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.”


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