Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
One of the priests to whom I am most indebted from my years of seminary training, and even from my later years on faculty at the seminary is Father Bill Lynn, SJ. He died about ten years ago. Father Lynn was very saintly and very intelligent. [As a young priest back in the 1960’s, he was stationed in Burma as an assistant to the bishop there, in order to digest the documents of Vatican II as they came off the press.] Father Lynn taught me much by his example, but he certainly taught me much academically as well, since he taught many of my Dogma and Sacraments classes. Over the decades he perfected an extensive bibliography of the theological disciplines he taught in seminary, and all of us seminarians kept a copy of it for use throughout the rest of our lives.
Being a saintly priest, Father Lynn also wrote, and then perfected throughout the years a “Prayer for Perfect Love”. For a while, Father Lynn was my confessor; and he gave this prayer to me. At the beginning of the season of Advent, I thought you might appreciate this prayer, since our ultimate goal is to be perfected in love when we meet Christ Jesus – when he comes again, or upon our death. You remember that Saint John of the Cross wrote that, “On the eve of life, we will be judged by love.” Here is Father Lynn’s “Prayer for Perfect Love”.
My God, I firmly believe that You are infinitely good and worthy of all my love.
You are the fullness and source of all life, beauty, goodness, love, and joy, all that I can ever desire.
Grant that I may love You with all my heart and soul;
ever more purely, more tenderly, more ardently, more generously.
With your grace I will make every effort always to serve You cheerfully, with a bright smile,
especially when trials are the hardest to bear, because You love a cheerful giver,
and I want to give all to You with joyful abandon.
With Your grace, I will not worry about myself,
but will place all my trust in Your infinite goodness,
confident that You love me with an unimaginably great love,
and that camp You will never permit any trail to affect me without directing it to Your glory and my own truest good.
You are indeed all good, all powerful, and all loving.
I will not demand consolations, or proofs, or signs from you.
If You choose to sleep through the storm that threatens me, I will not wake You up.
If You hide Your face from me in the darkness, I will not complain or be afraid.
When I fall into sin, I resolve with Your grace not to waste a single moment wallowing in my misery,
but promptly to express my sorrow, ask Your forgiveness, and begin again to serve You with all my strength.
With the help of Your grace, I will allow nothing to make me deeply sad;
not even Your silence and apparent indifference to me.
When melancholy shows its sad face, I pray that with strong faith I may rise above my feelings
and make every effort to serve You joyfully, confident that if I place my trust in You,
You will take care of me and all my concerns, not necessarily by sparing me the cross,
but by giving me the grace to bear it well, however heavy it may be, however long I must carry it.
Simply put, with Your grace I will serve You with gladness
because I wish to please You with a generous and unselfish love.
In this way I pray that You will teach me to love You truly,
and day by day draw me ever closer to Your loving Heart
until it last You will make me intimately one with You and all Your blessed ones in purest joy forever.
Have a blessed Advent season!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,