By Melodious Monk
Realization of our wonderful life in the Holy Ghost also rests on our trust. Despite our indwelling Spirit we often feel tired and frightened and disheartened because we do not trust the Spirit of God sufficiently for him to be able to make something of us. We believe more in our own unworthiness than in the creative impulse of God. -Alfred Delp, SJ
I’m still both shocked and awed by the truths in this statement. Of course, put very plainly, God is the creator. He put all of us into being, and has shown he can use whatever and whomever to accomplish his purposes. But, I still so quickly succumb to hopelessness when I feel incapable or “unworthy.”
In a short writing about Father Delp’s life, Thomas Merton gives a generalized insight on why modern man can be so spiritually blind.
Merton writes, “It is assumed that we know what is wrong, and that all we lack is zeal and opportunity to fix it: then everything will be right. It is not a question of truth or insight but of power and will, we imagine; we concentrate on ways and means of gaining influence so that we can obtain a hearing for our familiar answers and solutions.” Isn’t this true? We think we can fix our problems with more efforts and more hours — but we can’t.
In my daily life I put limits on what God can do. (Of course it’s absurd to think I actually have power over the Almighty, but absurdity doesn’t keep me from still operating out of this premise!) We need God’s Spirit. This indwelling spirit is waiting for us to accept our own incapabilities and burst open our horizons. The Holy Spirit is always creatively fresh and Merton reminds us that we need to be careful about what we may assume, especially towards religious piety. For, “preoccupation with petty or imaginary problems of piety substitutes for the creative unrest of the truly spiritual man.”