What a relief to realize that this is not the case! They were just as human as the rest of us, with the same negative traits. What sets them apart is their love for God, which led them to strive constantly to overcome their self-love and pride.
Desiring to Love
Father Jean C.J. d’Elbée writes in I Believe In Love that “to desire to love is already to love.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that in wanting to love God we’re already loving Him!
The more we strive to love Him, the more aware we become of our sinfulness, and the worse we feel about ourselves for the sins we commit. But thankfully our love moves us to ask humbly for God’s mercy, and our confidence in Him allows us to believe He will forgive us.
Consenting to Sin
Once forgiven, we need to pick ourselves up again. Always acknowledging our negative traits, we move forward with faith that God will help us in our battle against self-love, pride, lack of humility, and self-preoccupation.
The Devil will always tempt us, but, as Father d’Elbée writes: “it is consent that makes the sin.” He explains that, for example, having a proud nature and being a proud person are two different things. By not taking pleasure in our pride, by understanding that it is evil and having the humility to ask God for mercy, we cheat the Devil. We don’t consent to being proud, we fight against it.
Evil Can Produce Good
By doing so we allow God to create good within us as a result of the evil. “It could be a very fruitful humiliation to recognize your pride without consenting to it.” With these words Father d’Elbée almost gives us a reason to rejoice in our sinful natures. They become a daily means of showing God how much we love Him as we battle against them for His sake.