ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Humility

ADVENT WITH EVELYN UNDERHILL: Humility

From The Fruits of the Spirit

Humility and moderation at the heart of our prayer quiet the soul and protect us against the spiritual itch.  It sometimes comes into my head, says De Caussade, to wonder whether I have ever properly confessed my sins, whether God has ever forgiven me my sins, whether I am in a good or bad spiritual state.  What progress have I made in prayer or in the interior life?  When this happens I say to myself at once, God has chosen to hide all this from me, so that I may just blindly abandon myself to his mercy.  So I submit myself and adore his decision.  He is the Master: may all that he wills be accomplished in me; I want no grace, no merit, no perfection but that which shall please him.  His will alone is sufficient for me and that will always be the measure of my desires.  Meekness and temperance taught out of his own experience by a very great master of the spiritual life.  In your soul’s life towards God, then, that humble moderation has, or should have, an important place and many special applications.  It is far better to realize a few truths, produce a few acts of worship, but do them well, leaving to others those truths and those practices which for you are dark or involve strain.  Do not entertain the notion that you ought to advance in your prayer.  If you do, you will only find out you have put on the brake instead of the accelerator.  All real progress in spiritual things comes gently, imperceptibly, and is the work of God.  Our crude efforts spoil it.  Know yourself for the childish, limited, and dependent soul you are.  Remember that the only growth that matters happens without our knowledge and that trying to stretch ourselves is both dangerous and silly.  Think of the Infinite Goodness, never of your own state.  Realize that the very capacity to pray at all is the free gift of the divine love and be content with Saint Francis de Sales’ favorite prayer, in which all personal religion is summed up: Yes, Father!  Yes! and always Yes!

 

 

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