Examining Our Self-Love
The devil fell from heaven because of his pride. We will rise to the heights of heaven (we need to aim high for the sake of many souls) in the degree that we are humble. Examining our self-love is difficult. I found an amazing “old school” meditation book from 1896 which cuts me to the quick every day and reveals plenty of hidden muck to bring to the confessional (My son drags me there every two weeks! Imagine!!).
I share all about it in my video for “members-only” on my YouTube channel.. I wanted to share with you two powerful examples of the kind of depth in examination of conscience of which this traditional type of exhortation consists and the kinds of resolutions we should be making at the end of our meditation time. The first topic is on “visiting people” and the second on self-love” and these are both excerpts from the book “Mediations for All the Days of the Year” by Rev. M. Hamon S.S. (that stands for “Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary” in case you were wondering). (Oh, and BTW, I have two new CDs now available on my website.)
The Intentions of Visits are Rarely Christian
” A Christian intention is that which proposes to itself, as the end of its action, the glory and the good pleasure of God. Now let us question the facts: is it not true that our visits have for the most part an entirely different intention? We make them from purely human and natural views; sometimes that we may amuse ourselves and find in them an agreeable pastime, to keep up intercourse with the world, to satisfy our curiosity, to hear news; sometimes to have it said of us that we are amiable and that our society is agreeable; to make our talents shine, to acquire a reputation or to preserve that which we have already attained, to gain friends who may be of service to us, and obtain positions for us and make our fortunes; sometimes even to maintain dangerous friendships or to satisfy one or other of our passions. Do we not often infuse into our visits intentions like these, which render them culpable or dangerous, or at any rate make us lose time which might be employed for our salvation?” pg. 70, Vol. 4
Self-love is a Never Ceasing Danger
“Self-love is constantly at work around us…in private as well as in public… it is there to tell us that we are doing well, and to congratulate us; to persuade us that we do better than others; that we are more clever, more intelligent; or if we don’t succeed, to fill us with vexation; to put us into a bad temper, … upon persons of our acquaintance, to penetrate into their hearts that we may see what they think of us; or to assist at conversations where we suspect that they are speaking of us. If we converse, it invites us to prove that we are intelligent, to speak of ourselves and of what we are doing, to hide what humbles us, only to let the good side of us be seen, to put in relief whatever lowers others, even if we should be obliged to lie in order the better to succeed. Hence, a taste for…criticism, because it makes us enjoy the superiority which a person who turns another into ridicule seems to have over the one who is ridiculed (even in humor/jest) and we imagine ourselves to be free of this fault ourselves. If we give up ourselves to the practice of good works and of virtues, self-love is still there to compliment us, to intimate that we are worth more, that we have more merit, that we do more good than many others. Lastly, if we are endeavoring to acquire sincere humility, it is still there to assure us that we are really very humble, that we know ourselves; it even feeds itself on our belief that we are contemptible. What can we do with so determined an enemy, of whom it has been said that it is the first thing which lives in us and the last which dies. We must remember that no one has more self-love than he who imagines he has none; we must mistrust ourselves and our heart ceaselessly; we must often cry out to God, “Lord have pity on me, for I am proud.” Pg. 128, Vol. 4
Some Suggested Resolutions…
- Not to make excuses when we are reproved and when nothing obliges us to justify ourselves.
- Willingly to consent to be thought an awkward person, having no intelligence, or judgement, or memory.
- Treat with special kindness all of whom we may have cause to complain, rendering good for evil.
- Receive with great gratitude, as a thing which is not due to us, the kindness bestowed upon us, even from an inferior (child, employee, etc.)
- To carry into our prayers a deep sentiment of our littleness and of our unworthiness to speak to God.
- Say to God often, before and during our actions “All to please Thee, O my God.”
- To do all the good we can to others, without counting upon their gratitude.
- Never say anything which shall be to our own advantage (except at a job interview, I suppose) and to accept all the humiliations we may meet with.
I got COMPLAINTS and such a backlash when I posted the “Litany of Humility” by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta a while ago, especially for the line “From the desire of being loved, deliver me Jesus.” Humility is unpleasant. Please don’t shoot the messenger.
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