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CHAPTER IX.

HOW BENEVOLENCE MAKES US CALL ALL CREATURES TO THE PRAISE OF GOD.

The heart that is taken and pressed with a desire of praising the divine goodness more than it is able, after many endeavours goes oftentimes out of itself, to invite all creatures to help it in its design. As did the three children in the furnace, in that admirable canticle of benedictions, by which they excite all that is in heaven, on earth and under the earth, to render thanks to the eternal God, by blessing and praising him sovereignly. So the glorious Psalmist, quite mastered by holily disordered passion moving him to praise God, goes without order, leaping from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven again, invoking angels, fishes, mountains, waters, dragons, birds, serpents, fire, hail, mists, assembling by his desires 221all creatures,—to the end that they all may conspire to lovingly magnify their Creator, some in their own persons celebrating the divine praise, others affording matter of praise by the wonders of their different properties, which manifest their Maker's power; so that this divine royal Psalmist, having composed a great number of psalms with this inscription: Praise God: after he had run through all creatures, holily inviting them to bless the divine Majesty, and gone over a great variety of means and instruments proper for the celebration of the praises of this eternal goodness, in the end, as falling down through lack of breath, closes his sacred song with this ejaculation: Let every spirit praise the Lord;249249Ps. cl. 6. that is, let all that has life, neither live nor breathe but to bless its Creator, according to the invitation he had elsewhere given: O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol his name together.250250Ps. xxxiii. 4.

So the great S. Francis sang the canticle of the sun, and a hundred other excellent benedictions, to invoke creatures to help his heart, all fainting because he could not satisfy himself in the praises of the dear Saviour of his soul. So the heavenly spouse perceiving herself almost to faint away amid the violent efforts she made to bless and magnify the well-beloved king of her heart, Ah! she cried out to her companions, this divine spouse has led me by contemplation into his wine-cellar, making me taste the incomparable delights of the perfections of his excellence, and I have so steeped and holily inebriated myself in the holy complacency which I have taken in this abyss of beauty, that my soul languishes, wounded with a lovingly mortal desire, which urges me everlastingly to praise so exalted a goodness. Ah! come, I beseech you, to the assistance of my poor heart, which is upon the point of falling down dead. For pity sustain it, and stay me up with flowers; strengthen me and compass me about with apples, or I fall lifeless. Complacency draws the divine sweetnesses into her heart, which so ardently fills itself therewith that it is overcharged. But the love of benevolence makes our heart pass out of itself, and exhale itself in vapours of delicious perfumes, that is, in all kinds of holy praises. And 222yet not being able to produce as many as it would wish: Oh! it says, let all creatures come and contribute the flowers of their benedictions, the apples of their thanksgivings, honours and adorations, so that on every side we may smell odours poured out to the glory of him whose infinite sweetness surpasses all honour, and whom we can never right worthily magnify.

It is this divine passion that brings forth so many discourses, sends through all hazards a Xavier, a Berzée, an Anthony, that multitude of Jesuits, Capuchins, and religious and ecclesiastics of all kinds, to the Indies, Japan, Marañon, that the holy name of Jesus may be known, acknowledged, and adored throughout those immense nations. It is this holy passion which causes so many books of piety to be written, so many churches, altars, pious houses to be erected, and in a word which makes many of God's servants watch, labour, and die amid the flames of zeal which consume and spend them.

 


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