‘Til Death Do Us Part

February 14, 2009

 

Self-love dies only with our body.

St. Francis de Sales

 

I read this quote from one of my favorite saints before siting down to catch up on folding a week’s worth of laundry (don’t ask how I got behind by a whole week). 

I’m folding away while thinking about how when I die one thing I won’t miss doing is laundry and the sad fact that only when I die will I be rid of this flesh and the self-love that comes with it.  Yes, laundry and self-love have deep spiritual connections.

Actually, dealing with my self-love is a lot like trying to get all my laundry done. As soon as I think everything is clean, folded and neatly put away  I look down and realize the clothes I’m wearing still need to be washed. The pervasiveness of my self-love is just like the over flowing laundry basket in my house.  And both never cease to amaze me.

Just when I think I’ve conquered some aspect of this self-love I find it rearing its ugly head in another area of my life. It’s that struggle that St. Paul talks about in Romans 7:21-23…

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

Could he be talking about self-love? After all, what’s at the root of most sin: self-love and pride, right? It’s always right there inviting you to choose self over others, self over self-sacrifice, self instead of the obedience that comes from a deep abiding faith in Jesus.  

It would be easy to get discouraged by the fact that self-love will be with us until the day we die (as well as the fact the laundry will never really be done). But, St. Paul reminds us that there’s something else going on with this battle inside.  I like what he says about his inner most being delighting in God’s law.

My youth pastor taught me that verse when I was a teen (thanks Randy). And I’ve clung to that truth many times in my faith journey. It’s my saving grace –this desire to delight in God that sits deep within my soul–and it’s only there by grace. It’s the thing that keeps drawing me to Him with true repentance and keeps me fighting for true love when self-love wages war against my heart and mind.

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Stop Shouting at Me!

May 26, 2008

 

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The rose does not need to prove itself or convert you to its side. It knows it is a rose. In fact, its inner authority might well be so pressing and demanding that you might say to the rose, as did Francis de Sales, “Stop shouting!”

If Christianity relied on its inner authority, the weight of its truth and the sheer power of genuine goodness, the world would also say to Christians, “I hear you; stop shouting!” And we would not have preached a sermon or spoken a single word.

-from Near Occasions of Grace

 

 

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St. Francis of Assisi once said, Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words. St. Catherine of Siena said,  if you are what you should be you’ll set your world on fire. 

 

Lots of wisdom in those quotes. Makes me wonder what would happen if we spent more time being what we’re called to be and less time telling others what they should be.


Good Advice

June 29, 2007

Complain as little as possible of your wrongs, for as a general rule you may be sure that complaining is sin; the rather that self-love always magnifies our injuries: above all, do not complain to people who are easily angered and excited. If it is needful to complain to someone, either as seeking a remedy, or in order to soothe your mind, let it be to some calm, gentle spirit, greatly filled with the Love of God; for otherwise, instead of relieving your heart, your confidants will only provoke it to still greater disturbance; instead of the taking out the thorn which pricks you, they will drive it further into your foot.

Taken from the spiritual direction writings of St. Francis De Sales (1567-1662)