“We lack courage to keep a continual watch over nature and therefore year after year, with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions and fair promises, we run around in a circle of misery and imperfections.” (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)
Have you ever felt that you are fighting the same battles with yourself over and over again? That you are plagued by the same weaknesses and sins? We say we want to stop gossiping, losing our temper, wanting what we can’t have, etc., but we do seem to go in circles a lot of the time. What is the answer?
Mother Seton would tell us that we need to mortify ourselves, to cut a thought or an action short before it becomes a sin. “Self love does not like to hear it”, she wrote, “but our heart is very corrupt and we must do continual violence to it to keep it in order.” While that may sound harsh to us, she is certainly on track about self love – we all have too much of it! - which means that we do need to keep a constant watch over ourselves and our hearts, as our human natures will usually stray to the path of ease and comfort.
Christ, himself, warns us: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.” (Luke 16:15). Today, let’s act on His words. If we truly want to progress spiritually, we need to make an honest examination of our actions and our motives, and do our best to be more disciplined in our hearts and minds. Then, with prayer, we can be assured that God will help us to become the person He wants us to be. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is another help which always awaits us!
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!