Why We Almost Always Make Excuses and Why We Must Stop

Our Mother taught Elizabeth Kindelmann the need to utterly abandon what others think about us and in fact you should: “love those who speak evil of you and who misunderstand you.” Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene explains this in great detail so we can meditate on this important knowledge and apply it to our daily lives: “In any failure, fault or error, our ego instinctively tries to excuse itself. It is the tactic of pride, which is not willing to admit its mistakes or schemes, to hide them under more or less false pretexts, always finding some way to blame them on other people or circumstances. Adam and Eve acted in this way after their sin….It requires great courage to tear down our ingenious…constructions of self love, to expose our failings and look them squarely in the face, just as they are…without blaming them on anyone but ourselves… “Excusing our faults may satisfy our pride, but in reality it is a voluntarily blinding of oneself and making oneself incapable of seeing the true situation. Thus, our poor soul is not only unable to advance, but is condemned to grope in the dark with no possibility of escape. On the other hand, if we sincerely recognize our faults, we have already taken the first step toward correcting them. Yet, it is not enough to avoid excusing ourselves interiorly; we must also guard against exonerating ourselves before others. In other words, after acknowledging our failings before God, we must also confess them before men, accept a correction humbly, and repair the bad example we may have given… “Rebukes very often annoy us because we think they are not entirely in proportion to our faults and failings. We do not realize that this is one of the inevitable consequences of our human limitations; only God who reads our hearts can judge our acts with perfect justice.” St. Teresa of Avila has this to teach us: “The truly humble person will have a genuine desire to be thought little of, to be persecuted and condemned unjustly, even in serious matters. For if we desire to imitate the Lord, how can we do so better than this?….Properly speaking, we can never be blamed unjustly, since we are always full of faults…If we are not to blame for the thing that we are accused, we are never wholly without blame in the way our good Jesus was.” Fr. Gabriel says that when special reasons, such as avoiding scandal or causing displeasure to someone, require that reasons be given, they should be limited to what is absolutely necessary and we should carefully weigh the words so that the Grace of humiliation may not be lost. Our Lord confirmed this to St. Faustina: “Bear with great calm and patience all that befalls you. Do not defend yourself when you are put to shame, though you are innocent. Let others triumph.” Admittedly, this may be the hardest of all the elements of the spiritual life in growing closer to God, but it is absolutely necessary. Once we commit, God will test us in it. So, with the help of the great Grace of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we will pass these tests! Fiat!

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