Wednesday, November 30, 2011

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least"

A few years ago a friend of mine told me that he had recently started reading the Fathers of the Church, which, he said, made him feel like "the great slacker of the world."

I had a similar feeling as I read The Soul of the Apostolate a few years back.

This is the effect that good spiritual reading ought to have on us. From it, we learn from holy people (that is, people who are fiercely serious about loving God and one another, along with the Church, Scripture, and Tradition, who are indefatigably committed to prayer and the Sacraments, and who know a thing or two about self-mastery thanks to regular and rigorous penance and mortification) what, with God's grace, we are capable of, and what He put us on this earth to do.

Good spiritual reading also reminds of our own pathetic brokenness, and how far we presently are from reaching a point anywhere close to that reached by the spiritual masters whose works we read.

Sure, no one likes to be reminded of his faults and imperfections, but we periodically need to remind ourselves (or have someone else remind us) of how not-so-good we are, lest we get a little too comfortable with ourselves and become -- God forbid -- proud.

With this in mind, consider these words of Servant of God Dorothy Day, whose death 31 years ago was commemorated yesterday:

“I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.”

These words are as good a reality check as any we're likely to come across today. We would all do well to look deep within ourselves and honestly ask:

How much do I really love God?

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