ST. JOSEMARIA ON THE “VIRTUES” OF A DONKEY. Summary vid + full text.

I went out for a jog two days ago at the outskirts of the conference center where I am doing my annual seminar in the northern part of Spain, characterized by its beautiful mountains with its vibrant verdure. As I headed back, I passed by a small farm with some sheep and a young donkey which, upon seeing me, started to approach the fence, perhaps thinking that I was about to give him something to eat. I caressed the little donkey, which luckily wasn’t scared and seemed to enjoy the light pats on its forehead. As I was leaving, it followed me along the fence, as if telling me not to go yet. Then I took some shots and recalled some spiritual considerations made by St. Josemaria on this noble, hard-working and cheerful animal which God chose to be his throne.

Below you have some of the St. Josemaria’s spiritual quotes on the “virtues” of the donkey which I hope would help you as well as they did to a lot of people. Happy meditation and God bless!

“See how humble Jesus is: a donkey was his throne in Jerusalem!” The Way, 606

Try to remember what a donkey is like — now that so few of them are left. Not an old, stubborn, vicious one that would give you a kick when you least expected, but a young one with his ears up like antennae. He lives on a meagre diet, is hardworking and has a quick, cheerful trot. There are hundreds of animals more beautiful, more deft and strong. But it was a donkey Christ chose when he presented himself to the people as king in response to their acclamation. For Jesus has no time for calculations, for astuteness, for the cruelty of cold hearts, for attractive but empty beauty. What he likes is the cheerfulness of a young heart, a simple step, a natural voice, clean eyes, attention to his affectionate word of advice. That is how he reigns in the soul. Christ is Passing By, 181

Oh blessed perseverance of the donkey that turns the water-wheel! Always the same pace. Always the same circles. One day after another: everyday the same. Without that, there would be no ripeness in the fruit, nor blossom in the orchard, nor scent of flowers in the garden. Carry this thought to your interior life. The Way, 998

My child, my little donkey: if the Lord, with Love, has washed your grimy back, so accustomed to the muck, and has laid a satin harness on you, and covered you with dazzling jewels, don’t forget, poor donkey, that with your faults you could throw that beautiful load on to the ground… But on your own you couldn’t put it back on again. The Forge, 330

I understood you very well when you ended up saying: “Quite honestly, I haven’t even made the grade of being a donkey — the donkey that was the throne of Jesus when he entered Jerusalem. I’m just part of a disgusting heap of dirty tatters that the poorest rag-picker would ignore.” But I told you: all the same, God has chosen you and wants you to be his instrument. So your wretchedness — which is a genuine fact — should turn into one more reason for you to be thankful to God for calling you.

The Forge, 607

Would that you could acquire, as I know you would like to, the virtues of the donkey! Donkeys are humble, hard—working, persevering — stubborn! — and faithful, with a sure step, tough and — if they have a good master — also grateful and obedient.

Continue thinking about the donkey’s good qualities and notice how in order to do anything worthwhile, it has to allow itself to be ruled by the will of whoever is leading it… On its own the donkey would only… make an ass of itself. Probably the brightest thing that would occur to it to do would be to roll over on the ground, trot to the manger and start braying.

“Dear Jesus”, you too should say to him, “ut iumentum factus sum apud te! — you have made me be your little donkey. Please don’t leave me: et ego semper tecum! — and I will stay with you always. Lead me, tightly harnessed by your grace: Tenuisti manum dexteram meam… — you have led me by the halter; et in voluntate tua deduxisti me…— make me do your Will. And so I will love you for ever and ever — et cum gloria suscepisti me! ”.
Forge 380-381

Cf. Psalmi 72:23-25 (Vulg)


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