“My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love—outside of reality and outside of life. And such a self cannot help but be an illusion.” – Thomas Merton
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“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
In today’s scripture verses, Jesus is taking to task the religious leaders of the time, the Pharisees, for holding the people to the letter of the law without any regard to compassion.
He said that they “tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23:4).
Jesus further criticizes them for loving to take the place of honor.
But Jesus says the greatest is actually the one who serves and the one who humbles himself.
The real problem he’s pointing to is that many people have let their egos rule their lives.
The ego is part of our brain’s operating system.
It usually concocts an image of who I am with itself as the center of the universe.
This is what Thomas Merton called your false self.
It’s an illusion.
The ego wants to protect its constructed image of you and make sure “you” succeed.
But as is many times quoted, EGO stands for: Edge God Out.
Your true self is divine and perfect.
Your soul is eternal and will not die when your physical body does.
Your soul has a purpose in this realm to give and receive love.
Once you become conscious of your soul, your true self, your unique reflection of the Divine, you are able to recognize the antics of your ego.
You will recognize the many thoughts you have that are not loving and are not recognizing the oneness of all in God.
A meditation practice such as Centering Prayer is very helpful in this regard.
Once you are aware of your ego, then you are able to allow the ego to be an instrument in helping you to share your gifts, to actually manifest love in the here and now.
Then you will naturally serve and you will no doubt be unaware of your humility.
When the ego is working in tandem with your true self, humility and service naturally happen.
And happiness will be a natural byproduct of your daily life.
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Remember: God loves you!