Monday, March 28, 2011

Knox - 'He Suffered' - Pt. 4

Ronald Knox's excerpted explanation of "He suffered" from his book, The Creed in Slow Motion, which we began here, continues here in Part 4:

LET'S BE A LITTLE MORE practical. We turn this evil thing, suffering, into a good thing when we accept it as God's will for us. I've tried to explain to you already that the only way in which we human beings can justify our existence in creation at all is to obey God's will for us. That is what we are FOR. A human being who is not out to obey god's will is exactly as much use in his creation as a toothbrush is in the possession of a man who has had all his teeth taken out. And there are two ways in which we can obey God's will, by doing what he wants us to do, and by suffering what he wants us to suffer. There's this trouble about doing what God wants us to do - that it's so often, at the same time, the thing we want to do. Even if it is the kind of thing that doesn't sound very attractive at the first go-off, even if it means (say) going out and being a missionary in foreign parts, or washing dishes all day in a canteen, it's extraordinary how people get to like it, and take a pride in doing it well, and want to go on doing it. That means that we are never quite sure whether we are doing what is God's will because it is God's will, or because it is ours. Self-love, self-admiration, will go on creeping in and disturbing the purity of our motives. But with suffering it's different; I mean, when it's suffering God sends us, suffering we can't get out of. It's almost impossible to feel any pride about that. And if God calls on you to spend twenty years lying on your back, in pain most of the time, and you go on telling him that it is his will, and you want it to happen because it is his will, then, believe me, you are in a fair way to going straight to heaven. (Continues in Pt. 5)

- Ronald A. Knox

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