Striving for Perfection – Part 7 of 10

Father Geiermann continues his discussion of striving for perfection by stating that a person seeking perfection should have a certain docility. He explains: “Docility is submissiveness to the will of God, whether made known by His law, through the voice of our superior, or by the inspiration of grace. It manifests itself in the respect we have for authority, in the reverence we have for our superiors, and in the readiness with which we welcome the inspirations of grace. Young Samuel had this spirit of docility when he said: ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth’ (1 Sm 3:9). King David also gave us an example of it when he prayed: ‘Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God’ (Ps 142:10).”

A person seeking perfection should have promptitude in the service of God, an “eagerness to please Him.” This promptitude “flows from a spirit of docility animated by the love of God, and manifests itself (1) in the exactness with which we perform the duties of our state in life; (2) in the willingness with which we carry our cross; and (3) in the alacrity, cheerfulness, and thoroughness with which we strive to please God in all things. It induces us to concentrate our energies on the task before us, and to accomplish much under disadvantages and in a short time.”

Such a person makes a continuous effort in the service of God. Geiermann insists that “our efforts should never relax till our earthly pilgrimage is ended. . . . Time, grace, and opportunity are given us. If we employ them in God’s service we progress; if we neglect to use them we recede. In this life there is no stopping place, no time when we are exempt from doing God’s holy will. Eternal rest awaits us in heaven. If, then, we neglect to co-operate even with a single grace, that neglect may break the chain of graces that leads to final perseverance, and so may be the first step to our final reprobation.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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