Grace, Not Achievement

green_leaves
Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will. One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp, that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it. People have some sort of a vague idea as to what this thing is and they read books and consult gurus, in the attempt to find out what it is that they must do to gain this elusive thing called Holiness or Spirituality.…

Their efforts are going to get them nowhere. Their efforts will only make things worse, as things become worse when you use fire to put out fire. Effort does not lead to growth; effort, whatever the form it may take, whether it be willpower or habit or a technique or a spiritual exercise, does not lead to change. Effort may change the behavior but it does not change the person.... Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a Grace called Looking, Observing, Understanding.

- Anthony de Mello (The Way to Love)