The 10 Ironies of Holiness….Part One of Three

By now we should all accept the fact that God’s way is much different than our own.  Based on this reasoning, we should then also accept the fact that God’s logic will seem ironic to us simply because it will often run counter to what our own intuitive reasoning.  Irony is the unexpected, what catches us by surprise and, therefore, given our usual pattern of thought, God’s way will very much so seem to run counter, unexpected and, thus, ironic to our own way of seeing things.  I have tried to summarize these ironies into 10 observations and the statements that can be derived from those observations.

1. The Best Way to Save Our Soul is to Forget Ourselves

The more we focus on self, the more we hurt that self eternally.  If we want to save ourselves, we will forget ourselves in order to love our God and let God love us and take care of the rest.  God wants us to be totally dedicated and simply consumed by our love for Him such that that we cannot function without expressing and spreading that love through our words and actions.  Imagine you are feeding many hungry people while upside down held by a rope around your ankles from a helicopter. You are holding a bag of bread and throw loaves of that broad to the crowd below while suspended from a helicopter 50 feet in the air upside down like people do on a bungee rope. If the rope breaks, you will fall to your death, but you do not even think about that because you are so busy throwing food down to the hungry crowd below. If you lose faith or worry about your own safety, you will forget about feeding the people below and become self-absorbed.  We are called to feed, to serve, to love, not to worry about ourselves.  We must let God worry about that for us.  Simply stated, we will find ourselves eternally when we lose ourselves temporally.  We cannot serve others as Christ taught us to do when we are too self-absorbed to even acknowledge that others are there to be served.

2.  The Best Way to Gain Trust and Faith in God is to Lose Trust and Faith in Ourselves Without God

It might seem odd that God would want us to lose trust or faith in ourselves since we are so often told in this society that we can do so  much, that we are so powerful and independent, and that needing help is a sign of weakness.  Truth be told, however, we have to sincerely believe that our ultimate salvation is impossible without the help of God, that we are simply incapable of saving ourselves given our own weaknesses, limitations, humanity, sinfulness, imperfections, and nature.  We must believe that we are nothing without God because, simply put, we are not.  It is only when we realize and accept that we need God totally and unconditionally that we will get off our high horse and reach out to Him as our only hope for eternal salvation.

3.  If We Fear God Alone We Will Destroy the Fear that Keeps Us from Him

First of all, when we fear something or someone, we acknowledge the existence of that thing or person.  I cannot and should not fear what does not exist, therefore legitimate fear can only come from acknowledging the power that something or someone which is very real truly has over us.  Any other kind of fear, of the imaginary, the assumed, the perceived, is a negative mirage which will keep us from God.  Fear of the devil, for example, may seem like a healthy thing for us to have but, in truth, it is a counterproductive emotion.  When we fear the devil, we are giving him much more power than he deserves in our lives. When we fear the devil, we are indirectly mistrusting God because we are acknowledging or assuming that God’s protection of us can be compromised hence God can lose to the devil!  Some may say that the only reason that they fear the devil is precisely because they fear their own weakness or humanity.  While we should have a healthy respect for our own weakness and humanity, we should sit with that fear in the context of God’s eternal protection and help as fed by our total faith in that protection and faith.  In other words, we should accept that we can be afraid of evil and the devil, but quickly run to Our Lord precisely because we are afraid of evil and know plus believe that God can take care of that threat for us if we believe, love, confide, and entrust ourselves to His protection.  Fear of speaking out against wrong, or of proudly waving and wearing our faith publicly, for example, are clear examples of how fear implies that God will abandon us or that anything at all is gained by fearing any ounce of fear we may have in any situation. We have to firmly believe that God’s love and protection is so great and have such a powerful fear of offending God and being without Him eternally that any negative thoughts we have will disappear.

4.  We Must Serve God Proudly Without Having Pride

We must proudly proclaim and demonstrate our allegiance to God Almighty without having so much self-pride that we cannot be humble, charitable, forgiving, and serve others.  One can be proud without being boastful.  Being proud of one’s allegiance to God is all about enjoying the value and comfort of God’s Presence in our lives and seeing that Presence as the necessary Blessing we need and want in our lives.  Self-pride, however, is loving ourselves and being so focused on ourselves ( see # 1) so much that we are obsessed with how others see  us, where we stand in comparison to others, what appearances and impressions we give to others, that we are easily offended by any perceived slight etc.  Those who exhibit self-pride cannot forgive because they cannot accept that we are all defective, weak, susceptible, vulnerable, and capable of hurting each other.  Directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, those with self-pride cannot fathom that anyone would dare to offend, annoy, inconvenience, or disrupt them.  It takes real courage to accept offenses and move on.

We will discuss the next 4 ironies in our second segment of this thread, coming soon.

Copyright, 2013,  Gabriel Garnica     All rights reserved


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