Self–discipline and the Christian – Des Ford

Mar 31, 2015 2042

appleIt is meaningless to talk of repression being wrong and self-expression being right, because there is never a repression without an expression, nor an expression without a repression. Once the instincts and passions are subject to the will, they can be controlled and guided.

Morality does not repress passions and appetites when it restrains unlawful expression. For instance, it does not deny the emotion of hunger, it only asks that, when a man sits at a table, he shall not eat like a pig.

Our Lord did not repress the intense emotional zeal of Paul, he merely redirected it from hate to love. Our Lord did not repress the biological vitalities of a Magdalene, he merely turned her passion from love of v ice to love of virtue.

Such a conversion of energies explains why the greatest sinners – like Augustine – sometimes make the greatest saints; it is not because they have been sinners that they love God with special intensity, but because they have strong urges, violent passions; flowing emotions, which, turned to holy purposes, can do as much good as they formerly did harm.

Self-discipline is only a means, the end of which is a great love of God. To see the will of God as our ally and friend; to recognise human selfishness and pride as the great enemy, to acknowledge the cross of Christ as our supreme motivation, is to find health of soul.

An anonymous poet summarizes the science of Christian living:

For all through life I see a cross

Where sons of God yield up their breath

There is no gain except by loss

There is no life except by death

There is no vision but by faith

No glory but in bearing shame

No justice but in taking blame

And that eternal passion saith

Be emptied of glory and right and name.

             – Anon

 – Des Ford. Rom 8:27–32 (Adapted from “The Cross or Ascetisicm”)

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