Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Bearing in mind what I have just said I want you to be completely convinced that, if we really want to follow Our Lord closely and be of real service to God and the whole of mankind, then we must be thoroughly detached from ourselves, our intellectual talents, our health, our good name, our noble ambitions, our triumphs and successes.

I would also include — because your decision ought to go that far — the high ideals which lead us to seek only to give all the glory to God and to praise him. We can ensure our detachment by tailoring our will to this clear and precise rule: 'Lord, I want this or that only if it pleases you, because, if not, I'm not the slightest bit interested.' By acting in this way, we are dealing a mortal blow to the selfishness and vanity that lurk in every conscience. At the same time we will find true peace of soul through this selfless conduct that leads to an ever more intimate and intense possession of God.

If we are to imitate Jesus Christ, our hearts need to be entirely free from attachments. 'If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For he who would save his life shall lose it; but he who loses his life for my sake shall find it. For what does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world at the cost of losing his own soul?' St Gregory makes the following comments: 'It would not be enough to live detached from things, if we were not to renounce ourselves as well. But... where shall we go outside of ourselves? Who is the one who renounces, if he leaves himself?

'You must know that we find ourselves in two situations: in the one, we have fallen through sin; in the other, we have been formed by God. We have been created in one mode of existence but we find ourselves in another because of ourselves. So let us renounce ourselves as regards what we have become through sin, but let us stand firm in that which we have been constituted by grace. Thus, if the man who was proud is converted to Christ and becomes humble, then he has already renounced self; if a lustful man changes to a life of continence, he too has renounced self as regards what he was before; if a miser ceases to covet and, instead of seizing other people's property, begins to be generous with his own, he has most surely denied himself.'

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