On this twelfth day of Christmas while we celebrate the Epiphany of Christ, God in His goodness has given me a private epiphany of sorts so that one day this miserable soul of mine may overcome itself in order that, with God’s help, I may be free from all that binds my soul preventing it from truly becoming who the Good Lord has intended for me to be.
These past couple of days have really been an eye opener. A stomach wrenching, kind of eye opening. It has become painfully aware to me that I suffer, dare I even speak this aloud, from the sin of pride. The horrible truth is that I hadn’t given it much thought these past couple of months, because honestly, I just don’t feel like a prideful person. I definetely don’t go around self promoting or going on and on about myself… I don’t consider myself a bragger… And because I regularly attend Holy Mass, I thought I was safe … immune in a way, to this awful vise.
I mean, heck, I can get myself ready to leave the house in under twenty minutes….that’s a quick shower a smudge of makeup and bam! Out the door. No primping for hours in front of the mirror …no, nothing like that. But like I said these past couple of days, God has really humbled me. Painfully humbled me. The kind of humbling that causes one’s insides to want to flee, after the realization that i … my body… are just pounds of rotting flesh. It is the kind of pain that engulfs one’s entire sense of self and worth…. or more precisely our worthlessness. It is a self centered pain that stems from this disordered entanglement with pride. It is when your entire being knows… deep down, that you are just a sorry bit of mush, faking it through the days. Constantly putting on airs, and using all the gifts that God has freely given you to promote yourself. In reality, when truth be told, i am really nothing… we are all nothing, without Him…
All that we have comes from God. Whether it may come to us through the tender love of Our Blessed Mother, or directly from the Lord, everything we have… except for sin, everything comes from God. Talk about a punch in the gut. It is a painful realization that even after all of this time, pride has such a control over who I am. In a world where I don’t belong…a world that is not my home, I have come to concern myself in such great measures of what I appear to be. Even if I dress in such a way as not to attract attention…I still desire attention. I don’t want to be forgotten, but I should not care. God has not forgotten me. He has clearly shown me many times that I am His child, and that He loves me very much. Even when I don’t deserve to be loved. This is a truth that I know in my heart, so why I do bother with what others think? Now please don’t get me wrong, we need to always behave in charity with everyone, we need our actions to be rooted in kindness, not just for the sake of being thought of as being kind… we need to be kind because of God…. So that we may unite ourselves to Him and His Holy Heart. Not to please ourselves. And definetely not so that others will have pleasing thoughts of us. Does this make sense?
As I look towards this new year stretched out before me, with whatever the Lord has planned, I need to refocus on my true intentions, i need to work on overcoming this sin of pride. I am not sure of a game plan as of yet, but this much I know for certain, this is something I won’t be able to do on my own… Firstly, I am going to throw myself at Our Dear Lord’s feet and beg Him to have mercy on my sinful arrogance. I am going to plead, ( as i have done so often before) with the Blessed Mother to turn Her sweet gaze upon me and help me get through this horrible mess. This realization is very painful, and if I am not careful….if I fail to throw myself prostrate before the Lord, I am afraid it could fracture my soul….it is a very devious vice, this pride… far more damaging to our peace than we realize.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord asks those with Him to learn from Him….I think He is also teaching us. …“for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt 11:29). He is setting as example of how we are to be, how we are to live. In the letter of St. James we read,“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). With all of this in mind, let us look to the Litany of Humility for help. Below is the litany composed by Rafael Vardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X, that begins with us asking that God fill our hearts and souls with genuine humility, which is afterall, the essential virtue for holiness.
Remember, we mustn’t faint under this burdensome task or lose hope. We mustn’t lose sight that it was God Who created us from out of nothing, and we must remember that this lesson on pride comes from Him as well… He is Our Loving Father guiding us towards spiritual growth … He will not abandon us now. So with confidence in His unfailing love, let us begin this year under His care. Let us run to Our Dear Mother and ask Her to cover us with Grace so that we may be able to come through this, on the path of holiness that leads us closer not only to Her Immaculate Heart but ultimately to the Sacred Heart of the Lord in heaven. Stay courageous my friends, the year has but just begun! Viva Cristo Rey!
*When the Litany of Humility is prayed in a private setting by two or more people, the lines given in italics below are the responses to a leader.
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,