What if I show that I am superior to others? What if I am only the observer or the lone wolf? What if I demand a special treatment of some kind? And what if I am denied such a treatment I become indignant or hostile? What if I boost in front of others to dominate them? What if I want to integrate without paying the price? What if I think as a Renaissance person, a sort of Jack-of-all-trades? What if I speak about myself in the third person to find my refuge in a detached “scientific” tone? What if I think that the whole world depends on me? What all these things say about me?
Self-centeredness is deadly spiritually, emotionally and physically too. The damage that self-centredness can cause me is unimaginable. There are some tips that can help me recover from the devastating narcissist attitudes. Tip one, let me admit that I am powerless over the universe and anything that occur within its confines. If I venture to think differently then my life truely has become chaotic and senseless. Tip two, let me start believing that a power which is far grater than myself (in other words God) can effectively heal me through humility. Tip three, let me turn my will and my entire life over to His care. Is He not the Alpha and Omega of everthing? Tip four, let me see myself through the Bible and the Church’s teachings. Tip five, let me go to confession because there mercy, grace and healing are waiting for me. Tip six, let me believe that it is God who can actually remove all my spiritual shortcomings. The study of the saints lives’ can boost me up to learn from them total obedience to God.
Tip seven, let me be humble by dying to my old narcissistic self and let God fill me up. Tip eight, never ever do I put myself down because that is not humility but rather another manner of self-absorption. Tip nine, by resorting more to prayer and meditation may I let God to help me better my relationship with Him especially as I earnestly pray for the desire to always accomplish His Holy Will. Tip ten, may I seek to serve others. Tip eleven, may I refrain to judge others. Are we not undertaking a journey after all? Tip twelve, let me be a part of the New Evangelization! May I invest my time in spreading the Gospel by means of prayer, words and acts!
Since they let the Holy Spirit act and live in them the saints are excellent in this field of healing from a self-centred attitude. Thus, St Faustina reminds us that Jesus, who had every right to be prideful, remained humble. In her Diary, entry 267, she writes: He who wants to learn true humility should reflect upon the Passion of Jesus. On the other hand, St Augustine, a saint who, before he got converted suffered so much from the calamitous effects of pride, says about humility: There is something in humility which strangely exalts the heart. Moreover he notes: It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Again he wisely counsels: Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.
Let me remember that when I let God have his way the devil will never get his way in my life. St Vincent de Paul said: The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it. True holiness is entirely built on humility. Without the latter the whole edifice simply falls! St Augustine says: Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence; in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. Before ending the experts bit I want to highlight two other priceless contributions on humility. First, St Teresa of Avila says: There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world. Second, and as Thomas à Kempis said in his Imitation of Christ: Indeed a humble rustic who serves God is better than a proud intellectual who neglects his soul to study the course of the stars.
Pope Francis has a very interesting meditation on how to overcome my self-centredness. This meditation was lovingly given in his Regina Caeli reflection which he gave on Sunday 10 Mary 2020 from the Library of the Apostolic Palace:
But how can we reach heaven? What is the way? Here is Jesus’ decisive phrase. He says to us today: “I am the Way” (John 14:6). Jesus is the way to go up to Heaven: to have a living relationship with him, to imitate him in love, to follow in his footsteps. And I, a Christian, you, a Christian, every one of us Christians, can ask ourselves: “Which way do I follow?”. There are ways that do not lead to Heaven: the ways of worldliness, the ways of self-affirmation, the ways of selfish power. And there is Jesus’ way, the way of humble love, of prayer, of meekness, of trust, of service to others. It is not the way of my self-centredness. It is the way of Jesus, who is the protagonist of my life. It is to go forth every day, asking him: “Jesus, what do you think of the choice I made? What would you do in this situation, with these people?”. It will do us good to ask Jesus, who is the way, for the directions to reach Heaven. May Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, help us to follow Jesus, who opened Heaven for us.
Lord Jesus may you increase and I decrease. Amen!
Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap