Yesterday, the priest talked about the real meaning of humility in light of the Gospel reading about the Pharisee and the tax collector. He said that the difference between a humble person and someone who pretends to be one is that the former knows how to pray, and when he prays, he begs forgiveness of the Father.

You know, if you read the Gospel reading again, you’ll see that the Pharisee, though proud as he is, he was actually praying to God, but notice the difference between his prayer and that of the tax collector…

Pharisee’s prayer:
`God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.ย I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’

Tax collector’s prayer:
`God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

The pharisee’s prayer wasn’t a real one. He was so proud that he was boasting of himself, not realizing that as he spoke to God, he was humiliating not the extortioners, the unjust, the adulterers nor the tax collector, but himself. He did not realize that the fact that he too was a sinner just like them, just like the rest of us and he couldn’t admit it to himself, more especially to God…and that’s the very reason why a proud person cannot really pray like that of a humble man.ย 

So today, as you pray before you sleep, be humble enough to admit all your wrongdoings and mistakes as I will too. There’s a reason why it is customary to kneel when praying because the very act of praying is an act of humility. No proud person prays to God and ask for forgiveness or even for help because he thinks that he can do anything without the help of the Father. Therefore, as a sinner, I kneel down and bow my head before God and ask for the very same thing that the tax collector asked from God….His mercy.

One more thing our priest told us yesterday is that in times of trouble or tragedy, the very prayer that can easily be recalled yet in the same way, redemptive is…

`God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

“every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted”