Check Off Your List

I recently spoke with a friend who gave a retreat at a Catholic high school. He spoke about selfish pride as an obstacle in the Christian life and how Jesus shows us the complete opposite by His humility on the cross. My friend closed his talk by giving them a list of prideful habitsor tendencies. Some of them included, “I close my ears whenever someone tries to correct me or gives constructive criticism”. Another one was “I cannot take ‘No’ for an answer”. But the last one was, “I don’t go to the Sacrament of Confession” I asked my friend what he meant by this and he said, “well, if you think about, it is prideful if we think we can receive Jesus’ Body in Blood in Holy Communion everyday or every Sunday, yet we don’t humble ourselves and confess our sins sacramentally. Are we that perfect and impeccable?” He then mentioned Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who had shared that if one wants to be a good priest, he should strive for a monthly confession.

Some scholars share that humility is God’s favorite virtue. Jesus exemplified humility throughout his life. He was not born rich, but poor. He was known as a carpenter’s son who struggled to make a living. Jesus was not liked by the popular religious teachers of the time and often criticized by them. He bowed down to wash the feet of his friends, a task only slaves would do. Finally, Jesus humbled himself by dying on the cross, the most humiliating way to die in the ancient world. Our Lord was humble and remained close to the humble. In the gospels we often hear Jesus criticize the proud and lift up the lowly. For instance in Luke, Jesus points out the  Pharisee’s prayer, who uttered, “I thank you that I am not like other men…I fast twice a week, I give tithes…” (Lk 18:11-12). This Pharisee’s prayer is not towards God, but towards himself. The humbled tax on the other hand, simply prayed for God’s mercy. Jesus then shared, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:14). There are so many other scriptural examples of Jesus recognizing the humble and giving them courage to move forward in faith.

I agree with scholars who think that God’s favorite virtue is humility. If you think about, it is much easier to cooperate and work with the humble than the proud. The humble person is patient, understanding, and knows how to listen. Perhaps that is why God favors the humble, because He knows they are open to His grace, teachings, and way of life. Most of all, the humble know that they need God’s mercy. They cannot do everything on their own. May we walk in the Lord’s footsteps by practicing humility and be open to Him and to others. I challenge all of us to take off that last part of the Pride-List, to recognize and confess our own sins in Confession.

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