Deep within every human heart …there lurks a sly, unrecognized cunning, all too well skilled in self-deception and evasion. This is the total adversary of belief. It is the cunning of pride, of self-possession, of self-sufficiency. To live fully out of our inheritance, to live solely by the faith of the Son of God, to live the life of Jesus – all this may sound beautiful (and beautiful it indeed is, beyond our wildest dreams), but in practice it strikes a deadly blow at human pride. This is why so many, face to face in reality with the self-dispossession that life in Jesus calls for, walk no more with him – not in the sense of complete desertion and denial of belief, but rather because they have said “No” to his cross, however many other crosses they may be carrying supposedly in his name.
Each of us has the choice either to live by faith or to live by “flesh.” To live by “flesh” is to live within the limits of our own potential, within the limits of our own perception and understanding, according to how things seem and feel, according to our natural experience. It is instinctive for us to live thus, taking for granted that our conscious experience is to be trusted, that it is the way things really are, the way we are, the way God is – that this is our life. We want to remain on this level because it is within our grasp; it is “ours” and affords a sort of security and assurance. This is so natural to us… that we are unaware of how much of our life is lived from self, relying on self and not on faith in the Son of Man. We cannot rid ourselves of this deeply rooted pride and self-possession by our own strength. Only the Holy Spirit of the Crucified and Risen One can affect it, and this he is indeed always trying to do. But we must recognize his work, and respond “Amen.”
– Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D