Fr. Voigt: Our Negative CapabilityYou cannot serve both God and mammon. This statement coming from the Son of God expresses the greatest negative capability in the history of mankind. Everyone of us possesses this negative capability. It is a power placed in us by the Divine Architect and we can use it at any and every moment of our life. The English poet, John Keats, presents it in a poetic manner but simply stated "what we negate, we do."
Very often I have been worn out by the day and I look forward in my imagination to the moment I am going to hit the sack and that pillow will just be the perfect place to zonk out. When I get to that moment all of the sudden I am completely awake. Now my negative capability comes into play. I could try to force myself to sleep but that never works. Instead I turn on the light and say to myself what a great night to work. Then with a prayer to our Lady I begin to read, write or listen to a spiritual conversation and before
I know it I'm out like a light. This is the negative capability in action.
Another good example is the couple that wishes to be married. They can only see the good in their spouse to be because love is blind. So I must have them analyze their family environment and ask what did you not care for in your childhood. Maybe they were nagged; perhaps their father drank too much; or mom used to always pick on this one child. Whatever they did not like and condemned in another is that which they are condemned to repeat. This is what I term the "Original Sin Syndrome". There is always something that turned us off and we must recognize it and choose the Divine Methodology...forgive again and again. Serve God and forget the deceit of the devil.
In the scheme of the negative, the demonic, there is always justice on our side to condemn another. They deserve to be condemned for their pride, their greed, their lust, their gossip. We all deserve to be condemned but with the divine act of love by the only begotten Son we have been ransomed and forgiven of our sinful nature. Now we can look on others and know that we are the same. As we have been forgiven so we must learn to forgive.
Remember that which we condemn in others we are condemned to repeat in ourselves. I could repeat story after story about how this deceptive choice of mammon has come back to haunt souls.
In one telling incident I was guiding a soccer program and was asked to accept a child after the deadline. The season was underway and I hesitated to break up the team chemistry of any of the coaches. Yet due to the departure of the boy's father from the house, I judged it beneficial for the boy to go to my best coach and the best team. So I sent him to this coach while I learned more from the mother about her husband. Within 20 minutes my best coach came to me with the boy and asked me, "Don't you love me anymore?" "Sure" I answered. Then he proceeded to say that he had to break up three fights in the last 20 minutes.
So I took the boy aside and asked, "What is bothering you on the inside?" He cried out mournfully, "I want my daddy." That did it. I went looking for the father who was on the police force and I found him. It came to be that the father was doing exactly what his father had done to him. He hated his father for abandoning him and now he was doing the same to his son. Once I was able to show him the deceit of the demonic and he learned to forgive his father then he was on the way to healing the false choice for mammon. Pleasure, wealth, power are expressions of the choice for the evil one, mammon. Do not be deceived but be enlightened by the negative capability we all have to turn our life over to God and His Will for our sanctification.
I speak for myself here and state unequivocally that I serve God only and I rebuke Satan and all his pomps. This does not mean that we cannot use what God gives us to promote holiness. Have no anxiety but rather turn everything over to the will of God, i.e. your almsgiving, your fasting, your dress, your studies, your work.
It belongs to Him alone. Praise Him for everything and you will humbly walk in the footsteps of His beloved Son. You will be incorporated into that Heart which holds all of our hearts. Courage, be not afraid for He has gone before us and shows us the way.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt