We had a very good talk Friday morning at our formation group on Finding Your Predominant Fault! Anytime that I've heard a priest talk about this subject, I've always been slightly confused. The way my brain worked with it was that essentially all major faults that we struggle with center from our self-love and so therefore, everyone needs to work on rooting out this bad aspect of self-love.
Sounds like a simple conclusion, but when I tried to figure out how to tackle it, it was like looking at a HUGE hole in the side of a ship and wondering how to plug it up. Needless to say, I would always become discouraged before I really ever got anywhere.
Well,we were having this discussion and I was trying to explain my frustrations with the topic. One of the women suggested that it was like peeling away the layers of an onion - first you might have to peel away, greed, then envy, then gluttony, then laziness...until you get to the center of the onion: self-love.
Another woman gave me this analogy, which really opened things up for me. Envision your soul enclosed in a castle. All around the walls of the castle are weak points that are not guarded by virtues; weak points such as anger, greed, envy, selfishness etc. Of all these weak points, which one is the easiest place for self-love to enter, and thus manifest itself to others? Whatever this weak point is, that is your predominant fault.
I'm not quite sure why, but all of a sudden it was like someone flipped the switch and I could see it all clearly. I could now see that it was a much easier task to tackle allowing my self-love to manifest itself through anger or impatience then trying to tackle the entire beast of self-love in one fell swoop. (Of course, here I'm assuming you know I am talking about the aspect of self-love that brings out the bad in all of us!).
The more I pondered this, the more it made sense what another priest had said once, that the last battle that many of the great saints fought was their self-love. I finally could see that, even after you have fortified all of the weak points in your castle so that self-love is not manifested outwardly in a negative way (meaning other people don't have to deal with it from you!), you still have to deal with it in your thoughts and in your heart. This is a battle which will keep us busy for our entire lives.
The downside to the morning was that we found out it will be a few weeks before we get the talk on how to COMBAT this predominant fault. UGH! It's like getting a disease and finding out that in two weeks I'll get the remedy, but until then, I just have to deal with it. I guess it will give us all a good amount of time to think and pray about our good friend - our predominant fault.
PS, if you're having a hard time recognizing your predominant fault, ask your spouse!