Jesus answered him,
“Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone."
This was going to be a blog about the darkness that accompanied all the experiences and miracles and all that. But really, who cares? Srsly - you've all been there one way or another. So I want to say something here I think is much more important and I don't want anyone in any way to think there is one bit of anything that resembles humility in this post. What I am posting is fact as I know it with the confidence and ego of believing I know exactly what I'm talking about.
I'm not good I'm not even close. You'd think we'd all accept this about everyone since Jesus made it so clear, but we keep trying to make it untrue. We think Mother Teresa was good. Or Padre Pio. Certainly the Little Flower was good or ... Ghandi! He was good, right?
I used to think I was "ungood" because of being all twisted and broken and spoiled from being abused and molested from the age of two. I used to think it was because of stuff that happened to me, and that if it hadn't, I'd have a chance to be good, too. I'd be that nice kind person everyone likes instead of the character-disordered, self-absorbed control-freak I actually was. And while that might have happened, neither the self I am nor that lovely person no one has a bad word to say about are good.
One day, back when my conversion happened and my miracles began, I had a psychic/God moment where I was pulled to make a detour on a miserably hot day at the city's housing office. They were closing and I was unable to take care of my business but there were two people there, a young couple in nightclothes and coats - flipflops - looking so miserable. And a woman came out and handed them some papers and said they'd have to take the bus and here was a voucher for a motel and two meals.
Bus? The bus stop was a mile away, the woman was in a nightgown with a winter coat in over 90 degree heat and she was obviously sick with a cold or something. WTF? Housing woman disappears and they just stare at the papers. Go where? How? On what bus? I find out their apartment caught fire at 3a.m. and they've been sitting in those chairs since the place opened. No money. No nothing. No idea where the motel is.
Obviously this is why I was sent there. So after I drop them at the motel (which they could not have gotten to by bus) I am all happy God works in my life and this is part of me feeling transformed, like I am becoming someone else, I am becoming, by God's Grace, a good person.
A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways - by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light; and he will recognize that the same thing happens to the soul. ~Plato
I told you I was self-absorbed. Anyway, this happened some years ago and in the ensuing years, I came to know something that was recently brought home to me again: We are self-aware consciences resident in these bodies, and when something happens where we act in the way of good, where we put ourselves last and someone else first, where we are able to do kindness or offer charity, what we are, are honored witnesses to the Presence of God. If I am Graced with the opportunity to serve now and actually manage to do that at all, I'm just so grateful that He lets me be there when He takes care of people. Because I'm the same self-absorbed, character-disordered person I always was. And if you don't believe it, count all the occurrences of the word "I" in this paragraph.
Saint Theresa of Avila once said that satan would run around the circumference of hell a million times if by doing so he could convince us we had a single virtue. Am I trying to make people feel badly about themselves? Nope. It's having a bit of self-esteem, it's knowing how loved we are, that makes it possible to know: we are not good. Not at all.
What this means is that when darkness falls and you are in the battle that always accompanies the Light and you fail, even then you can still be a Witness for God. Still used, still useful to Him.
I'm not good. It's rather a cheery thought.