To develop the interior life fully, one must offer to God that last “but”. This total offering,without reserve, is the condition for the complete development of the life of grace. Even the slightest obstacle can keep the soul from flying upward with the wings of a dove. Moreover, the dove can rise only to a specific height, while in relationship to God, as long as the soul places no obstacles, there is no limit to its advance in the love of God. God himself raises it up in love.
In the lives of the saints we witness things that make us wonder and surprise us. But it all would be comprehensible if only we were to look into the souls of these people. We read of others who lived in total confidence with the Lord. To us all of this may very well be a novelty, something unheard of or strange.
From God we receive at every moment all that is necessary for us in the natural and supernatural order. It is fitting that we would give all that we have received in offering to God, so that in our lives there would be no “but …”. Every reservation and attachment to anything or anyone is a hindrance.
The Immaculata is our Model
Let us pray much that we would understand more and more what the Immaculate Virgin said at the Annunciation: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy Word.” As God wills, so be it. In this thought all happiness is contained, already here on earth, all destiny fulfilled. God created us that we be his instruments, that is why he draws us to love of himself, and rewards us or punishes us. Desirous that souls become perfect and like unto him, he showers them with graces. But souls must cooperate with divine grace and permit themselves to be led.
Let us beg our Blessed Mother that she might teach us how our soul might be a “handservant” of the Lord, as was her own.
God did not reveal himself directly to the Mother of God, but rather through a messenger. We too have divine messengers, our superiors. Let us pray that we would know how to say to every one of these messengers: God’s will be done. And in this is everything that we are placed upon this earth to learn, and it is our task to teach this to the whole world, so that the will of every human being might be in accord with God’s will—through the Immaculata.
We must sanctify ourselves at every moment, for we know not if the next will be ours. It is for us to become holy here and now, for we cannot be certain whether we will be here this evening. The better we fulfil our obligations the more we give glory to God and respond to the will of the Immaculata. So important is the present moment that we must continually remind ourselves of it as the means of sanctification.
With God’s power, everything!
To get to our goal there are two paths: that of personal strength and that of God’s strength. It depends upon us which path we will take.
The angel in Paradise sinned when he said: “Should I not listen to God I will become equal to God,” and he fell into the bottomless pit, for God will not support a lie. When the cause is of zero value - that is, supported by our own strength - so, too, the effect will be zero.
This repeats itself unto our own day. Do we support ourselves by our own strength, or do we seek to work, supported by God’s own power? As long as we do not rely upon ourselves, we will be able to attain our goal. This is the most fundamental and general principle for the effective performance of every human action. With God, everything; without God, nothing!
Mystery of Strength: Humility
How often we hear the complaint: “I want to improve, I want to do better, but I just can’t.”
It could appear that such a confession of one’s weakness, under the circumstances, is a sign of humility, but meanwhile beneath lurks a hidden pride.
Such people admit in many instances that they can do one or another thing, but are not able, given the condition of their life, to correct something in particular. This proves only that they rely solely on their personal strength, and believe they will accomplish things in that context alone. This, however, is a lie, and untruth, for by our own strength, independently, without the help of God, we can do nothing, absolutely nothing. All that we are, and whatever we have and can do, is because of God. In every moment of our life we receive from him, for perseverance in our existence is nothing other than a continuous receiving of that existence. Of ourselves we can do only evil that is really the want of good, or order - and of strength.
If we would but admit this truth and look to God from whom we receive every gift at every moment, we would immediately see that he, God, is able to give us a great deal more as our best Father. Indeed, he wills to give us everything that we need.
(From Will to Love: Reflections for Daily Living by St. Maximilian Kolbe, ‘Prophet of the Civilization of Love’.)