We are invited to approach God not because we are worthy but precisely because we are unworthy. Even the very idea that we could be worthy is a fallacy. We remain, for ever, sinners--redeemed sinners, if you will, but sinners all the same.

A great many problems can be solved by reflecting on that fact: like my attitude to other people (other sinners). Who am I to give myself airs? Who am I to think that I am in any way superior to other people, even those who are dismissed as vile by the world as a whole? If all are sinners, there is no distinction. None of us have a leg to stand on before God, except the leg that he gives us to stand on.

The problem is that when I say "sinners", everyone shies away--in a secular world no one wants to hear about sin. But this kind of news is not depressing. It is joyful.

The other problem is that we want to feel good; we want to feel spiritual--and this is all illusion and self-love. It is much better to feel dreadful, and walk the path of humility, not in a pathological, self-flagellating way, but simply accepting the truth.

This is the spring of joy.

use this as you will - father mark hargreaves o.s.b. - 6th July 2012