Some "self-centered" items from our devotions this morning:
"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and sense in which he has attained liberation from the self"--Albert Einstein (a fairly well-known introvert, by the way).
"Being overly preoccupied with ourselves stunts our spiritual growth just as it limits all we do. We cannot realize our full potential when we are concentrating on our desires or fears. We cannot hear the voice of our Inner Guide when we are listening to the voice of our anxiety. Our recovery can be measured by our progress in getting out of ourselves." In God's Care: Daily Meditations on Spirituality and Recovery, July 31.
To which voice did the Rich Fool actually listen--the voice of the Lord or the whispers of anxiety? Regardless how confident his self-dialogue might sound, it is the whisper of anxiety that turns into the howl of greed.
"Our addictions are only symptoms of our underlying disease--the disease of self-centeredness. Surrendering the self automatically puts us in touch with the power of the universe--our Creator." In God's Care: Daily Meditations on Spirituality and Recovery, July 31.
Unless we die to self and take up our cross, we cannot make room for all that our Lord wishes to do with us, in us and through us.
"One of the most serious consequences of the me-me-me syndrome is that we lose touch with practically everyone around us--not to mention reality itself...I pray that my preoccupation with self, which is wound up tight as a Maypole, may unwind itself and let its streamers fly again for others to catch and hold. May the thin, familiar wail of me-me-me become a chorus of us-us-us..." A Day at a Time: Daily Reflections for Recovering People, July 31.
This is a powerful image and a powerful prayer. As Lewis describes in The Great Divorce, hell is that place so full of me that there is no room left for anyone else--especially for God. I love how he describes the need of the lost souls to move further and further from one another and from heaven for all eternity. When I am at the center of existence, there simply is room for no one else.
And that is hell indeed.