Horrendously disconcerting but genius and humbling. Good book for examination of conscience. Possible ways to fall into wrong, including during pursuit of righteousness are listed in avid detail for us to know thine enemy as we know thineself. Everyone will relate to different parts of the book more, depending on which act one is more prone to. It can be quite draining to read as well. Personally, I was close to tears at certain parts of this book.
*this is a reflection of takeaways from the book, meaning I won’t be quoting descriptions that were relatable to me personally or those that were good straightforward reminders because you can read it yourself, rather the more thought provoking ones and how I interpret it. Those that are too many sentences have also been omitted. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments!
“Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, “By jove! I’m being humble”, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please. But don’t try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humor and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed. “
Certain sins are very hard to avoid by simply telling yourself to do the opposite. It is like trying to forget an incident by telling yourself “Do not remember that time when..”. Therefore, a more plausible solution would be to admit the mistake and leave the matter.
“Give without fail in your next letter a full account of the patient’s reactions to the war, so that we can consider whether you are likely to do more good by making him an extreme patriot or ardent pacifist”
Supporting a good cause with wrong intentions or reasons is no better than not doing anything. As in the story where the tempter wants the ‘patient’ to develop towards the ulterior motives under the pretext of these causes. HOWEVER, these reasons may be an easier way to lead oneself into wonderful things. (eg friends in church that make one want to go to church which eventually leads one to Christ)
“By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. “
Dishonesty to oneself is dishonesty no less. Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 God saw all he had made and it was very good. Why would His virtue ask of us to doubt His work?
“The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it if he would be if it had been done by another.”
And this, is the antidote to envy and the means by which to be generous with affirmation.
“For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity”
The present is the only point in time where acting is possible. And acting out our faith makes us closer to God whuch is eternity. Let us not be controlled by planning for the future, eg scrimping and being a Scrooge to have wealth in the future nor dwell on the past where there’s nothing to be done anymore, but to use the past as lessons for the present and only refer to the future enough to do what we ought now.