Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fifth week after Epiphany
"The way that leads to God" by Abbe A.Saudreau. R&T Washbourne, LTD, 1911
The love of self in good people
&2. susceptibility
54. The vain will have their reward here below. Our Lord has said: Receperunt mercedem suam (Matt.VI,2). And the emptiness of this reward in nowise disabuses them; even when they receive their chastisement, their disappointments and vexetions do not effect their cure, because self-love, the source of so much bitterness, is not cast out, We see this in those susceptible people who are perpetually making fresh troubles for themselves, and who are so very little concerned to correct their faults. Criticism and reproofs affect them beyond measure, To be blamed in any way is a real catastrophe to them. When anyone is not quite satisfied with something that they have done, all their satisfaction is evaporates, their other difficulties are forgotten, they are absorbed by the distress which this disapproval cases them, And a simple word said quite amicably, a slight warning, some advice offered with the best intentions, is often sufficient to wound them. Or a still smaller thing will sometimes suffice-some slight want of attention, some rifling neglect, a mark of indifference. At times their feelings will be hurt by something which existed in their own imagination only. They will consider themselves aggrieved when the culprit never dreamed of offending them. Would that those who are so sensitive where their own dignity is concerned might show themselves as delicate of perception in their dealings with God; as alive to anything which wounds His honour, and as careful not to injure it!
55. But their absurd susceptibility is in itself an injury to the Divine honour, both because it is contrary to humility, to truth, and justice, and also because it is source of discord. What could be more beautiful than that Divine charity which was so perfectly practised by the first Christians, of whom it was said that they had but one heart and one soul? What is more noble, more admirable, than that perfect union of hearts which we see in certain truly Christian circles? And why cannot this concord always exist? why, amongst souls formed for mutual understanding, should these frictions occur, these ill-disguised or sometimes openly avowed feelings of antipathy? why these bitter words, these more or less unfounded reproaches, and even at times these abusive utterances?
Inquire into the cause of these disorders, question those who exhibit so little charity towards their brethren, and you will commonly hear this reply: "But they hurt my feelings, they reproached me unjustly, they accused me falsely!" Such is the usual cause of these resentments. The man was, or thought he was injured; and then all his self-love was up in his arms. Instead of forgetting what was really quite unimportant, he goes over and over it perpetually; he reviews again in his mind all that unamiable conduct, those acts of injustice of which he fancies himself the victim; and in so doing he merely enlarges and poisons the wound. Hence proceed those feeling of aversion, those unfavourable and unjust judgments, based upon grounds the slightness of which he will not see, and from which he perhaps can never again free himself. A susceptible person does not know how to be just towards those by whom he thinks himself offended
56. And good is also hindered thereby. In cases where some useful action might be performed, some good work co-operated in, he will not take any part or give his help. He remains given up to ill-humour; and the most important enterprises will often be rendered abortive by this stupid sulkiness. If the grievance concerns his superiors, the susceptible person will demur and will not obey cheerfully; he will breed a bad spirit amongst others by murmuring and by inciting them to indocility or revolt. If it is against his equals, he will blacken them in their neighbours' eyes; he will not only publish the evil that he knows concerning them, but he will exaggerate their wrong actions and magnify their defects; he will not admit their good qualities, will indulge in unjust strictures with regard to them, in evil suspicions which have no serious foundations; he will prejudice against them those who would otherwise have esteemed and liked them.