Someone said he did not like those Russian dolls (wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another). Asked why, he said: Because they are so full of themselves.
In today’s Gospel (Jn. 3:14-21), we hear about a loving God, a God who empties Himself for us and for our salvation. He is the model that we should follow. Our journey in life is all about becoming more loving, and becoming less selfish.
There are people who are literally so full of themselves. All they think of and talk about are themselves. It is very hard to have a conversation with such people. In the first place, they do not know how to listen, and when they talk, they tend to monopolize the conversation, or lecture to others. One gets the feeling that such people need an audience whenever they open their mouth.
I was in a party once, and I met this guy who kept talking about himself. I was held captive, and did not even have the chance to butt in, so I just kept quiet and wished that the tidal wave would pass. Finally, he noticed my silence (thank God!), and he said: “Father Orbos, what about you? What can you say about me?”
We all have certain childhood issues —like those involving attention, entitlement, authority, trust, and self-worth— which should be resolved through the years. Some succeed in resolving these issues by taking the road of honesty, humility and acceptance. Others never grow up because they stay on the road of denial, pride and rationalization. The former become more loving and free. The latter become more self-centered and are ultimately imprisoned by their selfishness and greed.
The Lenten discipline of fasting and self-denial lead us to become less selfish and less self-centered. What have you sacrificed? What have you given up for the Lord? On a positive note, what have you given to others? What good habit have you started?
Beyond discipline and religious practices and traditions, we should focus more on our personal relationship with the Lord. God so loved us! How are we personally responding to His love? And in the context of present-day realities in our country, how are we communally responding to His love?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). This is the most important phrase in the Bible. But, again and again I ask the question: Why did God love the world so much? Why does He continue to love us so much? I really don’t know why. I just believe that He does, and I am just grateful for that.
It is better to be presumptuous of God’s love than to doubt God’s love. We must believe and keep on believing that we are loved, in spite of ourselves. We take inspiration from Sister Faustina’s message that our sins are just a drop of water in the ocean of God’s great divine mercy. Amen.
What happens to people who are so full of themselves? They end up like the Dead Sea, which is so full of salt and where there is no life. What happens to people who know how to empty themselves? They end up like the Lake of Galilee where there is so much fresh water and life. True living is all about giving.
People who are so full of themselves become doubly dangerous and disastrous if they become leaders and are given power. Imagine how many people they affect. May all leaders, whether political, religious, military, and civic leaders, learn from God Almighty the virtues of self-emptying and true giving.
Think about this: “None are so empty as those who are so full of themselves.”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us not to be so full of ourselves so that we can truly love and serve. Amen.
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