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Kempis on: Avoiding False Hope and pride


Romans 5:3-5


Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.


 

In the previous chapter (my post), "Kempis on: Unbridled Affections" Kempis wrote about those things that we have earthly attachments to, some too deep, and constantly fail us. That post included, seemingly innocent, affections such as money/wealth, house, status and prominence. Not so innocent are lust, power, pride and those affections that some are searching for in vain (pardon the pun) to make themselves happy such as trans surgeries, abortion, cheating and evil lifestyles. All will fail us. All these things are false hopes and all earthly/material things will break the inherent promises.


One might surmise, "We at least have the Church." As in the last post, yes and no. Holy Mother Church, Jesus Christ's Church, will not let us down because God doesn't break promises... we break promises. Every covenant God established was broken by the fallible man. For example, the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy alone list countless opportunities that God provided and yet, all the people did was groan, gripe and complain. Any little interruption seemed to cause them grief.


Take the case of Peter walking on water. (Matthew 14:30) Once he determined Jesus was not a ghost, he faithfully stepped out of the boat and began walking towards Jesus... until he realized he was out of his comfort zone. It didn't matter that Jesus had given him the 'power', so to speak, to walk on the water, he lost faith... and that was with Jesus standing in close proximity. "Lord, save me." Those were Peter's words. "Lord, save me."


Regarding the premise that there are times we can't rely on church, I am speaking of the leaders that have let us down. If you trust your pastor/parish priests... excellent. Do you trust your Bishop? Do you trust the Vatican? I am not attempting to promote mistrust. It bothers me that there are Bishops I don't trust. There was a recent survey by ComplicitClergy.com where they listed the most trusted and least trusted US Bishops. Two of the least trusted have been recently named Cardinals. False hope and 'their' pride.


In the words of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, "What we are seeing here is the desire to modify the relationship of man to God in the direction of familiarity and casualness, as if we were dealing with Him as equals. Certainly people come away tired from a Mass which strives to bring itself down to the level of mankind instead of raising them up to God." He is describing false hopes within our Church.


Kempis:


Vain is the man who puts his trust in men, in created things. Do not be ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ and to seem poor in this world. Put no trust in your own learning nor in the cunning of any man, but rather in the grace of God Who helps the humble and humbles the proud. Do not boast of personal stature or of physical beauty, qualities which are marred and destroyed by a little sickness. Do not take pride in your talent or ability, lest you displease God. Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God's judgments differ from those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. (my emphasis)

You may wonder what my motivation is for writing these posts. That is a very legitimate question and I welcome it. I was actually asked that question by a Baptist friend of mine, a very Christian man who has a heart full of charity. My immediate response to him was to let God know I was always thinking of Him. I had never voiced that before, but it's the truth... or should I say Truth. My second reason is to help any one person who is in need of a conversion or reversion. None of what I do is for any reason other than the two mentioned. I once heard in a homily that one of the strongest prayers one can say is contemplative prayer, always thinking about God. And I do, always think about the Holy Trinity. Helping others get to Heaven can only help me through the purgative process quickly.


Kempis:


If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else, but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace.

"You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy - the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud."

–St. Vincent de Paul


A recurring theme throughout "Imitation of Christ" is the battle of vainglory vs. humility. (Please tell me you've noticed.) Based on what Kempis said above, if I trust the Holy Trinity, I won't lose. I won't have any promises broken. I won't suffer any heartache. If I completely have faith and hope in Jesus Christ and His teachings, and if I completely walk in His footsteps, I don't need to risk trusting man or woman. Any false hope is created by me and that, I can control.


And when I ask how the Lord will respond? I think to the passage where Elijah was sent to the entrance of the cave in 1 Kings 19:12-13, the Lord was but a whisper... and yet Elijah recognized it was God. This has been a lesson for me. When I once expected God to answer my prayers in a grandiose fashion, I have learned to listen closely for His whisper. God's voice holds no false hopes.


God Bless you

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