God Doesn’t Care What Car You Drive – by Alan Scott

This article from Alan Scott on One Peter Five really sums up why our blog exists:  to help you grow in virtue and attain heaven. Mr. Scott in simple terms describes the real type of success we should be seeking in this world in order to get to the next.

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The True Measure of Success

The True Measure of Success

I just returned from a vacation spent in the company of an old friend.

Because it rained during much of our trip, we ended up talking quite a bit over the course of a week. We talked about our lives. Our families. And our love for God.

Turns out, we have a lot in common.

One of the things we discussed was the direction each of our lives had taken, in regards to our schooling (college and beyond), our careers, and our interests and activities.

And this made me think, in regards to myself, objectively, I have lived a pretty average life.

A lot of the people I have known throughout my life have strived to be successful, but I have spent my life honestly trying to avoid worldly success. It’s just not something I personally believe is important.

Now, that may seem odd. I mean, what kind of loser doesn’t want to be successful?

Me. I am that loser.

But actually, truth be told, I am interested in being successful. Just not the world’s version of it.

The definition of success

I think the problem I have with “success” is how it’s normally defined. Is success becoming famous, wealthy, creating a big money-making business, or coming up with an idea that people can’t live without?

Perhaps.

But again, it depends on how you define success.

If all you’re striving for is money, a successful business, or fame…will you keep your dignity to achieve it? Will you help to improve the lives of others?

Will you please God?

And for all that “success,” what happens when you die?

For me personally, I have been approached to place advertisements on my site. I have had offers to publish my writing on simplicity if I remove the mention of God. I’ve even been approached with a book deal, if I agree not to discuss certain topics that I prefer to discuss (my faith).

But at what cost?

For “success”?

For this so-called success I would have to compromise my principles, writing about topics half-heartedly, because I might possibly offend someone. Or worse, trick them into buying a book that excludes my faith and mention of God, when I know that God is the answer to all things.

It’s not worth it.

One thing, though, is for sure. Whatever your definition of success is, it’s something you’re looking for … something that exists in the future. It’s based on your desire to achieve something for yourself due to your feelings that you’re not where you want to be.

Real success

Worldly people seek to define their success from the esteem and praise from one another. Success is often based on status and admiration.

At best it’s vain. And it’s also extremely subjective.

Human glory, worldly honor, and earthly possessions – these are all empty and meaningless when compared to the love, honor and glory of God.

True greatness and success is not in a person who is satisfied with himself. It is only in those with whom God is satisfied.

God will never estimate our merits or success by our knowledge, education, wealth, status, or our position among others. And He certainly won’t be impressed if we’re driving a new BMW. But God will measure our success by our self-sacrifice, humility and charity towards others.

God knows if we think and rely too much on ourselves, versus seeking His Will.

God knows if we give honor and glory to ourselves, rather than honoring and glorifying Him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having a good education, or a good work position, or owning your own company, or even being a celebrity is a bad thing. But it is a bad thing, when our motivations (or our end result) is the want or desire for admiration from others.

God alone is to be worshipped.

Not us.

And if you love God in all things, you’ll praise His Name, not yours. You will esteem and honor God’s Will, not your own estimation of personal success and accomplishments.

In the end, to me personally, success can only be measured in one way.

Success is defined in finding joy, love, honor and glory in God.

And if you find your success and accomplishment in God, and in God alone, you have found the greatest level of success ever possible.

Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog GrowInVirtue.com, which focuses on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him with his hands dirty, in his garden.

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Golden Nuggets from Father Jacques Philippe’s Book: “Searching for and Maintaining Peace”

Thanks to our dear friend, the awesome (and saintly) Pete, for alerting us to this book which we strongly recommend you read.  The book is only 110 pages long and full of divine wisdom that will help you find and maintain peace in the valley of tears.  It costs less than $10 bucks on the intraweb.  We have pulled out some of our favorite quotes below.  Enjoy!

