ST ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, R. (Memorial) White
He was an Italian and a son of a compulsive gambler. He was trained from age four as a soldier and courtier. Aloysius suffered from kidney disease which he considered a blessing as it left him bed-ridden with time for prayer. He received First Holy Communion from Charles Borromeo and at 18 became a Jesuit novice. Aloysius tended plague victims in Rome in the outbreak of 1591. He died in 1591 at Rome of plague and fever.
First Reading: 2Cor 9:6-11; Psalm: 112. R. v. 1b; Gospel: Mt 6:1-6. 16-18
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Doing good purposely to be noticed by people is called ‘eye-service.’ It is an act that seeks the affirmation and praise of people which makes it an impure service because it is not done out of love for God and service to one’s neighbour. It is called ‘eye-service’ because it is done to delight the eyes and attract the attention of people. It is an action that does not come deep down from the heart of the doer. The danger of eye-service is that it is a decoy and not real. The services may be angelic but the doer may be a monster. And this is why it is a decoy.
Jesus warned; “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” So why practice eye-service? In eye-service, artificiality replaces naturalness. We give without giving ourselves. We become who we are not and reject who we are. The sin of eye-service is deception. For people will conceive a wrong image of us as against our true image. Deception is a grave sin and the Devil is the master of it. It was the Devil who deceived man into sinning and brought death to the world. Eye-service (deception) leads us into doing our selfish desires and not the will of God.
If the good we do openly could be repeated covertly then it means we are good for the sake of being good and not for the sake of cheap affirmations. What really is our motive in the things we do daily? If we sincerely reflect deeply on this question, perhaps we may begin to have a rethink before doing anything. Self aggrandizement is a very shallow way to reaching self-importance. It doesn’t last. But a good and sincere life is the perfect channel to lasting fulfilment.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord God, help us to be true to you and to ourselves. Amen.