That’s okay, since emulating “those who were convinced of their own righteousness,” despising everyone else, is a bad idea.
The problem wasn’t what the Pharisee was doing.
Like I said, what the Pharisee was doing wasn’t the problem.
It was his attitude.
“…The pharisee is the very icon of a corrupt person who pretends to pray, but only manages to strut in front of a mirror. He is corrupt and he is pretending to pray. Thus, in life whoever believes himself to be just and criticises others and despises them, is corrupt and a hypocrite. Pride compromises every good deed, empties prayer, creates distance from God and from others….”
(“Humble prayer obtains mercy,” General Audience, Pope Francis (June 1, 2016))
I’m also expected to use common sense.
“…No one is bound to reveal the truth to someone who does not have the right to know it.”
That happens more often than I like. Messing up, I mean. I can’t make Tobit’s claim, that I “have walked all the days of my life on the paths of truth and righteousness.” (Tobit 1:3)
I strongly suspect that’s at least partly what the “delighting in self-abasement” mentioned in Colossians 2:18 is about.
Uriah Heep is a terrible role model, and I’ve been over that before. (July 31, 2016)
Not bragging about my humility seems prudent: even if it’s just to myself.
“…All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove! I’m being humble’, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear….”
(“The Screwtape Letters,” XIV, C. S. Lewis (1942) via Project Gutenberg)
Real-life analogs to the fictional Screwtape and Wormwood exist, are best left alone, and that’s yet another topic.3
- “Trusting Feelings: Within Reason”
(October 5, 2016)
- “Mother Teresa: ‘The Moment Passed’ ”
(September 4, 2016)
- “Humility isn’t Being Delusional”
(July 31, 2016)
- “Art, Truth, and Reflecting”
(July 17, 2016)
- “Temperance, Catholic Style”
(July 10, 2016)
“…Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.”
(Questions and Answers about Lent and Lenten Practices, USCCB)
Like I said, it happens more often than I like.
“…He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign….”
C. S. Lewis was right about “two equal and opposite errors,” I think:
“…There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight….”
“The Screwtape Letters,” Preface, C. S. Lewis (1942) via Project Gutenberg)