The Greek mythology has a character named Narcissus whowas renowned for his beauty.
>> He was exceptionally proud; so much that he even disdained those who loved him!
One day, Narcissus was attracted to a pool of water.
He saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it. He failed to realise that it was only an image!
>> Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, he drowned in the waters!
An obsessive love of his own-self drowned him!
A true appreciation, real honouring and genuine love of oneself is highly important & needed.
>> But when this self-directed love crosses the boundary, it can lead to obsession and fixation!
Are we in anyway getting drowned, knowingly or unknowingly, as a result of an excessive love for our self?
The Gospel of the Day invites and challenges us to ponder over this aspect by presenting the dramatically humble personality of John the Baptist!
One of the most supreme and vital messages that we learn from the life of John the Baptist is Humility – a virtue in direct contrast to the dangerous vice of Pride!
There are two kinds of pride: good and bad.
‘Good pride’ is our dignity & self-respect…
>> ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.
What is pride, as a vice?
>> In simple words, it could defined as “wanting our own way!”
Therefore, what is humility as a virtue?
>> In simple words, it could be defined as “wanting God’s Will!”
This is what we learn from the life of St John the Baptist.
He sought not his own way, but the way of the One who sent him.
>> He wanted not his light to shine, but the Light of Him who sent him.
The Gospel of the day has a scene of dispute arising…
John the Baptist, by his bold preaching and his radical life-style had attracted many disciples.
Some of these disciples come and tell John, “Rabbi, the One who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you testified, here He is baptizing and everyone is coming to Him” (Jn 3:26)
These disciples of John…
… seem so resentful of Jesus that they don’t even mention His name!
… are distressed that Jesus and His disciples are more successful than they are!
… are irritated that their Master has not come up with any remedy yet!
There seemed anxiety in their voice…
>> There seemed anger in their tone!
John had preached about repentance…baptized…and had pointed to the coming Messiah
This should have been a time for John’s disciples to celebrate, now that Jesus was coming to the forefront!
But they forgot an important aspect of ministry: That we are doing all for HIM!
The disciples of John, perhaps, sought a “narcisstic” attention to their own ministry…
>> They, perhaps, adopted a “narcisstic” style in their works and activities…
Looking into just themselves and their interests….
>> Seeking to fulfil only their objectives and motives…
But John the Baptist – their master – remain unperturbed and undisturbed.
He displays an angelic countenance of humility!
As St Augustine says, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”
Like a good coach, who drills discipline & restraint into “his men”, John tells his disciples, “Let’s get back to the basics!”
John reminds His disciples…
… that His ministry is not of his own, but received from God!
… that He is not to take centre-stage, but only the One greater than him!
… that He was not to be the Messiah, but only the forerunner of the Messiah!
>> John reminds His disciples that He is only the friend of the bridegroom.. (Jn 3:29)
In our life, it is easy for us to lose our focus from the Lord and have a “narcisstic” style of preferences for our own selves…
>> We may tend to forget the blessings that the Lord has showered on us…
… and instead attribute all successes to our own talents and abilities.
>> We may lose sight of the Lord, the real purposes of our vocation and the mission…
… and instead seek to fulfil our personal agenda and motives.
It is easy to bask in the glory of popularity and fame.
>> It is satisfying to enjoy the sunshine of reputations and recognitions.
… but let them never lead us to have a “narcisstic” approach of just “looking into” ourselves.
Let us have the humility to acknowledge that it is God’s power being manifested in our works.
>> Let us have the acceptance that it is God’s graces that has lifted us to a high position.
Yes, “drown” not in the murky waters of pride, egoism and selfishness…
>> Rather let us “sail” together with the Lord over the clean waters of humility and meekness!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Let us not lower our eyes without humiliating at the same time the heart; let not others think we want the last place without truly desiring it.”