February 29, 2012
Wednesday of the First
Week of Lent
Alex Yeung, LC
the podcast version here.
The Lord said to him, “Oh you Pharisees! Although you
cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside
you are filled with plunder and evil. You fools! Did
not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms, and behold,
everything will be clean for you. Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of
every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment
and to love for God. These you should have done,
without overlooking the others.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you because
you are the truth itself and you reveal to me
more and more the meaning and purpose of my life.
I trust in you because every day you are there
waiting for me, knocking at my door, always ready to
forgive, always ready to draw me close to you in
prayer and the sacraments. I love you because you gave
your entire self for me on the Cross and taught
me what it means to fulfill myself in love. Amen.
Petition: Lord, help
me to appreciate that holiness and humility go hand in
is the Image of our Holiness: We all live with
this alter ego, this other “perfect” self, a self that
exists in the realm of imagination. That self has been
with us since we were kids: that star player on
our school sports team, that rock star, that Hollywood teen
idol that we all wanted to become. We easily fall
prey to imagining our holy self also as that perfect,
faultless individual — no weaknesses, no difficulties, immaculate. It is
a self that we think we could become one day
if we could just get rid of so many faults.
A fantasy through and through! The pursuit of holiness is
not the pursuit of some ideal, “perfect” self. No. Only
God knows what our ultimate holiness will be like. Our
goal is not the achievement of this imagined self, but
rather of Christ. He is both source and summit of
Holiness is Allowing God to Take the Driver’s Seat: It
is not uncommon for us to discover in the autobiographies
of saints their own recollections of a kind of spiritual
clumsiness, of a profound sense of inadequacy in the face
of God’s call. It is not unusual to find that
a growing surrender to God left them with interior confusion,
uncertainty and all manner of interior trials. In modern terms,
we might say they didn’t seem to “have it together.”
Don’t we, especially as beginners in the spiritual life, experience
something like this at times? When we give ourselves to
God and decide to take our call to holiness seriously,
we can’t forget to allow God into the driver’s seat.
That means we have to let go. We have to
give him control in our pursuit of holiness. Then, and
only then, will that pursuit be genuine.
3. The Lowly Will be Exalted:
Holiness does not mean freedom from faults, or the external
attainment of some supposed semblance of virtue. On the contrary,
as growth in holiness brings our soul more fully into
the divine light, God enables us to see our soul
more and more as he does. That means we discover
more areas of sinfulness, and we see the root sins
of our lives (pride and sensuality) in greater, albeit disturbing,
clarity. No wonder so many saints frequented sacramental confession once
a week, if not more often! While holiness certainly entails
growth in virtue and consistency in remaining in the state
of grace, it hardly means the absence of faults, failures
and venial sins of all sorts. What is fundamental is
not spotlessness, but a genuine giving of self to God
and to his will. Perhaps this is why St. Augustine
once explained that, in the pursuit of holiness, three virtues
are fundamental: the first is humility, the second is humility,
and the third is … humility!
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you
because you have made holiness a possibility for me! Thank
you because you show me, one day at a time,
how to grow in your friendship. Help me to take
advantage even of my falls and to use them as
opportunities to grow in humility. Let me never doubt you;
let me never doubt my vocation to holiness. Amen.
Resolution: Today, whether I
fall in a big or small thing, I will remember
to admit my fault to God (with the intention of
confessing any serious matter as soon as possible), get back
up quickly and keep going.