In other words, the heart that partakes of the outpouring grace of the Holy Spirit and becomes sanctified is made goodly and pure. The purpose is that the reality of man be purified and sanctified from the defilements of the world of nature, which are vile attributes such as anger, lust, worldliness, pride, dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit, self-love, and so on. Man cannot free himself from the onslaught of vain and selfish desires save through the confirming grace of the Holy Spirit. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, 2014 ed., p. 19)
We’ve all got vain and selfish desires. We were created that way, by a loving God. There’s nothing special about us or anyone else in that regard. We are all sinners. We all have vile attributes such as anger, lust, worldliness, pride, dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit, self-love, and so on, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. There’s no need to make ourselves better or worse than others, when we see their defects and can’t see our own. The trick is what do we do about them?
First we have to recognize when we are acting from our lower natures and understand that we have a choice to continue to stay stuck or use the opportunity to “partake” of the outpouring grace of the Holy Spirit. We can remember that our purpose in life is to draw closer to God, and acquire the virtues we’re going to need in the next world. How can we do that without tests, without opportunities to grow? We can’t do it by ourselves. We can only do it by turning to God and asking Him to transform anger into forgiveness; lust into detachment; worldliness into nearness to God; pride into humility; dishonesty into truthfulness; hypocrisy into sincerity; deceit into trustworthiness; self-love into service and so on. Remembering and asking must be followed by faith and trust and acceptance of the outpouring grace that is continually streaming forth for us.
Remembering that transforming my selfish desires is a full-time job that pays huge dividends in both this world and the next, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Getting to Know Your Lower Nature