May 25 – POVERTY
The lemon-verbena or aloysia
This plant has neither flower in its splendid branch nor vanity but it has very fine fragrance and very sharp and delicate odor; and more over, it has special powerful effect on the physical health. Although in itself this flower had no beauty, its essential is supplemented by the gillyflower and rose.
Poverty is an indispensable virtue for charity to become operative in us; the love of God empties and cleans the soul of whatever is in it that does not belong to God, and this vice, this interior detachment from all created things, is such a necessary virtue that without charity it cannot operate. If this interior detachment is added to the exterior, and the renunciation of all goods and riches of the world, poverty acquires a greater perfection. Poverty in itself and by itself, be it interior or exterior, comes along without flowers like the lemon-verbena or aloysia and without temperance to which it belongs (moderating the appetite for goods and riches), it will not make a worthy bouquet to be offered at the altars; but charity elevates it to a level of high dignity and it takes it in order to embellish itself.
Poverty in Mary
Mary from her immaculate conception had heart entirely detached from creatures. God and only God always occupied all her affections and thoughts. She lived poorly until the day her Son began preaching; and when Jesus went out to preach, she renounced everything and followed him poor, living like her Son and the apostles on the alms of the benefactors and in this exterior poverty she continued the course of her life.
Lemon-verbena to Mary
Do you have a full heart? Of what? Look at it carefully; it is very important for you. If you have it full of creatures, if you are rich with them, you are poor and miserable because you are empty of God. The heart is full of what it loves: Do you love God and God only with your whole heart? Does God alone fill it totally? Are you poor in spirit? Fortunate, fortunate if there is no room in your heart for any other creature whatsoever! If it is filled with profane loves, empty it, clear it, and present it as poor into the hands of the richest queen, Mary and upon making your offering tell her:
Lady, I offer to you today poverty; I commit myself to a detachment that the love of God demands. There goes, Lady, my lemon-verbena together with the rose: accept it and strengthen my resolutions.
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