A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 18:9-14
"Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. "Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity-greedy, dishonest, adulterous-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.' But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." The Gospel of the Lord
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit+
"But the tax collector...beat his breast and prayed, 'O God be merciful to me a sinner.'" The image of 'beating one's breast', why do we do that? What does it mean to us as human beings? During the Holy Mass we 'beat our breast' at the Confiteor, ('I Confess...') and when I was growing up, you also 'beat your breast' at the part of the Mass when we prayed the "Lamb of God" when we beg for God's mercy. But why is this? It is a very powerful action to ponder. Why did he (the tax collector) beat his breast and why do we? Could it be, the deepest hunger and thirst in the heart of man- is oneness with Christ? And so emerges this 'prayer of the heart', as we yearn 'to be one' with him, to be forgiven, we desire it so deeply and intrinsically that we actually strike our breast where our heart is, as if to reach it and touch it so as to connect our heart with the heart of Jesus. As you look at the image above, it was carved by a prisoner in his cell in Auschwitz. He carved the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his cell, perhaps from a similar hunger in his soul? The tax collectors 'prayer of the heart' was heard, because it went from his heart to the heart of Christ, like a direct line. Jesus is reached by the hearts cry. Do I slow down to really talk to Jesus heart to heart? Do I think about it, or just pour out my heart 'as is' to him? What do I seek from him? Is it to change myself to become more like him? The humble are truthful, with gentleness to self and others.
+Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a poor sinner, a poor sinner who loves you. Amen