Trappist monk, author 1915-1968
To "be perfect" [i.e. be holy] then is not so much a matter of seeking God with ardor and generosity, as of being found, loved, and possessed by God, in such a way that his action in us makes us completely generous and helps us to transcend our limitations and react against our own weakness.
We become saints not by violently overcoming our own weakness, but by letting the Lord give us the strength and purity of his Spirit in exchange for our weakness and misery...If we believe that he loves us not because we are worthy but because we need his love, then we can advance with confidence...We must therefore begin by believing that God is our Father.
Life and Holiness, page 31
To believe that God is my Father...this is the beginning, the source, the very first truth of my entire life in Christ. The journey towards heaven and the beatific union begins at this point. To believe that it's my misery and weakness that attract Him, that make Him draw even closer to me is something that I, as His daughter, endeavour to embrace every day. The apostles asked the Lord one day, "What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?" His answer was a bit surprising. Jesus said, "You must believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28-29) That's all! I must believe that Jesus loves me as the Father does and that He is completely ready and willing to carry me upon His shoulders. It doesn't bother Him at all because He is fully aware of my failures, my weaknesses, my sins, my misery. This is at the heart of St Thérèse de Lisieux's doctrine; the more I rejoice in my misery, the more I invite Jesus to draw near me, to pick me up and to bring me into a life of holiness. He actually enjoys doing so! Merton must have read St. Thérèse's autobiography to write what he did! He understood her "little way". (October 3, 2021)