We have discussed the need to repent constantly, but our pride and satan blind us to just how much we sin, at least venial sins, and this is especially true when we do not get our way or if we are slighted by or put upon by others. We only need to ask those who are closest to us, because they are the ones who truly know us. We can often avoid disclosing our many flaws to those who know us only as acquaintances, because we keep our false guard of pride up to appear to be better than we truly are in God’s eyes. The fact that we are conscious of this when reminded is further proof that we engage in it regularly.
St. John of the Cross had a great gift from God to help us see the folly of our pride and the selfishness that we hang onto even as we commit and seek to climb the mountain of perfection. He states: “To be perfectly united to God by love and will, the soul must first be cleansed of all appetites (disordered inclinations) of the will, even the smallest.” Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene teaches us that: “These inclinations or appetites always give rise to venial sins, or at least deliberate imperfections, when one willingly yields to them, even though it be in matters of slight importance. The will of the soul which freely assents to these failings, slight though they be, is stained by this opposition to the Will of God; for this reason a perfect union cannot exist between its will and the Will of God. Moreover, if these imperfections become habitual and the soul does not try to correct them, they form a great obstacle to Divine union; and according to St. John of the Cross, ‘they prevent not only Divine union but also advancement in perfection.’ He gives a few examples of these un-mortified ‘habitual imperfections’: the habit of talking too much, unrestrained curiosity, attachment to little things-whether persons or objects-such as food and so forth, which the soul refuses to give up.
“There is also the attachment to one’s comfort, to certain sensible satisfactions, little vanities, foolish self-complacency, attachment to one’s own opinion or reputation. There is a real mushroom-bed of ‘appetites’ and disordered inclinations from which the soul will not free itself precisely because it is attached to the meager, selfish satisfaction which it finds in these wretched things. It is ‘attached’ to them; that is why it cannot make the decision to give them up completely.” St. John of the Cross states that just one of these un-mortified appetites is enough to fetter the soul and that “the least of these imperfections to which the soul is attached or accustomed is more of a barrier to increasing and advancing in virtue than if one fell every day into several imperfections and isolated venial sins not the result of bad habits”
So, we see here the real importance of knowing the state of our spiritual life, which a wise Spiritual Director who has gone these roads before us can help us ascertain; but most importantly, we see the extreme need of Grace to overcome these selfish tendencies, for without God’s direct help we could NOT overcome them! We would simply give up, knowing that of ourselves we could never possibly obtain this level of renunciation and self denial and the vast majority do give up!
This is precisely why God has given us the Gift of Divine Mercy and the Flame of Love Grace, so we can see more easily than EVER before that of ourselves we can not do this, but with Him we can! Not only can we, but we will, if we simply trust and persist, trust and persist in Him alone. Desire obtains all things! God wants us to know that His Grace, Mercy and Love are so far beyond our human understanding that we must simply be in awe of His Divine Majesty and Glory and accept with our frail human wills that He will do what He communicates. His WORD IS TRUTH!
Here is how much He wishes for us to take advantage of His Mercy, not just to recover from a life of sin, but to achieve a life of sanctity. He tells St. Faustina: “Everything which exists is enclosed in the bowels of My Mercy, more deeply than an infant in its mother’s womb. How painfully distrust of My Goodness wound Me. Sins of distrust wound Me most painfully.”
Our Lord goes on to teach St. Faustina the absolute truth of how we advance in sanctity. She states: “When one day I resolved to practice a certain virtue, I lapsed into the vice opposed to that virtue ten times more frequently than on other days! In the evening I was reflecting on why…I had lapsed so extraordinarily, and I heard the words: “You were counting too much on yourself and too little on Me.”
This brings us to one of the greatest of all practical helps…begging for the Gift of “we”. I must constantly ask throughout the day to be thinking, saying and doing everything with God and using His Will. We will awake, we will pray well for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls, we will shower, we will dress, we will eat, we will drive to work, we will work together, we will have lunch, etc, etc, throughout the entire day. If we continue to beg for this Gift and persist in practicing it, we will advance quickly, especially by being in union with our Mother by doing it all in her name and in her Immaculate Heart through the extraordinary Grace of the Flame of Love of Her Immaculate Heart, because we will know and be filled with the Holy Spirit as She was! God so desires our union with Him that He has given us His Mother to share and teach us all She did while on earth with Jesus, so we can have that same union! What Divine Condescension…what Divine Love! Let us not wound Jesus through distrust with thoughts like…oh this is impossible for someone like me. It IS impossible for us, but not for our Lord! Lord, we finish writing for you and the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls! Let us save all souls through Your merits! Help us to beg each day for the Gift of we!