A trap that can lead you to ruin
One of the basic requirements for developing a relationship with God is to acquire knowledge about Him. As the old saying goes, “you can not love what you do not know.”
However, in seeking knowledge of God, there is a spiritual danger that can lead us to ruin, rather than leading us to salvation.
Italian priest Lorenzo Scupoli talks about this trap in his book “The Spiritual Combat,” published in 1589. He writes:
“Be sober and humble even in the desire to understand heavenly things, desiring to know nothing but Christ crucified, His life, His death, and what He requires of you.”
“By following these instructions, you will avoid many dangers; for when the shrewd serpent sees the will of those who seek spiritual life to be strong and resolute, it attacks their knowledge. ”
The devil recognizes our desire for knowledge – which is a good desire – but then tries to pervert it. Instead of allowing us to seek the knowledge of God, he tempts us to use that knowledge in a proud and selfish way.
What happens next is that we come to perceive ourselves as great keepers of the truth and we refuse to accept the counsel of others, even when this counsel is good and sacred.
Scupoli warns of the dangers of this path:
“How can one be healed by a person who stubbornly believes his opinion is worth more than that of others? How can one submit to the judgment of other men, which he considers to be much lower than yours? ”
An example that we can follow is that of St. Thomas Aquinas. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest minds in the whole history of Christianity, and knew far more than most people about the nature of God.
However, near the end of his life, Thomas Aquinas had a spiritual vision that led him to declare:
“All that I have written seems small before the things which I have seen and been revealed to me.”
Thomas Aquinas realized that although he wrote the truth, he was not the source of truth. He had a holy humility, which kept him recognizing his place in the universe and his total dependence on God.
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As you seek the knowledge of God, try to recognize this fundamental truth and avoid the trap of pride. We can have enough knowledge! But in the end, this is like “straw” compared to the source of all truth.