Short reflection 1/15/2012

It seems that the spiritual life is as often about what we don’t do as about what we do. Sanctity seems to be, when we consider that all goodness comes from God, who is Goodness Himself, mostly about not getting in the way.  We must not place obstacles in the path He wants to work through us. Better to have said “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30) than to hear it said to us “Get behind me, for you are a hindrance to Me” (Matt 16:23)

“I must decrease, but He must increase” is not a negative view of humanity, but rather a true understanding that it was created in His image and likeness.  The “I” that must decrease is not the whole “I” but the “I” of fallen man.  That individual lost in his own pride, who wants to “be like God” (Gen 3:5) as the Serpent has deceived us. We must decrease inasmuch as we think we are autonomous, and let what is truly good in us increase.  That true good is only Goodness itself, the source and exemplar of what we are meant to be.  God say all that He had made, and saw that it was “very good” (Gen 1:31)

By grace, we can be lifted back to this “very good,” and indeed beyond it. This is the source of the saying, “O felix culpa.”

“O felix culpa quae talem et tantum meruit habere redemptorem,” “O happy fault that merited such and so great a Redeemer.” But we must not be a hindrance to our redeemer.  We can be “very good” and “be perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect”(Matt 5:48) if “it is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)

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