True to the Word


Unless we neutralize our paltry possessiveness we will be left in limbo indefinitely.

We may ruefully discover that it is easier to be generous in a time of abundance than to give what seems to be our last, pitiable resource. But it is precisely this final and radical act of trust that God requires of us at this time.

In our putting aside of all other hopes we learn to live by a hope that seems hopeless. We no longer have the fig leaves of pretense to cover our native indigence and somehow we are relieved that we no longer have to keep up appearances. At this point we begin to know what it is to be "poor in spirit."

Although this involves nothing less than seeing ourselves as God sees us, we resist the process mightily. As delusions drop off, we become more violently assailed by truth. So it appears. The truth seems mostly bad news. We begin to perceive something of the ugliness and compromise that have disfigured most of our past deeds and still hang around us like a bad smell. Yet, unwelcome though this hard truth be, there is comfort here. Our feet are on the ground. We are touching bottom. Mysteriously, just as God's passion for us is not diminished by our sinfulness, so this new vision of our need for God makes us share a little of God's unconditional love for us. What a surprise! The more we see the unwelcome truth about ourselves through God's eyes, the more accepting we become of our own reality. Our love and self-esteem increase because, now, even our self-love is shaped by God.




Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O. "True to the Word." excerpt from Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer (Liguori, 1996).

Reprinted with permission of the author, Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O.


Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O. is a Cistercian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia. He is a well-known retreat master and lecturer on monastic spirituality. Father Casey is the author of many books, including Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer, A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict's Teaching on Humility, Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology, and Strangers to the City.

Copyright © 2011 Father Michael Casey, O.C.S.O.

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