Catholic Candle note: Here is an article by one of the Catholic Candle Team, and is intended to be the first in a series of reflections.
Objective Truth Series—reflections article #1
journey of the soul is God’s work. As St. Thomas Aquinas says—first God chooses a soul, then He loves that soul, and then He makes the soul worthy of His Love by giving the soul grace. Then truly are the saints called the Elect of God. It is not that one cannot want to be a saint; it is rather that the “wanting” to be a saint is ultimately an inspiration coming from God. When one has this way of seeing things, then one can understand why Our Lord says, “Without Me, you can do nothing.” St. Paul says, “All things work together unto the good for those who love God.” Romans, 8:28. Yet we must realize that we do nothing without God, even the act of loving God, cannot be done without God inspiring it.
With this perspective, the seed of humility that God plants in the soul sprouts when God deems fit. Further with this perspective, one becomes more objective in his way of looking at things and therefore he becomes more God-like. In addition, this removes any frustration a person may have that stems from pride where a person feels that the spiritual life is a competition with other souls. When reading the life of a particular saint, one says in himself, “Oh, that’s all very nice, but I can never be like that.” With an objective perspective, one sees readily that the particular saint is the handiwork of God because a saint is the product of God’s choosing. The frustration is removed and a humble appreciation begins, and one only finds himself amazed and praising God’s Infinite Goodness. God is at the same time filling the reader who reads the life of the saint with a great love and desire to be a saint too. God is giving the reader a lesson in the school of sanctity as well. Clearly God works in His Wisdom on many levels and one can more readily see how what St. Paul says, “All things work together unto the good for those who love God,” is true. God draws good from all things as only His Wisdom can do. The proud man cannot understand this. However, the soul in which God sows the seed of humility, and which He sculpts, is drawn by Him to understand the objective view more and more. Thus, this sculptured soul appreciates more and more the Work of God. Likewise, one sees how God is a gentle Sculptor and develops virtues over time. In addition to this truth, one will see that if one has pain when God cuts away one’s vices, this is because he is resisting God’s work. All the more one sees that God is patient with souls. Furthermore, one sees that when God is inspiring him to try to help other souls, then one must be gentle and patiently wait for results over time. He must remember that he is only an unworthy “instrument” in God’s Hands and that God is the One doing the work. One must remember that the pen doesn’t take control over the task of writing. He must remind himself that conversion is God’s work. He must keep an objective view of the situation. Otherwise he will be tempted to boast. St. Paul reminds us, “What do you have that you have not received? Then why do you boast as if you have not received it?” One must not boast even internally. These reminders detach one from pride, show the work God is doing through His poor instruments, and are a healthy buffer and protection against vain-glory and self-complacence. St. Paul also says that he passed on what he received. All Catholics must think this way too. It is much like a relay runner passing on the baton to the next team member. What one passes on doesn’t belong to him as the ideas didn’t come from him, but only from God. Having this objective view is a great gift from God, and one must acknowledge it as a gift, and indeed, thank God for the objective view.
“Without Me, you can do nothing.” Our Lord says. Thus no one can take any real credit for any good that he does. To become a saint is truly God’s work. When God puts this desire in a soul, then that soul must tremble with the fear that he might abandon God. He prays to God to help him cooperate with the inspiration and is fully aware that he is in God’s Hands and that God is in charge of his soul and taking care of him. How truly delightful it is to know that God is the loving Father and Sculptor of Souls!
Unfortunately, fallen human nature forgets God is in charge and that one does not make himself a saint. When one is tempted by the pride of fallen human nature to think that somehow, he is making himself a saint, then he could ponder the following words:
Oh nothingness! How can I think I’m “somethingness”?
God is almighty, God is all-knowing.
These truths were taught me as a child,
Then how can my thoughts be so wild?
As to think I can say or do anything good,
Without God, nothing positive, possibly would. [exist]
Oh wretchedness! In this evil only is my “somethingness”
Or rather simply my “negativeness”.
How can I expect eternal bliss?
Oh, save me dear Lord from my twisted thought!
Help me cooperate with all Thou hast wrought.
You strive to sculpt me in Thine Own Way,
Why do I foolishly fight against Thee each day?
Pray, dear reader, that you be a docile piece for the Divine Sculptor, to be humbly sculptured in His Way and in His time frame!