The good of not feeling good about one’s self

November 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

People want to feel good about themselves. Much of psycho-therapy is about helping people to remove doubt and guilt, so they can be happy and self-confident. Sometimes this desire to feel good about ourselves causes us not to like sermons that talk about evils and sins. And these days, many ministers, oblige and strive to focus on “positive” messages.

Yet, if we are to become angelic, we should be self-loathing, which is a loathing or hatred of ourselves. We become innocent to the extent that we acknowledge and believe that we are nothing but evil and falsity, and that any good and truth in us is the Lord’s.

With regard to a proprium [what is of one’s self] of innocence meant by ‘black one among the lambs’ the position is that, to be good, all good must contain innocence. Charity devoid of innocence is not charity, and still less can love to the Lord exist without it. Innocence is therefore an absolutely essential element of love and charity, and consequently of good. A proprium of innocence consists in knowing, acknowledging, and believing, not with the lips but with the heart, that nothing but evil originates in oneself, and everything good in the Lord, and therefore that such a proprium is altogether black, that is to say, both the will side of the proprium, which is evil, and the understanding side, which is falsity. When a person confesses and believes that in his heart, the Lord flows in with good and truth and instills a heavenly proprium into him which is bright and shining. Nobody can possibly be truly humble unless that acknowledgement and belief are present in his heart; and when they are present he is self-effacing, indeed self-loathing, and so is not preoccupied with himself, in which case he is in a fit state to receive the Lord’s Divine. These are the circumstances in which the Lord flows in with good into a humble and contrite heart. (AC 3994)

It is only when we hate ourselves, when we are self-effacing and self-loathing that we can be humble enough to open our hearts and minds to receive the goods and truths which the Lord wishes to bestow upon us.

This is what is meant in the Gospels that “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”


Poorly Lit Parts of the Understanding

November 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

The poorly lit parts of the understanding. Love that phrase. Now if I only knew which parts of my understanding was poorly lit, I might be able to speak intelligently!

This being so, the arcana [secrets] which describe these matters cannot be explained easily and intelligibly since they fall within the poorly lit parts of the understanding. It is rather like someone talking in a foreign language, in that no matter how clearly the thing is explained in that language the hearer does not understand. (AC 3993.2)

This later passage adds some insight to unlit areas of the mind:

As regards the things that enter the memory the position is this: Those for which there is no affection pass into the unlit parts of the memory when they enter it, whereas those for which there is affection pass into the light there. Things present in that light are seen and appear clearly and distinctly when any matter of a similar nature is brought up, but not so the things lying around in the unlit parts. Such is the effect that affection belonging to love has. (AC 4018.2)

Marriage is more than friendship

November 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh. (Gen 2.24; Lexham English Bible)

As regards ‘clinging’ in the external sense, or inner sense nearest to the literal, meaning a joining together, this may be seen without explanation; and as regards ‘clinging’ in the internal sense meaning charity, this is evident from the consideration that charity, or what amounts to the same, mutual love, is a spiritual joining together. For mutual love is a joining together of affections belonging to the will and a consequent agreement of thoughts belonging to the understanding, and so is a joining of minds as to both parts. (AC 3875.1)

Mutual love is different from friendship inasmuch as mutual love has a person’s good in view, and in directing itself towards that good is directed towards the person in whom good is present. Friendship however has the person in view, which is also mutual love when it looks at that person from the point of view of, that is, on account of, that good. But when it does not look at him from the point of view of good or on account of that good but on account of self which it calls good, friendship is not in that case mutual love but something close to the love of self. And insofar as it is close to this it is opposed to mutual love. (AC 3875.5)


We often talk about how our spouse should be our best friend. The above teachings shed a lot of light on how spouses should be best friends.

Married love, mutual love, and friendship are very intimately connected. Genuine married love will involve mutual love and true friendship. Two people can mutually love each other without being married to each other. They too will be true friends to each other. But you can also be friends with someone without mutually loving them.

Friendship without mutual love regards person without regard to good that is in him. It sees only his outward kindness, his regard for you, his behavior. It does not look beyond this to his character, to the good that is in him.  

True friendship comes from mutual love. Mutual love regards the good in the other person and seeks to nurture that good. The nurturing of good in another can take many forms:

  • encouraging good behavior
  • criticism of pettiness
  • explaining what is good and true
  • showing the negative consequences
  • supportiveness
  • withdrawal
  • and so many more.

A genuine marriage requires each person to be looking to the Lord and shunning evils as sins against Him. It also means practicing mutual love, that is, helping each other to become a better person. Genuine marriage means creating a higher common standard, not sinking to the lowest common standard. Each couple, of course, find their own unique ways of helping their spouses. 





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