We Should Listen to God and Not to Self

It’s Fénelon Friday!

LETTER 25: We Should Listen to God and Not to Self

I beg you not to listen to self. Self-love whispers in one ear and the love of God in the other. Self-love is always worthless, aggressive, grasping, and impulsive. But the love of God is so different. It is simple, peaceful, and speaks but a few words in a mild and gentle voice. And the moment we decide to start listening to the voice of self screeching its complaints in our ear, we can no longer hear the more modest whisperings of divine love. You can always tell when self is speaking. Self always wants to entertain itself and never feels sufficiently well attended to. It talks of friendship, regard, esteem, and does not wish to hear anything thing that is not flattering. The love of God, on the other hand, desires that self should be forgotten, that it should be counted as nothing, that God might be all in all. God knows that it is best for us when self is trampled under foot and broken as an idol, in order that He might live within us, and make us after His will.

So let that vain, complaining babbler—self-love—be silenced, that in the stillness of the soul we may listen to God.

Francis Fénelon, Let Go (New Kensington, PA: Whittaker House, 1973).

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