Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost—24 September AD 2017
Ave Maria!

Please pray for all the victims of our recent hurricane and earthquake activity.


Please pray for Anne Marie Johnson—in a Haitian hospital with pneumonia.


Please pray for Alfie Evans, 14 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.


    If today were not Sunday we would be celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Ransom.  In AD 1218, our Lady appeared to Peter Nolasco, Raymond of Peñafort, and King James of Aragon, asking them to form a religious order to ransom Christians who had been kidnapped by the Moslems who raided the port cities around the Mediterranean.  The captives lost not only their freedom but were in danger of being forced to convert to the false religion.  While the rich had relatives and friends looking out for them, the poor did not.  The poor were therefore the focus of the order’s work, done under the patronage of Our Lady of Ransom.  In addition to poverty, chastity, and obedience, these “Mercedarians” took a fourth vow:  “I will remain in person in the power of the Moslems if it be necessary for the Redemption of Christ’s Faithful.”[1]

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English


“Every one that exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.”[2]

    Virtually all Catholic teachers of the spiritual life emphasize the need for humility to achieve true holiness.  People who are overly concerned with their own importance rarely attribute their good qualities to God, and often use their self-importance to justify sinning against their neighbors.  Pride (or at least false pride) is a vice that drives people away from God, and from doing what is good.

    We distinguish “false pride” because there is something good to be said for having “pride in one’s workmanship,” “pride in one’s appearance,” and so forth.

    Dom Eugene Boylen was a Trappist abbot and a great writer and speaker.  In giving a retreat to his monks he said:  “You don’t make a man humble by humiliatin’ him.”  He wrote: “By humility, one accepts oneself with all ones’ deficiencies.”[3]

    In my definition, a humble person is not one who grovels and goes about speaking poorly of himself.  Humility, at least as we are using the term here, requires the person to accurately know his own talents and abilities, to attribute them fairly to God’s generosity and to his own practice of those talents, and who employs those talents in the common interest.  For example, an accomplished violinist does not hide his musical talent, but he does acknowledge God’s gift of his abilities, while not hiding the need for hours of practice.  He makes his music available to those who appreciate it—for which he has a right to just compensation.  Yet, even though he possesses a great talent, he does not go around boasting about how wonderful his music is.

    We can also recognize the virtue of modesty in the properly humble person.  There is a difference between dressing in an attractive manner and being ostentatious.  Some of this is cultural—a humble man might own a red shirt or a red tie, but probably not a red business suit.  And, generally, there may be different standards for men and for women; for the young and the old.  The humble person does not try to call attention to himself unnecessarily.  I say “unnecessarily” for sometimes it is important to recognize peoples’ functions by their appearance—the lifeguard at the beach for example, or the policeman on the beat.

    Our Lord’s parable is a wonderful example of people trying to be acknowledged without doing anything praiseworthy.  Presumably the place of honor was to sit at the side of the host of the dinner.  Those who honored themselves did so by doing nothing important—nothing more than sitting.  Our Lord often referred to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and this system for honoring ones’ self seems to be structured to allow that hypocrisy to be displayed. [4] Having the host set out place cards would avid the issue altogether!

    There is a good lesson to be learned by those puffed up with false pride.  In Our Lord’s example it is the exercise of false pride that leads to embarrassment of the proud.  If you hadn’t chosen a seat based on your alleged self-importance, you would not be publicly called out for being of lesser importance than another of the guests.  False pride often has a humbling effect—particularly when it is demonstrated that the individual had nothing to be proud about.  False pride, simply stated, will help you to make a fool of yourself

    God is always the ultimate source of anything we have that is good.  We should recognize this in everything we do.  And we should always be generous  in sharing our talents with the neighbors God gives us.

“He that humbles himself shall be exalted.”





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