Thought for the Day – 22 June – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“In the spiritual life, as in the physical order, death is the beginning of life.
“Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting” (Jn 12:24-25).
This passage of the Gospel, epitomises the doctrine of Christian mortification – it is necessary to die to ourselves, in order to live in God.
Anyone who is full of himself and of worldly matters, has no room in his heart for God.
It is not possible, as St Augustine points out, to fill a vase with earth and then to fill it with water.
There is no room left for the water and, if a little of it enters the vase, it is no longer pure water but muddy!
We must empty ourselves of ourselves and of worldly things, in order to fill ourselves with God.
Jesus told us this quite clearly. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself” (Mt 16:24).
If anyone denies himself in order to do God’s will in all things, he has achieved real interior mortification.
Moreover, he has perfect peace, which consists in being established in the love of God.
This does not mean that all self-love is wrong.
In fact, there are two kinds of self-love.
We can love our true good, which is God and, therefore, desire to live in harmony with this supreme good in this life in order to enjoy it as our eternal reward.
This kind of self-love is founded on the love of God, Who is the main reason why we love ourselves.
But if we prefer our own pleasure and satisfaction to God, then our self-love is disproportionate and wrong and leads us into sin.
The first thing we must do, therefore, is to mortify our inordinate self-love.
In other words, we must deny ourselves in matters where self-love is keeping us apart from God, Whom we should love more than anything else in life.”