Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wisdom from Carlo Carretto (4) Keeping the right perspective

Here are two more passages from Carlo Carretto's God of the Impossible. They emphasise the Christian life as a way of seeing things, a basic orientation of faith with regard to all reality.

We must make ourselves small before God, as small as possible, as small as David who believed absolutely that he could not be beaten by Goliath, as small as Joseph who never disputed the angel’s orders, as small as Mary who accepted with unswerving simplicity the improbable betrothal of herself and the Spirit of God, the incredible conception within her of Jesus the Christ. “Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45): therein lies Mary’s greatness – and ours too, if we learn to believe and hope. 

There is no other test of greatness. Looking at a piece of bread on the altar and saying “that is Christ”, is pure faith. Nothing and listing all the sins of the people of God and its leaders and still letting oneself be guided by the mystery of the Church and its infallibility is a formidable thing; knowing that our bodies rot in the grave and yet believing in the resurrection of the body is a tremendous last test of life. 

The successful candidate is the one who has made himself small and does not treat God’s mysteries as though they were coins in his pocket.

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One of the hardest battles in the spiritual life, perhaps I should say the hardest, is the struggle to see God in our trivial human happenings. How often we have to renew our act of faith! At first we are tempted to see only ourselves, to believe only in our selves, to value only ourselves. Then gradually we perceive that the thread of life has a rationale, a mysterious unity, and we are led to think that we meet God in its basic stages. 

Then again, as our religious experience grows, we begin to realize that we meet God not only in the big events of our lives but in all the events, however small and apparently insignificant. 

God is never absent from our lives, He cannot be, because “in Him we live, and move, and exist” (Acts 17:28). But it requires so much effort to turn this truth into a habit! 

We need repeated acts of faith before we learn to sail with confidence on the “immense and endless sea” which is God (St. Gregory Nazianzen), knowing that if we founder we do so in Him, the divine, eternal, ever-present God. How fortunate we are if we can learn to navigate our frail craft on this sea and remain serene even when the storm is raging! 


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