Imitate Good, Not Evil!

3 John 11

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. He who does good is of God; he who does evil has not seen God.

As creatures we are, at best, sub-creators.  We cannot truly create since to create is, strictly speaking, to make from nothing.  Similarly, as moral agents, we can only, at best, imitate what has been done before, either by the Blessed Trinity, or by fallen angels.  If we commit some spectacular and unprecedented evil we are only, at bottom, imitating the same choice to place self over God that Satan made.  Similarly, in sanctity, we can only imitate the love of the Son for the Father.  We can never innovate or improve on it.  Nonetheless, the fact that we imitate both good and evil does not mean that we are just Xeroxes.  When we imitate good we are sub-creators, co-laborers with Christ (whether we realize it or not) in the making and renewal of the world.  When we imitate evil we are sub-destroyers, working with Satan (whether we realize it or not) in hell’s vain attempt to overthrow God.  As with Satan, all the latter attempt will ultimately do is destroy us, if we do not repent.  But as with Jesus, our willingness to do good is a connection with his Spirit which, if pursued, must always lead back to God himself and, if we do not turn back from it, to our participation in his divine nature through Jesus Christ.  So imitate what is good.  Hidden at the heart of all goodness is Jesus Christ himself.  Seek him and you will find him.

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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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