Thursday, December 06, 2007

Advent with Fr. Hecker: Day 5

Exterior mortifications are aids to interior life. What we take from the body we give to the spirit. If we will look closely, two-thirds of our time is taken up with what we shall eat, and how we shall sleep, and wherewithal we shall be clothed. Two-thirds of our life and more is animal -- including sleep. We do not despite the animal in man, but we go for fair play for the soul. The better part should have the greater share. The right order of things has been reversed; conversion is necessary. Read the lives of the old Fathers of the Desert: they determined on leading a rational and divine life. How little are they known or appreciated in our day! Their lives are more interesting than a novel, and stranger than a romance.

Humility and obedience are also absolutely essential to the interior rule of the Holy Spirit. Self-love, self-activity, self-hood, is something not easily destroyed. It is like a cancer which has its roots extending into the most delicate fibers of our mental and moral nature. Divine grace can draw them out. But how slowly! And how exquisitely painful is the process! The more subtle the self-love, the more painful the cure. But mortification of a considerable character is never to be practice without counsel. The devil, when he can no longer keep us back, aims at driving us too far and too fast.
(Emphasis added)