We all get discouraged when we fail. I've been more disgusted with myself lately. I just asked God the other day, "God, how is it that my focus goes from outward to inward in an instant?....not knowing it has happened until the retrospect?"
This is what I am constantly submitting to God through prayer, through fasting, through self-discipline and self-denial. It will take a lifetime to kill the selfish nature in me. I cannot wait until heaven for this reason. The effort is exhausting and sometimes overwhelming.
I read some things this morning that encouraged me. St. Therese of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) was talking with St. Therese of Lisieux (who died in 1897) about what it meant to be the greatest. St. Therese of the Child Jesus said:
"To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practices, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognize that God places this treasure in the hands of his little child to be used when necessary; but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it is not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."
I can easily fall into the trap of discouragement and focusing on my failures. But by God's grace and mercy I get up and continue on.....knowing I will fall again but not wanting to. Any good in me is only because of God. Because I know I cannot do it myself. I'm reminded of that over and over again.
The other thing I read was about how love is nourished only by sacrifices. This makes sense, doesn't it, in light of the cross? Consider these statements:
"Love is nourished only by sacrifices...If one is completely dedicated to loving, one must expect to be sacrificed unreservedly. I have no other means of proving my love for you, O Lord, other than not allowing one little sacrifice to escape, not one look, one word, profiting by the smallest things, and doing them through love...In suffering and combat one can enjoy a moment of happiness that surpasses all the joys of this earth." (St. Therese of Lisieux)
"Human existence is a consuming of oneself 'for' something. This is the human being's greatness. Happiness comes through sacrifice. And the more one accepts this, the more one experiences a greater completeness already in this world." (Msgr. Luigi Giussani)
Sigh. It's a constant ideal to strive for, falling far short every day. But God, that's what I want to be like.
How long will it take? Have I made ANY progress at all?