Suffering Belongs to the Living, Not the Dead


It’s Fénelon Friday!

Just a reminder here of something I have clarified before, that when Fénelon refers to self and self-love, he is talking about our sinful nature and our selfish and self-centered love.

LETTER 36: Suffering Belongs to the Living, Not the Dead

Many are deceived into thinking that the death of self is the cause of all the agony they feel. But that which is dead does not agonize. The more finally and completely we die to self, the less pain we experience. Death is only painful to he who resists it. Self always resists death, because of its intense desire to live! The imagination works overtime, time, exaggerating the terrors of death. The spirit argues endlessly that the life of self is simply the natural thing. Self-love fights against death, like a sick man in his last struggle. But regardless of the protests of self, we must die inwardly as well as outwardly. The sentence of death has gone forth against the Spirit as well as against the body. The body must die because of sin. But the spirit must die to sin, and to itself. Be sure that your spirit dies first (to itself), and then our bodily death will be as peaceful as falling asleep. Happy are they who sleep this sleep of peace.

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

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