Someone sent me this quote from a book they’ve been reading that seemed to go along with my earlier posting about washing someone’s shoes and how it touched their life. I haven’t read the book and don’t know anything about the author, but I sure like this quote:
The moment you are aware of your holiness it goes sour and becomes self-righteousness. A good deed is never so good as when you have no consciousness that it is good—you are so much in love with the action that you are quite unself-conscious about your goodness and virtue. Your left hand has no idea that your right hand is doing something good or meritorious. You simply do it because it seems the natural, spontaneous thing to do. Spend some time in becoming aware of the fact that all the virtue that you can see in yourself is no virtue at all but something that you have cunningly cultivated and produced and forced on yourself. If it were real virtue you would have enjoyed it thoroughly and would feel so natural that it wouldn’t occur to you to think of it as a virtue. So the first quality of holiness is its unself-consciousness.
The second quality is its effortlessness. Effort can change a behavior, it cannot change you. Think of this: Effort can put food into your mouth, it cannot produce an appetite; it can keep you in bed, it cannot produce sleep; it can make you reveal a secret to another but it cannot produce trust; it can force you to pay a compliment, it cannot produce genuine admiration; effort can PERFORM acts of service, it is powerless to produce love or holiness. All you can achieve by your effort is REPRESSION, not genuine change and growth.
The Way to Love
~ Anthony De Mello