Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt 5) There is a qualitative difference between the spirituality of the scribes and Pharisees and that which Jesus wants for his disciples. Humility and freedom are especially important. Again and again, Jesus confronted the pride of the scribes and Pharisees. He also spoke of them as slaves. He said this explicitly in the temple, in the Gospel according to St. John, chapter 8. He also said it implicitly in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in St. Luke’s Gospel.
Both humility and freedom in our relationship with God require a right understanding of God. By humility we see ourselves as being like God, yet as creatures. Self-contempt is not a compliment to God who made us in the divine image. Trying to be a God to ourselves is presumptuous. We do this when we lead ourselves without reference to God.
Thank you, Lord, for the privilege of sharing in your dignity, freedom and love. Everything I have is your gift. You alone are God.