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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Trusting vs.Triumphalism III

Not infrequently we hear people who are beset by difficulties say in a flippant sort of way: "Why worry?" That is a sheer materialistic and egotistic conception of the doctrine we are here considering. The animating principle of this doctrine is a trustful self-abandonment to Providence. If this trustful self-abandonment is no longer present, as in such recipes for life as that "why worry?" then nothing is left but a body without a soul, a formula of no greater value than the moral energy of the person who utters it. When one has departed from this way of salvation, all that is left of the noblest maxims on life is a dead formula that will serve as an excuse for anything. Yet to all is offered the light of life in the Gospel. The consecrated host elevated every morning on our altars is offered up for all, and all can unite themselves with this oblation. In place of that confidence in God which should accompany our daily task, for us to substitute an arrogant assurance based on purely human calculations is a tremendous misfortune. Man then sets himself up in the place of God; he destroys the theological virtues within him. He is poles asunder from the doctrine we are considering here, which is pre-eminently that of life.

Garrigou-Lagrange states the problem of pride in the clearest of terms. Those who are "flippant" have fallen into a "materialistic" and "egotistic" idea of Providence.  One must abandon self. Garrigou-Lagrange highly recommends daily Mass, with the Catholic uniting himself to the Sacrifice of the Mass, in which Christ joins His suffering with us.

Confidence in God is not confidence either in fantasy or in one's own strength. The key here is detachment for things, people, events. As one separates one's self from the world, one becomes more and more in union with Christ. 

This profound teaching was expressed with remarkable clearness by a seventeenth century Dominican, Pere Chardon, in his book, La Croix de Jesus. [97] He points out that the divine action, in gradually detaching us from all that is not God, sometimes in most painful ways, tends by that very detachment to unite us more and more closely to Him. Loss is thus turned into gain. As grace increases within us, it becomes at once a source of separation and of union; the progressive separation is simply the reverse side of the union. 

Here is a prayer from St. Augustine, an anonymous prayer, which Garrigou-Lagrange shares with us:

O my God, I leave myself entirely in Thy hands. Turn and turn again this mass of clay, as a vessel that is fashioned in the potter's hand (Jer. 18: 6). Give it a shape; then break it if Thou wilt: it is Thine, it has nothing to say. Enough for me that it serves all Thy designs and that nothing resists Thy good pleasure for which I was made. Ask, command. What wouldst Thou have me to do? What wouldst Thou have me not to do? Lifted up, cast down, in persecution, in consolation, in suffering, intent upon Thy work, good for nothing, I can do no more than repeat with Thy holy Mother: "Be it done unto me according to Thy word."

Give me that love which is beyond all loves, the love of the cross—not those heroic crosses with a glory that might foster self-love, but those ordinary crosses which we bear with so much distaste—those daily crosses with which our life is strewn and which at every moment we encounter on our way through life: contradictions, neglect, failures, opposition, false judgments, the coldness or impulsiveness of some, the rebuffs or contempt of others, bodily infirmities, spiritual darkness, silence and interior dryness. Only then wilt Thou know that I love Thee, even though I neither know nor feel it myself; and that is enough for me.

Again, persecution may makes us all saints.

This is truly holiness of a high order. Were there but a few such moments of great affliction in our lives, we should then have reached the topmost heights and have come very nigh to God. Now every moment God is inviting us to live this way and lose ourselves in Him. Especially at such moments as these it can be truly said: "The Lord leadeth the. just by right ways and showeth him the kingdom of God" (Wis. 10: 10).

more later.....