I was not a big fan of the second appendix, the dialogue between sensible and stupid. While it does fit Kreeft’s approach in writing this book and the content was good, it was the awkward conversation that distracted from the message.
Chapter 31, on the other hand, in one brief passage speaking about our existence, gave fresh insights for reflection. I exist. God made me. Yes, that is a fact! At this moment in my existence, my gray cells are formulating thoughts and then my fingers move and type this post. I can choose to stop. Pause. Make a cup of tea (actually enjoying some Hot Cinnamon Spice tea!). As much as I’d like to think my existence has everything to do with me, and I have so much control over this existence, none of that happens unless God, holds me in existence. As Kreeft says, our very existence is not our own. Without God’s command for us to “BE”, we cease to be. Kreeft continues, “That is why every moment is holy: because it is filled with the presence and will and activity of God, at its very center, its very existence.” Our response – gratitude! Unending gratitude!
I want to end with one last look at a quote from Chapter 14 –“William Law says, in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, if we examine ourselves with honesty we will discover only one reason why we are not as holy as the saints: because we do not wholly want to be.” Let us all desire to be saints! One of the movies I watched on Formed.org recently was about St. Philip Neri. Beautiful and uplifting. Watch it! His catch phrase, “I prefer heaven.” It is in Italian with subtitles. The language does not detract but enhances this movie. So in the words of Saint Philip Neri, “preferisco il paradiso!” (PS – a bonus in the movie is great music by composer Marco Frisina)
When I first read this book, one thing that really stuck with me was chapter 33 which addressed following God’s will, even if it leads you away from virtuous action or prayer. The point being that God’s will is what is best for us at that moment. What is best for us at a particular moment may not necessarily be what we would will for ourselves! Refusing God’s will to follow our own, even if it is our will to continue prayer when being called elsewhere, works against our growth in holiness. We must remember that we are always to give our fiat – to always answer YES! It isn’t necessarily WHAT we are doing but the attitude and way that we do it that matters most! And what works for you might not be what God wants for me. We must DO with LOVE. We must carry out our duties no matter what they are, faithfully and to the best of our ability. We must resist the urge to compare ourselves with others. And we must always be grateful to God for the many blessings and opportunities given us in each moment. As we transition into Lent, recall that Kreeft tells the reader that gratitude is expressed through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These are Lenten focal points! Keep that in mind during the season – you are expressing your GRATITUDE! Maybe this time around, instead of worrying over what to ‘give up’, you can focus on gratitude and practice conforming your will to God’s will – be proactive in your quest for holiness! And remember: It’s a marathon – so keep running.
Do you struggle with following the inner promptings that come from God?
Do you think that this Lent will contribute to your personal pursuit of holiness? If so, how? If not, why not?
Please share your thoughts on the questions above or any other comments you have after reading these chapters!