Gabrielle Bossis (1874-1950) was a French woman who belonged to the French nobility and who was known throughout her life as an actress, a writer and a mystic. In 1936, she received an invitation from Jesus to write down the contents of their intimate conversations which had been occurring for many years. He wanted her to publish them in a book for the world to see. This very same book has become on one of the most important Catholic mystic books of our time.
On November 13th 1947 the “Voice” told her: “You are all so ignorant of the power of your God. Are you afraid to know Him, you who seek Him so little. And yet, the joy of your soul lies in constant communion with your Creator and Savior. Abandon yourselves to God no matter what He does. (…) Come to Him eagerly, My Child, since He has the answers to all your needs: of tenderness, rest and intelligence…”. On November 20th, the Voice said “if you feel poor, hold out your hand to Me. And it is My heart in your heart that will love.” On June 19th, He whispered “Seek every means of coming close to Me, Gabrielle, not just once a day, but at every moment. You understand? May your life be mine – uninterruptedly Mine. You breathe, don’t you? Then there I am in your very breathing. Breathe with My breathing. Always. It’s so simple. And this will be power in you”. To another saint, Jesus said, “If you’ll make of yourself a capacity, I’ll make of myself a torrent.”
This is the secret to possessing God. The first Beatitude reminds us that the poor in spirit will win God’s love; multiple times throughout history, the Lord has made it obvious that a poor and humble heart is an invitation to which He cannot say “no.” This is the secret of holiness. We don’t become saints out of an effort to be virtuous. We could even twist virtues to make them become an arrogant tool to boast in front of God. Rather, we become holy to the extent that we enter into a relationship with the Holy One. To be in a relationship with Him means to allow ourselves to be penetrated by Him, where we experience God starting to press in more and more, attracted as He is by our emptiness. Within this intimate union, He attracts us to Himself more and more, with bonds of love, so that we can give of ourselves without reservation. We can almost say that God’s poverty is reflected in the very nature of His relationship with us: He who can do everything cannot have us unless we will it. This is why the only way He has to attract us to Himself is to constantly offer to us the richness of His love.
How paradoxical it is to see how blind we are; we consider success, money, and pleasure the true richness of life, instead of believing in the richness of God’s love, which is scattered throughout our daily lives and waits to be noticed and harvested. Jesus in the Gospel often points out a path for us to see this richness, that of becoming like little children. It is truly a disposition of the heart that we are called to acquire, since the kingdom of God belongs to the childlike. What does it mean to become like children again? It means accepting dependency on God Himself. It means “losing one’s life.” It means accepting the fact that we do not have control over everything that we do and want, like a child who has to go where his parents lead him and do the things he is told. It also means having a solid confidence and faith that everything God allows is for our good, like children who trust that their parents love them and run to them when things get hard. We become like children when we allow God to love us despite our mistakes, which are often big and embarrassing. Aren’t children confident they’ll be forgiven when they go back to their parents saying “I’m sorry”? And we also show that we are childlike when we accept that there is always going to be someone who is better than us at doing this or that, letting go of the the envy that could eat us from the inside, certain that what is important in life is being surrounded by and breathing the love of those who love us.
If this is going to be our disposition towards God, then we’ll experience that He is everything for us: all the tenderness, all the mercy, all the Providence that we need, certain that we possess the entire universe for as long as He is with us and in us. To become poor and little like children has to be our plan for life, our recipe to real success. Jesus reminds us that the door to enter heaven is narrow and small: it is child-size. If we realize that we’re still “too big,” “too adult” to enter through this small door, Jesus offers a suggestion: that we get down on our knees, so we can see reality from the proper height, thus understanding the mysteries that God has prepared for us and our happiness for eternity.
I will practice the attitude of the poor in spirit: trust in a situation that I can’t control and confidence in God’s merciful love.