THE LIGHT OF GOOD WORKS
We human beings tend to appear before others as more intelligent, better, more noble than we really are. We go through life trying to show off before them and before our own selves a perfection we don’t have.
Psychologists say that this tendency is owed above all to the desire to affirm ourselves in our own eyes and before others, in order to defend ourselves from their possible superiority.
We’re lacking the truth of «good works», and we fill our life with wordiness and all kinds of digressions. We are incapable of giving our children an example of a worthy life, and we spend our day expecting of them what we don’t live out ourselves.
We aren’t coherent with our Christian faith, and we try to justify ourselves criticizing those who have abandoned the practice of religion. We aren’t witnesses of the Gospel, and we dedicate ourselves to preaching it to others.
Maybe we’ve begun to patiently recognize our inconsistencies, so that we present to others only the truth of our life. If we have the courage to accept our mediocrity, we open ourselves more easily to the action of that God who can still transform our life.
Jesus talks about the danger of «salt losing its taste». St. John of the Cross says in different words: «May God free you from being like the salt that becomes vain, so that though it seems to be something on the outside, in substance it’s nothing, because it’s certain that the good works can’t be done except by God’s power».
To be «salt for the earth», what’s important isn’t activism, busyness, superficial initiative, but «good works» that are born of love and of the action of the Spirit within us.
How much must we listen today in the Church to these words of the same John of the Cross: «Notice, then, here we see those who are very active and think they encircle the world with their preaching and outer works, how much more they’d offer the Church and how much more they’d please God…if they spent just a half of that time in being with God in prayer».
On the contrary, according to the mystic doctor, «everything is hammering and doing little more than nothing, and sometimes nothing at all, and even damage at times». In the midst of so much activity and busyness, where are our «good works»? Jesus tells his disciples: «Your light must shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven».
Jose Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf