Friday, February 5, 2016

EGO - Edging God Out

Today we deal with the 'ol ego . . . the part of existing as a human being we all struggle with. I found a great quote from writer Paul Sposite on about ego:

"The ego’s job is to make you feel better about yourself, and it will do what ever it needs to do to make that happen. The ego is the voice inside of you that tells you to kick them when they are down, to make others feel bad about themselves; all in the name of lifting yourself up, making you feel better about you."

We all want to feel safe, secure, and loved. Seems like it should be easy to obtain, doesn't it? Especially if we try to do it right in the eyes of Christ. But in reality, the closer we get to achieving intimacy with Jesus, the brighter His Light shines from us. And the brighter His Light shines, the more we are "noticed." Sometimes those who notice us haven't yet discovered the security and graces Jesus bestows on His true followers, allowing evil to pounce on that tiny window of self doubt. The self doubt which triggers the ego. I have been in the presence of people who no matter what I say, they've done it better, bigger or grander. Instead of reacting, I now see the ego for what it is . . . our human weakness. We must fight the temptation of making ourselves feel important by parading our strengths (real or perceived!) in order to appear better than we really are . . . which truly places the self before God. Focus on showing God how great you really are, not your spouse, friend, acquaintance, etc. Stop "Edging God Out." Stop it now.

In todays Gospel (Mark 6:14-29), ego causes the death of our beloved John the Baptist:
King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.” Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

In Volume Seven, St. Damien has some great advice about keeping your ego in check:

"Egos are difficult friends and dreadful rulers. Keep your ego on a very short leash and understand that your merit lies in your obedience to Christ. Do not take credit for what Christ does through you. He cannot entrust great missions to you if your ego swells with each success. When your work is successful, praise God. When your work fails, praise God. When the sun shines, praise God. When the rain falls, praise God. Do you get the idea? You serve Him and He will do great things through you. These great things have nothing to do with you except that you allowed heaven to use you as an instrument. Your merit in heaven will not depend on the greatness of your mission or the greatness of what Christ accomplished through you. Your merit will reflect the work you did in your soul, the policing of your ego, the honing of the virtues, the self denial, and the love that you allowed to flow through you to other souls."

Lay apostles, do a little work on your ego today. Read the Litany of Humility over and over. It will do wonders for that 'ol ego, I promise!

Thank you, Lord, for all the times my ego was bruised and You were there to comfort me. Please continue to give me the grace and fortitude I need to keep my mouth shut when under attack!

God bless,

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