A Thorough “Shake-Up” Is the Beginning of Growth

“The worst thing that could happen would be for everything to go exactly as we wanted it, for that would be the end of any growth.”

Interior Freedom, by Rev. Jacques Philippe, is my third book for Rose City Reader’s 2018 European Reading Challenge. Fr. Philippe is a French priest, preacher, and spiritual writer.

This is a short book, but it’s full of so many insights that I read it through twice. This passage in particular, gave me a lot to think about.

We also have to admit that difficulties, however hard they may be, bring not only disadvantages but also advantages.

The first advantage is that they prevent us from assuming exclusive ownership of our lives and our time. They prevent us from shutting ourselves up inside our programs, our plans, our wisdom. They liberate us from the prison of ourselves: our narrow-mindedness and narrowness of judgment. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts, says the Lord.” The worst thing that could happen would be for everything to go exactly as we wanted it, for that would be the end of any growth. To be able to enter little by little into God’s wisdom, infinitely more beautiful, richer, more fruitful, and more merciful than ours, our human wisdom needs a very thorough shake-up. Not to destroy it, but to raise and purify it, and free it from its limitations.

When things don’t go as we thought we wanted, this may be a blessing in disguise, giving us an opportunity to detach from our own thoughts and to open ourselves up to God’s will, new experiences, and paths we otherwise would not have taken. Fr. Philippe’s perspective is much like that of St. Francis de Sales, and his books ring with the same spiritual truth.

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