Prayer To Excite Love for God
O Lord, I ask of Thee the grace to realize intimately the greatness and excellence of Thy blessed benefits which Thou hast so lavishly poured forth on me; I beg of Thee that I may realize the full extent of Thy generosity, the prodigality of Thy Heart, so that measuring my gratitude by Thy marvelous generosity, it may make that return which justice and love require by serving Thee in arid by Thy gifts, and consecrating myself to Thy love and service.
It is from Thee that I have received the benefits of creation, the benefits of redemption, and those particular benefits, the graces peculiar to my needs, those special gifts of grace which never fail me in my dangers and my difficulties. I can never sufficiently esteem and feel, never fully realize the weight and wealth of that love which loads and overwhelms me with its favors and affection. What a share Thou hast given me in Thy wealth and goods! What hast Thou that Thou hast not given me a part in? And yet how greatly Thou dost desire to give still more to me; Thy love, never satisfied with giving, would always give more. Ah, my God, I know Thou wilt never be satisfied until Thou hast given Thyself to me entirely and for ever in Heaven!
And now, in my turn, what can I do for Thee? What is it meet, just, and right that I should offer to Thy divine Majesty? I have nothing of myself, I hold all from God; what else, then, can I do but offer Thee all I have, all that I am?
But Thou art present, Thou dwellest in all these Thy benefits, in all creatures, in myself. It is Thou who didst create and dost give existence to the elements; Thou who causest them to be, Thou who dost give life to the plants and causest them to grow. Thou who hast given to animals sensation. Thou who hast given man intelligence, the power of thought, an immortal soul. Thus Thou hast united all Thy gifts and given them all to me. Life, sensation, reason. I have been created in Thy likeness, and am as an image of Thy divine Majesty. In the most noble and excellent manner Thou dwellest in me, Thou dost dwell in me as in Thy temple, as in a sanctuary, seeing in me Thine own image, and finding in me an intelligence, capable of knowing and loving Thee. What then can I do to honor in His gifts Him who presents them to me and who maintains them by His power? What can I do except treat them with an infinite respect, and walk always in the presence of God, thinking and acting in His presence which surrounds and penetrates even within me. Thou, my benefactor, art always with me. Thou art more intimately united to me than is my soul to my body; help me, then, O God, help me to keep myself before Thee as a child in the presence of a tenderly loved father, studying the slightest sign of Thy will and Thy wish.
O my God, not only dost Thou dwell in the whole of creation, not only art Thou present in the entire universe, but Thou dost act continually in all Thy creatures, and dost work in them for ever, for my service.
Yes, Divine Artificer, Thine infinite power, occupying itself in the heavens, the elements, the fruits of the earth, becomes as it were the servant of my needs; Thou dost light my path, enlighten me with the light of day; Thou dost nourish me with the productions of the earth and serve me by each one of the creatures I use! Thy bounty, wisdom, and power are placed at my service, and exercised for my wants and pleasures.
Help me, O my God, to serve Thee, acting always solely for Thee, and in Thy presence, uniting work with recollection, calm contemplation of Thee with activity in Thy service; let me think always of Thee, but without ceasing to act, and let me act, but in such a manner as not to be distracted and without ceasing to think of Thee. That I may attain to this perfection in all that I do, grant that I may seek but one end in the diversity of my occupation - Thy good pleasure and holy will, O my God.
So Thou art in all these gifts which I receive from Thee; it is in them and by them that Thou dost serve me.
Behind the veil of these creatures I discern Thy fatherly hand which presents them to me, and fashions them to my service. If, then, they come from Thee to me, it is but just that for me they should return to Thee. It is with this intent that I have offered all to Thee: for the future I will to see in creatures only the good and useful means they may offer of serving and praising Thee, and to use them only so long as, and inasmuch as, they shall serve to this end. I will to be detached from creatures and myself; this double detachment will give me true liberty of spirit, which consists in being no longer bound either to creatures or myself, and in reposing perfectly and solely on Thy love.
I will to be detached from creatures because they have only very limited perfections; the most perfect being but as a weak and rude image of Thy perfections. What they have of the good and beautiful is but an emanation of Thy Divinity, which rests on them as the rays of the sun rest on the moon and glorify it: but as the moon is pale in the presence of the sun, shining as it does with but a borrowed light, so creatures have but a very faint reflection of Thy perfections.
I will to be detached from myself, because all my being and happiness depend not on myself but on Thee; if I leave myself I shall find Thee, and in Thee I find as in their source and in an infinite degree all perfections. In Thee and in Thee alone shall I find my happiness and my being. "Thou hast made us, O Lord, for Thyself, and our hearts cannot rest until they rest in Thee" (St. Augustine). Thou hast said, O Lord: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world, keepeth it unto life eternal'' (St. John xii. 25).
O give me, then, my Lord, this perfect detachment, since in that state my soul will be absolutely indifferent to all that is not Thee. I shall then have but one thought: to please Thee in all my actions; but one desire: soon to quit this world, in order fully to possess Thee, my God, in Heaven.
The little that I am flows from Thy Being so infinitely elevated above me; from Thee, O eternal Source, descend justice, comfort, sweetness, piety, gentleness, goodness. O pour down into my soul Thy gifts, inundate me with Thy perfections, and grant me such entire conformity to Thy will that I may attain to perfect repose in Thee.
O living Light, O heavenly Sun, the source from whence proceed all those beams of light which illuminate the souls of the Saints, flooding them with an effulgence of celestial radiance, let me be engulfed and lose myself in Thee. May I forget myself, and leave myself; may I strip myself of all love of creatures to love Thee alone, my Creator and my God. May I leave both creatures and myself in order to attach myself only to Thee, my Lord and my God. May I see Thee alone in the whole of creation, serving Thee and Thee only, reposing and rejoicing for ever in Thy most holy will. Amen.