How Odious a Thing is Self-esteem in the Sight of God.

St. Rose of Lima, ora pro nobis.

How Odious a Thing is Self-esteem in the Sight of God.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

How Odious a Thing is Self-esteem in the Sight of God.

We will meditate upon an eighth reason for being humble; it is that self-esteem and the passionate desire to be esteemed, two vices which are precisely the opposite of humility, are supremely odious to God. After these two considerations we will make the resolution: 1st, often to humble ourselves before God on account of this depth of misery which exists in us; 2d, never to say things tending to make us esteemed, or to utter what is to our disadvantage in order to make others imagine that at any rate we are very humble.

“No flesh should glory in His sight” (I. Cor. i. 29).

Let us adore Our Lord Jesus Christ abasing Himself in the presence of God His Father to the level of the lowest amongst men (Is. liii. 3), even to the level of a worm of the earth (Ps. xxi. 7). It is thus that He teaches us not to esteem ourselves, and not to desire the esteem of others.

God hates self-esteem to such a degree that, seeing in His temple the publican laden with iniquities, but who is covered with confusion and humbles himself, and the Pharisee, who is an exact observer of the law, but who indulges in self-esteem and takes pleasure in his righteousness, He pardons the first and condemns the second. It is to tell us that the self-righteous is farther from the kingdom of heaven than the sinner who humbles himself. Elsewhere He pronounces an anathema on the man who delights in his own wisdom (Is. v. 21); He curses him who confides in man (Jer. xvii. 5), that is to say, in himself, because he himself is only a man; and He declares by His saints that whoever is displeased with himself is pleasing to God, and that whoever is pleased with himself is displeasing to God (St. Bernard). This truth shines forth throughout the whole of the Scriptures. The king of Assyria held himself in high esteem because he had been the instrument of divine justice against Jerusalem. Thou dost take pride in thyself, said the Lord to him by His prophet. My hand shall crush thee and thy great army, that all ages may learn that I hate the ax which glorifies itself at the expense of him who hews with it, and the rod which raises itself against him who carries it (Is. x. 15). And it is remarkable that God has such a hatred of self-esteem as to have chosen for the performance of the greatest of His works the most incapable of men, so that human pride might never be able to attribute to itself the glory of them (I. Cor. i. 29). In order to convey His people out of Egypt, He made choice of Moses, who, during forty years, had known nothing beyond the desert and his flock; in order to overthrow the innumerable army of Madian, He made use of only three hundred men; to throw Goliath to the ground, He chose only a shepherd and his sling; to deliver Bethulia, besieged by one hundred and forty thousand men, He made use of one simple woman; to convert the pagan world, He took twelve fishermen, who were unlearned, cowardly, and timid. O Lord, who, after having contemplated such examples, would dare to open his heart to self-esteem?

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary

Virtue to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things

O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.

An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901).


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