"The proud courts ruin…"

(Proverbs 17.19)

It is tragically comical.
One listens to our conversations
and it is as if we are an almighty god that never errs.
We are always right!
One sees us conducting ourselves with people
and very often we give the impression that we consider all and sundry as naught:
it is always the others who are at fault…
we are not like them.
One notices our dealings with God,
and it is as if we want to dictate to God
what is best for us and for others.
It is perhaps time to look at our interior mirror
and see this colossal stain of pride that is so all-pervading in our lives.

The issue with pride is
that pride, more than being just awful,
is a crooked and preposterous mania:
it forces us to expect too much from ourselves;
it obliges us to put on a mask when we relate with others…
a mask that makes us look clever when really we can be dim-witted,
a mask of being good when truly we are bad
a mask of being well-off when any times we are broke
a mask of being saints when in reality we are half-devils!
And since we wear them all the tie,
we gradually start thinking that we ARE the mask!
Pride, Jesus Christ tells us tersely,
makes us seek the first places
when really our place is the last one!

Just look at Jesus Christ…
He always kept his place!
He was born poor, grew up hidden,
He ate with sinners, mixed with lepers,
Found himself crucified between two thieves,
He ran after us as if he needed us,
He looked for us like the woman who lost a coin.
And because He kept consistently the last place,
God lifted him up and gave him the first place!
Since He humbled himself, God exalted him!

This is precisely why Jesus, wise as He is,
invites us to keep our place.
First, because whatever we have is a gift that God gave us,
And if it is a gift, we can not boast much about it.
We have nothing by right
Just nothing!

Second, because when we remove the masks from our face
we discover that we are much worse than we want to appear.
Even our friendships are a whole bargain:
I give you this much and you give me this much.
Unconsciously we even exploit people for own benefit.
I shall do you a favour today expecting one tomorrow.
I shall befriend you because basically I need consideration.
I lend you something in the hope
that when I need something from you, you will not hesitate to give it to me!

That is why one day Jesus Christ came out with a strange proposal.
When we are planning a meal,
He said, invite the lame, the poor, the crippled and the blind,
And He gives us the rationale behind it.
They cannot return our good deed!

In this way perhaps we start loving those who can never love us back!

Keeping the last place is a sign of respect towards myself
and towards others and towards God!

And then…
"your Father who sees what is done in secret, He will reward you."
His rewards, believe me, are much better than what man can give!

"What is a human being, what purpose does he serve?
What is good and what is bad for him?
The length of his life: a hundred years at most.
Like a drop of water from the sea, or a grain of sand,
such are these few years compared with eternity.
This is why the Lord is patient with them.
He sees and recognises how wretched their end is,
and so he makes his forgiveness the greater.
Human compassion extends to neighbours,
but the Lord's compassion extends to everyone;
Rebuking, correcting and teaching,
bringing them back as a shepherd brings his flock.
He has compassion on those who accept correction,
and who fervently search for his judgements."

(Ecclesiasticus 18.8-14)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.