Saturday, December 14, 2013

Something beautiful for the feast of St. John of the Cross ...

"I tell you the truth,
unless you turn from your sins
and become like little children,
you will never get into the
 Kingdom of Heaven."

Surrendering Self-Interest

In Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross wrote: “Oh that someone might show us how to understand, practice and experience what this counsel is which our Saviour here gives us concerning the denial of ourselves, so that spiritual persons might see in how different a way they should conduct themselves upon this road than that which many of them think proper.... Oh that someone would tell us how far Our Lord desires this self-denial to be carried!” This lament is addressed to us “spiritual persons,” who claim to be Christ’s friends. 
What Jesus asks is always possible. The stern, uncompromising injunction to “deny thyself” is not a call to strip ourselves of earthly goods, to take on a life of rigid austerity—the ego could grow fat on that sort of thing. It is not things but self that has to be denied. Our Lord addresses each one of us in our particularity. There can be no pattern. We must want to follow him, want what he wants for us and died to give us. Enlightenment is progressive. Once we really give our attention to the matter, we see more and more how powerful, how tenacious is our selfishness. Every day offers small occasions for surrendering self-interest, our own convenience and wishes for the sake of others; for accepting without fuss the disappointments, annoyances, setbacks, humiliations that frequently come our way. The battle is largely fought out in relations with other people. “By this we know love, that [Jesus] laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 Jn 3:16). 
Watch! Pay attention to thoughts, words, behavior. We soon realize how difficult it is to get rid of our innate self-centeredness. We find our ego lurking behind even our most generous efforts. 
Paradoxically, to accept humbly and trustfully the impurity of our motives, seeing ourselves far from the loving selfless person we would like to be, is choosing to be little, admitting our helplessness and unimportance—provided, of course, that we are doing our utmost. Childlike, we surrender our autonomy to our Lord who, we now see, must do everything for us, and we find a happy freedom in the knowledge that he is everything we are not and he is all for us. When we no longer insist on being god to ourselves, every one of our doors is thrown open to the king of glory. Our sustained, earnest effort is important, but what God does is infinitely more important and decisive.  - Sr. Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

An interview with Ruth Burrows here.

H/T Fr. Martin, SJ 


  1. My baby Lord Jesus looks not only beautiful but adorable! Thanks for the picture,Terry. I like Sister Ruth too. Her insight has helped me and I hope to learn more from her. I hope you will share more of her with the rest of us.

    As far as self interest goes, well, too many thrive on such and do what they can to cultivate it while grooming their reputation and temporal fame. I have been there and done that and neglected myself before God. I was more addicted when I used to live online on certain forums. I still see it as a temptation but thanks be to God I was able to let it go.

    In this day of self regard and self importance, when browsing online, still see it going strong and it matters not who it is especially in the Catholic blogosphere. I have to remember my own sin, stop sneering, take a deep breath and move on cause I will just jump in and cause a ruckus.

    Pray for me to get over myself and to seek Jesus in all, especially in myself.

    Thanks again, Terry for you being an inspiration to me.

    1. Thanks as always - and I repeat what you ask: Pray for me to get over myself and to seek Jesus in all, especially in myself.

  2. Wow, that IS beautiful!! You find the best pictures and articles, Terry, thanks very much for posting it. Have you seen pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a baby? It's called "Maria Bambina", and the history and devotion to her is quite fascinating. Also, the history of the "Santo Nino de Atocha", from way-back in the 13th century, when parts of Spain were under Muslim rule. It's beautiful little painting and very colorful. I believe you would love it very much, too. Today we are under a major snow-storm here and it's also my Dad's birthday, and we prayed a Rosary for his soul today. He passed-away on April 15, 2011. We miss him very much. He was a painter and artist like you, too. His four grandchildren are the happy recipients of some of the paintings he left behind. Any prayer you would offer-up for him would be appreciated so much, you know? His name was Manuel Roberto. Thanks for the post again; am going to meditate about it, too. God bless Terry and ALL your readers..

    1. I will pray for your Dad!

      I've also posted on Maria Bambina and I have devotion to Santo Nino Atocha - I've posted on him too.

      God bless you!

  3. Thanks very much for the prayers for my Dad, Terry!! I was reading the interview of the Sister; she made me "chuckle" a couple of times. It's great to read articles and interviews about nuns (faithful-ones) as I hardly ever do chat or visit with any. God bless you and ALL yr. readers, too..


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