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I Am the Life

January 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Carmelite Spirituality, Dan Burke, Divine Intimacy, Meditations

I Am the Life

 

Presence of God – O Jesus, Fount of life, may Your life ever increase in my soul.

MEDITATION

Jesus explained His mission in these words: “I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). What is this life which He gives us? It is the life of grace, which is a participation in His divine life.

Jesus is the Incarnate Word; in His divine nature as the Word, He possesses divine life in the same way and to the same degree that His Father possesses it. “As the Father hath life in Himself, so He hath given to the Son also to have life in Himself” (John 5:26).

HendrickTerBrugghenTheCrucifixionWithTheVirginAndSaintJohn2 for post I Am the LifeThis plenitude of divine life reverberates in Christ’s humanity by reason of the hypostatic union. His sacred humanity, placed in direct contact with His divinity, to which it is united in one Person, is inundated with divine life; that is, it receives the greatest possible participation in it through “such plenitude of grace that no greater amount can be imagined” (Mystici Corporis). The sanctifying grace which fills the soul of Jesus is so plentiful, perfect, intense, and superabundant that theologians do not hesitate to call it “infinite grace.” “Because in Him [Christ], it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell” (Colossians 1:19), affirms St. Paul; and St. John describes Him as being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). But Jesus does not wish to keep all this immense wealth for Himself alone; He wishes to have brethren with whom He can share it. For this reason He embraced His sorrowful Passion; by dying on the Cross, He merited for us His members that grace which He possesses in such great plenitude. Thus Christ becomes the one and only source of grace and supernatural life for us. He is so “full of grace and truth” that “of His fullness we have all received” (John 1:14,16). Here, then, is how divine life comes to us: from the Father to the Word; from the Word to the humanity which He assumed in His Incarnation, and from this humanity, which is the sacred humanity of Christ, to our souls.

COLLOQUY

O Jesus, how delightful it is to contemplate Your sacred humanity which contains all the treasures of the divine life! I cannot gaze directly at Your divinity, O eternal Word, but it is easy for me to contemplate it in Your humanity; there my thoughts rest, and never cease admiring Your immensity. O Jesus, Your soul is so rich in grace, so luminous, so filled with divine life that Your glory as the only-begotten Son of the Father is fully reflected in it. Your humanity seems to me to be the one mediator and the source of all grace and of all divine life which can be given to mankind. But then I contemplate this sacred humanity as it was lacerated in the bitter torment of the Cross, this humanity which is so glorious and so closely united to God. All its glory is hidden; I see nothing but sorrow, death, and total annihilation. Yet, from those bleeding wounds there gushed forth a marvelous fountain of life: by Your death, O Jesus, You merited grace for us and have become Yourself its one and only source.

I run to You, O Jesus; as one who is thirsty runs toward a spring, I draw near You. Give me, O Lord, of Your water, and I shall thirst no more because “the water You give me will become in me a fountain which will spring up into life everlasting” (cf. John 4:14). The Apostle, who did not wish to go away from You, once said, “Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:69). Oh! You have much more than words of life. You are Life itself, and You give life to us!

But Jesus, let me ask one question. If that sanctifying grace which comes from You and gives life to my soul is, by its very nature, the same kind of grace that fills Your sacred soul, why am I so unlike You, so far from sanctity?

I know the answer. You give me Your grace gratuitously, but You do not make it increase in me without the cooperation of my free will. There is very often a bitter struggle in me between the demands of grace and the claims of my evil nature. Alas! How often nature conquers! O Lord, I beg You, give me the grace to overcome and sacrifice myself, no matter what the cost. Let Your grace and Your life triumph in me for Your glory, and for the glory of Your work of redemption.

“May my mind, my heart, my body, my life, be wholly animated by You, my sweet Life! I will love You Lord, my strength; I will love You, and will live, no longer through my own efforts, but through You” (St. Augustine).

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Note from Dan: This post “I Am the Life” is provided courtesy of Baronius Press and contains one of two meditations for the day. If you would like to get the full meditation from one of the best daily meditation works ever compiled, you can learn more here: Divine Intimacy. Please honor those who support us by purchasing and promoting their products.

Art for this post “I Am the Life”: The Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John, Hendrick ter Brugghen, between 1624 and 1625, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Patricia

    Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen asks this question in today posting: “But Jesus,..with that sanctifying grace which comes from You …why am I so unlike You, so far from sanctity?” Then he gives the answer in his prayer: “O Lord, I beg You, give me the grace to overcome and sacrifice myself, no matter what the cost.”

    St. Therese is someone who did just that. She exemplifies how sacrificing self, by freely giving up self-will as an act of love for God, purifies the soul, erasing traces of sin. She writes: “Let us be one with Jesus … let us make our life a continual sacrifice, a martyrdom of love to console Jesus. …Love penetrates me and surrounds me; this Merciful Love each moment renews and purifies me, leaving in my heart no trace of sin.”

    The words of both St. Therese and St. Augustine illuminate how through the giving up of self the sweet life of Jesus comes to be experienced in the soul:
    Jesus! Jesus! if the desire of love be so unutterably sweet, what must it be to possess and enjoy it for all eternity?” -St. Therese of Lisieux
    “May my mind, my heart, my body, my life, be wholly animated by You, my sweet Life! I will love You Lord, my strength; I will love You, and will live, no longer through my own efforts, but through You.” -St. Augustine

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