Chapter 77

How Man has no Personal Goodness of which to Boast

THE DISCIPLE. 'Lord, what is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visit him.'(Ps.8:4) What has man done to deserve Your grace? Lord, I have no cause to complain if You abandon me and if Your Will is contrary to my desires, I have no right to plead against it. But this I may rightly think and say, 'Lord, I am nothing and I can do nothing. I have no good of Myself, but am imperfect in every respect and always tend to nothing. Unless You guide my sould and grant me strength, I become weak and completely helpless.'

You, O Lord, remain ever Yourself,(Ps.102:27) abiding in eternity, good, just and holy, ordering all things in goodness, justice and holiness and disposing them in wisdom. But I, who am always more ready to slip back than go forward, never remain the same, for seven times have passed over me.(Dan.4:16) Yet, when You deign to stretch out Your hand to help me, my state is quickly changed for the better; for You alone and without human aid, can help and stregthen me, so that I may no longer be unstable, but turn my heart to You alone, band be at peace. No mortal man can comfort me and if ony I could wholly renounce all human comfort--whether to increase my decotion or because my needs compel me to seee You -- then I could rightly trust entirely to Your grace and rejoice in the gift of Your renewed comfort.

Whenever things go well with me, I offer thanks to You, from whom all proceeds. Before You, I am empty nothingness, a weak and unstable man. I have nothing of which to boast, nothing for which I merit any consideration. Can nothing boast of its nothingness? This would be the height of vanity! Empty conceit is like an evil disease and the most monstrous of vanities, for it leads a man away from true glory and robs him of heavenly grace. For so long as a man is filled with complacency, he displeases You and while he hankers after popularity and praise, he is deprived of true virtue. True glorya nd holy joy are to be found in giving glory not toself, but to You; rejoicing not in on'es own strength, but in Your Name; taking no plesure in creatures, unless it be for Your sake. Praised by Your Holy Name, not mine. I will praise your Name, but not my own: I will esteem Your doings, not my own; I will bless Your holy Name. I desire no share in the praises of men. You alone are my glory. You alone are the joy of my heart. I will offer You praise and glory every hour of the day; but for myself, I will glory in nothing, unless it be in my own weakness. (2Cor.12:5) Let the Jews seek such glory as men give to one another;(John 5:44) I will seek the glory that God alone can give. For al human glory, all this world's honors, all earthly titles, compared with Your eternal glory are mere vanity and foolishness. O blessed Trinity, my God, my Truth, my Mercy, to You alone let all things ascribe all praise, honor, power and glory throughout endless ages.(I Tim.1:17)

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