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Holy Stratagem! # 1: To Surrender Oneself




Welcome to our new series, "Holy Stratagem!". This will be a weekly series on the spiritual strategies given us by God to make us holy through: His sacred scripture, His Sacred Tradition or through His Holy Saints. 

Holy Stratagem! # 1: Surrender to God
Surrender to God is the first strategy. Surrender comes first in all the major philosophies about giving oneself over to God: The parable of the rich young ruler is about surrender to God in lieu of other "riches", Step One of the twelves steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is admitting our powerlessness over our lives (surrender) and today, this blogs patroness, St. Thérèse Couderc, teaches us a lesson about surrender. 
The surrendered soul has found paradise on earth, since she enjoys that sweet peace which is part of the happiness of the elect. 
Her words:

I was preparing to begin my meditation, when I heard the pealing of the church bells calling the faithful to attend the divine Mysteries. At that moment the desire came over me to unite myself with all the masses which were being said, and to that end I directed my intention so that I might participate in them.

Then I had an overall view of the whole Catholic world and a multitude of altars upon which at one and the same time the adorable Victim was being immolated. The blood of the Lamb without stain was flowing abundantly over every one of these altars, which seemed to be surrounded by a light cloud of smoke ascending toward heaven. My soul was seized and penetrated with a feeling of love and gratitude on beholding this most abundant satisfaction that Our Lord was offering for us.

But I was also greatly astonished that the whole world was not sanctified by it. I asked how it could be that the sacrifice of the Cross having been offered only once was sufficient to redeem all souls, while now being renewed so often it was not sufficient to sanctify them all.

This is the answer I thought I heard: The sacrifice is without any doubt sufficient by itself, and the Blood of Jesus Christ more than sufficient for the sanctification of a million worlds, but souls fail to correspond, they are not generous enough. Now the great means by which one may enter into the path of perfection and of holiness is to surrender oneself to our good God.

But what does it mean to surrender oneself? 

I understand the full extent of the expression to surrender oneself, but I cannot explain it. I only know that it is very vast, that it embraces both the present and the future.

To surrender oneself is more than to devote oneself, more than to give oneself, it is even something more than to abandon oneself to God. In a word, to surrender oneself is to die to everything and to self, to be no longer concerned with self except to keep it continually turned toward God.

To surrender oneself is, moreover, no longer to seek oneself in anything, either for the spiritual or the physical, that is to say, no longer to seek one's own satisfaction, but solely the divine good pleasure.

It should be added that to surrender oneself is also to follow that spirit of detachment which clings to nothing, neither to persons nor to things, neither to time nor to place. It means to adhere to everything, to accept everything, to submit to everything.

But perhaps you will think that this is very difficult to do. Do not let yourself be deceived. There is nothing so easy to do, nothing so sweet to put into practice. The whole thing consists in making a generous act once and for all, saying with all the sincerity of your soul: "My God, I wish to be entirely thine; deign to accept my offering." And all is said. But from then on, you must take care to keep yourself in this disposition of soul and not to shrink from any of the little sacrifices which can help you advance in virtue. You must always remember that you have surrendered yourself.

I pray to our Lord to give an understanding of this word to all souls desirous of pleasing him and to inspire them to take advantage of so easy a means of sanctification. Oh! If people could just understand ahead of time the sweetness and peace that are savored when nothing is held back from the good God! How he communicates himself to the one who seeks him sincerely and has known how to surrender herself. Let them experience it and they will see that here is found the true happiness they are vainly seeking elsewhere.

The surrendered soul has found paradise on earth, since she enjoys that sweet peace which is part of the happiness of the elect.

Saint Thérèse Couderc
June 26, 1864

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