Day #4: Imagination
MARY: Why do so many hearts that desire perfection rarely attain their objective? How many persons close themselves in silence, abandon the world, seek to free themselves from all that binds the impulses of their heart … and yet they?re always the same!
Look at a shrub covered with ivy. How beautiful it seems! The woody part is completely hidden, its leaves seem to be like a head of hair on a green trunk. … That plant doesn?t bear fruit, however; it doesn?t grow; it always remains sterile … why?
The leaves which adorn its trunk are only a parasite. The ivy beautifies the shrub externally, but it also sucks its vital forces and impedes its life. It is necessary that the trunk appears as what it is, namely a trunk, and that the leaves not be the sterile appearance of a plant, but that they be full of flowers and fruit.
How many times you also would like to appear beautiful to your own glance … Your imagination deceives you and you cover your trunk with parasites which seemingly adorn you, but in fact take away your life.
A forced and oppressive silence is nothing other than ivy … You are externally silent, but speak all the more internally with your imagination, with outbursts of temper, with so many castles in the air … Get rid of this ivy! If you must converse, do it with great simplicity and preserve your heart recollected in God. Don?t dream of doing harsh penances when your heart isn?t yet penitent. Don?t be negligent and sloppy about your clothing, but be modest and simple. Don?t disguise your egotism with the tinsel of piety, but be charitable and good to all.
I want from you a gentle, sincere, profound, simple virtue, without ostentation, without vanity, without exaggeration … So many times you dream of martyrdom when you are not capable of benefiting from the daily contrariness which you find in your family!
THE SOUL: O my good Mother, how many miseries do you not make me discover in my heart? It?s true, I?m so fanciful that I believe myself to be immediately a saint, when I?m so poor in virtues … Give me a little humility so that the parasites don?t attach themselves to the humble and hidden little plants, but to the high trunks … Make my poor heart simple so that I may live only for God.
ASPIRATION: O Mary, free my heart from false virtue. O Jesus, forgive the sins that I don?t see in myself!
LITTLE WORK: If you want to do an act of virtue and realize that it would make you pleasant in the eyes of others, put off doing it to another time, if possible, when no one will see you and praise you.
About the Meditations
The daily School of Mary meditations come from the book, A Month with Mary, written by a holy Italian priest Father Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970). Originally written as spiritual thoughts to his spiritual daughter, the work is comprised of thirty-one meditations for the month of May.
Father Dolindo wrote A Month with Mary on pocket-sized pages joined into small fascicles of 8 to 12 pages. He sent them to Laura de Rosis every two to three days and later transcribed them with some modifications in volume III of his autobiography: The Story of My Life in the Plan of the Great Mercy of God, pp. 1140ff (cf. Epistolario 1:212n, 218n). This work is from 1912: one of those years which passed in the life of Father Dolindo with the cadence of a ?Way of the Cross? ? But he, serene as ever, loved Christ the more, loved Our Lady the more and reflected on this love in these few pages to which he wished to give the significant title: A Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary. These meditations are written in the style of the Imitation of Christ. (90pp. laminated gloss, saddle stitch)