Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bold Determination

 "Have great confidence, for it is necessary not to hold back one's desires, but to believe in God that if we try, we shall little by little, even though it may not be soon, reach the state the saints did with His help. For if they had never determined to desire and seek this state little by little in practice, they would never have mounted so high."One of Saint Teresa's greatest attributes was her bold determination. In her book of Life, she had mentioned an event of how the nuns were excusing themselves by using the famous phrase, "we are only human." Teresa was moved to annoyance and retorted back with the words, "Yes, but with God's help, we can be Saints!" I think one of the great Saints' secrets is this boldness, which almost can be mistaken for pride. When St. Therese expressed the same desire for wanting to become a Saint to her confessor, she was told to rein in her desire and mortify her pride. But Therese defended her statement by bringing to mind the words of Jesus to His disciples, "Be holy for your Father is holy." "Jesus would not command the impossible," reasoned Therese.The first thing we should have before we can even approach God is the desire for God. It is obvious that we are nothing but dust compared to the greatness of God. But it is equally true that he has called us to union with Him. Aspiring to mount high is reasonable because that is God's will for us all. Keeping our eyes on the goal and working towards it fully aware of our limitations, we will not be so gravely depressed when we find ourselves constantly falling. God is satisfied with our good desires. He is content with our determination to obey His will. By His grace, our sanctification will happen according to the way, the time and circumstances He ordains. Discouragement is the real enemy of holiness and the most telling sign of spiritual pride. We all want to be saints in a day. We think we are humble if we feel bad and upset that we have not grown in virtues. St. John of the Cross dealt extensively with this in his chapter on the imperfections of beginners in his book of the Dark Night, Book One, pages 360-365 (Collected Works, Kieran & Kavanaugh). It goes so totally different from our own understanding of what true holiness is. So let us continue the journey in peace and determination to reach the goal that God had set for us.

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