Saturday, November 10, 2007

Purity of Intention - ~Fr. Eugenio Escribano

Good works, by themselves, are valueless in the eyes of God. What imparts real value to them, supernatural value, is our right intention informed by diving grace. Therefore, the soul of every virtue is the intention. The divinest act with a perfect intention will be most pure; with an indifferent intention, indifferent; with a wicked intention, abominable.

For example, a kiss imprinted on Christ’s brow. When the lips were those of His Mother Mary, burning with motherly and divine love, it was the sublimest act of religion and devotion, the blending and fusing of all the highest acts of human love into the adoration of the Son of God; when the kiss came from the lips of some woman in the Nazareth neighbourhood who, not knowing Who Jesus was, kissed Him simply because He was a comely and winsome child, the act was morally an indifferent one; from the lips of Judas in the Garden, it was the most monstrous crime that ever defiled the race of Adam.

This doctrine is applicable to every free-willed act of my life. Scrutinising my deepest intention, God judges me accordingly.

The light which lights up your good works, rendering them visible and either acceptable or displeasing to God, is your intention; so, if your intention is resplendent with clarity, rectitude, and holiness, all your works bask in splendour; if your intention is crooked, obscure, and evil, your works are darkness itself, because the very principle of light, your good intention, is extinguished.

There is no truly human work that cannot become worthy of God and which God cannot claim for Himself, provided it keeps within the limits imposed by the divine commandments; even eating, drinking, and sleeping. To eat or drink from a motive that is not virtuous, is unreasonable, or which does not enter into the supernatural order, would be something unworthy of the Christian. To practice the smallest work of virtue just because we take the notion, without any reference to God, would be unpleasing to Him and of no value.

With the light of faith and reason I shall enter resolutely into the murky chasms of my intentions, and I shall try to discover at least the measure and quality of these intentions as they inform each of my actions. No doubt I shall find, with no small shock to my pride, that there has been such a swarm of vile little passions and worldly interests, each clamouring for and obtaining with no great difficulty its own particular share of satisfaction, in all my duties, that God, the only rightful Claimant, has been left empty-handed or with only a meagre portion, and a portion certainly not the most presentable.

If this be so, I shall have to confess I have wasted my time, and that I can hope for no further reward. Amen dico vobis, recepístis mercédem vestram (Matt. 6:16).