Meditation for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent

First Reading: Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

The key to getting anything out of Christianity is humility.  Humility before God is often called "fear of the Lord", but it is not so much a fear, but rather a reverential sense of awe at how powerful, mighty, majestic, and glorious He is, which confirms in us just how small and powerless we truly are.

If we are humble, God will accept the sacrifices of our life’s offerings – "a contrite heart and humble spirit" (Daniel 3:39).  If we are humble, God will guide us to justice and teach us His way (cf. Psalm 25:9), for "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; and Proverbs 9:10).

However, if we are not humble, we will behave like the servant whose master forgave him, yet still badgered his fellow servant who owed him much less a debt.  As we can see, humility leads to forgiveness – we realize deep inside we’re all the same – but pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18) and a lack of humility leads to lack of forgiveness and mercy, which is in turn how we will be treated.

Too many of us refuse to learn God’s truths, because their pride is too strong to be subjugated to God or their wounds are too deep to allow forgiveness to heal.  Listening to God and allowing his truths to enter our lives can upset too many other preconceived notions we have set up in our minds and hearts, so we often close our minds and hearts on the wrong things.  There is nothing wrong with a closed mind, for, "Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid" (G. K. Chesterton).  We just need to make sure that it is closed on the right things.  When we have opened our mind to truth, we must close our mind onto it, so no falsehoods can seep in and dilute it.  But first, we must find that truth, and that requires the humility to admit that we may not be right about everything we think we know, especially about God.  Again, a quote from Chesterton is handy: "It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong." (from The Catholic Church and Conversion).

Therefore, pray for those who have offended you, that you might forgive them, but also pray for those whose pride is too strong to allow for mercy – pray that their hearts of stone are broken and remade into hearts for love.

(Especially pray for this lady, who believes that everyone who doesn’t agree with her is a misogynist.)


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