We were not created for a practical purpose. It is really clear when we look at the book of Genesis and see the creation account, that this is true. God created all the wonders that we live in and are part of and every thing God created did and does what they are created to do. Then we entered the equation.
There is no greater indication of love, than through sacrifice.
God loves you. What a powerful statement. The love that our Lord has for us is not a daily decision, it is who he is. We are loved by God. When we doubt this, look at a that cross, that crucifix. He not only said it, He proved it…we are worth all of his blood and all of his breath.
Continuing the 7 Deadly Sins series of Homilies, here is my notes for the pride homily…
Pride is an inordinate esteem of oneself. Prideful people (that would be all of us) desire to be considered better than we actually are.
We show pride in take personal credit for our gifts, forgetting that they came from God, in an over focus on how much we do and/or how well we do it, by minimizing our sin or defects, blowing up the defects of others or dwelling on them.
While not all sins are pride, it can lead to all sorts of sins, notably presumption, ambition, vainglory, boasting, hypocrisy, strife, and disobedience.
• When is the last time you said “I’m wrong”, “I guess I was mistaken” or some such public statement that you weren’t right?
• When was last time that we put aside what we wanted and didn’t complain about it, obsess about it or make sure everyone knew how put out we were?
• When was the last time we thanked someone/praised someone in public?
• Have you ever heard a homily or a message about repentance and hoped “so and so was hearing this”? That’s pride.
• Do you find yourself more conscious of other people’s sins and failing than your own? Pride.
So…what do we do? We embrace humility. So, what is Humility?
Humility does not mean we hate ourself. The word itself comes from the Latin word “humilis” which means “grounded” or even “of the earth”. Humility is a recognition of our place in the world, an acknowledgement of God’s power and might and our smallness. It’s the ability to freely and joyfully express and live the reality that the world does not revolve around us. Humility leads to joy.
Here’s a neat thing CS Lewis wrote about humility:
“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
It takes courage to be humble, it means we trust that others see and protect our value as children of God.
It requires modesty to be humble: it means we think of ourselves less often and focus on God and others.
It requires reverence to be humble: honor God and His presence in others.
Here are some exercises that we can do to strengthen our humility and wound our pride.
• Don’t offer your opinion on something
• Serve someone secretly: tell no one and make it your private joy with God
• Next time you walk into your home, your Church or your workplace, look about for a way to serve. See what needs to be done and proceed to do it.
• Remember and laugh about times you have been wrong: “Good homily, Father” and Starbucks
• If someone compliments you and it makes you uncomfortable, don’t say “that’s not true” or demean what they say, instead, rejoice with them in humility by saying thanking them and thanking the Lord.
So. If you are willing to join me in going to war with Pride, I’ll ask you now to make this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, in your name, I renounce Pride. Lord Jesus, in your name, I embrace humility.
If you would like to read along as you listen, please refer to the words below.
(Honestly, its my notes, so there may be some errors in typing or whatnot. I hope you find it helpful.)
We’re going to start with a distinction between anger and wrath.
Anger is morally neutral. It isn’t good or bad. Its an emotional reaction that occurs when our expectations are not met.
Anger becomes a sin when we obsess over it, when we direct it at a person who does not deserve it, when we hold it, when we crave punishment or violence for the person who we perceive as the problem. Ultimately, wrath or sinful anger is a rejection of love. A rejection of mercy.
We don’t generally use the word “wrath” in this way, so I’m going to stick with the phrase “sinful anger”.
So, how do I tell the difference between anger and sinful anger?
The easiest way is in retrospect, which often isn’t helpful right away. Sinful anger can be such a strong force that you and I have to engage a process to beat it, not a moment. Do not get discouraged or give up in fighting sinful anger; engage the process knowing that at first, you’ll see it after the anger but you’ll get closer each time to the explosion that caused the problem and, eventually, you’ll be able to possibly see anger coming before you blow up.
With that in mind, the process for letting God heal our anger looks like this:
First, when we realize we were angry, are angry or are about to get angry, we need to ask ourselves two questions:
1. What was my expectation that was not met?
2. Was this expectation just and/or spoken?
This process does a couple things: it allows us to see the root of our anger and honestly, sometimes that is enough to tame the beast of anger. There are times I have moved from anger to laughter as I realized that my expectation was silly.
The virtue that God gives us to combat sinful anger is mercy. Why mercy?
Because sometimes, we’ll realize that our anger was totally unjust. We had a ridiculous expectation. We had a realistic expectation, but we didn’t speak it, whatever it may be, the key is this: sometimes, we will realize our expectation was unjust and we’ll feel shame and those are the moments when we need to remember to have mercy on ourselves. To put it bluntly, it seems to me that we shouldn’t be surprised that we sin, we should be surprised that sometimes we don’t. Ask God’s forgiveness for your sinful anger, ask forgiveness of anyone whom you offended or hurt in that sinful anger, receive mercy and move on.
Sometimes our anger is just. Sometimes, we’ll realize that we had a just expectation, that we spoke it and somehow in the process we got run over. That’s when we need mercy for others. That’s when we need to remember how often people forgive us, how often people put up with us. That’s when we remember the crushing weight of the innumerable obligations we all feel and we simply pray for the person instead of raging. We give them the gift that God gives us: mercy.
And God’s mercy is an important thing to remember. Jesus tells us that the measure with which we measure others will be measured back to us…that should absolutely terrify and challenge us to be as gentle, as merciful and as patient as we can be. If we can’t be merciful out of love for God, then we can be merciful out of naked self interest.
Lord Jesus, in your name, I renounce sinful anger.
Lord Jesus, in your name, I embrace mercy.
May God bless our efforts.
We continue the series on the 7 deadly sins. This week we look at Envy. Envy is a sad or resentful craving for others traits, abilities or status. Envy is a form of sorrow or anger at the good fortune of others. Envy is a sneaky, sneaky sin. It’s more present in us than we think.
It’s time to clean out your stank. Look for ways in our life how blessed we are. Think of what you have and how blessed you are to have them!