The Inner Struggle

Ordinary Life …

Anduril, Howard Shore, LOTR, (2003)

” … In ordinary life, true love is manifested in willingness to do what pleases the person loved; in conforming oneself to (their) desires, tastes, and will, not willing anything which could displease (the person loved). ” (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. from the book “Divine Intimacy” pp 1011).

Considering this statement in relation to my ordinary life … I believe that one could make a solid case for the position that the only persons for which I feel “true love” in ordinary life are “me”, “myself”, and “I”.  Looking around at the fabric of society it is apparent that every human relationship seems to be more or less “transactional”.

Is life really just a dynamic real-time cost-benefit analysis involving friend or foe, my team or the other team? Is my/our approach to relationship simply a multi-factorial analysis of “What’s in it for me?”

And if this is the situation “on the ground” so to speak, what about God? If I examine myself attentively I see that my will is very dissimilar to the will of God. God wills only the good, and he wills it in the most perfect manner.

I, on the other hand, often will evil along with the good, and I often lack the strength to actually do the good that I will. And most of the time I am only imperfectly aware of this lack of strength and of my failure to conform to the will of God.

Every time I commit a fault I desire something that God cannot will … so much for “Love of God”. Slothfulness, negligence, impatience, anger, subtle or not so subtle seeking of self, of esteem, of affection, pride, egoism, presumption, self-assurance.

As long as my will desires that which is not conformed completely to the will of God I do not walk in the love of God.

This self examination thing, this honest regard of the image in the mirror of the self is truly “めんどくさい” (mendokusai)” in  Japanese, which translates as – “troublesome” or “bothersome”.  I still find behaving myself with charity and mercy and listening to the voice of God, and conforming myself to the will of God to be troublesome and bothersome. Not easy to put into practice even though I will the good.

The broken sword of honest self-regard, and self discipline must be reforged for battle … Ad Aeternitatum.



The Inner Struggle

The Motive for Fraternal Charity …

“ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)


Presence of God — O Lord, teach me how to love You in my neighbor and to love my neighbor in You and for You.

There  are not two virtues of charity, one the love of God and the other love of neighbor; for the charity by which we love God and the neighbor is one and the same. We love God because he is infinitely lovable, and we love the neighbor because faith teaches us to recognize in him a reflection of the lovableness of God. The motive for fraternal charity is the same as the motive for loving God, as we must always love God either directly in Himself or indirectly in the neighbor. Because fraternal charity has God for its ultimate object and last end, it is identical with the theological virtue by which we love God. …

… If I love my neighbor because he is congenial, renders me service, or sympathizes with me, or because I enjoy his friendship, if I love him because of his fine qualities and pleasing manners, my love is merely human and is not the love of charity. If I am good to my neighbor and help him because I am sorry for him or feel bound to him by human ties, my love may be called sympathy or philanthropy, but it cannot yet be called charity. …

… The more my love is based on human motives alone — like congeniality, natural gifts, ties of blood — the more it is simply human love which has nothing of the merit and value of charity. “Love of neighbor is not meritorious if the neighbor is not loved because of God”. (St. Thomas) …

fromDivine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. day 258, The Motive For Fraternal Charity, pp 751 -753.

As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“,  it is available at Baronius Press Read it daily. Save your soul.


So it seems to me that we need, very much need, the unlovable in our lives in order to facilitate the practice of fraternal charity. It seems to me that it is much too easy to fall into the trap of human love all un-noticed unless the loved one is of the unlovable category of folks – the difficult one, the malicious one, the unpleasant one, the narcissistic one, in other words, one can be fairly sure of the practice of charity only when the object of that charity is thoroughly unlovable.

What a drag!



Shikamaru’s expression “What a drag.” was “めんどくさい (mendokusai)” in the original Japanese Naruto manga and anime.

Today’s quick Japanese phrase is めんどくさい (mendokusai) – “troublesome” or “bothersome”. This is a very common phrase to use when you don’t want to do something. The phrase is translated in the dubbed anime as “What a Drag”.