Second Meditation

(The Dark Night, book I: chapter 2)

"He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. 'Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.' I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.'" (3)

The Fall of Pride

The fervor of the beginner
Will sometimes build a false pretense
Of self as saint and not sinner
Pride in disguise forms a defense.

This pride boasts of the heights of prayer;
Jewels of false virtues adorn.
Should someone disprove, if they dare,
They soon face pride's disdain and scorn.

Assuming self to be advanced,
Signs of weakness are swept away
With ev'ry fall, her hope is lanced --
Faith is lost in the disarray.

But God, in His wisdom, who drew
Fresh springs in barren desert stone,
Can form humility anew --
To help her prostrate at His throne.

She seeks to serve Him silently --
Her faults are foremost in her mind;
She suffers each fall patiently,
Knowing the Lord will lead the blind.

She learns to seek the lowly place;
Hiding in Him draws down His grace.

May the Spirit lead us in the ways of humility so that He may dwell with us in Truth.

3. Luke 18:9-14

(c) Paul Buis, 2004