The Laws of the Divine Providence
Put away evils in the external man
What king, going to wage war with another king, does not sit down first and consult whether it be possible with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Otherwise, while he is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and beseeches conditions of peace. So, therefore, everyone of you who does not renounce all things that belong to him cannot be My disciple.
From Divine Providence
DP 106. II. The external of man’s thought is in itself of the same nature as its internal.… Man from head to foot is of the same character as his life’s love.… Loves are manifold; but two of them, heavenly love and infernal love, are like lords and kings. Heavenly love is love to the Lord and towards the neighbor, and infernal love is love of self and of the world.… He who is in the love of self and of the world has goodwill to none but himself, while he who is in love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor has goodwill to all men.…
DP 106:2. …The derivations of infernal love are affections of evil and falsity, properly called lusts, and the derivations of heavenly love are affections of good and truth, properly called ardent desires…. Love dwells in its affections as a lord in his domain or as a king in his kingdom.… Man’s life’s love, by means of its affections and their consequent perceptions, and by means of its delights and their consequent thoughts, rules the entire man….
DP 107. …Heavenly love… may be compared to a tree distinguished for its branches, leaves and fruits. The life’s love is the tree, the branches with their leaves are the affections of good and truth with their perceptions, and the fruits are the delights of the affections with their thoughts. On the other hand, infernal love… may be compared to a spider and its surrounding web. The love is the spider, the lusts of evil and falsity with their inner subtleties are the net-like threads nearest the den of the spider; and the delights of these lusts with their crafty devices are the remoter threads, where flies are caught on the wing, entangled and eaten.
DP 109. It sometimes appears as if the external of man’s thought in itself were not of the same character as the internal. This happens, however, because the life’s love with its surrounding internals places beneath itself a deputy, called the love of means, and commands it to take heed and guard lest anything from its lusts should show itself. This deputy, therefore, from the cunning of its chief, the life’s love, talks and acts in accordance with the civil institutions of the state, the moral principles of reason and the spiritual things of the Church. In the case of some people this is done with such craft and skill that no one sees that they are not such as their speech and actions seem to indicate, and at length from the habit of concealment, they scarcely know otherwise themselves….
DP 110. With those, however, who are in heavenly love, the internal and the external… act as one when they speak, nor do they know any difference between them.… If they are… merchants they trade from sincerity itself; if married they love their wives from chastity itself; and so on. The life’s love of such also has the love of means as its deputy, which it teaches and leads to act from prudence, and which it clothes with the garments of zeal for the truths of doctrine and also for the goods of life.
Questions and Comments
- What are some clues as to the nature of our life’s love?
- In the image of the fruit tree illustrating our life’s love, with its affections of good and truth and their perceptions, and the enjoyments of affections with their thoughts, where do you think “emotions” might fit in?
- The life’s love rules the entire man. How then do we choose our life’s love? How can our love be reformed and regenerated?
- Since the life’s love with its affections rules the entire man, we can see that we are not driven by bodily passions. Rather we choose to be driven by them because we love them—or else we choose to control them.
- If in our thinking we make certain evils allowable, then we do them in spirit even if we don’t do them physically for fear of the consequences (see DP 108). What difference does it make, then, whether or not we do evils, instead of just wish to do them?
- Do you recall a time that you said one thing to one person and something quite different to a close friend? Can there be good reasons for hiding your real thoughts, as well as hypocrisy?
- Can you think of someone who is especially good at always being 100% sincere?
- One of the main points of this section is that we are all of one piece from inmost to outmost. We can’t be good on the inside while being corrupt on the outside, though good people continue to battle their weaknesses in this life.