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Thursday, January 21, 2016

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St. Agnes

1 Samuel 18:6-9; 19:1-7
Psalm 56:2-3, 9-13
Mark 3:7-12

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true humility is gladness

"Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: 'They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me.' " —1 Samuel 18:8

King Saul won a great victory in battle through the catalyst of young David's courageous defeat of the fierce Goliath. When the cheerleaders greeted the victors with the fight song, Saul was given opening honors and credit for thousands (1 Sm 18:7). Because of his pride, however, all Saul could focus on was that David received more credit than he did (1 Sm 18:8). He was jealous of David and could feel no gladness that David, his courageous and faithful servant, received well-deserved acclaim. "The next day an evil spirit...came over Saul" (1 Sm 18:10) and ultimately Saul's pride and jealousy (1 Sm 18:9) led to his downfall.

St. John the Baptizer toiled for years in the desert to lead the Israelites to repentance and prepare the Lord's way. John's mission was gaining momentum, and many came to him to be baptized. Then Jesus came and people started flocking to Him rather than John (Jn 3:26). John was "overjoyed" (Jn 3:29) at Jesus' success. John saw himself as the "best man" (Jn 3:29), who stands happily forgotten at the altar while the groom, Jesus, is showered with attention. John's humility was not a self-pitying disappearing act that bites its tongue so as not to ruin the party. Rather, John was genuinely delighted to see Jesus prosper at the expense of his own popularity. He humbly exclaimed: "That is my joy, and it is complete. [Jesus] must increase, while I must decrease" (Jn 3:29-30). With John, let us gladly rejoice as we are humbled.

Prayer:  Father, may I advance to the next level of true humility.

Promise:  "In God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?" —Ps 56:12

Praise:  Young St. Agnes was honored by the early Church fathers. Despite her young age of perhaps thirteen years, she faced her martyr's death with extreme calm when her vow to virginity was threatened.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2015

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