If you have been following my posts religiously, you should notice how I have been emphasizing that we have a God shaped vacuum in the deepest of our self that can only be filled when we turn our heart and mind to God. I have said times and times again that the way to fill that empty fountain is to wholeheartedly surrender ourselves to God, the pioneer and the perfecter of everything we do. The point I want to accentuate here is that I believe that the vacuum we have in our soul is created by our Creator to keep in touch with us. It is actually very important to continue to have that vacuum in order to continue to be thirsty and hunger for God, and so search Him ever more intensely. Without the need for God, there would be an African desert inside of our soul that would never be quenched. We would constantly be yearning for something that could never be found. I believe it is God, in His unfathomable mercy, that creates that great divide in us to help us in this valley of tears in which we find ourselves.
This generation is probably the first generation where human nature is looked down upon. Every generation before us understood that we are a certain way, and there is a certain way we need to live in order to best fulfill the being that we are. From antiquity to the modern time, all understand that we have an inner conflict. Some knew better how to deal with it, but they at least understand that we have it. Nowadays however, even though we are experiencing the conflict, many prefer to ignore it. And that’s alarming.
Thomas Aquinas understood the conflict thus: between the spirit and the flesh there is a continual combat that needs to be dealt with by prayer and fasting. Ovid, the Roman poet, saw the same war in himself as well. He wrote, “I see the better thing, and I approve them, but I follow the worse”. St Paul too understood it very well when he wrote, “the good that I want to do I fail to do, but what I do is the wrong that is against my will” (Roman 7, 28-9). Pascal truly understood the nature of man’s emptiness when he wrote, “the cruelest war that God can wage against men in this life is to leave them without the war he has come to bring”. That war is present in every human soul, and I believe it is to our advantage that it is there. It is an inner conflict between our desires and the principles by which we set for ourselves to live; it is a war between our emotions and reason, grace and nature, doing this and that…. It is an inner conflict between the actual and the ideal self. That is a good thing; it keeps us going; it allows us to strive to be the best-version-of-ourselves and reach holiness.
Whatever forms that conflict takes, it can only be resolved in isolation; only when we remove ourselves from the noise of this world to completely surrender ourselves in mind, heart and soul to God by telling Him how much we hunger and thirst for Him, and how without Him we are a failure is that longing satisfied. I believe that conflict is almost necessary for our spiritual and human development. The way we handle it can perfect our nature and help us attain the true greatness for which we were born. It reveals our true character. It is not permissible to give up that fight. It is through fire that gold is tested. We want to say like St Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4, 7) so we can be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant, come and receive the reward of eternal life” (Mat 25).