We Should be Greatly Motivated for The Pursuit of Christian Perfection Because God has Made it So Easy

by admin on October 3, 2010

FATHER MASTER NADAL, a man distinguished in our Society for his learning and virtue, when he came to visit the provinces of Spain, made this one of the chief recommendations that he left behind him, that our advance­ment and Christian perfection consisted in doing well the particular ordinary and daily things that we have in hand. Thus our progress and improvement does not lie in a multiplication of other extraordinary works, nor in filling high and exalted offices, but in doing perfectly the ordinary duties of religion and filling those offices in which obedience places us, though they be the meanest in the world, because that is what God requires of us. On this we should fix our eyes if we wish to please Him and attain perfection. Let us, then, consider at what a little cost we may be perfect, since we may be that by doing what we actually are doing without adding further-works, which should be a great consolation for all and ani­mate us much to Christian perfection. If we demanded of you for the pursuit of Christian perfection exquisite and extraordinary things, eleva­tions and lofty contemplations, you might excuse yourself, saying that you could not venture so high. If we demanded of you daily disciplines to blood, or fasting on bread and water, or going barefoot with a perpetual hairshirt, you might say that you did not feel strong enough for that; but that is not what we demand of you, nor in that does your perfection lie, but in doing the very thing that you are doing, taking care that it be well done. With the same works that you are doing, if you like, you can be perfect: the cost is already paid; you need not add more works. Who will not be animated hereby to be perfect, when per­fection comes so ready to his hand and lies in a thing so familiar and so feasible?

God said to His people, to animate them to His service and the observance of His law: The commandment that I give thee this day is not a thing very far and very exalted above thee, nor is it set there on the horn of the moon, that thou shouldst be able to say: which of us can mount up to heaven to reach it?   Nor again is it a thing on the far side of the sea, that thou shouldst take occasion to say: who shall be able to cross the sea, and bring it hither from such a distance?  No, it is very near and very ready to thy hand (Deut. xxx. 11-14). We may say the same of the per­fection of which we now speak.   So with this consideration the blessed St. Anthony exhorted and animated his disciples to perfection.   “The Greeks,” he said, “to attain to philos­ophy and the other sciences, take great journeys and long voyages with great labor and risk to themselves; but we, to attain virtue and perfection, which is the true wisdom, have no need to put ourselves to such labors and perils, not even to stir out of our house, since within the house we shall find it, and even within ourselves.    The kingdom of God is within you (Luke xvii. 21)”—Graeci studia transma~ rina sectantur; regnum autem coelorum intra vos est. In these ordinary and daily things that you do, the pursuit of perfec­tion lies.

An ordinary question at spiritual conferences at a time of devotion, such as Lent, Advent, Whitsuntide, or renova­tion of vows, is what means will help us to dispose and prepare ourselves for this renovation, or this Lent, or to receive the Holy Ghost or the Child Jesus newly born. You will see given such and such means and such and such con­siderations, all good. But the principal means, and that on which we ought to insist, is that of which we speak now; namely, to perfect ourselves in our ordinary actions. Go to work ridding yourself of the faults and imperfections which you commit in these ordinary and daily things; con­trive daily to do them better and with fewer faults, and that will be a very good, or rather the best, preparation for all that you seek.   Fix your eyes on this principally and let all other means and considerations go to help this.

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