Life without war is impossible, either in nature or in grace. The basis of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual life is antagonism. This is the open fact of life.

The law of antagonism means that in order to stay healthy, I have to fight. Health is a kind of balance between things that would harm me and my ability to resist them. Physical health occurs when there is a balance between my body and those things in the external world that are designed to put me to death. If I have enough vitality, enough fighting power, I will produce a healthy balance.

The same is true both mentally and morally. If I want to maintain a vigorous mental life, I have to fight; this is how the mental balance called thought is produced. When it comes to morality, everything that doesn’t partake of the nature of virtue is the enemy of virtue in me, and whether I am able to overcome and produce virtue depends on my moral vitality. When I am tempted to immorality in some particular and I fight against it, I am instantly moral in that particular. No one is virtuous by accident; virtue is acquired.

Spiritually, too, it is the same. When Jesus said that we would have trouble in this world, he meant that everything that is not spiritual would seek my undoing. “But,” he added, “take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). I have to learn to face down the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness; then it becomes a delight to meet opposition. Holiness is the balance between my disposition and the law of God as expressed in Jesus Christ.

Wisdom from Oswald

The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, and one of the biggest snares is the idea that God is sure to lead us to success. My Utmost for His Highest, March 19, 761 L