C. IV HOW A MAN MAY KNOW WHETHER HE IS ACTIVE IN SELFDISTRUST AND TRUST IN GOD.
The presumptuous servant often supposes that he has acquired selfdistrust and trust in God when the case is far otherwise.
And this will be made clear to thee by the effect produced on thy mind by a fall. If thou art so saddened and disquieted thereby as to be tempted to despair of making progress or doing good, it is a sure sign that thy trust is in self and not in God. For he who has any large measure of selfdistrust and trust in God feels neither surprise, nor despondency, nor bitterness, when he falls: for he knows that this has arisen from his own weakness and want of trust in God. On the contrary, being, rendered thereby more distrustful of self, more humbly confident in God, detesting above all things his fault and the unruly passions which have occasioned it, and mourning with a quiet, deep, and patient sorrow over his offence against God, he pursues his enterprise, and follows after his enemies, even to the death, with a spirit more resolute and undaunted than before.
I would that these things were well considered by certain persons so called spiritual, who cannot and will not be at rest when they have fallen into any fault. They rush to their spiritual father, rather to get rid of the anxiety and uneasiness which spring from wounded selflove than for that purpose which should be their chief end in seeking him, to purify themselves from the stain of sin, and to fortify themselves against its power by means of the most holy sacrament of penance.
CH. V OF THE ERROR OF MANY, WHO MISTAKE PUSILLAMMITY FOR A VIRTUE
MANY also deceive themselves in this way, they mistake the fear and uneasiness which follow after sin for virtuous emotions; and know not that these painful feelings spring from wounded pride, and a presumption which rests upon confidence in themselves and their own strength. They have accounted themselves to be something, and relied unduly upon their own powers. Their fall proves to them the vanity of this selfdependence, and they are immediately troubled and astonished as at some strange thing, and are disheartened at seeing the prop to which they trusted suddenly give way.
This can never befall the humble man, who trusts in his God alone, and in nothing presumes upon himself. Though grieved when he falls into a fault, he is neither surprised nor disquieted; for he knows that his own misery and weakness, already clearly manifest to himself by the light of truth, have brought all this upon him.
Continue to next chaper xviii10-20
Return to Contents
Return to Homepage.