Sacrificing Our Dearest Interests

God requires us to perform our duties, but he does not require us to be curious as to whether we are deserving or not. You give too much thought to yourself; you are too greatly concerned with yourself under the pious pretext of seeking advancement in the way of God. Forget yourself, to think only of him, and abandon yourself to the decrees of his divine Providence. For then he will himself make you progress, will purify and exalt you without a doubt, exactly as, when and in the degree, it shall please him. For what have we to do but to give him pleasure, and in all things and in all places to desire what he desires? We range far and wide in pursuit of perfection, while we have it almost at our door: namely, in our longing to do God’s will everything and never our own. Yet to reach this state of affairs we must renounce and sacrifice what, in one sense, are our dearest interests, and it is this that we are unwilling to do; for we would have God sanctify and perfect us in accordance with our own ideas and inclinations. What wretched, pitiful blindness! –from Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, pg. 374, (emphasis mine)

Note here that Fr. de Caussade does not implore us to accomplish all that God desires, but only to desire all that God desires.   Is it not easy for us to get caught up in our checklists of life and to become discouraged when we inevitably do not finish all that we begin or complete it perfectly?  Desiring God’s will is much easier than completing the plans that we have designed for our own holiness. (Matthew 11:30). After all, it is God alone who makes us holy; our only credit to holiness is utter submission to his holy will, but even that is not done without the fantastic grace of God.

Even when we desire to surrender to God’s will, there remains attachments to our own vision of how to become as holy as we ought. But do we really know how holy we ought to become? Do we, in our blindness, really know how God intends to sanctify us? Do we let go all our “dearest interests” of what we think will be good for us, or do we allow God to lead us down a path that looks nothing like the one we had designed for ourselves?

It is no doubt difficult to let go of those things that we see as good, but surely we are not God, and we do not know the future. And so letting go of even those things that are good, requires a blind trust in the One that is all good, all-knowing, indeed Love himself.                (‎1 Corinthians 13:8-9, 13)

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Our True Self is God

In fact, why be so concerned with self? The true self is God, since he is far more the life of my soul than my soul is the life of my body. God has created me only for himself: let our thought then be of him, and his thought shall be of us, while he will provide for everything far better than ourselves. When we fall, let us humiliate ourselves, pick ourselves up, and continue our way in peace. That way is at all times to ponder upon the true self which is God — God in whom we must plunge and lose ourselves, rather as we shall find ourselves plunged and lost in heaven, in the everlasting duration of eternity’s great day. — Amen! Amen!”from Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, pg. 430-431

If our very self is God as we are made in his image and likeness, should not our very core — our soul — be wholly united to our creator?  We were not made for our own glory or our own path; for as Fr. de Caussade writes, our creator made us for his own glory that sets us on a path which, if we follow — or at the very start, desire to follow — will bring us wholly in union with him alone.

This path includes detachment from all created things for Christ is begotten, not made; it includes suffering as we unite with our sinless Christ who suffered for us, who deserve only hell; it includes persecution as we stand for truth, of which there is only one found in our Lord Jesus Christ. But it is only on this path that we  find true happiness, everlasting peace, and eternal life.

For if we do not renounce all that comes between us and God, we will always be searching for the only thing we desire. I would venture that most do not recognize what will bring them lasting peace. But whether we recognize it or not, the only thing we truly desire is full union with God since our very selves are God.

God calls us to a greater life, even though we are wholly unworthy. We would only settle for the lesser things of this world if we do not know him.