An Act of Love

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Rose at Littlemore
Rose at Littlemore

You are the Supreme Good. And, in saying so, I mean not only supreme goodness and benevolence, but that you are the sovereign and transcendent beautifulness. I believe that, beautiful as is your creation, it is mere dust and ashes, and of no account, compared with you, who are the infinitely more beautiful Creator. I know well there­fore that the angels and saints have such perfect bliss be­cause they see you. To see even the glimpse of your true glory, even in this world, throws holy men into an ecstasy. And I feel the truth of all this, in my own degree, because you have mercifully taken our nature upon you and have come to me as man. Et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre—”And we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). The more, O my dear Lord, I meditate on your words, works, actions, and sufferings in the Gospel, the more wonder­fully glorious and beautiful I see you to be. And therefore, O my dear Lord, since I perceive you to be so beautiful, I love you and desire to love you more and more. Since you are the one Goodness, Beautifulness, Gloriousness in the whole world of being, and there is nothing like you, but you are infinitely more glorious and good than even the most beautiful of creatures, therefore I love you with a singular love, a one, only, sovereign love. Everything, O my Lord, shall be dull and dim to me, after looking at you. There is nothing on earth, not even what is most naturally dear to me, that I can love in com­parison with you. And I would lose everything whatever rather than lose you. For you, O my Lord, are my supreme and only Lord and love.

My God, you know infinitely better than I how little I love you. I would not love you at all except for your grace. It is your grace that has opened the eyes of my mind and enabled them to see your glory. It is your grace that has touched my heart and brought upon it the influence of what is so wonderfully beautiful and fair. How can I help loving you, O my Lord, except by some dreadful perver­sion, which hinders me from looking at you? O my God, whatever is nearer to me than you, things of this earth, and things more naturally pleasing to me, will be sure to interrupt the sight of you, unless your grace interferes. Keep my eyes, my ears, my heart from any such miserable tyranny. Break my bonds – raise my heart. Keep my whole being fixed on you. Let me never lose sight of you; and, while I gaze on you, let my love of you grow more and more every day.

John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions, pp. 332-333.