Let us adore Our Lord declaring that, notwithstanding His divine perfections, He was, as man, nothing (Ps. 38:6); calling Himself often Son of man that is to say, Son of nothingness. Consequently, during the whole of His life He treats Himself as man, who is nothing. In the bottom of His soul, He continually makes to God, His Father, the confession that He is nothing, and is content that God should be all. Let us admire these dispositions of His heart, and let us rejoice at the honor He thereby renders to the supreme majesty of God.
Of Ourselves we are Nothing
All our being is from God. We are only His stewards and administrators; He alone is the proprietor. What were we in the eternity which preceded our birth? We were less than a worm of the earth, less, than an atom in the air: we were nothing. Even now we should be nothing if God, through His wholly gratuitous goodness, had not chosen us from amongst millions of possible beings, without any merit on our part had not drawn us out of the abyss of nothingness. At this very moment we should fall into our first state if God were to withdraw His powerful hand, which holds us suspended, as it were, above the abyss. Oh, what nothingness are we then! “All that is good in me, O my God, all that is good in me, is a present of Thy mercy,” says St. Augustine (Ps. 58). How unsuitable is it, then, for a man to esteem himself to be something, no matter how small, and to take pleasure in what he is! It is a falsehood, since it is the truth that of ourselves we are nothing; it is a sacrilegious larceny, because it is appropriating to ourselves that which belongs essentially to God; it is the greatest pride, since it is the raising ourselves presumptuously above what we are. God has said: I alone am Being; I contain in Myself all Being, and I possess it in fullness. (Ex. 3:14) If God is what is, every creature is necessarily that which is not. Yes, my God, “all nations are before Thee as if they had no being at all.” (Is. 40:17) With still greater reason I, who am so small a thing in the midst of all the nations, am nothing in Thy sight; and Thy apostle had good reason to say: “If any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Gal. 6:3) Let us remain for a time in a state of abasement at the feet of Our Lord to receive the impression of those words, I am nothing; to make it penetrate into the centre of our nothingness, and to affirm ourselves in the deep feeling that we are nothing.
The Sweetness and Consolation which the Feeling of its Nothingness Infuses into the Faithful Soul
There is in this a truth which the world does not suspect, and which it is even incapable of understanding, but the soul which loves God delights to annihilate itself in His presence; first, because it knows that to make itself little in the sight of God is the means for being loved; that to empty ourselves of self is the means for being filled with God (St. Augustine); and that if God sees nothing in us but what comes from Him, He will love all that there is in us, consequently He will love us; second, because the recognition of our nothingness is the glorification of God. “My daughter,” Jesus once said to one of His faithful servants, “I am He who is, and thou art she who is not.” Sweet words for a soul that loves! If it would be something, it would renounce it, in order that God alone might be all in all, (1 Cor. 15:23) and to be able to say to Him with a delicious feeling, “Thou art alone, O my God, and outside Thee is nothing.” (Job 14:4) It is an ineffable consolation for it to look at itself in the midst of the nothingness in which God has placed it, without in this state to be able to have any other support or any other hope than the omnipotence and entirely merciful goodness of its amiable Father. O God! O my all! The more I feel I am nothing, the more I feel Thou art all, and this thought is my happiness.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.