“’Laying ourselves low’ in humility and not be ‘standing up’ in pride!”
(Based on Hos 6:1-6 and Lk 18:9-14 – Saturday of the 3rd Week in Lent)
A family had shifted to a new house, and the little girl of the house was given her own little room.
On her bedroom wall, just over the head of the bed on which she slept…
… was a picture of Jesus.
This picture was reflected in the large mirror of the dressing table…
… which was directly on the other side.
Thus, when the little girl woke up on the first morning in the new house…
… she could see the picture of Jesus (which was reflected on the mirror)
As she lay on bed, with her eyes opened, she exclaimed:
“Oh Mummy… I can see Jesus through the mirror!”
To have a better look, the little girl, quickly stood up, to have a better look.
But in so doing, she brought her own body between the picture and the mirror!
As a result, instead of seeing Jesus, she now saw herself!
So she lay again, and saw the picture of Jesus once more.
She did this quite a few times over and over…
… seeing the image of Jesus as she lay down, and seeing her own image as she stood up on bed!
Finally, she said:
“Mummy, when I can’t see myself, I can see Jesus!
But every time I see myself, I don’t see Him!”
How true it is this isn’t it…?
When our own self fills our vision, it clouds the view of Jesus!
Perhaps, very often, we are so full of ourselves, that we cannot see or recognise Christ!
The Gospel of the Day exhorts a strong message on this deadly vice of “being full of ourselves”
… in a single word – “Pride”.
Chapter 18 of the Gospel of St Luke begins with two parables, that teach on the aspect of Prayer.
The parable of the Widow who was persistent (Lk 18: 1-8)
The parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Lk 18: 9-14)
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector have interesting comparisons with respect to the various gestures and actions that they take:
Both go up to the Temple area to pray…
The Pharisee took up his position… the tax collector stood off at a distance
The Pharisee spoke the prayer to himself… the tax collector would not even raise his eyes to heaven
The Pharisee spoke of his personal glories… the tax collector acknowledged being a sinner, in need of mercy.
Though the Gospel doesn’t speak of it, it seems that both, the Pharisee and the tax collector had taken a mirror with themselves, when they went to pray….
A mirror… yeah!
But, the strange fact is that, both of them used the mirror in contrasting manners!
The Pharisee used the mirror and saw his many achievements and accomplishments…
… being unlike the rest of the sinful humanity like the greedy, dishonest or adulterous
… fasting twice a week
… pay tithes on his whole income
The tax collector, also used a mirror…but saw in it, his many failures and shortcomings…
… the moments when he had cheated others to have greater financial gains
… the times he had subjected himself to be a traitor by working against his own people
… the need to seek for God’s mercy acknowledging his sinfulness
Prayer is like a mirror…but it depends on one’s attitude and disposition what one sees…
If one is filled with pride and self-conceit, one sees only one’s accomplishments…
… and thus pushes out God and replaces oneself as the source of all good works!
If one is truly humble and modest, one sees one’s weaknesses and limitations…
… and thus acknowledge the dependence on God and on His grace in life!
Prayer could be made into a time of reciting the litany of one’s great achievements…
…or prayer could be made into a moment of seeking God’s mercy and compassion.
Prayer could be made into an occasion to boast of oneself and put down others…
… or prayer could be made into a moment to see the glittering light of God guiding us.
What is our attitude and disposition?
Am I afflicted with the sickness of pride which makes me to flaunt only myself at the expense of the other?
Am I distressed with the disease of arrogance which makes me to see myself as the greatest person in the world, casting aside all people and even God?
There is something of “this” Pharisee, perhaps, in all of us which needs to be shun…
There is something of “this” tax collector, which needs to be cultivated…
… is the need to cast away pride and the need to embrace humility and dependence on God!
Let us “lay ourselves low” in humility…and not be “standing up” in pride…
… and thus realise:
“When I can’t see myself, I can see Jesus!
But every time I see myself, I don’t see Him!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
📖 Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY
The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the “dispensation of the mystery” the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church, “until he comes.”
In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ’s Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church’s “sacramental” liturgy. (CCC # 1076)