Sunday, January 6, 2013

Unveiling our attachments

The Way of Interior Peace, Fr. DeLehen 1888

Excerpt from the chapter: Total Surrender of Self to God

"It would indeed be impossible to enumerate the peculiar and special sacrifices that God may require of a soul. They are varied as men themselves. Every soul has its own, in accordance with what God wills to divest us, since we know not what we cling. Each is held by innumerable ties whose existence he himself would never guess. We realize how closely we clung to them only when God takes them from us.

The renunciation that God requires of us is not generally what we ourselves, perhaps, thought. God surprises us in the most unexpected manner; in trifles it may be, but trifles that wound self-love most sensibly, and inflict upon it a true martyrdom. Great, heroic acts of virtue would flatter pride. But to rejoice at insignificant and repeated sacrifices calls for more self-abnegation, more mortification, than would do many great ones; and this cheerful pliancy in little things is precisely what God exacts of us. He allows the soul no rest. He twists and turns her on all sides, until He has made her perfectly pliant and flexible.

You must bear from others and from yourself all possible annoyances. You have spoken too freely, or you have forgotten to say what was most necessary; you are praised, censured, forgotten, elevated to the first rank, then deposed; you are judged falsely, and you cannot justify yourself; you have spoken to your own advantage; a trifle perplexes you, renders you irresolute, throws you off of your guard; and you grow angry like a little child, and you give open expression to your vexation etc…There are a host of others, which God in His wisdom will mete to each one as seems good to Him…

This greatly afflicts a conscientious soul, and she laments over it. To calm her, one must reminder her that good and bad depend entirely on the will. As long as such emotions of self-seeking are involuntary, they do not derogate from the perfection of self-renunciation, do not make us displeasing to God. They, on the contrary, who in spite of their sincere piety are not quite dead to the pleasant things of life, to a good name, to the sweetness of friendship, still seek self a little in these things; not blindly and impetuously, to be sure, but occasionally, and so to say, in a passing way. This is proved by their chagrin, their deep affliction when threatened with the loss of these things. We cling to self without knowing it. Only a blow at it discovers to us the depth of our heart and forces us to make a sacrifice. The moderate use of temporal blessings secures to us as direct a step toward self-renunciation as a loss borne peacefully.”