“Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a man deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost…….
Despair is the ultimate development of pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny by ourselves
But a man who is truly humble cannot despair, because in the humble man there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.”
Thomas Merton pg 185 New Seeds of contemplation
With the impression that all would go better, we would like the things around us to change, that the circumstances would change. But this is often an error. It is not the exterior circumstances that must change; it is above all our hearts that must change. They must be purified of their withdrawal into themselves, of their sadness, of their lack of hope…
Happy are those whose hearts are purified by faith and hope, who bring to their lives a view animated by the certitude that, beyond appearances to the contrary,, God is present, providing for their essential needs and that they lack nothing. If they have that faith, they will indeed see God: they will experience that presence of God which will accompany them and guide them. They will see that many of the circumstances that they thought negative and damaging to their spiritual life are, in fact, in God’s pedagogy, powerful means for helping them to progress and grow.
Father Jacques Philppe
Amen to that—this really speaks to me!
God can, in fact, use His saints’ failures to strengthen their faith, which , like a tree, stands stronger for the shaking. [William Gurnall]
God is so good in the ways he teaches us–he uses all kinds of things. This week a friend shared the fact above about the trees. I had never heard about this before. What happened this morning!!!— I read the above quote in a book I read with my devotions. It also tied in perfectly with Father Sam’s sermon.
God is good!
“Love is a strong force — a great good in every way; it alone can make our burdens light, and alone it bears in equal balance what is pleasing and displeasing. It carries a burden and does not feel it; it makes all that is bitter taste sweet. … Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing higher, nothing stronger, nothing larger, nothing more joyful, nothing fuller, nothing better in heaven or on earth; for love is born of God and can find its rest only in God above all He has created. Such lovers fly high, run swiftly and rejoice. Their souls are free; they give all for all and have all in all. For they rest in One supreme Goodness above all things, from Whom all other good flows and proceeds. They look not only at the gifts, but at the Giver, Who is above all gifts.”— Thomas à Kempis, p. 108
The ever renewed mission of the Spirt to the soul that is in the grace of Christ is to be understood by the analogy of the natural breath that keeps renewing, from moment to moment, our bodily life. The mystery of the Spirit is the mystery of selfless love, and we give Him to others in the outgoing of our own charity. Our life in Christ is then a life both of receiving and of giving . We receive from God, in the Spirit, and in the same Spirit we return our love to God through our brothers.
pg 162 New Seeds of Contemplation—Thomas Merton