Sep 27 – Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, Priest
St. Vincent (1581-1660) spent four years with the Franciscan friars getting an education. He was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery, then freed when he converted one of his owners to Christianity. He started organisations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found jobs for the unemployed, etc. With Louise de Marillac, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He also instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists).
- Patron Saint Index
“For the least among you all, that is the one who is great.”
Today’s Gospel reading is along a similar track as yesterday’s reading. Although one is from the Gospel of Mark and the other from the Gospel of Luke, they both carry similar themes — Pride, the mother of all sins. It was pride that caused the fall of Adam and Eve. And it is pride that caused the disciples to argue in today’s Gospel. Think about it on a deeper level. The disciples are in close contact with Jesus. They are the least likely persons we can think of, that could succumb to the temptation of pride. Jesus has no difficulty in resisting the sin of pride, or any sin for that matter. By association, we figure (at least, I did) that the disciples are somewhat resistant as well.
There are two reflections I want to share. One is that the disciples were human, just like us. We fall prey to the sin of pride and all other sins it can lead to. We are not so special, you and I, when it comes to resisting sin. Therefore, we don’t have to beat ourselves up, but we do have to acknowledge our sins and show repentance. Confession is a good start. No matter how many times we fall, God is ready to welcome us with open arms if our hearts are repentant and open. Jesus did not get mad, but simply explained to the arguing disciples that the least will be the greatest.
The second point is that pride is so insidious. It can slip into every little aspect of our lives. Does that mean we shouldn’t be proud of anything, any of our achievements, etc.? No. That is not what I mean. If we did well in our job, if we got a promotion or land a large contract, of course we can be happy and celebrate that fact. But in celebrating, we should also remember to be thankful that it is God who provides us with the tools, the opportunities, the skills, etc. So, while celebrating the success, we need to be mindful and thankful.
In the current social climate across cultures, pride is deemed a good thing. We take pride identifying with certain cultures, countries of adoption, schools, clubs, and the like. Those can all be of good intent. The darker side of pride leads to discontent, malcontent, dislike, misunderstanding and, sometimes, ill will towards others that takes form into action. It is up to us to keep vigilant and follow Christ as an example. Let’s not allow pride to lead us down the wrong path, but stay on the straight and narrow with our Lord leading us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Winnie Kung)
Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, please grant us the grace to battle the sin of pride. Help us to recognize the occasions when we fall into its traps and help us to refocus on Your Word to free ourselves from its snares.
Thanksgiving: Heavenly Father, for all the good that is in our lives, we give thanks to You. We know that all that is good comes from Your creative powers.