Monday, May 17, 2010

on not just beginning

From Finding God's Will for You, by St. Francis de Sales:

“The enemy often tries to make us attempt and start many projects so that we will be overwhelmed with too many tasks, and therefore achieve nothing and leave everything unfinished. Sometimes he evens suggests the wish to undertake some excellent work that he foresees we will never accomplish. This is to distract us from the prosecution of some less excellent work that we would have easily completed. He does not care how many plans and beginnings we make, provided nothing is finished. No more than Pharaoh does he wish to prevent ‘the mystical women of Israel’ – that is, Christian souls – from bringing forth male children, provided they are slain before they grow up.

            “On the contrary, as the great St. Jerome says, ‘Among Christians it is not so much the beginning as the end that counts.’ We must not swallow so much food that we cannot digest what we have taken. The spirit of the seducer holds us down to mere starts and keeps us content with a flowery springtime. The Spirit of God makes us consider beginnings only so as to arrive at the end, and makes us rejoice in the flowers of the spring only in expectation of enjoying the fruits of summer and autumn.”

            -St. Francis de Sales, from Finding God’s Will for You

The beginning of that quotation seemed familiar as I read it tonight; I'm guessing that Jen over at Conversion Diary probably quoted it at some time or another. 

But, wow. Does that not strike you as very true? It reminds me about my last post, rambling on about  books. Really, the important thing isn't having a lot of books in the house. It's reading them. What's even lovelier than getting those books from the used book sale? Finishing Knight's Castle with my daughter tonight, and having her giggle in delight over the ending.  And that's not even one of the "spiritual works" that de Sales is referring to.

That quotation from St. Jerome: "Among Christians it is not so much the beginning as the end that counts." True. And it being just past Ascension, it makes me think of when Christ will be returning out of the sky, as the angels predicted. That will be the end, and the one we have in mind as we undertake all these other "spiritual works" to prepare ourselves for the day.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell


Tienne said...

Beautiful post! And exactly what I needed to hear. Off to finish cleaning the kitchen...

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

True. I'm thinking tonight of how much better our evening was because I FINISHED cleaning the kitchen and picking up the house. Finishing the mundane things isn't glamorous or (often) much fun, but it is definitely a better way to live.

I'm liking all your quotes from this man. :)

Susanne Dietze said...

Great post, Jessica. Food for thought.

BTW, I loved the Bag End blog...I'm going to have to link to it, too. Viewing it was like taking a two-minute holiday. Thanks for sharing!