Reluctantly Doing Good Works

“Ostriches never fly.  Hens fly in a clumsy fashion, near the ground, and only once in a while.  But eagles, doves and swallows fly aloft, swiftly and frequently.  Similarly, sinners never fly up towards God, but hover close to the earth.  Good people who are not yet devout, fly toward God by their good works but do so infrequently, slowly and awkwardly.  Devout souls ascend to him more frequently, promptly and with lofty flights.  In short, devotion is simply that spiritual agility and vivacity by which charity works in us or by aid of which we do good works quickly and lovingly.” – St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

In the early years of my conversion, I soared.  Not so much in good works, but I devoured everything I could read about being Catholic.  Unfortunately, I’ve probably forgotten most of what I read.

In my later years, as a Catholic, I have been pushed into the good works.  I rarely thought to myself, “I’m going to to this because it’s the Christian thing to do.”  I always found myself helping someone, no matter how hard I tried to get out of it!

The hardest thing I ever did, was take care of my mother.  We were estranged for many years and even after we “reconciled” she was a brutally abusive woman who used her words like a saber with a twinkle in her eye.

After my father died, my responsibilities toward her increased and when it got to be too much, my husband would take over so I could have a break away from her.  There were times he would come home looking shell-shocked.  She had that kind of affect on people.

My husband and I would talk about the situation.  I knew in my very core, that I was obligated to help her out as much as I could.  Now, years later, I look back on that time as one of the greatest spiritual lessons I’ll ever learn.

Helping people we love is easy.  We do it joyously because it’s fun and it’s appreciated.  Doing good works for someone who thinks you are “in their business” or likes you to be around so they can “pick up their leg and pee all over you” is about spiritual agility and vivacity.


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