Live + Jesus!
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” St. Paul, Galatians 2:20
Most friends of a Visitation Monastery have seen, on documents or correspondence or liturgical programs, the Visitation motto, usually written as Live + Jesus! This motto comes from the words of our Holy Founder, St. Francis de Sales. In the dedicatory prayer to his classic book Introduction to the Devout Life he asked God that
…I may forever sing as a canticle of triumph words that with my whole heart I utter in witness of fidelity amid the hazards of this mortal life:
LIVE, JESUS! LIVE, JESUS!
Yes, Lord Jesus, live and reign in our hearts forever and ever. Amen.
At a later point in the Introduction he advises his reader:
“I have wished above all else to engrave and inscribe on your heart this holy and sacred motto, ‘Live, Jesus!’ I am certain that your life, which comes from the heart just as the almond tree comes from its seed, will thereafter produce all its actions – which are its fruits – inscribed and engraved with this sacred word of salvation. As our beloved Jesus lives in your heart, so too will he live in all your conduct and he will be revealed by your eyes, mouth, hands, yes even the hair on your head. With St. Paul you can say these holy words, ‘It is no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me.’
De Sales put this at the top of all of his own correspondence, using the abbreviation V.+J. for the French words we translate into English as Live Jesus, with the cross in between to remind us of Calvary, the most vivid display of Jesus’ love for us. Our Holy Founder hoped that this reminder of God’s love would encourage us to give our lives to Jesus, that he might live in us.
All those called to the Visitandine way of life are called to live these words in all our thoughts, words and actions. The first sentence of our Spiritual Directory, part of our rule of life, encourages each Sister to “Let their whole life and exercises tend to unite them with God.”
Quotes from Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales, trans. John K. Ryan, Image Books, 1989.
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