See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The wound of malice.



Egoism and inordinate self-love.
.
I think we always need to return to that interior 'cell of self-knowledge' as we approach Lent, and to examine ourselves more closely, because frequently we are so distracted by everyday life, television, entertainment, the Internet in all of its manifestations, that our understanding of what we are can be obscured.  Unfortunately this obscurity can be attributed to our lack of a sense of sin, and oftentimes our acceptance or tolerance of habitual sin - venial or mortal - to such an extent that we no longer understand ourselves, much less understand the meaning and purpose of life.  I'm spot reading Garrigou-Lagrange these days - not a good way to study, but helpful in making a good examination of conscience before Lent.  I want to share this:
.
The principal defect of the will:  Self-love.
.
"Since original sin, we are born without sanctifying grace and charity, with our wills turned away from God, the supernatural last end, and weak for the accomplishment of our duties even in the natural order.(3)

.
Without falling into the exaggeration of the first Protestants and the Jansenists, we must say that we are born with a will inclined to egoism, to inordinate self-love. This is called the wound of malice; (4) it often manifests itself by a gross egoism, against which one should guard, an egoism that mingles in all man's acts. It follows that the will, which has become weak by reason of its lack of docility to God, no longer has absolute power over the sensible faculties, but only a sort of moral power or persuasion to lead them to subject themselves.(5) Doubtless after baptism, which regenerated us by giving us sanctifying grace and charity, this wound, like the others, is in the process of healing; but it also reopens by reason of our personal sins.
.
The principal defect of the will is the lack of rectitude, called self-love or inordinate love of self, which forgets the love due to God and that which we should have for our neighbor. Self-love or egoism is manifestly the source of all sins.(6) From it are born "the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life." (7) The sensible appetites, which are no longer firmly led, incline man to thoughtlessness, feverish eagerness, fruitless agitation, selfish search for all that pleases, flight from all that is painful, nonchalance, discouragement, in which he sees that his will has lost its strength, and to all sorts of bad examples. (8)
.
It is clear that self-will, which is defined as that which is not conformed to the will of God, is the source of every sin. Self-will is extremely dangerous because it can corrupt everything; even what is best in one may become evil when self-will enters in, for it takes itself as its end, instead of subordinating itself to God. If the Lord perceives this will in a fast or a sacrifice, He rejects them because He sees therein a divine work accomplished through pride in order to gain approbation. Now, self-will is born of self-love or egoism; it is strong self-love that has become imperious." - THE PRINCIPAL DEFECT OF THE WILL: SELF-LOVE (Three Ages of the Interior Life, PART 2 - The Purification of the Soul in Beginners)

.
We should pray as follows: "My God, make me know the obstacles which I more or less consciously place to the working of grace in my soul. Show these obstacles to me at the moment when I am about to place them. Give me the strength to remove them, and, if I am negligent in doing so, do Thou deign to remove them, though I should suffer greatly. I wish only Thee, Lord, who alone art necessary. Grant that my life here on earth may be like eternal life begun." - Garrigou-Lagrange
.
Art:  The Soul in Mortal Sin - T. Nelson

7 comments:

  1. Very wise. Thank you and God bless!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You help me realise, I've made a terrible fuss, trying to hold onto that, which was never mine to hang on to, in the first place! Sorry if that sounds a bit Irish Terry!

    ReplyDelete
  3. "the Lord perceives this will in a fast or a sacrifice, He rejects them because He sees therein a divine work accomplished through pride in order to gain approbation"

    Wisdom for Lent. Garrigou-Lagrange would be certainly be persona non grata on Oprah, huh?

    What a gold mine to be dug at the link you provided, Terry. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Magnificent post! So glad to be back blogging!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm glad you are back too Jackie - I hate it when you go away. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Amen to what commenters above have said -- pride is indeed the root of sin -- we have only to look around us to see it in action. Thank you for providing this thoughtful post in the days before Lent. God bless.

    Regards from Canada,
    Patricia Gonzalez

    ReplyDelete
  7. +JMJ+

    Hi, Patricia! Greetings from the Philippines! ;-)

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.