Do You Want to Be Like God?

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 15, 2012

I tried to write something today about my frustration with those who were frustrated with me for expressing my Frustration with Ryan and Biden, but I ended up going in so many directions that it will require a fresh mind on a future day to sort it into anything worthwhile. Maybe it is really two pieces, or three. So instead, let me say something that is not at all frustrating, something completely uplifting and positive.

Do you want to be like God? You should. Not after the manner of Adam and Eve, of course—with the temptation to decide everything for yourself and have unlimited power over others. But to be like Him as He wants us to be, perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48), or like Christ, full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14).

The concept is actually pretty simple, and to prove it I will cite yet another extract from Fr. Saward’s admirable anthology of The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England. I’ve mentioned this collection so often by its subtitle (which is the title of my review, to which the link leads), that (a) I don’t know what I’ll do when I’ve finished reading through it (I’ve done 600 of the 700 pages); and (b) I’ve probably allowed you to forget that the main title is more inspiring, Firmly I Believe and Truly.

Be these things as they may, the anthology boasts several pages of extracts from the remarkable Benedictine Abbot Anscar Vonier (1875-1938), a German with a French-sounding name who spent most of his life in England and attained a sublime mastery of English prose. His given name was Martin; perhaps he was called Marty by his friends. In any case, Abbot Vonier knew how to do good things for his friends, and in fact he knew exactly what it meant to be like God:

The Catholic view…is that the greatest and highest communication of God is the participation of causality. Not only is He the cause of all things and all good, but He makes His creatures also to be, in their respective degree, causes of things and causes of good; and in our metaphysics, as well as in our piety, we go by this principle, that the highest creature is also the most powerful creature, and that the more God loves a spiritual being, the more means He gives to that being of doing good to others.

You’ll find no frustration in Abbot Vonier. And I will wager that this thought will take the edge off your own frustration, too, as it certainly did my own. As Catholics, we have been given so many wonderful ways to do good to others. And as we grow in grace, we gain an ever greater capacity to do good to others. In other words, we become more like God.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Oct. 16, 2012 4:52 PM ET USA

    I just printed off Abbot Vonier's quote and will mount it on my mirror to see each morning.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Oct. 16, 2012 7:34 AM ET USA

    This is the example of Christ and his Blessed Mother. It is the vocation of each of us baptized Christians to grow in God's grace and to be more like him, and in this way- the only way- to bear fruit. Thanks for the reminder because this is really what it's all about.