“It is not enough to have a mind enlightened by the consciousness of our faults. Our wills must also be moved to correct them. In the first case we purify our conscience, while in the second we embellish and adorn it for the reception of our Jesus.” (A 45bis).
Louise de Marillac, from a meditation of Saint Louise de Marillac on the gifts that the Magi offered to Jesus.
- To be moved to correct our defects is to accept that we have them, to overcome them and to love us, in spite of everything. In life, in creation and in men and women there are defects. But a flower can bloom in a dunghill – God’s life can flourish anywhere. We must accept, overcome and assimilate our defects; be moved to correct them with illusion and not swallow them by force. The Holy Spirit guides us in our efforts.
- Many support a spirituality with “zero defects,” as Jesus said “to be perfect as your Father is perfect,” even if it clashes with the harsh reality that no one is perfect. But that sentence from Jesus requires explanation, because God cannot demand perfection from those who can not attain it. In the opinion of the exegetes, Jesus’ sentence “be perfect” would be a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “holy” that did not mean perfect, but “merciful,” compassionate.
- Our formation should not be directed towards perfection, but to accept our limitations as something natural in the human being. The hardness of fulfilling God’s will at all times is alleviated if we accept our limitations and our failures.
- To accept and assimilate your way of being and your defects, you have to start by recognizing them. It is hard to recognize the defects, and more to correct them; we believe that if we discover a defect we will be considered inferior. Denial of a defect is simply a matter of self-esteem.
- However, Saint Louise proposes to us three ways to walk through life, wrapped in our defects. The first is the illusion, which, like gold, prevents us from turning life into a routine of acting without paying attention to what we are doing; the second is to lead an authentic and fervent life in God that, like incense, becomes an offering of love, not a routine, a vulgar custom; and third, asceticism, the effort of each day, which, like myrrh, gives strength to those who intend to reach the model, Jesus Christ, without forgetting that, like Jesus Christ crucified, at some point we find ourselves without the strength to drink myrrh.
Questions for dialogue:
- How do we deepen in the attitudes of Christ towards the humble and oppressed to have their same look and clothe with their feelings?
- In a society of media culture and before the exhaustion that brings us the multiple problems of poverty, we are aware of needing an interior life. How do we feed it? How do we maintain a spiritual rhythm of life to favor the quality of our being Vincentian?
- Do you need to change something? What? Is this not worth an effort, a jolt, a conversion, once and for all, of all of you without distinction of age?
- Why doesn’t our way of being and living cause vocational responses in the Vincentian Family?
Benito Martínez, C.M.