Rorate Caeli

Dom Marmion: To hope against all hope

By the light of faith, God has infused into the soul of the Faithful, the burst of hope; that is to say, that intimate persuasion to reach the Beatitude in spite of obstacles, that constant desire to arrive there, depending on the powerful help of God, on His promises and above all, on the merits of Christ. This is the Christian hope upon which Dom Marmion writes astounding pages.

Hope is a necessary, though difficult virtue, the practice of which, for many souls, entails hard trials. Dom Marmion never ceased, in the days of trial to encourage souls to trust in the mercy of God.

“Nothing is more pleasing to God than unshaken faith and confidence in the midst of darkness. Make great practice of acts of confidence, even when you feel nothing. It is precisely in these moments of dryness and darkness that these acts are most meritorious, most pleasing to God and most useful to your soul. Ordinary souls, that have not given themselves without reserve to God, find no difficulty in making acts of love and confidence in God during times of consolation and success, but it is the property of those whom God calls to union, to more intimate familiarity with Himself, to persist in hoping in Him in spite of every appearance which might tend to make them doubt the Divine promises. Such as these say with holy Job: ‘Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him.’ (Job 13:15). They say to God: ‘My God you are my Father, Your Son Jesus has said that You are our Father, that you love us, that You never refuse anything we ask in His Name. My God I believe all this, and although the world, the devil and all Hell should tell me the contrary, I believe Your word simply because You have said it.’ Never forget that faith is the beginning, the progress and the consummation of perfection.” (13th January 1895)
What joy it was for him to see a soul filled with Divine light, enter resolutely into the way of confidence.

“In your letter – he writes to a Mother Superior – there is a phrase which pleases me very much, because I see in it the source of great glory for Our Lord. You say: ‘There is nothing. absolutely nothing in me upon which I can take a little security. Therefore I do not cease to cast myself with confidence into the Heart of my Master.’ That, my daughter, is the true way, for all that God does for us is the result of His Mercy, which is touched by the avowal of this misery; and a soul that sees her misery and presents it continually to the gaze of Divine Mercy, gives great glory to God by leaving Him the opportunity of communicating His goodness to her. Continue to follow this attraction and let yourself be led, in the midst of the darkness of trials, to the nuptials of the Lamb for which he has destined you.”
And again, a few months later, to the same Superior:
"Our Lord urges me to pray much for you that you may remain with great generosity on the altar of immolation with Jesus. A soul, even a very miserable one, thus united to Jesus in His agony, but like Abraham: ‘ hoping against hope’ gives immense glory to God and helps Jesus with His work in the Church.”

This thought of our misery and of the assisting power of God recurs constantly in Dom Marmion’s letters, at times in a brief clear-cut form, more often though, developed with particular pleasure.
“To fee one’s misery is a very good disposition. If a king wishes to take a poor maiden for his bride, she would say to him: ‘I have nothing; give me the wherewithal to clothe and adorn myself’. Since Jesus Christ has graciously willed to take you as His bride, rely upon Him. It is Jesus Christ Who is all your treasure.”

And again:
“If you are miserable, God is ‘miserator et misericors.’ You must throw yourself with confidence into Christ’s arms.”

Another time, he writes:
"In all things lean upon Jesus. Without Him we are nothing in God’s sight. He is our supplement.”

From De Vita Contemplativa - Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy [Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana]