Thursday, 24 September 2015

The sickliness of self-deceit

When sanity seems to be leaving me, I turn to Faber.

I'm tired.
I'm ill and physical illness can make inroads into our spiritual life, there is noting intrinsically good or edifying about being ill.

I do hold with Faber that self-deceit is a real enemy to our salvation and one we never completely conquer this side of death.  So for personal reasons I post the following from Faber on self-deceit, but as this is something that affects us all and as these days are bonkers beyond belief, perhaps he can say something to you too. I sense that we actually want to be spiritually ill, or we want to diagnose everyone around us as ill.  We want to dissect every utterance made by everyone, we want to read our delusions into every speech made by every figure in the media.  And we want to come up with the conclusion that the only solution is for everyone to be as sick as we are.  Surely this is the height of self-deceit?  We are ill with self-deceit and the sterile sick room that we are living in is hell's own waiting room.

The power of the kingdom of sin rests simply in self-deceit.  The picture, you think is gloomy. I grant it.  Yet not disheartening.  It is the old story.  You will not serve God out of love, and then you abuse preachers for unsettling you.  You want unsettling.  I wish I could unsettle you. I wish you had the grace to be unsettled.  Digging does good.  It loosens the roots, lets in the sun and rain.  What can be more vexatious than an obstinate shrub which will not grow?  It always reminds me of souls, - so stiff, and concentrated, and dull, and pert, and self-satisfied in its yellow primness.

A simple childlike love of Jesus always goes safely through these dangers of self-deceit, almost without being aware of their existence.  

There is something intensely sickly about the spiritual life.  It is nothing but unbandaging, examining sores, bandaging them up again, smelling salts, rooms with blinds down, and I know not what dishounourable invalidisms and tottering convalsecences.

And Faber's remedy.....

It seems to me no slight temptation to love God with a headlong love, in order that one's soul may not be sickened with these degrading symptoms or valetudinarian sensations of the spiritual life, but live a robust, out-of-doors kind of religious experince.  Yet many people like to be ill.  It shows how little the thought of God is in them; for that thought, grave, kindly, sober, earnest, is an inexorable exorcism of all sickliness.

So let us seek that thought of God, and let us strive for that robust, manly outdoors kind of faith, the faith you can take anywhere.  We will still be sick, but atleast there is some chance of improvement.... and let us get away from the stifling sickroom that social media has become. It seems to do little but feed our self-deceit.

Some dead shrubs for your edification.