A. You know, if you make demands of people that they are not able to live up to, that’s dispiriting. Cruel, really.

B. You have achieved all that you should be. You are perfect.

A. That’s not what I meant.

B. You are not yet perfect, but all that you should be is within your grasp. You are able to achieve the rest with your own effort. Go, save yourself.

A. That’s not what I meant either. I acknowledge that only God can save. But still, those demands are out of reach for me. For everyone. No one can live up to that. No one on earth is without sin. What’s the purpose for making unachievable demands?

B. To bring you to this point.

A. This point?

B. Have you finally, after all these years, come to know in an experiential way, not just theoretically, that you cannot save yourself? Are you ready to leave your salvation entirely in my hands?

A. What would that involve?

B. You freely surrender your care and yourself entirely to God. You no longer think about yourself—how you are doing, whether you are a good person, what are your problems, how you can correct them, what others think of you, whether you are making progress. Instead, you think about me and let me think about you. Do you wish to take this fateful step?

A. I do. This day, after all these years, I finally surrender myself entirely to you, my Lord, my love. You may do with me whatever you please—whether sickness or health, for richer or for poorer, now and forevermore, until in death we are united. I will be faithful to you and serve you with tenderness and respect.

B. Welcome, child. Hear the heavenly host rejoicing. Now brace yourself for a time of preparation. There is much to do to make you ready. Hear the words of my friend John of Ruusbroec:

When through charity and an upright intention a person offers himself in all his works and in his entire life to the glory and praise of God, and when he seeks rest in God above all things, then he should humbly and patiently, with self-surrender and firm confidence, await new riches and gifts—but always without anxiety about whether God will bestow them or not. This is the way a person makes himself ready and capable of receiving an interior life full of desire. When the vessel is ready, the precious liquid is poured in. There is no more precious vessel than a loving soul and no more beneficial drink than the grace of God. It is in this way that a person will offer to God all his works and his entire life with a simple and upright intention and will also, above that intention, above himself, above all things, rest in that sublime unity where God and the loving spirit are united without intermediary.*

*The Spiritual Espousals and other works, Paulist Press, 1985, p. 74.

Categories: Quote

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin College and the director of ccel.org and hymnary.org.