Reflection by Holly Novotny
Today’s Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
As one who sincerely desires to be holy, I am sometimes tempted to see the things I do as proof of not only my desire but my achievement of holiness. Almost ten years ago, I was praying outside an abortion clinic during the 40 Days for Life with my young daughters. It was a bitterly cold day, and they were ready to leave after a Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Because we were committed to pray for an hour, I knew the next 45 minutes were going to be difficult for all three of us. I took out my iPod and searched my prayer app for something to read to stop the complaining. We took turns reading prayers out loud and after a Rosary, we still had fifteen minutes of our commitment when I was feeling pretty worn out, but very holy, from the entire exercise. My younger daughter was dangerously close to meltdown, so I needed a new prayer – and fast. I impulsively clicked on the Litany of Humility, with which I was completely unfamiliar. As I read each line aloud, I found myself cringing – could I honestly say these lines and mean them? I recognized the grace of the moment and knew I needed to make this prayer my own. Both my daughters noticed as I choked on the words and tears pricked, as I realized my pridefulness and how much I was the Pharisee from this Gospel passage.
That moment, and this litany, remain to be one of those conversion points in my life – inspiring me to see myself for who I am – one who is loved by God, but also utterly dependent on His grace and mercy.
In what ways do I ignore my sinfulness, focusing instead on the things I do to “earn” holiness? Consider the humility of the tax collector and his confidence to ask the Lord to give him mercy; then honestly turn to the Lord.
Jesus, I desire to be close to You, not that I would be exalted, but that I would experience Your love and mercy. Help me to release my confidence in my own ability into Your hands, that I would recognize the good in my life as a gift from You.
Copyright 2019 Holly Novotny
Holly Novotny is a wife and mother of two teenage daughters. The Lord’s mercy and grace radically changed her life as a young adult and she is grateful for His continual transformation of her heart and life. She is a Lifetime Marian Servant of Divine Providence and as a graduate of the Cenacle School of Spirituality offers spiritual direction in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
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