The closer a person approaches God, the less worthy he or she feels. A painting under a candlelight shows fewer defects than under the brilliance of the sun. So too, souls who are distanced from God feel more certain of their moral integrity than those who are very close to Him.
Those who have left the lights and glamours of the world, and for years have been irradiated by His countenance, have always been the first to acknowledge themselves as great sinners. St. Paul, who has been such an edification to men, called himself the ‘Chief of Sinners’.
In the presence of the Holiest of Creatures, the soul becomes self-accusing and brokenhearted with the weight of its defects. Similarly, an evil man will always feel their guilt more in the presence of an innocent babe than in the companionship of those who are wicked like themselves, so he who loves God is most deeply burdened with the sense of his own unworthiness.
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