Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pride, Walking by Faith, and Fathers

Readings for June 17, 2012, 11th Sunday in Ordinary time 2012:

11th Sunday in Ordinary time 2012

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
June 17, 2012

Pride is a very difficult sin because it attacks even the good desires people have for excellence. The proud are not generally weak people, who vacillate driven by their passions or ignorance. Instead, the proud are usually quite good people, except for the fact that they want to attribute all their accomplishments to themselves. This is not only true of people who have earthly kingdoms, but, sadly, can also characterize those who embrace the kingdom of God. Today, the Lord teaches us, through the parables, that this kingdom can only be embraced in humility.

Many Christians embrace the spiritual life, expecting spectacular and persistent religious experiences. Some people claim they cannot grow in prayer because of the humility or sufferings of their surroundings. Others really want to find some method or proof that God loves them, beyond the passion and the resurrection. In the parable of the mustard seed, the Lord teaches the church that his kingdom has small, almost imperceptible, beginnings. Not normally does one experience the presence of God in triumphal and spectacular events. The growth of all seed takes place almost without the grower being aware of the plant growing. Nature is brought to perfection gradually, in gentle stages. The same is true with the life of grace.

Ezekiel speaks in his prophecy of the shoot which shall "sprout branches and bear fruit and become a noble cedar" from (Ezekiel 17:23). This is the savior who will come from the little shoot which is Mary. Jesus is the vine in whom all received life, and in whom all rest. His grace, virtues and gifts are the source of true human greatness, increasing in the secrets of the soul by gospel living. Gospel living is easy to express but hard to live. It encompasses the rooting out of faults, and the assiduous desire to grow in the virtue of one's estate. This is normally done in the secret of the soul and accomplished not by our works, but by grace. As Paul says: "we walk by faith and not by sight" from, (Second Corinthians 5:7).

Christ talks about rooting out Pride in the parables by emphasizing the small in the hidden growth of his church. Faults are normally rooted out, not so much by gritting one's teeth and just bearing it, but by the more positive road of practicing the contrary virtue. The contrary virtue of pride is humility. What is humility? Strong man telling themselves they are weak? Beautiful women telling themselves they are ugly? Intelligent people telling themselves they are stupid? This cannot be so, since this is not true, and God is never served by a lie. Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself, not self deprecation, but thinking of yourself less. In other words, the seed an the bush are very lowly things, but they serve much higher purposes, with the force of the seed already within it when it is planted in the soul. That force must produce fruit silently and slowly. So grace serves the good of self and others.

How does the fruit of humility grow? Some people think it is humility to be a doormat to other people's tyranny. This looks like humility but it is not, because it is born more of fear of getting into trouble, then of desire for the good of others. Thomas Aquinas once wrote that humility is a good, but not in all circumstances. "So it is not proper to humility, but to stupidity, for a man to accept every kind of humiliation, but what must be done for the sake of virtue a person does not reject because of humiliation" (Thomas Aquinas).

For the sake of virtue, people may expose themselves to humble tasks to control their own desire to dominate others, or even to encourage people who have to do humble tasks in their importance. Teresa of Avila said that when she was accused of a fault of which he was innocent, she never protested, because she thought she had deeper more hidden faults, which no one knew about, and was glad they did not accuse her of them. The little mustard seed imperceptibly becomes a great tree because of the power given from above. "Lord, it is good to give thanks to you" from our Responsorial Psalm.

We think today of all fathers, paternal or spiritual with the realization that all life comes into the world through the father.

I remember one day talking to a few ladies and I made the offhand comment that I couldn't understand how they could fall in love with us guys in the first place, we were not that great to look at, second we seem to bring a lot of dirt and smells into the house. I was put in my place by the response of one lady looking at me and said, how do you think we're going to get our babies. I didn't argue any more.

Studies of the recent past have shown conclusively the importance of the father in the home. And really would indicate the importance of all men being father to all children in whom they come in contact.

I often think and wish that I could have had as much respect for my own dad as I do now that he has gone to his reward. And I'm betting that many of you could say the same thing. So if your dad is passed on say extra prayers for him today and if your dad is still with us give him the extra special love that all dads need just to stay healthy.

'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.

More reflections:
Somewhat-related posts:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.