The folly of those who live as though they created themselves for their own purposes

February 19, 2022 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 26
By Venerable Louis of Granada

And if, as Seneca remarks, those who receive benefits are obliged to imitate good soil and return with interest what they have received, what return can we make to God, when we have nothing to offer Him but what we have received from His infinite goodness?

What, therefore, must we think of those who not only make no return to their Creator, but use His benefits to offend Him?

Aristotle tells us that man can never make adequate return to his parents or to the gods for the favors received from them. How, then, can we make a suitable return to the great God, the Father of us all, for the innumerable blessings bestowed upon us?

If disobedience to parents be so grievous a crime, how heinous must it not be to rebel against this gracious God! He Himself complains of this ingratitude by the mouth of His prophet: “The son honoreth the father, and the servant his master: if, then, I be a father, where is my honor? and if I be a master, where is my fear?” [Mal. i. 6.]

Another servant of God, filled with indignation at like ingratitude, exclaims: “Is this the return thou makest to the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is He not thy father, that hath possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee?” [Deut. xxxii. 6.]

This reproach is addressed to those who never raise their eyes to heaven to consider what God is, who never look upon themselves in order to know themselves. Knowing nothing, therefore, of their origin or the end for which they are created, they live as though they themselves were the authors of their being.

This was the crime of the unfortunate king of Egypt to whom God said: “Behold, I come against thee, Pharao, king of Egypt, thou great dragon that liest in the midst of thy rivers and sayest: The river is mine, and I made myself.” [Ezech. xxix. 3.]

This is, at least practically, the language of those who act as though they were the principle of their own being, and who refuse to recognize any obligation to serve their Maker.

How different were the sentiments of St. Augustine, who by studying his origin was brought to the knowledge of Him from whom he had received his being! He says:

I returned to myself, and entered into myself, saying: What art thou? And I answered: A rational and mortal man.

And I began to examine what this was, and I said: O my Lord and my God! who has created so noble a creature as this—who, O Lord! but Thou? Thou, O my God! hast made me; I have not made myself.

What art Thou, Thou by whom I live and from whom all things receive being? Can any one create himself or receive his being but from Thee? Art Thou not the source of all being, the fountain whence all life flows?

For whatsoever has life lives by Thee, because nothing can live without Thee. It is Thou, O Lord! that hast made me, and without Thee nothing is made. Thou art my Creator, and I am Thy creature.

I thank Thee, O my Creator! because Thy hands have made and fashioned me. I thank Thee, O my Light! for having enlightened me and brought me to the knowledge of what Thou art and what I myself am.

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