Thought for the Day – 4 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
True Love of Self
“There is a passage in the Gospel which might lead us to believe that we are forbidden to love ourselves.
“Amen, amen, I say to you,” Jesus declares, “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).
These words command us to hate ourselves in this world if we wish to attain salvation in the next life.
In what sense, however, does Christ mean that we are to hate ourselves?
He certainly means, that we should mortify our lower inclinations, deny our selfish ambitions, die to the world and be prepared to lose life itself, rather than offend God in any way.
This is the kind of hate to which He urges us, a hatred of any perversion of our nature or of our faculties.
If we prefer our own will, to that of our Creator, or love Him less than we love ourselves, or, worse still, if we forget and ignore Him in favour of passing pleasures, then, we invert the order of spiritual and moral values established by God and create a disorder which could lead us into sin.
Instead, we should love God above all things and subjugate our thoughts, desires and affections to Him.
We should be prepared to forget ourselves for His sake and even to sacrifice life itself or His honour and glory.
Then, our self-hatred will become a sublime love, which will bring us victory in our battle against our sensual inclinations.
It will give us peace and resignation in suffering and, at the hour of death, will give us that consolation and joy, which the martyrs experienced when they shed their blood for the sake of Jesus Christ.”
Antonio Cardinal Bacci