And Blessed Louis, to show the natural baseness of our actions, compares them to the poor peasant’s worm-eaten apple. Self-love in all its forms is the worm which eats them and spoils them.
‘All the possessions of our souls avail less before God the Father of the Family, to gain His friendship and His grace, than would the worm-eaten apple of the poor peasant, his Majesty’s farmer, to pay his rent.’
When in meditation we place ourselves in the presence of God, we feel overwhelmed by His immensity, crushed by His irresistible power. And when in detail we examine our lives, we feel terrified, if not by the absolute emptiness, at least by the imperfection of many of our actions, and by a dreadful waste of the time allotted to us by God. Our natural qualities, graces and supernatural gifts are all the more or less imperfect, compromised, turned from their final End, by petty cowardice, by secret hypocrisy, by the wiles of self-love, by shady excuses. Thus the double goal is half missed; the glory of God and our salvation, two inseparable goals.
This means that we do not give God the accidental glory which is His right, so that our salvation is barely achieved, and our heavenly bliss in the beatific vision of God, formed by our accumulated merit and transformed into glory, will be lessened by our own fault.
And the cause of this falling off? Once more, because through negligence we allow a great part of our action to be lost.
All our life becomes a worm-eaten apple, and yet we think it will acquire for us eternal bliss. Is this not madness and rashness?
But Blessed Louis continues: ‘What would this poor man do if her were wise and if he succeeded in gaining access to the Queen? Would she not, in order to befriend the poor peasant, and at the same time show her respect for the king, remove from it all that was bad or tainted, and put it in a gold dish decked with flowers? And could the King refuse to take it with pleasure from the hands of the Queen who presents it in the name of the peasant?’
And so we must do. In our unworthiness and powerlessness to address ourselves directly to a Lord so full of greatness and majesty, in the fear that our poor actions may not be accepted by Jesus we need only have recourse to Mary. ‘If you have any trifle which you wish to offer to God,’ says S. Bernard, ‘place it in Mary’s hands unless you wish to be repulsed.’
This good Mother and Mistress, by taking our trifle, will purify it and adorn it so that her divine Son will accept it.
‘When our hands have touched perfumes,’ says the Holy Curé d’Ars, ‘they in their turn perfume all that they touch. Let us send our prayers through the hands of the Blessed Virgin, she will make them fragrant.’
(To be continued.)