"If we wish to serve God and love our neighbor well, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to Him and them. Let us open wide our hearts. It is joy that invites us. Press forward and fear nothing." (St. Katharine Drexel)Lents presents the perfect opportunity to purge one's heart of the weeds of selfishness that threaten to choke the budding flowers of virtue. Christ said,"I came to serve, not to be served," and if one professes Christian discipleship he must desire, and pray for, a servant's heart. Yet, too often, one thinks,"I am here to serve but I better receive notice and gratitude."
Egocentrism is so entrenched in our being that it often goes unnoticed. The Tempter expertly deceives man into believing that selfish people are only those self-absorbed narcissists. The devil frequently reminds a person of the selfless actions he does every day, touting his sacrifices and cleverly enshrining his magnanimous martyrdom in his mind. This "scorecard" mentality of tallying sacrifices and harboring grievances is hardly the recipe for a heart fashioned after the Savior's Sacred One.
What are the traits, then, of a true servant? He is prompt, reliable, eager to do his master's bidding, knows how to hold his tongue, and of course, humble. A servant is not vexed when called unexpectedly, thinking his spare time has been stolen by an intruder; rather, his reply is always prompt , and never reveals any sign of disturbance. Eager to do his master's bidding, he is never reluctant to perform a task, thinking not of his own inconvenience, but only of the other's happiness.
A servant never uses his tongue to lick his wounds, nor as a vent for his frustration, nor even to solicit notice for a job well done; instead, he accepts the peace that comes with silent servitude and accepts any misunderstandings or criticisms with humble resignation as His Heavenly Master did.
Above all, a servant is content because he loves those he serves, and ardently desires their happiness, not his own comfort. The day before he died Venerable Solanus Casey said to a friend:
"I looked on my whole life as giving, and I want to give until there is nothing left of me to give. So I prayed that, when I come to die, I might be perfectly conscious, so that with a deliberate act I can give my last breath to God."Strong and stable union can only exist when each member desires the good of the other before the satisfaction of himself. Seize this Lenten retreat with a firm purpose to mold a generous heart and a joyful spirit.