This week I began to read the Psalms. What joy! I love the Psalms! Is there anyone who does not? The first few psalms were ones of anguish, with David being pursued by enemies and asking for God to help and protect him. Then, in Psalm 8, David gives praise to the Lord, and after that, he asks a very interesting question, "What is man that You are mindful of him?" Indeed, what is man that God is mindful of him?
Reading: Psalm 8
Meditation: In recent days, I have been blogging a bit about humility. This probably comes in great part from discussions on humility I have been having at work with employees whom I mentor and whose lack of humility is getting in the way of their promotability. Hubris wins no friends and builds no teams. Yes, there are hubristic managers -- and hubristic employees, but the pride is false, built on a crumbling foundation of overblown self-perception. Those who stand on that "unfoundation" are more likely than not to fall.
So where does the need to put ourselves first come from? Why do we want to be the first in line? Why do we want to rise to the top at the office or in our profession? Why must our children be better than our friends' children? Why do we become defensive when someone criticizes us? And where does our relationship with God fit in all of this jockeying for position? Who, indeed, are we that God should be mindful of us?
He has given us two great commandments: love Him and love each other. Neither gives us a basis or need for pushing ourselves past others. We don't have to earn God's love; we already have it. We don't have to prove ourselves in order to receive God's grace; He gives it without our even asking for it.
God exhorts us to be humble, to be meek, to put others first. He gave us an extraordinary example: Himself. (I highly recommend Ilia Delio's book, The Humility of God.) While the possibility of our emulating His example at any deep level is highly unlikely, the possibility of His leading us to the level of humility of which we are capable is very likely -- if only we allow Him to take over and eliminate the unholy parts of our ego.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I must retire to private prayer to thank God for being mindful of us, to praise Him for His wonderful and unemulatable example of humility, to repent for any time that pride has tained my relations, especially my relationship with Him, and to ask Him to peel off all my layers of pride and leave my ego bare, devoid of any build-up to to deter my ability to be a good servant to my colleagues, my employees, my family, my friends, and God. Then I will spend as much time as I can in contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves, knowing that I could have no better Protector.
I will leave you to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I hope you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.