Human Weakness Defined

Father Frassinetti defines human weakness. To say that we are weak “means that if the grace of God were to abandon us, the full observance of the laws of God would be quite impossible for us; but it does not mean that this full obedience would be too difficult when assisted, as we are, by heavenly grace.”

He adds: “Observe also that when Almighty God wills to bestow on any soul a great degree of eminence in any given virtue, ordinarily speaking He permits that soul to undergo very strong temptations against that particular virtue. He dealt so with St. Paul—’for power is made perfect in infirmity.’ For this reason, if you have strong temptations against faith, it means that God wills to bestow upon you a very vivid faith. If against chastity, it means that God wills to enrich you with very perfect chastity. This is a thing that you ought to mark well and observe attentively, because it is just the reason why many people despair of being able to arrive at Christian perfection. They base their calculations upon their own strength, and not upon the strength of the grace of God.”

“If we were truly humble we should never be terrified by any difficulty we might encounter in the service of God. . . . Without the concurrence of Almighty God in the natural order we could not move an arm; without His, concurrence in the supernatural order we could not even invoke the name of Jesus. . . . Were we fully persuaded of this truth, great difficulties would no longer alarm us.”

A person so disposed “continually seeks the assistance of God, and expects it as well in little things as in the greater and more important undertakings which he may have on hand. Meantime he clearly sees that all things are great or little only in our own eyes; that all things are as nothing before God, since all are equally easy to Him; that it is the same thing for Almighty God to make a leaf fall from a tree or to create a world. . . . Placing all his confidence in God, he considers himself able to do all things, and is terrified at nothing in the service of his Divine Master.”

Quotations from Joseph Frassinetti, The Consolation of the Devout Soul, trans. Georgiana Lady Chatterton (London: Burns and Oates, 1876).

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