You gotta love that title. It’s another chapter title from The Angel and the Ants (here if you want to browse the other excerpts).
Reading this chapter I felt again that twinge I get when wishing my life now showed the fruits of a more structured childhood (not that I’d want to have lived that childhood, necessarily, but it would be nice to have had all that learning and training behind me). Both musicians (Suzuki-type) and traditional Catholics are (I imagine) simply stuffed full of information at an age where there are fewer distractions to prevent its taking root.
The reason I think of this now, is that Kreeft sites several fine distinctions on the “do all as unto the Lord” idea, from broader reading than I would have found without him, and applies it to this idea of “living a life of sanctity” emphasized in his book.
“Seeds,” he calls them, and they are drawn from that sea of tradition and reading available for those brave enough to wade in:
- From The Devine Milieu Kreeft shares the suggestion that “Not only our operatio but also our opus, not only our acts of working, but also the works we produce will somehow be used by God … We are to be doing the very best work we can because that work is to be part of God’s eternal kingdom, unimaginably transformed by death and resurrection. We are cooperating with God right now in building this new world; our pen, or shovel, or computer, is the extension of the fingers of Christ, the body of Christ.”
- Summarizing Opus Dei, Kreeft says, its “whole reason for existence is to address the problem of the sanctification of daily work directly and explicitly. Its fundamental answer is traditional: to offer up our work to God, to pour the infinitely precious soul of a pure intention, a Godward intention, into every secular action.”
- Kreeft observes that Vatican II encouraged Catholics to “study and profit from the wisdom in other world religions.” Here is an example he takes from the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu book (Kreeft’s words):
- “The way to sanctity amidst activity is to work not for the fruit of the work, not out of desire for success, not looking forward, but looking backwards, so to speak, to the source and motive of the act: love and duty and obedience to God. Do what you do because it is your God-given task now. If you act out of desire for success, you bind yourself to the fear of failure. If we will only one thing– God’s will– we are free.” (emphasis mine)
- Finally, a quote from Mother Theresa: “God did not put me here to be successful. God put me here to be faithful.”
Depending on the mood or state-of-mind I am in, any of these ideas may be the one that strikes home, and causes me to reassess my attitude and approach to my current work(s). Along with the Lewis quote I mentioned earlier, these are things I want to keep in mind.
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