nakedness of spirit mean no pretension or motivation other than Gods
will? Does spiritual purgation mean to take out of motivation or understanding
all things of self-motivation?
ctually, Saint John of the Cross
answers this one:
Oh, who can tell how impossible
it is for a person with appetites to judge the things of God as they are!
If there is to be success in judging the things of God, the appetites and
satisfactions must be totally rejected, and these things of God must be weighed
apart from them. For otherwise one will infallibly come to consider the things
of God as not of God, and the things that are not of God as of
St. John of the Cross
The Living Flame of Love, 3.73
Thats very clear. So
why is it so hard for anyone to accept it? And why do people say, in defensive
rebuttal, If you did that it would be no different than sitting around
all day contemplating your navel. How will you ever have food to eat?
Youll never accomplish anything that way.
Pragmatism and Secular
The persons who scoff at detachment
from the world are the persons who have turned secular humanism
into a pseudo-religion to replace their lack of
belief in God; they have raised the psychological
self to the status of a god and cant see a thing beyond
human reason. These are the persons who literally care more about the welfare
of their stomachs than about their souls, because they simply care little,
if anything, for God.
Sadly, even well-intentioned
individuals can be misled by the insidious social influence of pragmatism
and humanistic psychology that have infiltrated
our entire society. This is why a holy life
must be detached from the
world, so as to be freed from the unconscious slavery
to social desire.
Consider, then, what Christ told
not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall
we drink? . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall
be yours as well.
Service to Christ
To die to yourself, then, does
not mean that the psychological self must be obliterated, because that is simply
impossible. To die to yourself means to dedicate your self to
the service of Christ, seeking your salvation by first living a
holy lifestyle and then doing good for the
love of others, and paying as little attention to your own
pride ) as possible.
And you can rest assured that
if you ever do die to yourself as Christ commanded
and as Saint John of the Cross describes, God will give you all the opportunities you
need to develop your talents.
Not the Task Itself
Nevertheless, for the sake of your
mental health, and for the sake of your soul, keep in mind that all human
accomplishments, even those done in Gods service, will pass, and that no
matter what you do, someone will praise you for it and someone will attack you for
it. What really matters, then, is not the task itself but your spiritual progress
in the growth and purification of your faith as you struggle
with any task. You will experience joys and consolations; you will experience
obstacles, trials, and persecutions; you will
experience temptations. Seek to endure all of these
things anyway with
humility and grace. Never let any praise or any obstacle
lead you into mortal sin, no matter how important
the accomplishment might seem to human eyes.
What profit would
there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
1. In fact, to say, If you did that it would
be no different than sitting around all day contemplating your navel. How
will you ever have food to eat? Youll never accomplish anything that
way, is itself an act of pride, because it places human reason above
total trust in God.