Someone made this interesting observation: the Bible begins with the Book of Genesis, with the story of a man and a woman who covered themselves with fig leaves, and ends with the Book of Revelation.
In today’s Gospel (Lk.18, 9-14), Jesus warns us against self-righteousness. As it were, we cannot cover ourselves with fig leaves because the reality is that we are all sinners. What matters is who we are before God, not who we are before men. What matters is not what people think or say about us, but what God thinks or says about us.
“Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” You can’t go wrong with this prayer. It is a prayer we must pray every day, our constant chant as we journey on to God’s heart. Please don’t forget this prayer. If you do, you may become proud and lose your way.
It is in humility and in sincere prayer that we know who we really are, that’s why it is so important to listen, really listen to God. Some people pray a lot, but go on with their bad habits. Why? That’s because in prayer, they talk a lot to God, but do not really listen to Him. Nothing in you is changing? Maybe because you are not really and truly listening to Him.
May the Lord deliver us from spiritual pride. Like a tooth cavity, it is often difficult to detect and to admit it because it is deep and hidden, but it will show in how we behave, or think, or talk about ourselves and about other people. Yes, sooner or later will come the revelation of who we truly are.
People who have money deposited in the bank feel confident and secure. And there are people, too, who feel confident and secure because they have “deposited” a lot of prayers and good deeds. In either case, it is wrong to put weight and importance on what we have or have achieved materially or spiritually. May we learn to focus less on our achievements and merits and focus more on God’s mercy and grace.
I am writing this column on my 39th ordination anniversary, Oct. 25. I am filled with gratitude for God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness. Whatever little I have done all these years, I was able to do so because of His grace. Unworthy as I am, I want to live the rest of my life, the best of my life, not so much on achievements but more on prayer, faithfulness and humble service.
I thank God for the gift of faith, family and friends. In the end, these are the ones that will really matter in our journey. Please do not neglect or belittle them. Looking back, about this time last year, when I was battling cancer, it was faith, family and true friends who were there to help me on. Thank you!
Sharing with you this beautiful prayer, “The Memorare”: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
Think about this: “If you really know how to look up to God, you won’t look down on people.”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help me to be righteous, but not become self-righteous. Amen.
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