Children, human nature is ever greedy, ever selfish. We hinder God’s work in us, we destroy his glorious gifts after they are granted us, because we allow selfishness to appropriate what is not our own, yielding to the poisonous influences inherited from original sin. Our nature looks to self in everything. Saint Thomas teaches that by this infection of nature, man is inclined to love himself more than anything else, even angels, nay, even more than God – not that God created us thus perverse, but it has all resulted from the original turning away from God in the fall of Adam. And this evil tendency is rooted so deep in us, that its traces baffle the search of all the wise men in the world. All the industry of man cannot correct this innate weakness of both his inner and outer life. It often happens, that when we fancied God alone was our motive, it turned out that it was only the poisonous influences of nature that guided us – we were but seeking self in everything. Saint Paul was a true prophet when he said:”In the last days, shall come dangerous times. Men shall be lovers of themselves” (2 Tim 3:1,2) This is manifestly the case in these times….
O if one could but give up self in his outer and inner life, in spirit and in nature, it were a precious gain! It would be a small price to pay if he gave up gold and silver and castles and farms for this end….
From this detachment is born kindness, and also separation from all worldly things; so that one now receives freely from God’s hands and with entire thankfulness, joy or sorrow, or whatever else may befall him in the inner life or the outer: everything helps him to eternal happiness. Such a man has the grace to feel that whatever happens to him has been eternally foreseen by his heavenly Father, and in the very way it does happen, and viewing all things as God does, he rests in peace of mind, no matter what occurs.
Father John Tauler , O.P.
German Dominican Priest, popular preacher and a mystical theologian