Striving for Perfection – Part 6 of 10

Continuing his discussion of striving for perfection, Father Geiermann mentions the importance of having a resolution to please God: “We should make the resolution to belong entirely to God and to please Him in all things. . . . By this resolution, firmly and irrevocably made and continually applied to the circumstances of our daily lives, we are made fit material, like clay in the potter’s hands, to be transformed by God into vessels of election. According to St. Alphonsus this resolution includes the determination (1) to avoid every deliberate fault; (2) to detach ourselves from earthly things; (3) to be faithful in prayer and mortification; (4) to keep the eternal truths and the passion of Jesus Christ before our minds; (5) to resign ourselves to the will of God in adversities; (6) to beg of God continually the gift of His holy love; (7) to do what seems most pleasing to God; (8) to carry this resolution into effect in the present.”

A person aiming at perfection wishes to serve God, and is characterized by generosity in disposition and fervor in action.

Geiermann defines this generosity as “wholesouledness in the service of God.” Such a one “joyfully does what he can, and confidently relies on the assistance and guidance of heaven. With St. Paul he not only says, ‘I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me,’ but is also, like him, willing to endure all things that God ordains. . . . Generosity makes us seek opportunities of doing good, seize them with avidity, and produce a perfect work.”

Fervor is affection in the service of God. What generosity is in disposition that fervor is in action. St. Basil calls fervor an efficacious desire of pleasing God in all things. When a good will has blossomed into holy desires and matured into a practical resolution, it stimulates the affections of a generous soul and makes them glow with fervor. . . . Fervor imparts that facility and sweetness to the service of God which accelerates and insures our progress in perfection.”

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

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