From the letters of Saint John of Avila to a priest.
" Domine, quid tibi sum, quia jubes me diligere te? Quid tibi sum? Lord, what am I to Thee, that Thou shouldst bid me love Thee? What am I to Thee?" Why dost thou so fervently desire to see and to embrace me? Thou, Who dost dwell in heaven in company with those who understand so well how Thou shouldst be served and loved, dost come to me, who only know how to offend Thee or to render Thee slack service. Canst not Thou, then, O my Lord, be happy without me, that my love should draw Thee down to me? Oh, blessed mayst Thou be, Who being what Thou art, hast yet set Thy heart upon such a creature as me! Can it be that Thou, King as Thou art, dost come here and dost place Thyself in my hands, and seem to say: "I died once for thy sake and I come to thee now to show thee that I do not repent of it, but on the contrary that, if there were need, I would give my life for thee a second time?" Who could remain unmoved by such love? Who could hide himself, O Lord, from Thy burning Heart, which warms our own by Its very presence, and is like a mighty furnace, throwing out sparks of fire on all around it? Such a Lord as this, dear Reverend Father, visits us from heaven
and we, wretches as we are, hold intercourse with Him and receive Him within our breasts!
Pray for priests!
"St. Augustine says that it is wronging a martyr to pray for him after his death, for martyrdom makes the soul fly straight to heaven. Let us strive to be martyrs by patience, for though our pains may be less severe, they yet last longer. We ought not to wish for a happy life, but prefer a martyrdom on earth; it was our Lord s portion, and He wishes ours to be the same. Some have died as martyrs for the faith, and others have gone to heaven without doing so, but we must all be martyrs of love, if we wish to arrive there. This love must be a torment and a pain to us, because of the offence given to God by ourselves and others; it must deprive us of all comfort in life, and load our shoulders with the cross. It must make us embrace hardships and overcome them by the burning charity God has kindled in us. This love so carries us out of ourselves that it makes us perfectly insensible to dishonour, as wine takes away the reason of a drunkard. Like all strong affection, it makes a man forget himself, and care only for his Beloved, Who in this case, is God Himself, and His most holy will."
Saint John of Avila, pray for us!