He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.-C.S Lewis-
It used to be that whenever I failed to respond to God’s love or to love my neighbour as well as the saints exhort us to, I would feel terribly defeated and sorrowful.
You may be wondering – why is it a bad thing to be sad about falling short? Is that not what will drive us to pursue holiness with more vigour?
In my experience, that may be partly true. But conflating our potential for being loving and our actual capacity for loving others does more harm than good.
Yes, because of Christ we have the potential to share in his love and respond to his love with heroic proportions. But we don’t reach that potential in one skip and a step. We don’t suddenly fulfill our potential because we have had a powerful conversion experience, or even because we KNOW by faith that we have this potential!
We live into this life of grace one stumbling step at a time
We live into this life of grace one stumbling step at a time. Much more than learning how to give, we need to first learn how to remove the interior blocks that prevent us from fully RECEIVING God’s love for us.
Even St Paul says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom 7:15)
Now when someone tearfully confides in me that they suspect they don’t love God enough, I heartily affirm that. They are shocked at my cheerfulness and I explain to them that we need to receive before we can give, and that our capacity for loving God slowly increases as we encounter Him more deeply.
God is not in a rush to bring us to perfect love. He is a master craftsman at work when he is making saints and great masterpieces are wrought with care, without haste.
This is a life-long process and God is not in a rush to bring us to perfect love. He is a master craftsman at work when he is making saints and great masterpieces are wrought with care, without haste. All artists know that it takes as long as it takes.
So let’s not get too discouraged by our next fall because we are still beginners. Our Father in heaven is not scandalised by our weakness. Let us rejoice and hope in his love!