the addiction to self
"Jesus said to all: 'Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps.' " —Luke 9:23
Because of our fallen human nature, we are addicted to self. By nature, we constantly think about ourselves and are so far out of touch with reality that we automatically think of ourselves as the center of the universe.
To free us from our addiction to self, God became a man. He was not addicted to His Self. He even emptied Himself (Phil 2:7) and died on the cross for us. In this way, He broke the spell of self over the human race.
When we are baptized into Jesus and into His death and resurrection (see Rm 6:3), we receive a new nature, free from the addiction to self. When we sin and fail to live our Baptisms, we "fall off the wagon" and return to our "self-aholism." When we repent and renew our Baptisms, we are free again from our addiction to self.
In Lent, we prepare to renew our baptismal promises at Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday Mass. Thus, Lent is a time of denying ourselves and even dying to ourselves (see Jn 12:24). Then we can love ourselves and not be dominated by our addiction.
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit to free me from the subtle self-hatred of addiction to self. Free me to love myself and then my neighbor (see Mt 22:39).
Promise: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life." Dt 30:19
Praise: Margaret increased the frequency of her Confessions and thereby increased her faith.
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Lent and the Renewal of Our Baptismal Promises.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 10, 2017
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