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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sunday Meditation: The Desire for Human Respect is a Soul Killer

St. Jacinta would scold those who used God's name in vain.
May we imitate her love and zeal for Jesus Christ and His Mother.

Whenever I think of the danger of human respect I remember my own weakness. In his last job before retirement my husband, a civilian, was working for the Marine Corps Systems Command as the assistant commander. We often went to celebrations and functions like the Marine Corps Ball, retirement ceremonies, etc. I remember one particular event where I failed the Lord out of human respect.

One of the officers, a young man I had spoken with often whom I liked and respected went up to the podium. As he began speaking, he peppered his talk using the Lord's name in vain, a sin against the second commandment. The thought came to me after the first time that I should make the sign of the cross if he did it again. I was in his direct line of sight. Such an action would probably have squelched further episodes. 

He did repeat the offense, more than once in fact, but I failed the test. I was too much of a coward sitting there in the midst of all those other people. Human respect won the day. It happened about twenty-five years ago, but my betrayal still comes to mind with sorrow when I hear people treat the name of Jesus with disrespect. 

And now I do make the sign of the cross in reparation when it happens asking the Lord not to hold that sin against them. The last time I remember doing it was at Shenandoah Conservatory during the play 1776. I suspect inserting Christ's name was not written into the play. Actors seem fixated on ad-libbing offensive blasphemies as exclamation points. If anyone was aware of my action it was only the gentleman next to me with whom I'd conversed before the show started. But Jesus saw it.

God's name is holy and I never want to forget that again or fail my Lord and the people around me.

The Imitation of Mary reminds me to turn to the example of our Blessed Mother:

A soul that like Mary seeks only to please God takes little account of esteem from men and is not greatly responsive to their homage. One of your Prophets says it is better to be a lowly servant in the Lord's house than to have all the pomp and splendor with which the children of this world surround themselves.

Virtue is, in fact, safer in a lowly humble condition than amid honors and distinctions. If it is unknown and hidden from the eyes of man, it is all the more resplendent in God's sight.

True virtue alone has a claim on God's attention. If it is unknown to men or even scorned by them, it regards itself as all the more fortunate.

Providence that watches over the just often leads them by the path of humiliation to the goal of glorious reward....The saints thanked God for the insults they suffered as for a special grace. If I do not feel the same way, it is because I am still a wholly earthly and fleshly man and therefore do not seek God.

I can honor the Lord more through a humiliation accepted with resignation to His will than through even the sublimest gift.

One of my favorite saints is the littlest seer of Fatima, Jacinta. What a heart she had for sinners and what a tremendous love for Jesus and His Mother Mary. I burn with desire to be like that little mystic, suffering soul who gave everything to save sinners from hell. May God give us all a sacrificial love to bring souls to Christ.

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