Monday, December 31, 2007

Book Log: Sprit of Penance---Path to God, By Dom Hubert Van Zeller

I found this to be a very helpful book. I had read it years ago, but was not at a point in my walk with the Lord where I could really process what it said. It used to be that my whole being just recoiled from the subject of penance. I didn't want to go too deeply into it. I think I was just afraid that life would get too hard if I took penance seriously.

Now, I feel I've reached an age where I am starting to really reap all that I've sown in my life. My bad habits are hard to break, and I find them getting in the way of accomplishing what I want in life. I'm overly attached to food and drink. I'm overly attached to video games. I would rather read news and e-mail than work. When I try to go against any of these tendencies they put up quite a fight. I've come to the place where I can appreciate now the need for penance.

The most important lesson I've taken from this book is that the very first area of penance I need to accept is that which God sends to me against my will. This means that the trials, annoyances, and difficulties associated with my state in life are the first things to accept, offer up to God, and ask Him to join to the sufferings Jesus felt on the cross.
It is to be assumed as axiomatic, then, that the trials that God allows us in the nature of human existence are to be preferred before any that we could device for ourselves.
...Among such penances could be numbered the trials that come from one's temperament and training, one's state of life, one's contact with others, one's age and health, and one's surrounding circumstances generally.

This book has helped to inspire a deeper resolve to live my life in complete surrender to God.