I think that it is every little girl’s dream to accomplish something amazing, which will help to enhance society, and benefit those whom she loves.
It is womankind’s greatest aspiration and desire to love and be loved, and it is often by accomplishing something great that she feels as if she will achieve this end.
Yet, the nature of mankind is easily deceived by the craftiness of the devil.
In actuality, we do the greatest good for society by perfecting our little internal faults and being a good example of true modesty, gentleness, mortification and tenderness rather than by accomplishing great deeds to be witnesses and seen by the world.
Countless numbers of good hearted people have given their whole lives in the attempt to accomplish good deeds, but, in the end, lost all they had worked for, as a result of taking too much pride their achievements. For, in an effort to complete something estimable, they sought the will and glory of the world rather than that of God. This then changed their noble quest into a path which would easily bring about the ruination of their immortal souls.
In the past couple months, I have come to realize just how much pride controls our actions even when we when we are not aware of it. My greatest fault in this regard has been taking on too many responsibilities, and then not being able to fulfill any of them diligently or appropriately. For weeks now I have had this all the more profoundly emplaced upon my mind. Yet, I have never found the words to proficiently express the full extent of what I have learned.
Today, however, I was reading The Spiritual Combat, by Lorenzo Scupoli, which was given to me as a Christmas gift by a good friend of mine. In it I found a section which I think explains perfectly everything that I have recently learned. So, for those who think they might be troubled by these things, please read on:
CHAPTER 42 – How to Resist the Devil When He Tries to Ensnare Us by an Indiscreet Zeal
When the Devil, crafty as he is, observes that we are walking straight forward in the path of holiness with lively and well-regulated desires, and that he cannot draw us aside by open allurements, he transforms himself into an angel of light, and by friendly suggestions, quotations from Scripture, and examples of the Saints, importunately urges us to aspire indiscreetly to the height of perfection, that he may presently cause us to fall headlong from it.
With this in view he excites us to chastise the body with great harshness, with scourges, fasts, hair-cloths, and other similar mortifications, that he may either tempt us to pride, by thinking we are doing great things (as is especially the case with women), or that he may undermine our health, and so unfit us for doing good works, or else that spiritual exercises may become irksome and distasteful to us through pain and over fatigue; and thus by degrees we grow lukewarm in the way of godliness, and at last rush with greater avidity than before to the delights and pleasures of the world.
With many this has been the case. They, having been led on by a presumptuous spirit, and by the impulses of an indiscreet zeal, have, in their excessive outward austerities, gone beyond the measure of their own strength, and so have perished in their own inventions, and have become the sport of malicious fiends. This would never have happened if they had laid to heart what we have been saying and considering, which is, that painful acts of this sort, however praiseworthy and profitable to those whose bodily strength and lowliness of spirit are equal to them, must yet ever be limited by the requirements of each man’s constitution and temperament.
And if you cannot imitate the Saints in their austerities, you may find other features in their character which you can copy, by strong and effectual desires and fervent prayers, aspiring after the most glorious crowns of Christ’s true soldiers; by despising, as they did, the whole world, and themselves also; by giving themselves up to silence and solitude; by humility and gentleness towards all men; by patience under wrongs, and kindness to those who treated them ill; by watchfulness against even the smallest fault, for this is more pleasing to God than all bodily austerities.