Don’t Try So Hard!


“That we have to strive after goodness with an effort of our will is one of the lies invented by the mediocre part of ourselves in its fear of being destroyed.  Such an effort does not threaten it in any way, it does not even disturb its comfort – not even when it entails a great deal of fatigue and suffering.  For the mediocre part of ourselves is not afraid of fatigue and suffering; it is afraid of being killed.

There are people who try to raise their souls like a man continually taking standing jumps in the hopes that, if he jumps higher every day, a time may come when he will no longer fall back but will go right up to the sky.  Thus occupied he cannot look at the sky.  We cannot take a single step toward heaven.  It is not in our power to travel in a vertical direction.  If however we look heavenward for a long time, God comes and takes us up.  He raises us easily.  As Aeschylus says, “There is no effort in what is divine.”  There is an easiness in salvation which is more difficult to us than all our efforts.

In one of Grimm’s stories there is a competition between a giant and a little tailor to see which is the stronger.  The giant throws a stone so high that it takes a very long time before it comes down again.  The little tailor lets a bird fly and it does not come down at all.  Anything without wings always comes down again in the end.”

                                                                                                                              — Simone Weil from “Waiting on God”