Day #21: Human Respect
MARY: Among the enemies you must fight against, my child, there is one which is small, wretched, foolish, but which can paralyze you. This enemy seems to be outside of you, but in reality is none other than yourself. Babies go near the mirror, look at themselves, get frightened at seeing a being that moves, become timid or want to play with it, but … that being which frightens them or fascinates them is none other than their own image.
You do the same when you allow yourself to be vanquished by human respect: it seems to you that the others assault you, that they are playing tricks on you, that they persecute you, but in reality it is you who are so weak in your faith that you believe that this can manage to cause you dishonor or damage. What a shame for you, who are so ennobled by the profession of your faith, to hide it or disparage such greatness for fear of stupid and vile raillery!
When you are seized by an idea, when you believe that something will glorify you, you don?t fear any jesting and, if they jeer at you, you not only don?t accept it, you disdain it.
Are you ashamed of elegant clothing because someone teases you? No, in fact you?re proud of it, you show it off because you are convinced that it is refined; if you were convinced of the contrary, you would be embarrassed to go out dressed like that and it would seem to you that you were the butt of everyone?s gossip. If, then, you are embarrassed to be seen as Christian, it is because in reality you are not, you don?t feel it, you don?t live it and your faith is like clothing that barely covers the miserable rags of the world that you haven?t yet thrown away!
But, tell me, isn?t Jesus your glory, your life, your strength? Are you not convinced that his wisdom vanquishes all human wisdom and that his principles are truth, justice and good? So why do you fear the evil eye of the world and fraternize with it?
In reality, my child, the world laughs at false piety and false faith; even while it fights against a Christian, the world admires him, and if it saw in you a real Christian, the world would not make fun of you. Children do not sneer at a lady who wears an elegant hat, they rather jeer at the lady who wears a hat while wearing a shabby, worn out dress. It?s the same for you.
But even if the world ridicules you, what?s that to you? Must the world judge you? What will you respond to the eternal Judge, if he protests that he will be ashamed of whoever is ashamed of him? So lift up your countenance from the abjection into which you have fallen. Remove from your life, from your thoughts, from your practices, from your words all that is not Christian and show before the world with deeds that you love and esteem God above all things.
ASPIRATION: O Jesus, O Jesus, you alone above all things.
LITTLE WORK: If in conversation God is offended by complaining or worse by speaking badly of the faith, of the Pope, of priests, of one?s neighbor, intervene energetically and protest or break off the conversation and move away.
About the Meditations
The daily School of Mary meditations come from the book, A Month with Mary, written by a holy Italian priest Father Dolindo Ruotolo (1882-1970). Originally written as spiritual thoughts to his spiritual daughter, the work is comprised of thirty-one meditations for the month of May.
Father Dolindo wrote A Month with Mary on pocket-sized pages joined into small fascicles of 8 to 12 pages. He sent them to Laura de Rosis every two to three days and later transcribed them with some modifications in volume III of his autobiography: The Story of My Life in the Plan of the Great Mercy of God, pp. 1140ff (cf. Epistolario 1:212n, 218n). This work is from 1912: one of those years which passed in the life of Father Dolindo with the cadence of a ?Way of the Cross? ? But he, serene as ever, loved Christ the more, loved Our Lady the more and reflected on this love in these few pages to which he wished to give the significant title: A Profound Reform of Heart in the School of Mary. These meditations are written in the style of the Imitation of Christ. (90pp. laminated gloss, saddle stitch)