We are not our own best advisers

+JMJ+ I’ve mentioned before that my favorite daily meditations, after the Mass readings and the breviary, come from the series In Conversations with God by Francis Fernandez Carvajal. I was reading in it tonight and this passage jumped out at me.

We, too, frequently have illnesses of the soul, with defects and shortcomings which we have not yet managed to uproot. Our Lord hopes we will be humble and docile to the indications and advice we receive from those whom God has placed to help us in the search for holiness in the midst of our work and family life. We cannot have our own way when Our Lord points to a solution which goes contrary to our own notions. In matters of the soul, we are not our own best advisers, as we are not our own good doctors.

In Conversation with God, Volume 2: Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, by Francis Fernandez Carvajal.

Ouch. How many times do people suggest things and I say, nope, I’m gonna do it my way. Now, to be honest, there are times when other people’s suggestions are not the best. Sometimes people who are not Catholic don’t understand why something is important to those of us who are. But there are times when what they suggest is just the right thing and maybe the Lord is trying to tell us something. My problem is, how do I learn to tell the difference? Sounds like a discernment problem and these days whenever I hear the D word I think of St. Ignatius of Loyola immediately. (I used to think of it in a more generic sense, but, as with so many things, I think of it differently now.)

Keep in mind that sin darkens the intellect and weakens the will. So discerning what the Lord is saying and acting upon it is not as simple as it should be, would be if it weren’t for Original Sin. And even though we may be baptized, we still have that annoying thing called concupiscence. And how annoying it is! Always tripping us up when we least expect it. 

Turns out that we need to fight concupiscence and purify our minds and hearts so that we can hear what the Lord is saying to us and act on it. We might be able to hear part of what He is saying right now and maybe even take some action, but most of us—and I am including myself, most definitely—can always go further, purify ourselves more, remove more of what keeps us from hearing Him. And if I am to be even more honest, I can do more to remove obstacles that keep me from loving Him more.

What would help here? Grace. Grace received in the sacraments. Grace received in prayer. Penance and mortification. They don’t have to be grand or dramatic. Just little things that arise in the moment. I could stop and take a break right now or I could wait a while, and do this as a penance, offering up my suffering to the Lord to be united with His Redemptive Suffering to use as He sees fit or I can offer it for the Holy Souls or something else.

For example, I can take a sip of water now or I can wait, offering up my thirst. I can take a nap or I can wait, offering up my tiredness. I can stop myself before I lose my temper and offer up my anger or irritation. All these little ways that aren’t dramatic but arise almost continually every day. We can all practice these little penances and go a long way toward purifying our hearts and minds, remembering to watch out for spiritual pride along the way. Ah, pride. That’s a sneaky one. That one needs extra care. 

Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour. 

1 Peter 5:8, Douay-Rheims Bible, public domain.

Thanks for visiting the blog and reading. May we grow in holiness and virtue in this Lenten season, and, by His grace, discern His Will, and become the saints He intends us to be. God bless you, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+

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Image credit: In Conversation with God, Volume 2: Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, photo of my copy.

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Copyright: All original material on Catholic Heart and Mind is Copyright © 2009-2023 Lee Lancaster. All rights reserved. Read more.

2 thoughts on “We are not our own best advisers

  1. namedurts

    I am absolutely loving the book, “In Conversation with God”. It talks about each daily gospel in an easy to understand format. Thank you so much for this gift.

    Liked by 1 person

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