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Detrimental cleverness

From Pope Benedict’s God is Near Us:

I sometimes have the impression that there is a temptation today to set up beside the pastoral approach of faith, or even against it, a pastoral approach based on one’s own cleverness, an approach that no longer actually trusts in faith’s ability to call men together today. Because this approach no longer believes that faith can actually affect anything, it has, so to say, to outwit God and men with its cleverness and to build something on its own account. How can that stand the test? It may perhaps seem simpler to begin with. But it remains our own work and still has the weakness of what is ours.

It is incredibly tempting, and incredibly easy, to put our own intelligence or our own perception of our gifts first, to forget even if unintentionally that God is the one that gets the job done and not us.  We are called, as Mother Teresa is so often quoted as saying, not to be successful but to be faithful.  If we can do the latter God will take care of the former, and many times in ways far different and even far greater than we ever contemplated.  To put it another way, if you do all the work the most you’ll get is what you can do; if you do your part of the work and let God do His part, the most you’ll get is what He can do.

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