Monday, January 14, 2008

Self Annihilation V

(Image: Man praying outside the Holy Father's Residence after his death was announced)

"What does God ask of us, when He commands us to annilhilate ourselves and to renounce ourselves? He asks of us to do ourselves justice, to put ourselves in our proper place and to acknowledge ourselves otherwise for what we really are. Even if we had been born and had always lived in a state of innocence, even if we had never lost original grace, we should still be nothing else but utter nothingness from our very nature; we could not look upon ourselves otherwise without making a great mistake; and we should be unjust if we expected God or men to look upon us in any other light. What rights can a thing have that is nothing? What can a thing require that is nothing? If his very existence is a free gift, certainly everything else he has is much more so. It is then a formal injustice on our part to refuse to be treated, or to refuse to treat ourselves, as if we were really nothing.....if we could mould our conduct upon this {avowal of nothingness} and allow God to exersise over us all the rights which belong to Him; if we freely consent that He shall dispose of us as He pleases, of our mind, our heart, and our whole being, it will cost us a great deal, and we shall even find a difficulty in not saying that it is injustice. Therefore, God has pity on our weakness; He does not make use of His rights in all their severity, and He never puts us to certain annilhilating trails without first having obtained our free consent."

~Manual for Interior Souls by Fr. Grou. 3rd Ed. St. Anselm's Society, London. 1905.

It seems to me that annihilation of self is a sort of "super truth", the height, or a rather advanced humility. We acknowledge ourselves before God and our fellow man to be nothing. One prayer I try to offer frequently goes something like this: "God, give me to know now and always that I am nothing, truly the least of all" When prayed in the spirit of love of God and wishing to know Him and serve Him, I have found this prayer to be one of the most satisfying. I often find my soul granted some degree of consolation from this prayer. God lowers Himself down to the soul who abases herself before Him who is Almighty.

No comments: