Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Discouragement

At different times during our lives we face discouragement. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta says the following:

Don’t give in to discouragement……. If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about people’s opinions. Be obedient to truth. For with humble obedience, you will never be disturbed.

St. Francis de Sales would also say that discouragement is the fruit of a wandering heart. In order to cure our wandering heart, the saint of divine love says that we should train it by bringing it back into the presence of the Master:

If the heart wanders or is distracted, bring it back to the point quite gently and replace it tenderly in its Master’s presence. And even if you did nothing during the whole of your hour but bring your heart back and place it again in Our Lord’s presence, though it went away every time you brought it back, your hour would be very well employed.

He also says that many of us struggle in our spirituality because we let others write the “story” of our lives. In other words, we allow others to dictate how we view ourselves which in turn affects how we view our Lord. The remedy for this he says, is to abide in the truth and to see ourselves and others in truth.

Some might recommend to love ourselves and others by ignoring our/their faults and shortcomings. The problem with that is two-fold. The first is that by ignoring our faults, one cannot truly accept oneself and the result is that we skew reality. The ultimate challenge with skewing reality is that we become incapable of relating to the world in the way God intended. As a result, we try to transform ourselves into something that we are not because we are so afraid of realizing that our gifts and short-comings, for better or worse, make us who we are – whether we like it or not. St. Francis de Sales says,

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.

and,

Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.

The second  problem is that we cannot truly love or even be friends with those around us. One of my favorite lines in First Knight is when Lancelot, knowing that he is going to betray Arthur says,

My Lord must not think too highly of me, lest he’ll be disappointed. 

Arthur in his wisdom, and a man who is not afraid of making his heart vulnerable in order to truly love responds,

Then I’ll take you as I find you, if you’ll do as much for me.

Scripture proclaims,

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103: 11-12) [My emphasis]

or the prophet Micah proclaims,

He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19) [My emphasis]

We usually interpret this as the Lord forgiving and forgetting. And yet, that is not possible. If He did forget, they would have never exsisted

Blessed Mother Teresa or Calcutta gives us the final secret.

Obey the Lord of the House and you will never go wrong.

 

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