The Seed of Pretentiousness

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.
(1 John 2:12-17)

Scripture Study

2:12 For his name’s sake: because of Christ our sins are forgiven.

2:15 The world: all that is hostile toward God and alienated from him. Love of the world and love of God are thus mutually exclusive; cf. Jas 4:4.

2:16 Sensual lust: literally, “the lust of the flesh,” inordinate desire for physical gratification. Enticement for the eyes: literally, “the lust of the eyes,” avarice or covetousness; the eyes are regarded as the windows of the soul. Pretentious life: literally, “pride of life,” arrogance or ostentation in one’s earthly style of life that reflects a willful independence from God and others.

Scripture Reflection

St John writes: ‘You have overcome the evil one’! He states this as a reminder to us to keep going back to the origin of evil and of sin in the history of mankind and the universe, just as Christ went back to these same roots in the Paschal Mystery of his Cross and Resurrection. There is no need to be afraid to call the first agent of evil by his name—the Evil One. The strategy which he used and continues to use is that of not revealing himself, so that the evil implanted by him from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from systems and from relationships between individuals, from classes and nations—so as also to become ever more a ‘structural’ sin, ever less identifiable as ‘personal sin’. St John Paul II continues this thought by saying that “man may feel in a certain sense of being ‘freed’ from sin but at the same time be ever more deeply immersed in it.”

St Josemaría Escrivá speaks to this immersion as often being a result of our being captured by a worldly life, a life that is opposed to fidelity, to the love of God. “Lust of the flesh is not limited to disordered sensuality. It also means softness, laziness bent on the easiest, most pleasurable, way, any apparent shortcut, even at the expense of fidelity to God. The lust of the eyes, a deep-seated covetousness that leads us to appreciate only what we can touch. Such eyes are glued to earthly things and, consequently, they are blind to supernatural realities. We can, then, use this expression of Sacred Scripture to mean that disordered desire for material things, as well as that deformation which views everything around us—other people, the circumstances of our life and of our age—in a merely human way.

Then the eyes of our soul grow dull. Reason proclaims itself capable of understanding everything, without the aid of God. This is a subtle temptation, which hides behind the power of our intellect, given by our Father God to man so that he might know and love him freely. Seduced by this temptation, the human mind appoints itself the center of the universe, being thrilled with the prospect that ‘you will be like God’ (Gen 3:5). So filled with love for itself, it turns its back on the love of God.”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.