Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The School of Love, February 10


[Continued from yesterday]

...Thus is this almost infinite craving an essential characteristic of sanctity; without it a man would not rise above this world, with it he becomes the greatest among men.

It has two necessary consequences; it explains that paradox, that consciousness at once of success and failure, which seems to run through the lives of all the saints, and indeed of all who, though not saints, never­theless aspire after sanctity.

Their cravings make them do greater things than it is given to less hungry hearts to do; these same crav­ings make them dissatisfied with all that they have done, so that in the end they can only cry out: "I am a useless servant!"

The humility of the saint, such a contradiction to those who look on from the outside, is no contradiction in itself; it is only a recognition of the vast difference between all that he accomplishes and the glorious ideal which he has before him. Let us look at this a little more closely, for it touches perhaps the darkest spot in the lives of many.

It is of the essence of growth of any kind to become disillusioned. A child is delighted with its toys; it grows, and immediately dis­cards them; it has been disillusioned. A boy or girl revels in a certain kind of story; they grow, and tend to pity those who under­stand no more. A youth is keen to excel in sport or games; he grows, and only the battlefield or the government of men will satisfy him. And with the spiritual-minded man it is the same.

He may have revelled in the enjoyment of this life, and even for a time have found it sufficient. But one day he begins to grow. He discovers there are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in this world's philosophy. His knowledge of the more and greater things creates some disgust for the little things around him with which, nevertheless, so long as he lives, his life must be filled up. He is a little disillusioned, exactly as the child, the boy, the youth; and the consequent sense of disappointment, or failure, he may easily take for more than he should....
[continued tomorrow]
From The School of Love and Other Essays
by The Most Reverend Alban Goodier, S.J.
Burns, Oates, & Washburn, Ltd. 1918

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