Vice and Virtue

man holding sheep statuette

This morning I was jolted by this paragraph from Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, also known as Father Simeon, who is a Cistercian monk in Rome:

“As long as man is trying to impress God with his own heroics, the heavens will remain shut. When will we understand that God wants nothing at all from us, not even virtue? In a Christian sense, the opposite of vice is not ‘virtue’ in its usual meaning of a self-developed and admirable personal attribute. The opposite of vice in the Christian soul is not virtue but the power of Christ living within us.”

It’s no good to combat arrogance, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and laziness by trying harder to muster up humility, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance, and diligence. When I do, I’m still relying on “heroics”.

There is nothing but the power of Christ living in me.  Neither my vice nor my virtue really matters. Only the power of Christ living in me. His power cannot be conjured; only received. “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him, I freely give. I will ever love and trust Him. In His Presence daily live. I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee, my Blessed Savior. I surrender all.” (public domain)

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