Tag Archives: St Claude la Colombière

Errant sinner and endless mercy

gods-mercyA reflection from St. Claude la Colombière on this 31st Sunday through the Church Year:

“Rather than be cast down by realizing your failures, to have a strong and boundless conviction of the Creator’s goodness – that is trust worthy of God. It seems to me that confidence inspired by innocence and purity of life doesn’t give great glory to God. Is God’s mercy only able to save holy souls who’ve never offended him? Surely the trust that gives the Lord the most honor is that of an errant sinner who is so convinced of God’s endless mercy that all one’s sins seem like a speck in comparison with that mercy.”

Saint Claude la Colombiere

St Claude alliezThe day after to the liturgical and civil observance of Saint Valentine (bishop and martyr) we have one of the great proponents of Divine Love, the Jesuit Spiritual director of Saint Margaret Mary of Alocoque, Saint Claude la Colombiere (1641-1682). The example of Saint Valentine needs to be followed; one of  his 17th century disciples was a Jesuit who knew first hand the meaning of what it means to follow God’s approach: love.

The logic of love Claude came to know was manifested in his spiritual paternity of another saint, the Visitation nun and saint, Margaret Mary Alacoque. Margaret Mary was truly a spouse of the Master. This encounter was pivotal for him. Saint John Paul II said in an address:

The decisive event which marked the life and spirituality of Saint Claude La Colombiere was certainly his meeting with Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque, which took place in the Visitation Monastery in Paray-le-Monial in February 1675. On the occasion of a meditation which he gave the community, an interior voice suggested to the woman religious to turn to him in confidence: “This is the one I am sending you.” In face, from her first confession, Fr. Claude was aware of the authenticity of the mystical experience of the young Visitation Sister and Margaret Mary knew she was seeing the fulfillment of the vision of the flaming heart of Jesus with two other hearts which became lost in the divine heart: hers and that of the spiritual director who had been sent to her.

It is said that the day after Claude’s death, Sister Margaret Mary received supernatural assurance that Claude needed no prayers, as he was in already heaven; he was enjoying the fullness of communio with the Trinity. Claude was considered a “dry” martyr, having suffered every abuse for the Christian faith except death. The life of Saint Claude was an example of being in correspondence with the Lord Himself –through the logic of Love– that he was know to be concrete example of mercy in the face of trials. Saint Claude’s  life of holiness drew many of the Protestants to the Catholic Church. His was a trust that we must adopted: “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”

May we learn from Saint Claude la Colombiere what it means to be in relationship with Jesus the Good Shepherd, true Divine Love.

Act of Confidence in God by Saint Claude la Colombière

I am uncertain of the history of this prayer, but Saint Claude does a good job capturing the heart of the matter…

My God, I am so persuaded that You watch over all who  hope in You and nothing can be lacking to those who  await from You all things, that I have determined to  live from now on without any concern, letting go and giving You all of my anxieties.

I will sleep and rest in peace because You, O Lord, and only You, have secured my hope. Men can deprive me of possessions and reputation;  illnesses can take away my strength and means to serve You; I myself can lose Your grace because of sin; but I will not lose my hope; I will conserve it until the last instant of my life and all the efforts from demons trying to take it away from me will be useless.

I will sleep and rest in peace. May others expect happiness in their richness and talents; some may lean on the innocence of their lives, or the rigor of their penitence, or above all on the amount of their good works,or the fervor of their prayers.

As for myself Lord, all my confidence is my confidence itself. Because You Lord, only You have secured my hope. No one has been deceived by this confidence. No one who has waited in the Lord has been frustrated in their confidence.

Therefore, I am sure that I will be eternally happy because I firmly hope to be; and because You, Oh, My God, are in Whom I expect all. In You I hope Lord, and never will I be confused. I know very well . . . too well that I am fragile and inconstant, I know well the power of temptations against the most firm virtue; I have seen the stars fall from heaven and columns from the firmament; but none of this can frighten me.

As long as I maintain firm my hope, I will be conserved from all calamities; and I am sure to hope always, because I hope the same in this unchanging hope.

In conclusion, I am sure that I cannot hope in excess in You and that I will receive all that I would have hoped for in You. Therefore, I know You will sustain me on the most rapid and slippery slopes, that You will strengthen me against the assaults and make my weakness triumph

over the most tremendous enemies.I hope You will always love me and I will love you without interruption; to take once and for all my hope as far as it can reach. I hope in You and only in You!

Oh, My Creator! In time and for all eternity. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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