The most lively zeal will bring forth nothing but the vanity of pride. […] So preach humility and distrust of self and inspire a great longing for perfection, cost what it may to our nature to achieve it. It is a work of patience and one all too often seasoned with sorrows that is imposed on you. […] Ask God to enlighten you, ponder carefully all that depends on you for success, and then abandon yourself with untroubled heart and without anxiety to divine providence which will not let those who rest their hope on it be confounded.” (Letter from St. Eugene de Mazenod to Father Mille and the Fathers and Brothers at Billens – 406:VIII in Oblate Writings)
Although this sounds almost old-fashioned and zealous, I find it speaking to me – a very ordinary lay person who simply wants to love God with all that I am. Eugene shows me how I can do that.
For myself there must be a certain amount of letting go of self – so as to give room for my true self to emerge, to give space for who I am in the eyes of God, to flourish and transform. If I begin to think too highly of myself because of the gifts given to me by God then they might just begin tarnish and become dull as they hide behind my ego – rather than being able to shine with the light of love.
My weaknesses threaten to sometimes overwhelm me – so badly do I want to be thought well of by others, or to leave my mark on the world; to be praised and acknowledged. And even knowing of the importance of my being to God seems not to be enough at times. My only redemption in all of this is God knowing my heart and its darkest corners; knowing that I am not bad but just very weak. I do place all my trust in God – but sometimes I forget I have done that and other times – well perhaps I just want to be consoled. My weaknesses do not confound me , but they surely can get in the way.