Yesterday was Fénelon Friday!…Unfortunately, you my dear reader, have had to wait until today for the selection. But fret not! It is worth the wait….
LETTER 13: Despair at Our Imperfections Is a Greater Obstacle
Than the Imperfection Itself
Do not be overly concerned about your defects. Instead concentrate on having an unceasing love for Jesus, and you shall be much forgiven, because you have loved much. (Luke 7:47). However, we need to beware of the tendency to seek the good feelings and selfish thrills of love (which are the by-products of love) instead of love itself. We can so easily deceive ourselves on this matter. We can concentrate so much on love that we miss the point entirely. You are more occupied with the love, says St. Francis of Sales, than with the Well-beloved. If Jesus were the sole object of our love, we would be all wrapped up in Him. But when we are concerned with constant assurance of His love, we are still in a measure busy with self.
When we look at our defects in peace through the spirit of Jesus, they vanish before the majesty of His love. But when we concentrate on our defects, forgetting that Jesus loves us, we become restless, the presence of God is interrupted, and the flow of God’s love is hindered. The humiliation we feel about our own defects can often be a greater fault than the original defect itself if it keeps you from moving into the realization of God’s love. So don’t let yourself get taken up with the lesser of the two. Do not be like a person I just met a short time ago, who, after reading the life of one of the saints, was so angry about his own life in comparison that he completely gave up the idea of living a devoted Christian life. I know this will not be true of you.
When I receive your letters, I can just about tell how faithfully you have lived by the amount of peace and freedom you manifest in your writing. The more peaceful and free you are, the nearer you seem to be to God.
Francis Fénelon, Let Go (New Kensington: Whitaker House, 1973).