The Hardness of the Way

Children, how hard is it!


— St. Mark 10:24

It is imperative to get rid of the tyranny of things. If you ask, “Will not Death ransom us from this tyranny? Therefore why hasten the hour?” I answer, only when a man begins to abstain, then first he recognizes the strength of his passion. When the fetters of gold are gone, on which the man delighted to gaze, though they held him fast to his dungeon wall, when the truth begins to dawn upon him that those fetters were a horror and a disgrace, then will the good of saving death appear, and the man begin to understand that having never could be well-being; that it is not by possessing we live, but by life we possess. In this way is the loss of the things he thought he had, a motioning, hardly towards, yet in favor of deliverance. It may seem to the man the first of his slavery when it is in truth the beginning of his freedom. Never soul was set free without being made to feel its slavery; nothing but itself can enslave a soul, nothing without itself can free it.

When the drunkard--free of his body, but, retaining his desire, unable to indulge it--has time at length to think, surely there dawns for him then at last a fearful hope! Not until, by the power of God and his own obedient effort, he is raised into such a condition that, be the temptation what it might, he would not yield for an immortality of unrequited drunkenness—all its delights and not one of its penalties—is he saved.