This has been a summer full of frustration, fear, uncertainty and doubt, a summer of discontent. Future prospects are obscured in a cloudy haze of local and international political and economic issues. Locally, business has been terrible because of local construction which has severely restricted access to my business premises. This summer we are down 50% in sales. Contrary to the phone company advertising, the future is decidedly not friendly.
And so I am trying hard to work on exercising patience, every day, with all the little trials, annoyances, inconveniences and disappointments which we all experience every day, and in keeping in mind that “All Is Gratuitous Gift” … I am just going to quote from Venerable Mary of Agreda’s “The Mystical City of God“for the rest of this post. Written by Venerable María de Jesus de Agreda, a 17th century Spanish nun, after years of private revelations from God the Father and Most Holy Mary, Mística Ciudad de Dios (The Mystical City of God) is a marvelous and life-changing narrative of most wonderful and hidden mysteries about the life of Most Holy Mary and her Son Jesus Our Lord that has been enthralling readers for centuries.
Composed of the Conception, Incarnation, Transfixion and Coronation, this magnificent narrative takes the reader through the various stages of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, plus it reveals all sorts of facts about our entire salvation history. Pope Innocent XI and Pope Alexander VIII in 1690 expressly declared that the City of God may be read by all the faithful. Pope Clement XI and Benedict XIV gave like decisions. Here then is the quote for my trials this summer and beyond:
“In all the difficulties, … I never lost sight of one consideration, which I desire thee always to keep in mind. It is this: that thou ponder in thy heart and in thy soul the truths, which I saw, so that thou mayest form a correct judgment of all things, giving to each that esteem and value which is its due. In regard to this the children of Adam are ordinarily full of error and blindness, but I desire that thou, my daughter, share it not with them.
357. As soon as I was born into the world and made aware of the light, which shone upon me, I felt the effects of the elements, the influence of the planets and of the stars, of the earth which sustained me, of the nourishments which preserved me, and of all the other things of this life.
I gave thanks to the Author of all things, acknowledging his works as benefits freely bestowed upon me, and not as dues, which He owed to me. Therefore, when anything was wanting of the necessaries of life I remained in peace and contentedness and deemed it all perfectly reasonable and proper in my regard, since I had merited none of the gifts and could justly be deprived of all of them.
Hence, if I acknowledged this, thereby merely asserting a truth which the human reason cannot ignore nor deny, where have mortals their intellect, or what use do they make of their understanding when, at the refusal of things which they desire and of which perhaps they do not even profit, they begin to get sad and lash themselves into fury one against the other, and even against their God, as if they were suffering some injury at his hands?
Let them inquire what treasures and riches they did possess before they came into life? What services had they rendered unto God in order to merit them? And if out of nothing there cannot arise anything, and if they could not merit the being which they have received, what obligation is there on the part of God to preserve out of justice, what was given to them entirely gratuitously?
That God created man was of no benefit to Himself; but to man it was a benefit, and one as great as the being given to him, and as high as the object for which it was given. And if in his creation man becomes indebted so much that he never can pay his debt, tell me what right can he invoke at present for his preservation? Has he not received his being without merit and many times forfeited it? How can he claim the guarantee and pledge of unfailing plenty?
358. If the first transaction and operation was a mortgage and a debt by which man binds himself, how can he with such impatience demand favors? And if in spite of all this, the supreme goodness of the Creator furnishes him graciously with what is necessary, why should he be agitated by the want of superfluities. O my daughter, what an execrable disorder and what a despicable blindness of mortals is this?
For that, which the Lord gives them gratuitously, they do not thank Him, or even give Him acknowledgment, and for that which He denies them justly and sometimes most mercifully, they are restless and proudly desirous, and they try to procure it by unjust and forbidden means, throwing themselves into the very destruction which flies from them.
The first sin alone, committed by man, was sufficient to cancel man’s right to the friendly service of all the other creatures; and if the Lord himself would not restrain them, they would turn in vengeance upon man and refuse to render any service or help for sustaining his life. The heavens would deny them their light and benign influences, the fire would refuse its heat, the air would cease to serve for respiration, and all the other things would in their particular way refuse their services, since they would in justice be bound to refuse them.
Then when the earth would deny its fruits, and the elements their moderation and their assistance, and all the other creatures would arm themselves to avenge the wrongs of their Creator (Sap. S, 18), perhaps disgraced man would humiliate himself in his vileness and would not heap up the wrath of the Lord for the unerring day of accountance, when all his dreadful guilt will be exposed.
359. But thou, my dear friend, fly from such base ingratitude, and humbly acknowledge that thou hast received thy being and life gratuitously, and that, gratuitously, its Author preserves it for thee. Freely dost thou receive all the other benefits, without any merit of thine; and thus, receiving much and repaying little, thou makest thyself daily less worthy of favors, while the liberality of the Most High grows continually with thy indebtedness.
Let this thought be uppermost in thee always, in order that it awaken and move thee to many acts of virtue. If any of the irrational creatures fail thee, I desire thee to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks to his Majesty, and bless them for their obedience to the Creator. If the rational creatures persecute thee, love them with all thy heart and regard them as the instruments of divine justice, which afford thee some opportunity of rendering satisfaction for thy deficiency.
Rather strengthen and console thyself in labors, adversities and tribulations, not only considering them as fully deserved by the faults committed, but deeming them ornaments of the soul and most rich jewels given thee by thy Spouse.” (Venerable Mary of Agreda. The Mystical City of God: Complete Edition Containing all Four Volumes with Illustrations . Veritatis Splendor Publications. [pp 356-359])
Naked came I into the world and naked will I leave it. Thy Will be done, O Lord, Thy Will be done.