Obedience to Christ in Our Weakness

The great saints knew their weaknesses and prayed in such a manner as, “Do Thou, O Lord, extend Thy protecting hand over me, that I may not betray Thee this day.”

Such folly, to the outsider, might seem this apparently weak devotion to Our Lord. “Why,” they might ask, “do you claim to be His follower if you are so fickle a disciple, so fickle a friend, so half-hearted a servant?”

Indeed, the question should cause us to consider the apparent contradiction: why do we call ourselves His friends if we feel we must, daily, call upon His aid so that we will not betray Him?

Perhaps we are scandalized by the early example of Judas, and see that we may also fall into sin if we are not careful. Perhaps we are so aware of the flaws of our fallen human nature that we fear how weak we are in attempting to do the good that we desire to do.

Yes, indeed, to both of these we must pay heed, for in them are the warnings to each and every one of us, that lest we take heed, we will, by our actions, turn away from Christ and betray the One whom we at one moment did express to worship, adore, and imitate.

But, what madness it can seem when we reflect upon it! – I, who love and follow Christ, and know by faith and experience His power and goodness, have such little strength on my own that, despite this understanding, every day I am at risk of betraying this Supreme Good! How frightening!

Nonetheless, this is our lot. We are weak and wounded creatures, in our very natures, due to the original sin and fall of our first parents. We are all fickle and shifty, and inclined to evil.

So, then, yes, be alarmed at every moment when you express your fidelity to Our Lord, lest you forget your weakness. Never indulge the temptation to take pride in your good deeds or virtues or spiritual gifts. All good things flow from and depend on God. We have them in ourselves by His generosity and by our cooperation with His grace. On our own, though, we will betray Him.

Every morning, in imitation of St. Philip Neri and St. Alphonsus Liguori, express to our good Lord your fear of yourself. In so doing, petition Him to supply for your weakness and protect your vow of obedience and fidelity you made in your Baptism. Focus on the most necessary virtue and grace of humility, by which you will never fall away from Him.

Humility must accompany every disciple of Jesus Christ. Without it, we will be just flashes of brightness that, like tiny candles, burn out at the first opposing breeze.

Humility, to the contrary, is great fodder for the blaze that can illumine the darkness of this world. Let yourselves, then, be imbued with this great heavenly gift, so that, through the authentic fidelity which it will bring, you may merit to have your names inscribed, eternally, within the Most Sacred Heart of our Master, Jesus Christ.

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