Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Annihilation of Self IX

Alessandro Botticelli. Calumny of Apelles. c.1494-1495. Tempera on panel. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy

Topic ~ Pride, the opposite of self annihilation.

"In all contempt we may have to suffer, in all calumnies and humiliations, the thing which really hurts us and really makes them hard to bear is our own pride; it is because we wish to be esteemed and considered, and treated with a certain respect, and that we do not at all like the idea of being treated with ridicule and contempt by others. This is what really agitates us, and makes us indignant, and renders our life bitter and insupportable. Let us set seriously to work to annilhilate ourselves, let us give no food to pride, let us put away from us all the first movements of self-esteem and self-love, and let us accept patiently and joyfully, in the depth of our soul, all the little mortifications which are offered to us. Little by little we shall come not to care in the very least about what is thought of us or said of us, or how we are treated. A person who is dead feels nothing; for him there is no more honour or reputation; praise and blame to him are equal."

"In the service of God, the cause of most of the trouble we experience is that we do not annihilate ourselves sufficiently in His Divine presence; it is because we have a sort of life which we try to preserve in all our dealings with Him; it is because we allow a secret pride to insinuate itself into our devotion. Hence it comes that we are not indifferent, as we ought to be, as to whether we are in dryness or in consolation; that we are very unhappy when God seems to withdraw from us, that we exhaust ourselves in desires and efforts to call Him back to us, and fall into the most wretched depression and desolation if His absence lasts a long time."

"From this cause too preceeds all our false alarms about the state of our souls. We think God must be angry with us because He deprives us of the sweetness of sensible devotion. We think our Communions have been bad because we have made them without relish; the same with our spiritual reading, our prayer, all our other practices of piety."

"Let us serve God, once for all, in the spirit of annihilation; let us serve Him for Himself alone, not for ourselves; let us sacrifice our own interests for His glory and His good pleasure; then we shall always be quite contented with the way in which He treats us, being persuaded that we deserve nothing, and that He is too good, I do not say to accept, but to permit our services."

(Source: Manual for Interior Souls by Fr. Grou. 3rd Ed. St. Anselm's Society, London. 1905.)

Truly a radical thought by todays standards in our "self-esteem" culture. We have truly become and perverse and most wretched generation, a people too distracted and caught up in ourselves that we do not see God's will in most things. We must strive always and in all things to deny ourselves, become dead to ourselves so that we may serve God, know Him and love Him as we ought. Amen+

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