The example and advice of St. John the Baptizer, as related by the Gospel, can be considered very unpopular in our time.

The funny thing about being proud and conceited is that it is easier to see these defects in other people than in ourselves. It belongs to the nature of pride. We easily become irritated if we see someone who is very proud, but it is difficult for us to recognize that we are conceited. It is easier to see pride at work in other people than to see pride at work in us. We assume that we are important, and expect to be treated as such. If we pay for service, we demand the type of service commensurate to the money we spend.

Charles Darwin had an experiment with monkeys. He placed snakes in a bag which he left with monkeys in a cage. The monkeys, upon seeing the snakes, shrieked, panicked, and ran away. After a while, the monkeys returned and looked at the bag. They shrieked and ran away again. The monkeys continued to return, to look at the bag, then shrieked and ran away.

The same is true with us. We shriek when we see defects in other people. We shriek, we get irritated, we get annoyed like the monkeys seeing snakes. Yet, like the monkeys, we return and return and return and gobble up more pride.

If only we will begin to look at ourselves first, we will see that we are not exactly better than the others.

“I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet,” St. John the Baptizer says. If only we recognize how proud we can be; how conceited we can be; how self-important we can be; then we will be on the right track.

It is very easy to see the pride of other people. It takes a lot of heroic courage to say, “I am so full of pride and I need to change.”

We will ask St. John the Baptizer to make us more humble as the days and years go by.

Jn. 1:1-18
Only Jesus, Always Jesus

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