comfort this passage brought to my troubled soul. I hope they bring you some help, as well, however you are suffering today.
Let this be graven in your soul, my child, the better to cherish and foster your good resolutions, which are so precious to the Heart of Jesus.