Thursday, February 23, 2017

Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Rely not on your wealth; say not: “I have the power.” Rely not on your strength
in following the desires of your heart. Say not: “Who can prevail against me?” or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?” for God will surely exact the punishment. Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Most High bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath.

There are many ways we can convince ourselves we do not need God in our lives. We can assume ourselves to be self-sufficient because of money or power. We can believe we have the ability to overcome every obstacle and enemy by ourselves. We can have a false sense of security and hubris. We can be disrespectful of God’s Love and Mercy by taking it for granted. The truth is that we all need God in our lives. He is the source, center, and summit of all power. He is the one who can give us the healthy desires of our hearts. He is the one who can help us prevail and give us success in our good deeds. He is the one who will punish us for our selfish pride and our presumptions upon His Love and Mercy. He will set us straight when we go astray. All these things together remind us that we should not waste our time, talents, and treasures on selfish pursuits, but rather we should seek to be more deeply converted and willing to depend upon God for all that is good.

Are we prideful, presumptuous, falsely secure in our salvation, or disrespectful of God’s Love and Mercy? If we are, then how can we overcome these sins and depend upon God more firmly? How can we cultivate the virtues of humility, modesty, hopefulness, and respectfulness of God?

O Lord, cleanse us of our false sense of self-sufficiency and give us a childlike trust in you and you alone.


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