November 4, 2016
HAVE MERCY, FOR GOD’S SAKE!
(THE YEAR OF MERCY)
(Week November 6 to 12, 2016)
About a couple of weeks ago, we in the Church celebrated Mission Sunday. The Gospel of that day still remains with me in my mind; the powerful Gospel included two characters, the self-praising Pharisee in the Temple who prayed by condemning others and praising himself, and the Publican (tax-collector) who kept saying over and over again, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Jesus praised the latter, not the former!
I started to think about our culture today which has a very strong sense of entitlement which seems to be growing more and more, and I also thought about the prevalent narcissism in today’s world (this is so strong in the Western World that a few years ago, the American Society of Psychologists and the American Society of Psychiatrists found it so prevalent that they removed the section in their “Bible,” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, on Narcissism found in this book!) It was so prevalent that, in a certain way, it no longer was a “disease” because almost everyone had it!
I wonder how strong today’s culture is and whether I have not been influenced by it in terms of moving towards narcissism and a sense of entitlement. The Pharisee has a good case of the two of these but the Publican is distant from both!
May I make a suggestion for me and you this week so that we move away from narcissism and a sense of entitlement (that have no place in the Christian life)? Let us take 5 - 10 minutes every day of this week to say the Publican’s prayer over and over and over again. The prayer becomes a mantra, thus, and has all the good qualities we associate with mantra prayers. In the Eastern churches (both Orthodox and Catholic), this prayer is used daily by many as a mantra prayer all day long.
Lord Jesus, be merciful to us, sinners. Amen.
Father Fred Scinto, C.R.,
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
(519-885-4370 or toll free 1-877-242-7935)