Sunday, October 20, 2013

QUOTATION: Conditional Obedience to Christ

There are many religious Catholics whose readiness to change is merely a conditional one. They exert themselves to keep the commandments and to get rid of such qualities as they have recognized to be sinful. But they lack the will and the readiness to become new men all in all, to break with all purely natural standards, to view all things in a supernatural light.

They prefer to evade the act of metanoia: a true conversion of heart. Hence with an undisturbed conscience they cling to all that appears to them legitimate by natural standards. Their conscience permits them to remain entrenched in their self-assertion. For example, they do not feel the obligation of loving their enemies; they let their pride have its way within certain limits; they insist on the right of giving play to their natural reactions in answer to any humiliation.

They maintain as self-evident their claim to the world’s respect, they dread being looked upon as ‘fools of Christ’; they accord a certain role to human respect, and are anxious to stand justified in the eyes of the world also. They are not ready for a total breach with the world and its standards; they are swayed by certain conventional considerations; nor do they refrain from ‘letting themselves go’ within certain limits. There are various types and degrees of this reserved form of the readiness to change; but common to them all is the characteristic of a merely conditional obedience to the Call and an ultimate abiding by one’s natural self.

--Dietrich von Hildebrand, Transformation in Christ