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“The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us.”  (P. 5)

“Because only this peace of heart truly liberates us from ourselves, increases our sensitivity to others, and renders us available to our fellow man.” (P. 7)

“It is that Christian life is a combat, a war without mercy.”  (P. 8)

“Every Christian must be thoroughly convinced that his spiritual life can in no way be viewed as the quiet unfolding of an inconsequential life without any problems; rather it must be viewed as the scene of a constant and sometimes painful battle, which will not end until death – a struggle against evil, temptation and the sin that is in him. And this combat is, correctly viewed, the place of our purification, of our spiritual growth, where we learn to know ourselves in our weakness and to know God in His infinite mercy.”  (P. 9)
“The devil does his utmost to banish peace from one’s heart, because he knows that God abides in peace and it is in peace that He accomplished great things.” (Pg. 11; Quoting Dom Lorenzo Scupoli)

“One cannot enjoy a profound and durable peace if he is far from God, if his inmost will is not entirely oriented toward him…”  “You made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you” (St. Augustine). (Pg. 16)

(From St. Therese of Lisieux): “Father Surin was performing an exorcism and the demons said to him: “we are able to surmount all difficulties; there is only this bloody dog of goodwill, which we ARE NEVER ABLE TO DEAL WITH” (Father Philippe defines goodwill as a “purity of heart . .. the stable and constant disposition of a person who is determined more than anything to love God, who desires sincerely to prefer in all circumstances the will of God to his own, who does not wish to consciously refuse anything to God.” (pg. 16 & 19)

“In the domain of our personal lives, as in that of the history of the world, we must be convinced, if we want to go to the limits of our Christian faith, that God is sufficiently good and powerful to use whatever evil there may be, as well as any suffering however absurd and unnecessary it may appear to be, in our favor.” (Pg. 31)

“Too many people are distressed because they are no contemplatives. They do not take the time to nourish their own hearts and return them to peace by gazing with love on Jesus” (pg. 34)
“One can never insist enough on the necessity of quiet, meditative prayer – the real source of interior peace.” (pg. 35)

“He who accepts to put everything into the hands of God, to allow Him to give everything into the hands of God, to allow Him to give and take according to His good pleasure, this individual finds an inexpressible peace and interior freedom.” (pg. 38) (“Ah, if one only knew what one gains in renouncing all things!” – St. Therese of the Child Jesus)

Father Philippe tells the story of a woman who suffers from depression (whose mother was in tears over her condition but handled her depression with a sense of peace). The woman told Father Philippe “I am incapable of praying, and the only thing that I do not cease to say to Jesus are the words of the Twenty-third Psalm: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The woman also saw positive fruits from her depression, whose father had been harsh to her in the past but has now changed his demeanor. (pg. 48-49)

The Lord has taught us that “on the eve of our life we will be judged by how much we loved. . . and in particular how much we loved our brothers in need” In all suffering there is a germ of life and of the resurrection, because Jesus is there in person. (pg. 50)

St. Francis de Sales: “Nothing retards progress in a virtue so much as wanting to acquire it with too much haste.” (pg. 54)

“When one is close to God, loves Him, desires nothing but to please him still with evil, he tempts him even further by good. This means that he makes use of our desire to do good to trouble us. He does this by making us scrupulous, or by presenting us with a certain good that we must realize but which is beyond our present strength, or which is not what God asks of us – all to discourage us or cause us to lose our peace . . . When we lose peace for reasons similar to those we just mentioned, let us tell ourselves that the Devil must be involved. Let us try to maintain our calm and if we cannot do it by ourselves we should open up to a spiritual person. The mere fact of speaking to another person will generally be enough to make our confusion disappear completely and to bring back our peace.” (pg. 77)

“According to the bible, the one who is most perfect is not the one who behaves in an irreproachable manner, but the one who loves most. . . The behavior that is most perfect is not that which corresponds to the image that we sometimes form for ourselves of perfection, such as comportment that is impeccable, infallible and spotless. Rather it is one where there is the most disinterested love of God and the least prideful pursuit of oneself. One who accepts to be weak, small and who fails often, who accepts to be nothing in his own eyes or in the eyes of others, but who, without being excessively preoccupied with his situation, because he is animated by a great confidence in God and knows that his love is infinitely more important and counts ever so much more than his own imperfections and faults, this person loves more than one who pushes the preoccupation of his own perfection to the point of anxiety.” (pg. 79)

St. Francis de Sales: “The measure of Divine Providence in us depends on the degree of trust that we have in it.” (pg. 91)

St. Francis de Sales: “say frequently to the lord: “O God, You are my God and I will trust in you; You will help me and You will be my refuge and there is nothing I will fear, because not only You with me, but, also, You are in me and I in You.” (pg. 92)

St. Francis de Sales: “Never is a task accomplished with impetuosity and haste done well.” (pg. 93)

Marie of the Incarnation: “If we could with a single interior glance, see all the goodness and mercy that exists in God’s designs for each one of us, even in what we call disgraces, pains and afflictions, our happiness would consist in throwing ourselves into the arms of the Divine Will, with the abandon of a young child that throws himself into the arms of his mother.” (Pg. 97)