We spoke last time of the perfections of living in Christ, of abiding in Him, despite our imperfections. Thank God there is perfection for us that does not require an absence of weakness and insufficiency!
Let’s take self-pity for an example. Few if any of us can say we have never known a dose of it, and there are those who have drunk to intoxication! It is a repugnant fault, in ourselves and in others, but here in Cor Unum Abbey, this monastery of the heart, we rejoice. This tyrant will serve us! If we have seen our pride, our fears, our jealousies … our self-pity … the snare is broken, and now this enemy is going to have to serve us well.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have our very, very worst traits as plain to be seen as the portraits that emerge when the sun shines through a stained glass window? Not at first, of course, because we’ve been trying to hide them for so long, but after awhile, and when we learn that others see right through us and lovingly care for us in all the dark spots … what a relief!
So, taking self-pity as an example, we begin to repent of the fear that fuels it and the pride that it engenders. (If we look, we will find both in the mix, almost every time.) Where there was that loathsome sniveling, there will be the courage of a lion. What did we fear? Most often, it was neglect. Suddenly, and as our pride is leveled in honesty of heart, we begin to exult in our weakness, our great need for attentions and diversions, for now we give all the more our attention to the Lord in all things – perhaps He would enjoy what we would enjoy! We trust that His attentions to us are unfailing and sweet, even though unseen at times. The very fact that our need for notice is so visceral proves to us that His thoughts turn to us more times in one minute than we can count. We weren’t made wrong; we need all that self-pity covets, but we must eat from the tree of life, and that will ever be a feast of faith.
The day will come when we cannot even enjoy the joys of life without Him. It’s a love affair. We need pleasures, we badly need respite and laughter and the stimulations of beautiful things, so for now, we give them to Him, in all deficits of fun and fellowship and finance, we honeymoon with Him. Those whose needs are greatest, those most forgotten and most forsaken, bring the entire flask of unmet expectations and its fragrance does the impossible: it perfumes heaven. My dear, dear sisters in Christ … the fragrance of our surrender and our faith perfumes the dome of heaven in which He sits, at the right hand of the Father.
Be honest. You may not have the love or the money or the opportunities on earth that others have, but no one can love the Lord in your place. No one can do what you are doing or sacrifice what you have to give. Bathe the feet of your Lord, for this earth is His footstool. Bathe His feet with your surrender to His unearthly love. Don’t ask to see or feel love … give it. Love everything about Him while you suffer the lack of other pleasures. Love those you serve, for He will feel it, pray for those who despitefully use you, for He will see it and revel in your kindness. Glance His way, always … it will ravish His heart! Rejoice to see the ugly stepsisters leaving for the ball. You know you don’t need a fairy godmother … the Prince is at home with you.
Charles Robinson, Cinderella, 1900