Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Exalted Shall Be Humbled

Today’s (Novus Ordo*) reading was from Luke 18:9-14:

Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O god, be merciful to me a sinner.

I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather that the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

The Pharisee was himself not a bad man. He did works of great piety, probably in relative anonymity. But his sin was pride: “Thank God I’m not this other guy.”

I’m always concerned that people who learn of my conversion assume that I think myself better than others in some way and then, seeing me commit an uncharitable act or hearing me utter an uncharitable word, say, “You see? His faith isn’t real.” Or, “Faith has not made him a better man.”

These people should have seen me before my conversion.

I’m still unworthy of the promises of Christ. So unworthy. But I’ve improved, and I’m pointed in the right direction. It’s a daily struggle, and I find myself constantly apologizing to Him, begging His mercy. –And feeling awful that I have to keep apologizing like that.

Domine, non sum dignus …

*On Saturdays, I usually assist Mass at a Monastery where the Novus Ordo is done very piously in Latin. Weekdays I assist at my local parish, which is Novus Ordo. The nearest Traditional Mass is a hour’s drive from here, a trip I can only afford to make on Sundays.


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