Striving for Perfection – Part 8 of 10

Continuing his discussion of striving for perfection, Father Geiermann observes that the road to perfection is a gradual process that requires the traveler’s patience: “The spiritual life is composed of a divine and a human element. The divine element is the grace of God; the human, our fallen nature actuated by good will. Both elements combine to effect the spiritual life within us, the human element supplying the material or favorable condition, while the grace of God is the efficient cause of our sanctification. . . . As the human element progresses by being more and more subjected to the influence of grace, its progress is usually slow and necessarily gradual. . . .The progress of the divine element, or the influence of grace, when not miraculous, is also gradual, because proportionate to the capacity of the human element. God is indeed lavish, but not reckless, with His grace. He gives the increase in proportion to our fidelity in co-operating with it, or in proportion as we increase our capacity for grace by the gradual surrender of ourselves through conformity to His holy will.”

Patience is that self-possession which enables us to conform to the will of God in the trials of life. The trials of life arise (1) from the nature of our earthly pilgrimage; (2) from the infirmity of human nature; (3) from the conduct of others; (4) from the influence of the spirit-world; and (5) from the special dispensations of divine Providence.”

“Patience (1) makes us masters of ourselves and our surroundings; (2) makes us Christlike in our love of the cross; (3) makes us the beloved children of God; (4) entitles us to the reward of heaven; and (5) gives that ‘peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding’ (Phil 4:7).”

“To possess our souls in patience St. Alphonsus exhorts us (1) to anticipate the trials that await us; (2) to pray for strength to endure them; (3) to frequent the sacraments; (4) to live in intimate union with God.”

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

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