Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Challenge that Lies Ahead

"More determination is required to subdue the interior man than to mortify the body; and to break one's will than to break one's bones."
-St. Ignatius of Loyola
Okay, I want to put this in perspective, so:
  1. Grab the nearest baseball bat.
  2. Give your shin (or better, your femur) a good whacking.  Do that until you hear a crack.  For best results, continue until the bat itself has cracked.
  3. When you're done screaming in terribly, gut-wrenching pain, continue reading.
Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?  Really, though, St. Ignatius has a good point.  You know how hard it is to harm yourself?  If you're so emotionally troubled that you've actually ever tried, you will have found that it is remarkably difficult.  Your instincts and reflexes will fight against your every attempt.

So what must it be like to mortify your body?  It's like trying to go on a diet, but worse.  Trust me.  I'm on a diet and I just bought some Nutella.  I fluctuate between 203 lbs. and 209 lbs. based solely on my mood.  Why?  Because my will ain't strong enough!  My will wants to think of myself and my own desires first.

Now, in all fairness, the equivalent of shattering your femur with a baseball bat in regard to the will would be something a little closer to...hmm...laying down one's life for one's friends.  St. Ignatius of Loyola mentions determination as the tool to overcome willfulness.  I'd like to suggest (and I know he'd agree), that the real instrument for this job is love.  How do I know this?

"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."

-John 15:13
Love is what enables us to defy our own wills in the most profound ways.  If we're going to be Fiat Men, we need love first and foremost!



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