Foolish Virgins by St. John of the Cross

foolish virgins“Many want to be favorites of their confessors and thus they are consumed by a thousand envies and disquietudes. Embarrassment forbids them from relating their sins clearly, lest their reputation diminish in their confessor’s eyes. They confess their sins in the most favorable light so they appear better than they actually are, and thus they approach the confessional to excuse themselves rather than to accuse themselves. Sometimes they confess the evil things they do to a different confessor so that their own confessor might think they commit no sins at all.

“Therefore, in their desire to appear holy, they enjoy relating their good behavior to their confessor and in such careful terms that these good deeds appear greater than they really are. It would be more humble of them to make light of the good they do and to wish that no one, neither their confessor or anyone else consider it of any importance at all.

“Sometimes they minimize their faults and at other times, they become discouraged by  them, since they felt they were already saints, and then they become impatient and angry with themselves, which is yet another fault. They are often extremely anxious that God remove their faults and imperfections, but their motive is personal peace rather than God. They fail to realize that, were God to remove their faults, they might very well become more proud and presumptuous.

“They dislike praising anyone else but they love to receive praise and sometimes they even seek it. In this way, they resemble the Foolish Virgins who had to seek oil from others when their own lamps were extinguished…

“Souls, however, who are advancing in perfection act in an entirely different manner and with a different quality of spirit during this period. They receive great benefit from their humility by which they not only place little importance on their deeds but also take very little self-satisfaction from them.”

Magnificat, Vol. 15, No. 6


About thereserita

Happy Catholic seeking to share that happiness with others.
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