The Thinking 

All Love Is Submission

December 14, 2014



Nativity (detail), Bicci Di Neri; 1470s

“Nothing indicates better the nature of self-love, or should make it more hateful to us, than the idea that it is the rival of the love of God. Homines sunt voluntates, Men are their wills, says St. Augustine. We can bestow our whole love on but one only of two objects: God or self. If we put God first and refer all things to Him, then His love will make us good and pleasing in His sight, imparting a supernatural value to all our actions, and perfecting us as we grow in purity and simplicity.  If, on the other hand, we refer everything to ourselves, our self-love will upset God’s order in us, rendering us most displeasing to Him, vitiating actions otherwise holy, and lowering us in proportion to the sway it exercises in our hearts…. Such is the enemy we have to fight, with the help of grace: an enemy born with us, and in some way part of our very self.  Age, passions, habits, thoughts– all, even our good qualities and occasionally our virtues, contribute to strengthen its hold upon us, and drive it deeper. It is so involved with ourselves that it seems almost impossible to distinguish it, and to attempt to destroy it is to jeopardize our very existence… We may assume as a fact, without fear of contradiction, that we are blind on many points concerning our perfection, and perhaps our salvation.  We should pray continuously for God to enlighten us, either directly by His Holy Ghost, or indirectly by the advice of our friends or by the reproaches of our enemies.  In whatever way light may come, it is always a blessing sent by God, and we should welcome and receive it gratefully, encouraging others to offer it, and neglecting nothing that may lead us to profit by it.”

— John Nicholas Grou, S. J., Spiritual Maxims

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