“…we shall not attain it (the conversion of souls by preaching), however, unless we renounce our own personal glory, and repress in the depth of our hearts the vain praises of men; in a word, unless like the Apostle we preach Jesus Christ and him crucified … not with pretentious speech, but in the demonstration of the Spirit, that is to say, unless we make it evident that we are penetrated with what we teach.” from the 1831 retreat of St. Eugene de Mazenod (163:XV in Oblate Writings)
Am I penetrated with what I teach, or rather with what I write and with how I live? Why do I do what I do? Is it to be noticed and thought of as a ‘good’ person, or even better a really ‘great’, perhaps ‘holy’ person? It better not be that because I have the feeling that if it is then I have missed the mark of all that God has given to me and done for me.
There is the very real human element – for it would be nice to be told that yes I am on the right track? Yes I have something valuable and good to share. I do want to make a difference in someone’s life. Even as I write this there is a little ‘niggle’ of “perhaps if I ‘do’ more, ‘do’ better. But I know that is not truth. And I think for just a moment of what God has filled me with, how God has transformed me, my being. As imperfect as I am I have heard God’s voice calling me his “Beloved”. It is that which penetrates me, that which I try to live out and share. No doing – just being and sharing. As I taste what it is to be ‘beloved’ – some of that need fades and I am left giving thanks.
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