The right intention is one of the themes so often discussed by St George Preca. This book was written by Fr George Preca in 1945 and contains 35 sessions (chapters) by which the reader can reflect on the single-mindedness and the motivation of his acts. Fr George delves deeply into the motives that make us behave in the ways we do. Highly recommended to those who want to take their spiritual life seriously, avoid deceptions and render greater glory to God.
The following extract is session 13 which reflects on:
A right intention is what gives value to our actions
It is not virtue that is rewarded by God, but the cause of virtue.
No action may be considered small if it is done for the glory of God. The least and most indifferent acts, even the humblest, if done for the glory of God, are greater than the highest and most noble acts that are only done for a natural intention.
Whatever is not done for the glory of God will last only as far as the tomb, and like smoke it appears only for a short time and soon vanishes out of sight. But an act that is done for the glory of God has everlasting value.
God is spirit and those who adore Him must adore Him in spirit and in truth, and that is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks (Jn 4,23). God does not consider what is only materially done, but what one’s spirit wants, what is in the will, so much so that whatever good or bad one desires to do but cannot, is considered as done by God.
Therefore, God rewards a good desire in the same manner as if it has been accomplished. But a wish cannot be sincere if not accompanied by a good life for the glory of God, and would, therefore, be no desire at all. You cannot wish the glory of God if you offend Him by your actions. A wish like this is not real, but just movement lip service.
Our God is a God of peace. There is no need to worry, therefore, when real impediments do not permit the implementation of an act for the glory of God; one may still keep calm and quiet, knowing that what one cannot effectively do, but sincerely desires, may glorify God just as well.
God’s measure does not take into account what we do or how much we do, but rather our motives, in other words, the intention. We read in the Gospel that Jesus Christ did not praise those who contributed most from their abundance for the upkeep of the temple, but he praised the poor widow who, out of her poverty, contributed two small coins. Her contribution was small indeed but it was all she had, and Christ could say she was giving more than all the others (Lk 21,3).
Let us never stop yearning for great things done to the glory of God.