Agere Contra

I often notice that the things I hate and find offensive in other people are the very same things I hate most in myself. Sometimes, I am not even aware that the things I would correct in others are the very same things I need to correct in myself. It is foolish pride and misplaced vainglory that make me see the splinter in my brother’s eye but not see the log in my own. It is so much easier on my ego to see what is wrong in others rather than admit the same things of myself.

St. Ignatius, having lived a life of abandon and licentiousness in his younger years, disciplined himself of such tendencies by going against the habits he had developed over the years. Agere contra. To act against. Instead of seeing the shortcomings of others, I will choose to see only the goodness in others and not their faults, many of which I know are mere projections of my own. Instead of trying to correct others, I will always be humbled by my shortcomings, ready and willing to admit them, if not in front of others at least in the silence and solitude of my prayers. I will choose to see what is right and beautiful in the people and places around me. I will work hard to correct what is not right and ugly in my own life.

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!
Psalm 84

Jesus told his disciples a parable:
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?

Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?”
Luke 6:39-42

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