Woe to you, part two!

Posted by James Hahn on

Wednesday, August 28th

St. Augustine

Matthew 23:27-32

By looking at my "blog" picture you wouldn't think that I was at one time a slave to fashion. But long ago, how I looked was all that I cared about. For high school I had to have exactly the right look. Now granted, it wasn't the most popular look or the most in style. I wanted to look like, and act like, Dwight Yoakam (a country singer...please, no snickering). My hair was long, almost to the middle of my back. I wore torn up jeans, that were thread bare at the knees, and very loud cowboy boots.

As I grew older this obsession with my looks didn't leave me. I spent a long time getting myself ready to go to the bar, fair, or festival. I lived for my looks alone and didn't have a care for what I looked like on the inside. Inside I was dying. I was so self-centered and ego-centric that I didn't have a care for anyone unless they were telling me how good I looked. My exterior had been whitewashed but my insides were dead and decaying.

The Jews of Jesus' time would whitewash the tombstones so that no one would inadvertently touch them and become unclean, according to the law of Moses. In today's Gospel Jesus compares the scribes and Pharisees to these tombs. He accuses them of making themselves appear to be holy but all the while they are dead within. I hear Him loud and clear.

Today I am much better about not being concerned with my looks as much as I used to be. However, I think I still have a way to go for I am not merely concerned with looking clean and proper, which is acceptable, but I am still concerned about how I look to others. Father Thomas Dubay calls this "living in other people's minds." It is that inordinate concern with the opinions of others in dress, language, style, etc.

Lord Jesus, help me to spend as much time preparing my soul as I do my body. Give me the grace to live in Your sight and not worry how I appear to others.

Don't aspire to be like the gilded weather vane on top of a great building. However much it may glitter, however high it may be, it adds nothing to the firmness of the structure. Rather be like an old stone block hidden in the foundations, under the ground where no one can see you. Because of you, the house will not fall. - Saint Josemaria Escriva, The Way # 590

How to get better at prayer.
  1. Set a prayer appointment - Set a time on your calendar each day to meet and speak with God.
  2. Slowly increase your prayer time. - Don't jump in with an hour right from the get-go.  Build up your "tolerance" so to speak.
  3. Commit - to praying and slowly increasing your prayer time for 30 days.  Mark off the days on your calendar.  If you miss a day, jump right back in, don't give up.
  4. Pray - praying is talking to God, it's spending time with your attention focused on Him.  I enjoy spending time with my children regardless of their level of development.  God is the same way.  Spend time praying as best you can.  Use formal prayers if you want or simply speak in conversation.  Don't forget to listen
  5. Journal - Our newly revised 4 Simple Steps to Better Scripture Meditations: Guide, Workbook, and Journal walks you through 4 easy steps that will help you go deeper in your prayer life.  It includes 31 days of workbook and journal pages too!
  6. Read other good books about how to pray better - Prayer PrimerDeep Conversion, Deep PrayerTime for GodThe Spiritual Life: A Comprehensive Guide to Catholics Seeking Salvation.
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