The love of creatures

The same thing is a search for God even while it is incompatible with the attainment of him; and so the same thing is both an imperfect love of God and an imperfect hatred: the love of creatures. This is the paradox of the saint: that he somehow loves all things more perfectly than we do even while he despises them; and that we are attracted to those who live saintly lives even while we find that life repugnant.

Every Christian knows he should not trust in himself, and that he should seek salvation with fear and trembling, and that he is somehow an inveterate sinner irrespective of what degree of holiness he attains: all these facts stem from the same source: we cannot help by nature loving creatures. There is always this sharp corner in the Gospel or the lives of the saints that we try to blunt or explain away or deal with at some other time.

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