Over the years I’ve taken a number of personality surveys; they are often helpful in religious life, enabling us to know ourselves and to understand those with whom we live. One of my characteristics that surfaces again and again is my desire to be liked, that others will think well of me. And, of course, so that you will think well of me, I want to show you my good side. I want you to see my strengths and not my weaknesses. In fact, most of the time I’d like to pretend I don’t even have any weaknesses. As a country, we do the same. In this election cycle the only weaknesses candidates pointed out were those of the opposing party. And now that Mr. Trudeau will be leading a minority government, parties and individuals will be doing their best to point out their strengths in order to gain support.
With God, though, that doesn’t work. If you think about it, our “entrance ticket” to Mass is admitting our sinfulness, our weakness. Right after the presider’s greeting we go into the penitential rite. It’s not a time to pretend; instead, it’s a time for honesty. We are flawed and we need God’s help—each of us. This weekend’s Gospel story reminds us that only then does God truly accept us. Recognizing our sins is a way of admitting our need for God. The choice is mine: I can be like the Pharisee and pretend I’m better than everyone else, or I can be like the tax collector, acknowledging my flaws and my need for God’s
That is easier said than done. On November 6th and 7th, the documentary film Prey (about the trial of Fr. Hod Marshall) will be showing at the WIFF, and then on TVO November 19th, 21st, and 23rd. It is difficult to be a Basilian and see the harm that one of my confrères caused to many people, some of them here in Windsor. It would be much easier to just pretend we’re all perfect—but in the long run that would just enable more hurt to happen.
I invite your prayer for Canada, for the Basilians, and for each of us, that we may always recognize our need for God, and allow God’s grace to move us forward along the path of righteousness. Although none of us are perfect, with God’s help we can do great things.