On Self-Denial, and Renunciation of our Desires
CHRIST. My son, complete self-denial is the only road to perfect liberty. Those who are obsessed by self-interest and self-love are slaves of their own desires;(2 Tim.3:2) they are greedy, inquisitive, and discontented. They spend themselves in pleasures, but never in the service of Jesus Christ, their whole interest being in passing affairs. But all that is not of God shall perish utterly. Observe this simple counsel of perfection: Forsake all and you shall find all. Renounce desire and you shall find peace. Give this due thought and when you have put it into practice, you will understand all things.
THE DISCIPLE. Lord, this is not the work of a single day, and no easy matter. These few words contain the whole way of spiritual perfection.
CHRIST. My son, do not be discouraged or diverted from your purpose at hearing of this way of perfection. Rather let it spur you to higher things and at least, to set your heart on them. If only you would do this, and attain that state where you cease to be a lover of self and stand ready to do My will and His whom I have appointed as your Father, you would greatly please Me and your whole life would be filled with joy and peace. You have still many things to renounce, and unless you surrender them to Me without reserve, you cannot obtain what you ask of Me. I counsel you to buy from Me gold, refined in the fire, that you may be rich(Rev.3:18) in that heavenly wisdom that rejects all worthless things. Despise the wisdom of the world and every temptation to please others or yourself.
I have said, exchange what men consider desirable and honorable for that which they hold in low esteem. For true heavenly wisdom, having no exalted opinion of itself(Rom.12:16) seeks no recognition from the world, is almost disregarded by men and seems to them useless and of no importance. Many pay it lip-service, but it plays no part in their lives. Yet this is the precious pearl that remains hidden from many.(Matt.13:46)
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