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From Searching for and Maintaining Peace, Fr. Jacques Philippe

All things considered, this manner of going forward, based on peace, liberty, confident abandonment to God, quiet acceptance of our shortcomings and even of our failures, why is this the way to counsel? Why is it more correct than seeking the will of God, which is done with preoccupation, scruples and a tense and restless desire for perfection?

Because the only true perfection is that of love and, in the first way of proceeding, there is more true love of God than in the second. Saint Faustina said: “When I do not know what to do, I question love, for love is the best counselor!”

The Lord calls us to perfection: Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. But still, according to the Bible, the one who is most perfect is not the one who behaves in an irreproachable manner, but the one who loves most.

The behavior that is most perfect is not that which corresponds to the image that we sometimes form for ourselves of perfection, such as a comportment that is impeccable, infallible and spotless.

Rather, it is one where there is the most disinterested love of God and the least prideful pursuit of oneself.

One who accepts to be weak, small and who fails often, who accepts to be nothing in his own eyes or in the eyes of others, but who, without being excessively preoccupied with his situation, because he is animated by a great confidence in God and knows that his love is infinitely more important and counts ever so much more than his own imperfection and faults, this person loves more than one who pushes the preoccupation of his own perfection to the point of anxiety.

Happy are the poor in spirit for the Kingdom of God is theirs. Happy are they, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, who have learned to no longer make a drama of their poverty, but who accept it joyously because they put all their hope, not in themselves, but in God.

God Himself will be their wealth, He will be their perfection, their sanctity, their virtues. Happy are those who know how to love their poverty, because it is a marvelous opportunity for God to manifest the immensity of His Love and His Mercy. We will be saints the day when our inabilities and our nothingness will no longer be for us a subject of sadness and anxiety, but a subject of peace and joy.

This road of poverty, which is also the way of love, is the most efficacious for making us grow, for making us progressively acquire all of the virtues, for purifying us of our faults. Love alone is the source of growth, it alone is fruitful, and love alone purifies sin in depth: “The fire of love purifies more than the fires of purgatory,” Saint Therese of Lisieux tells us.

This approach, based on the joyous acceptance of one’s poverty is in no way equivalent to a resignation to mediocrity or an abdication of aspiring to perfection. Rather, it is the quickest and surest road to perfection because it puts us in the position of smallness, confidence and abandonment by which we are placed entirely in the hands of God Who can act in us by His grace and carry us Himself by pure mercy to the perfection that we, in no way, could achieve by our own strength.

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“How beautiful it would be if, during their evening prayer together, there could be a pause such as the one for the examination of conscience during which time a husband and wife would pray silently for the other, recommending to God all the other’s intentions sensed, guessed, and known as well as those that only God the Master of consciences could know. Even more beautiful would it be if they would receive Holy Communion together frequently so that each of them could speak more intimately to Our Lord about the needs of the other, begging not only temporal but spiritual favors for this cherished soul. ” – Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., Christ in the Home

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