I am obsessed with personality tests. You name the test and I have taken it, tormenting myself over the meticulous details of each prescribed strength and weakness. On this endeavor of self-discovery, I have learned that I am inherently motivated to love and serve others because of subconscious desires to be praised and feel needed. I am constantly working at becoming aware of how this impacts my witness to the goodness of the Father, because I know I have deep-rooted, broken desires to be called “rabbi” or “master,” as Jesus puts it in today’s Gospel.
“All their works are performed to be seen.” (Matthew 23:5).
I experience it in ministry, on Instagram, and even in the pews—how willing we are to live out the Christian faith insofar as it glorifies us? We trade the praises of Heaven for the affirming words of others, particularly our faith community. Our false humility and curated witness forces authenticity out of our lives, in exchange for the hopes that we may appear holy. The reward of being the “ideal” Christian comes before the reality of living in the reality of the Cross, that we are called to die to ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom.
How would the posture of our hearts shift if we internalized that all the glory belonged to the Father? What would change in our communities if we radically humbled ourselves and tuned our ears to the praises of Heaven? What if our hearts were set in motion by servanthood, giving each breath gifted to us back to the Kingdom?
Sisters, I am in the lifelong process of confronting the ways pride interrupts my capacity to wholeheartedly give all glory to the Father. I have to press on in prayer, that my every word and action would never point back to me, but to the Gospel. I carry on in the confidence that what each personality test has declared about my human tendencies (to love out of ulterior motives) is not beyond the love of the King of Kings. In the First Reading, the Lord declares where His throne will remain and we are so gracefully invited to participate in lifting it high. (Ezekiel 43:7)
Father, I pray that we would come to know that it is in complete humility that we will be exalted in Heaven, and that this is only possible through the mercy You extend to us, each morning. Glorious is Your name.
Sarah Erickson is a politics pre-law major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Arizona, she finds great joy in mountains, lattes, American history, and the piano. She is constantly discovering Christ's wild love in the little things. You can find out more about her here.