Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 230.

SIX VOLUMES IN ONE BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM

REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D. REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada REV. STEPHEN KEENAN REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J. REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P. 


When the soul has once tasted these spiritual pleasures, none carnal will please her. Company is then a restraint on her, whilst she looks on solitude as a paradise; for all her desire and comfort is, to be alone with her God whom she loves. Honors and preferments are but a burden to her, and an estate and family a torment. She would not for all the world, no not for heaven itself, be deprived . of her comforts ; and, for this reason, all her endeavors are to disengage herself from the world. She has but one love, and one desire ; so that, whatsoever she loves, it is for the sake of one alone, and this one she loves of all things ; she knows how to cry out, with the royal prophet, " What have I, O Lord, in heaven, or what is there upon the earth that I desire besides thee ? My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, God is my portion forever;" Ps. xxii. 25, 26.

The knowledge of holy things seems no longer obscure to a soul in this state; she sees them now with other eyes, and feels such motions and changes within, as are strong proofs of every article of faith. She thinks the day long and tedious, and the management of her temporal concerns is troublesome to her, longing till the night comes, that she may spend it in the company of her God. She never looks on the night as too long; the longest, on the contrary, are those she desires most. If they happen to be clear, with their eyes cast up to heaven, she admires its beauty and the brightness of the moon and stars, considering them quite differently from what she used to do, and much more cheerfully ; she looks on them as so many marks of her Creator's beauty, and so many mirrors of his glory, as so many messengers that come to bring her news of him, as so many lively drafts of his grace and perfections, and as so many presents which the bridegroom sends his bride, to endear and make her constant to him, till he himself shall come and lead her by the hand to this happy marriage, for an eternity in heaven; she looks on the whole world as a book that treats of nothing else but of God; she regards it as a letter from her beloved, and a token of his love. These are the pleasures and delights they who love God pass the nights in ; these the quiet sleeps they enjoy. For the regular motions all creatures observe, are like a harmonious concert to the soul, that makes her slumber a little, and lulls her into the gentle and soft sleep, of which it is said, "I sleep, and my heart watcheth;" Cant. v. 2. And when her dearest spouse perceives her thus at rest within his arms, he takes care not to disturb her, and gives orders that no one presumes to wake her, saying, "I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,by the roes and harts of the field, that you stir not up, nor make the beloved awake, till she please;" Cant. ii. 7.

What do you think now of such nights as these ? which do you imagine to be the pleasanter, these, or those of worldlings, who spend their time, lying in wait to defile innocent virgins, to rob them of their chastity, and make them lose their honor and their souls ? Thus they miserably expose themselves to the hazard of their own lives, heaping up for themselves a treasure of vengeance against that day, wherein God will punish them according to the heinousness of their crimes ; Rom. ii. 5.