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ON THE WORDS OF PSALM VIII

ON THE WORDS OF PSALM VIII

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Published by glennpease
BY REV. FATHER GROU


" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise."
BY REV. FATHER GROU


" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise."

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 27, 2013
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ON THE WORDS OF PSALM VIIIBY REV. FATHER GROU" Ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem."" Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise."JESUS CHRIST applied these words to Himself, andmade use of them to confound the Pharisees, whowere offended at the homage the people paid Him onHis entry into Jerusalem, a triumphal entry whichexalted His littleness and His humility. The peoplethen recognised Him, saluted Him, and blessed Himas the Messiah, the Son of David, the King of Israel.And in so doing the people rendered to their Godand Saviour a perfect homage, because they honouredHis poverty, His humiliation, and His annihilation of Himself. On the contrary, the proud Pharisees, ledaway by their false reasoning, saw nothing in thistriumph but what shocked all their ideas, nothingbut what seemed to them contemptible, ridiculous,and extravagant ; and their false lights, their low andhuman prejudices, and their wrong ideas of realgreatness, blinded them and confirmed them in theirunbelief.Not only does our natural reason not understandthe things of God, but it is naturally disposed todespise them and treat them as folly. This dis-position is more common than we should ever thinkfor amongst Christians, even amongst those whoimagine themselves devout ; these are often greatOn some Words of Psalm VI I L 393enemies of an interior life, just as the Pharisees, whowere the devout people of Judaism, were the greatestenemies of Jesus Christ.We can never begin to enjoy the things of God,or even to understand them, until we enter upon astate of spiritual infancy. And what is this infancy ?A spiritual child is one who feels himself incapable of reasoning or speaking about the things of God ; one,who, feeling all his weakness and ignorance, allows
 
himself to be guided by the grace of God and bythose who hold the place, of God towards him; whois humble, obedient, and dependent in all things ;who believes without examination whatever is toldhim as to his spiritual state ; who accomplishes blindlywhatever he is commanded, without knowing, so tospeak, what he is doing. He is one who, reduced to ablind instinct, which is none the less Divine, and to aspirit of pure faith, which is superior to all reasoning,walks all the more securely that he knows neither theway by which he is being led nor the end towards whichhe is travelling. He is in the same state as SaintPaul when, blinded by the heavenly light, his com-panions led him by the hand to Damascus without hisseeing at all of himself where he planted his footsteps.I repeat it once more : we either cannot discernanything at all about our interior state, or we seebadly, and make mistakes, as long as we are guidedby our own spirit. The total loss of our own spiritis what introduces us into the secrets of God ; and themore we advance the more this loss increases, untilat last it becomes complete and irrevocable. Thosewho think their advancement consists in having great394 Manual for Interior Souls.light of the understanding, or sublime ideas, or pro-found reasonings, are very much deceived. The devilhas more intelligence, more knowledge, more exaltedideas, than all men put together. When he lost hishappiness for ever he did not lose his natural intelli-gence ; it even serves to torment him still more.Therefore, all our spiritual progress consists in theannihilation of our own spirit and of our own judg-ment, so that we have absolutely no reliance what-ever on ourselves, that we see nothing with our ownsight, that we judge of nothing and reason uponnothing of ourselves.This state is quite incomprehensible to any one whohas had no experience of it. The enemies of theinterior life treat it as a vision and a fancy. But itis very real, and is confirmed by the experience of many saints ; Holy Scripture speaks of it in a thou-sand places ; and we shall never thoroughly under-
 
stand the teaching of the Gospel and the life of JesusChrist unless we are in this blessed state of spiritualinfancy. Yes, happy, thrice happy is he who, havinggiven his whole mind and heart to God, knows nolonger whether he has a mind or a heart ; who doesnot even know what God is doing with him ; whopractises virtue without thinking that he practises it ;who prays always, without knowing how he prays,or even that he is praying at all ; who loves withoutreflecting upon his love ; who walks on calmly,without knowing his way, or seeing the progress hemakes ; who, in a word, perfectly forgets himself,and, without care or anxiety, without reflection orthought of the future, reposes in peace upon theOn some Words of Psalm VIII. 395bosom of God as a little infant sleeps upon his mother'sbreast.This is the state from which God derives the mostperfect homage, because in it God is everything andthe creature is nothing, because God does with thiscreature just what He wishes, as He wishes, and asmuch as He wishes, without finding the slightestobstacle to His designs. What is it that most honoursGod ? Is it our great actions, our magnificent pro- jects ? Is it our great austerities, our long prayers,our multiplied practices of devotion ? Is it even ourcrosses, and sufferings of all kinds ? No : nothingof all that can in itself honour God. Pride can poisonall that, self-love and our own will can be the motiveprinciple of it, and with a semblance of holiness wemay be all the time rejected of God. What reallyhonours God is our destruction, our self-annihilation,the entire consuming of the victim !Now, it does not belong to us to destroy andannihilate ourselves. If we could do so by anyprinciple that is in ourselves, this principle woulddraw its life and strength from the death of all therest. The work of our destruction belongs only toGod. The destroying principle must be from outside,and must attack our whole being. The fire thatconsumes the victim must come from on high ; andall that the victim has to do is to remain quietly uponthe altar, fully consenting to be consumed, and offer-

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