|The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter VII: ”How Grace Should Be Hidden Under the Guardianship of Humility” (second entry)
Kempis has Christ warning the disciple once again about the dangers of pride and the false confidence that tells us that we’ve got it covered ourselves without the need for God. This attitude of being “too sure” is not so difficult to maintain when things are going well, but when life heads south, then despondency and even fear set in. We are to recall that Jesus provides the light, even if he covers it for awhile, in order to teach us and to help us grow in faith and trust.
|Today’s Gospel Reading: Jn 16:29-33
Today we hear the final words of Jesus’ Last Supper Discourse before He intones the High Priestly Prayer of which the next chapter entirely consists (it will be proclaimed in its entirety over the next three days). The disciples declare an act of faith in Jesus, but Jesus informs them that this will keep them neither unified nor steadfast in their conviction. Yet, their abandonment of Jesus will not leave him without companionship as the Father is always with Him. The peace he promises will come at the Resurrection and the courage He asks them to take will come at Pentecost (that we celebrate Sunday).
It is vitally important that we do not think that any good we have accomplished, or any progress in virtue or in the spiritual life we make, is attributable to us alone. Yes, we must cooperate with grace, but we must remember the Dispenser of that gift. It is tempting, especially after a great struggle to accomplish a good, to pat ourselves on the back. Much better, and infinitely more accurate, is to give glory to the Lord for the good and to own only the bad. May “Praise God!” be peppered throughout our conversations.