Izaak_van_Oosten_-_The_Garden_of_Eden

Meditations on Creation

From Saint Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life, these meditations illuminate the glory of God’s creation and His purpose for us. 


First Meditation

Preparation

1. Place yourself in the presence of God.
2. Entreat Him to inspire you.

Reflections

1. Reflect for how many years you were not in the world, and you had no being. Where wert thou, O my soul, at that time? The world had existed so long, but thou wert unheard of.
2. God brought you out of nothing, and made you what you are out of His sole goodness, without requiring any assistance on your part.
3. Consider the being which God has given you, for it is the principal being of this visible world, capable of eternal life, and of perfect union with His Divine Majesty.

Affections and Resolutions

1. Humble yourself profoundly before God, saying from your heart with the Psalmist, “My substance is as nothing before Thee” (Ps. 38:6), “and how hast Thou been mindful of me to create me?” Alas, my soul, thou wert once a thing of naught, and even such wouldst thou be still, unless God had called thee into being. What then would thus have become of thee?
2. Render thanks to God. O great and good Creator, how much do I owe to Thee, since out of my nothingness Thou hast made me what I am? How can I ever worthily bless Thy holy name, and thank Thine infinite goodness?
3. Humble yourself. But alas, O my Creator, instead of uniting myself to Thee by my love and service, my ill-regulated affections have made me rebel against Thee, separating and estranging me from Thee, leading me into sin, and causing me to forget Thy goodness and that Thou art my Creator.
4. Prostrate thyself before God. O my soul, know that the Lord He is Thy God, it is He that hath made thee, and not thou thyself. O God, I am the work of Thy hands. Therefore I would no more rest in myself, who am naught. Wherein shouldst thou glory, O dust and ashes? Wherefore exalt thyself, O thing of naught? In humiliation I will do such and such things, endure such and such contempt, I will live a new life following from henceforth in God’s holy ways, and glorifying in the existence He has given me, I will employ it wholly in obeying His Will as I shall learn it, and as my spiritual father shall enjoin.

Conclusion

1. Thank God. Bless God, O my soul, and let all that is in me praise His holy Name, for His goodness has raised me out of nothing, and His loving kindness has created me.
2. Make an offering. O my God, I offer Thee with my whole heart that being which Thou hast given me: to Thee I dedicate and consecrate it.
3. Pray. O God, strengthen me in these affections and resolutions. Holy Virgin, commend them together with all for whom I ought to pray to the mercy of thy Blessed Son. Our Father. Hail Mary.

Second Meditation

Preparation

1. Place yourself in the presence of God.
2. Entreat Him to inspire you.

Reflections

1. God did not create you because He had any need of you, for you are wholly useless to Him, but only that He might exercise towards you His goodness, bestowing on you His grace and glory. To accomplish this, He has given you an understanding to know Him, a memory to remember Him, a will to love Him, an imagination to recall His mercies, eyes to see the wonders of His works, a tongue to praise Him, and so with all your other faculties.
2. Therefore being created and placed in the world for this purpose, you should avoid and reject all actions which are contrary to it; and despise as idle and superfluous all which do not promote it.
3. Consider the wretchedness of the world which forgets this, and goes on as though the end of creation were to plant and to build, to amass wealth, and live in frivolity.

Affections and Resolutions

1. Humble yourself, reproaching your soul with her past neglect in reflecting so little on this. Alas! O my God, where were my thoughts when I forgot Thee? What did I love when I loved not Thee? When I should have been nourished and fed with truth, I filled myself with vanity, and served that world which is made to be my servant.
2. Abhor your past life. I renounce you, O vain thoughts and idle meditations! I abjure you, O evil and detestable remembrances! I renounce you, false and treacherous friendships, lost labors, empty pleasures, miserable, deluding satisfactions.
3. Turn to God. And Thou, my God, my Saviour, henceforth, Thou alone shalt fill my thoughts; no more will I wander amidst reflections which displease Thee. My memory shall daily recall the greatness of Thy loving-kindness, so graciously displayed towards me. Thou shalt be the delight of my heart, and the sweetness of my affections.

Henceforth I will detest the frivolities and amusements, the empty pursuits which occupied my time; such and such affections which absorbed my heart I will renounce—to which end I will seek such and such remedies.

Conclusion

1. Thank God who has made you for so good an end. Thou hast made me, O Lord, for Thyself, and that I may forever share the immensity of Thy glory! When shall I be worthy of Thy goodness, and thank Thee worthily?
2. Offering. I offer to Thee, O my Creator, all my affections and resolutions, with all my heart and all my soul.
3. Pray. I beseech Thee, O Lord, accept these my desires and vows, and give Thy blessing to my soul, so that I may have strength to accomplish them through the merit of the blood of Thy Son shed upon the Cross for me. 

This article is taken from a chapter in An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales which is available from TAN Books

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