Ave Maria Meditations
|How the Last Are First Going to the church door, a man met a beggar there. He was in a miserable plight, his feet covered with mud and all his tattered clothes not worth three pennies.The man said: “Good day, my friend.” The beggar: “I never remember to have had a bad day my whole life long.”The man: “May God grant you prosperity.” The beggar: “I never have known adversity.”
The man: ‘Well, then, may God make thee happy.” The beggar: “I have never been unhappy.”
The man: “At any rate, may God save you. And I beg you to speak more plainly to me, for I do not catch your meaning.”
The beggar: “You did bid me good day and I answered that I have never had a bad one. In fact, when I am hungry, I praise God; when I am cold, or it hails, or snows, or rains, if the air is clear or foggy, I praise God. If I am favored by men or despised, I praise him equally. And all this is why I have never known a bad day. You did wish me prosperity, and I answered that I have never known adversity,for I have learned to live with God, and I am certain that all that he does can be nothing but good.
Therefore, all that happens to me that is pleasing, or the contrary – sweet or bitter – I receive from him as being very good for me. Thus I have never been in adversity. You have wished me happiness, and I answered that I have never been unhappy, for I have resolved to fix my affections only on the divine will. Hence it comes that I desire only what God desires!”
The Man: “But what would you say if God would will to cast you into hell?”
The beggar: “God cast me into hell? If he did it, I would embrace him with my two arms. With the arm of humility I would embrace his sacred humanity, and with the arm of love I would embrace his divinity, and I would thus force him to descend with me into hell. For hell with him would be more happy than heaven without him.”
Fr. John Tauler OP.