God helps those who help themselves

Some time ago, when cars did not yet exist, in a certain place it was raining a lot, and the dirt roads were impossible to travel. So it was, that on different roads, three different charioteers got stuck in the mud. The first of them was trying to pull his wagon out of the mud while insulting and cursing the horse and the weather for what had happened to him. The second one had sunk his knees in the mud and with his hands together he kept praying asking God to get him out of this problem. The third one, while trying with all his strength to pull the cart out of the mud, was asking God for help.

St. Peter, who had been invited by Our Lord to take a look around the Earth, impulsive as always, when he saw the first driver, immediately set out to help him, but Our Lord stopped him. Then St. Peter saw the second one, and said, “He will allow me to help this one,” but Our Lord said, “wait, not yet.” Then St. Peter saw the third driver, but when he got ready to help him, he realized that Our Lord was already helping him… and St. Peter understood the lesson.

Using the words of St. Augustine, we can say that the lesson of this parable is the following: “He, who created you without you, will not save you without you.” Regarding life we can all have different attitudes:  some people complain and blame others for their problems and take all the credit for the good things that happen to them; others only accept miraculous solutions to their problems and do nothing to solve them or to change in themselves what makes them have those problems; and others ask God for help and put the means they have to solve the problems.

The biggest problem, or the biggest concern (if not the only concern) that we men should have is that of the salvation of our soul, because as it is said: “he who saves his soul knows, and he who does not, knows nothing.” With regard to the salvation of our soul we can have those three attitudes that we have just described: those who want to achieve it by themselves and blame others if they do not achieve it; those who want God to do everything while they do nothing; those who ask God for it and follow God’s inspirations to achieve it. Only the third attitude is the correct one, hence it is said that “we must do everything as if salvation depended on us, knowing that it depends entirely on God.”

Why does salvation depend totally on God? Because salvation is a supernatural action and we by ourselves do not have the capacity to perform supernatural actions.  We need God’s grace, which as its name indicates is something that he gives us gratis and not according to our own human merit. Why must we do everything as if it depends on us? Because Divine Providence moves each thing according to its own way.  Therefore, free causes are always moved respecting their freedom. For this reason, it is said that when God infuses grace into the soul of a free adult, He moves at the same time the free will so that it freely works for his salvation moved by the grace of God. Hence, as St. Augustine says, “He does not save us without us.” If we, moved by the grace of God, follow God’s grace, He will send more graces to make us grow in holiness. This is why, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Daily homily


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