What does it mean to live for God alone? “Prefer nothing to the love of Christ”; “My God and my all”; “God alone suffices”—these statements from the saints express the single desire that unified their hearts and gave direction to their lives. “God alone” was the constant theme of Saint Rafael Arnaiz (1911–1938), the expression of the search for God that informs any monastic vocation. Saint Rafael was profoundly and thoroughly a monk, even though ill health repeatedly forced him to leave the monastery, and he was never formally professed. With his single-hearted love for Christ and for the Blessed Virgin, he faithfully walked a path of trials and suffering that matured his faith, sharpened his longing, taught him to wait and to hope in God, and opened his heart to love. To Live for God Alone invites the reader into the compelling story of Rafael’s personal journey and into his penetrating insight into the cross and the Christian vocation.
Fr. Mark O'Keefe, OSB, a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, is professor of moral theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, where he served as president-rector from 1996 to 2008. He is also currently resident chaplain for Carmelite nuns in Terre Haute, Indiana. His most recent books are Learned, Experienced, and Discerning: St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross on Spiritual Direction (Liturgical Press, 2020) and In Context: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Their World (ICS, 2020).
Sr. María Gonzalo-García, OCSO, is the novice director at the Trappist-Cistercian monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Crozet, Virginia. She is originally from Madrid, Spain, where she completed degrees in social work and theology. She has benefited from Saint Rafael Arnaiz´s spiritual message since the beginning of her monastic journey. She is the editor of the English translation of Saint Rafael Arnaiz´s Collected Works (Cistercian Publications and Liturgical Press, 2022).