Some people asked him, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it, that your disciples eat and drink?” Then Jesus said to them, “You can’t make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later, the bridegroom will be taken from them; and they will fast in those days.”
Jesus also told them this parable: “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new coat will be torn, and the piece taken from the new coat will not match the old coat. No one puts new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet, no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”
Many fervent Christians, in reading the Bible if we are to progress constantly (Eph 5:2; Ph 1:9, 25; Col 1:10; etc.) is in our journey Godward, dream of knowing exactly where they stand in their relationship with God. They would love to be able to measure their Christian performance, in some way they could—figuratively speaking—plot their location on a sort of spiritual chart or graph.
Unfortunately, feelings cannot help here, because progressing Christians feel further from God as they experience the various nights of the soul. Furthermore, wanting to know one’s spiritual state is a way of keeping one’s attention on oneself and thus of feeding our dear little ego.
No, godly people all have one thing in common: they have completely lost interest in their spiritual progress. They are hypnotized by God and do not care for anything else. As Paul says in today’s first reading: “I do not even judge myself.”
Three criteria should suffice to tell us if we are moving God-ward: an ever-diminishing concern for the self, an ever-increasing love of neighbor, and a state of habitual joy. In the end, the only thing that counts is to try to please God in all things.
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