It was noticed though that the longer I stayed, the more I became critical and self-righteous. I just substituted the other dreaded mortal sins, primarily, with the sin of pride. I became inflexible like the religious leaders Jesus addressed. I found it hard to listen to other disciple’s views especially my wife's; I became more critical of others and the community at large. There were many times I said to myself, I am the lonely voice in the wilderness, like John the Baptist, not realizing my blurred line between obstinacy and a true prophet. I needed and found a spiritual mirror who helped me to see myself better, and in the nakedness of truth, realized I have regressed. I have turned into the second son who now chooses what I want to do and ignore what does not conform to my idea of the truth. In short, the recognition of backsliding is difficult to see by one self. But I ask now, how many in community have silently regressed like me and are left by themselves or were corrected in love but refused to listen? What can I or the community do to help each other from this route of regression?
St. Paul tells us, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.” When I find it difficult to accept others, I now ask, who do I have in the center of my life? Do I seek to direct others instead of being directed by them? Pride inclines us to do our own will and to seek what exalts us. Obedience is opposed to this pride. St. Thomas Aquinas said that a very good sign of one’s being on the right road in the spiritual life is one’s willingness to obey others. The only Son of the Father came down from Heaven to save us, to cure our pride. He became obedient unto death, to death on the cross. The calling is to empty ourselves and be more like Christ as He now lives in us. Our vocation is to be the true and beloved sons and daughters that our Father wants us to be.
Let us look at ourselves, see where we are and make the next move to have others easily see Christ in us and in our actions. This willl not be easy, but we can start with an "I will" and a single positve step towards the Kingdom.
Heavenly Father, I relinquish my life to your loving care so that I may live without fear in the knowledge and freedom that I am Your child. Lord Jesus, help me to empty myself as you did, that I may be filled with the Father’s love and have order in my life according to His purpose.