I came across this quotation while reading a book this morning. It was attributed to St. Alphonsus Liguori.
It made me ponder. It seems quite profound to me. Fear is often a good motivation, as is a sense of duty. But does anything inspire us quite as much as the desire not to let a person down, to be worthy of them?
When I became a serious fan of G.K. Chesterton, I gave up some bad habits which I'd long struggled to give up before that. Somehow the idea that G.K.C. would be disappointed in me made it easy.
I've often mentioned Patrick Pearse, the Irish revolutionary and poet. He was also a headmaster and an educationalist. His school was noted for its light discipline-- apparently pupils developed such a respect for him, and he placed such trust in the pupils, that they didn't want to let him down.
There's a danger of being naive, I know. So many children raised without discipline become spolied brats. And having God's unconditional love for us dinned into our ears for decades and decades hasn't exactly borne an abundant harvest. But is that because it has been reduced to a mere platitude?