Sunday, January 20, 2008

Self Annihilation VII

On the Annilhilation of Self

(Topic: More on how we are to deal with offenses to self.)

"If we were always to look upon things thus, only as they regard God's side of the question, and not ours, we should not be so easily wounded, so sensitive, so given to complaining and getting angry. All our disturbances come from thinking ourselves to be something of importance and assuming rights which we do not possess, and because we will always, and in all things, begin by considering ourselves directly, and will not attend to the rights and interests of God, which alone are offended in our persons. "

"I confess that this {annihilation of self} is a very difficult practice, and that to attain to it we must be dead to ourselves. But indeed it is a just thing, and reason has nothing to oppose it. For God requires of us nothing but what is reasonable when He requires of us that we should behave to Him and to our neighbour as if we were nothing, had nothing, and expected nothing."

"This would be quite just, as I have already said, even if we had preserved our first innocence. But if we were born in original sin, if we have stained ourselves over and over again with actual sins, if we have contracted innumerable debts against Divine justice, if we have deserved, I know not how many times, eternal damnation - is it not a chastisement far too mild for us to be treated as if we were nothing, and is not a sinner infinately beneath that which is nothing? Whatever trail he may suffer from God, whatever ill-treatment he may have to bear from his neighbour, has he any right to complain? Can he accuse God of severity, or man of injustice? Ought he not to think himself too happy to be able to save himself from eternal torments by patiently bearing these small temporal trials? If religion is not a delusion altogether, if what faith teaches us about sin and the punishments it incurs is really true, how can a sinner whom God wishes to pardon dare to think that he does not deserve whatever he may have to endure here below, even if his life were to last for millions of ages? Yes, it is a sovereign injustice, it is a montrous ingratitude, for any one who has offended God - and which of us has not offended Him? - not to accept with a good heart and most thankfully, which love and zeal for the interests of God, all that it may please the Divine Goodness to send him in the way of sufferings and humiliations."

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

If we are to learn anything from the above excerpt, we have no reason whatsoever to ever be offended by what anyone says or does. We are nothing, so what is that nothing requires? When our fellow men sin against us, let us make prayers of reparation and sacrifices to appease God, who alone has the right to be offended. Amen+

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