Unfortunately, the Devil shelters himself behind us, and conceals himself, whilst we are blind, and, thinking we are doing everything of ourselves, begin to stand up for the Devil’s works as if they were our own, as if for something just, although every idea of there being any justice in our passion is entirely false, impious, and hurtful.
Via TKB about something specific, but I thought of it because of this posts about being carried by Christ. If we try to stand on our own two feet it’s very easy to exaggerate our own power (over ourselves, over events, over others) and, in order to shore up that illusion of control, even begin to take credit for the works of the Devil.
I don’t know if we always have the freedom to surrender to Christ completely. This may be partly a semantic question–is Sebastian in Brideshead a portrayal of complete surrender to Christ in terrible circumstance, or incomplete and conflicted surrender perhaps due to those circumstances?–and partly an epistemological question–we can rarely tease out circumstances from choices. But to the extent that we do have self-control it is generally control over our surrender, not ability to achieve our goals on our own.