I recently encountered a most subtle temptation that is good to expose because it likely affects everyone. It is worthwhile to shine light on such things to expose the enemy where he lurks to destroy and divide.
There is a way that I serve in the Church that is very slight and truly not worthy of fanfare. It isn’t even worth mentioning how but it is only worth sharing that it is in a capacity that puts me “up front” in gatherings. The thought did occur to me (and it was a whisper of the devil) that I have not been thanked for my service to the people...probably ever. I wondered at first why I had not realized this before. Could it be that I have simply been so busy that I have not noticed how people don’t appreciate my efforts? Perhaps then I give too much time to them. Could it be that I do things so poorly that nobody thinks anything of it? Then they are ungrateful people. Could it be that these people really would prefer someone else? They could not do better themselves but fail to realize it because they do little as it is.
It is easily visible to anyone how destructive this pattern of thought could have been because it would leave me thinking too highly of myself and, therefore, thinking too little of others. God granted me a special grace immediately after this to see myself for the sinner that I truly am. He shined a light on me to show me this temptation. All at once I could see that something was “different” in my thought pattern...it did not follow my own usual, normal considerations within daily life but truly “jumped out” which at first seemed like a revelation. I asked myself at the Lord’s prompting, “Why would this bother you? Am I not enough for you? What would you take from them that I Myself am not able to give you? Have I not asked you to serve Me...Why then would you seek for others to serve you? Be satisfied with Me~ I Am more than enough.”
Amazing. I thanked the Lord for this realization and call to remember Him~ as I too easily forget...getting wrapped up in myself and how I can keep myself from perishing into nothing. Very funny really...God can be hilarious in the way He shows me my foolishness. I was then given even more through the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska in her Diary. I quote:
From Paragraph #36:
“...I saw the complete condition of my soul as God sees it. I could clearly see all that is displeasing to God...”
St. Faustina was given an experience where she was standing before God in all His Holiness. She recognized how, in my own words, truly “Other” God is and how far above us. Yet, it is clear that God continued to call her to Himself despite her realizations and it is this that gives me hope.
Also, another gift of God to me, was a reading I heard yesterday at Mass. From the Gospel of St. Matthew:
What comparison can I find for this generation? It is like children shouting to each other as they sit in the market place:
We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn't dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn't be mourners.'For John came, neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He is possessed." The Son of man came, eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners." Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.
It suddenly then hit me on another level. It is what should be expected by every follower of Jesus Christ to be like their Master. Unrecognized, unsung, undone. St. John the Baptist came in one way and they scorned him and killed him. Jesus Christ came in another way and they scorned and killed Him. Should we not expect and in many ways delight in being mistreated, forgotten, misunderstood and unrecognized? It is in this way that we are better able to draw close to the heart of our Savior. Pray for me that I might love the Lord in my weaknesses...and continue to hear His voice over the shouting crowd, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” To be an unknown is to be more fully known by God~ this is truly enough. Grant us your mercy Lord.