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Lent Week 2 Tuesday - Practise what you preach ...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Readings: Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50; Matthew 23:1-12

The phrase “practise what you preach” has become something of a cliché: sound advice, but we have heard it all before. And yet we all know exactly what is being criticised by that phrase. There are people who simply do not practise what they preach: they say one thing and do the opposite. With words they set themselves up as an authority, and with actions they show themselves to be ignorant. There is little more repulsive than listening to one who does not practise what they preach.

But then there comes a time when I realise that I do not practise what I preach. I recognise in myself a gap between saying and doing: where do I stand now? Am I no better than the people I detest because they do not practise what they preach? No, is the answer. We are not called to preach anything apart from Christ, or to do anything apart from conforming to him. It is at this moment that I realise that I have exalted myself, and when I have done that, the Lord warns me that I shall be humbled.

Humbled, not humiliated. The moment I realise that I do not practise what I preach is the moment when I stop making noise and listen. There is only one Master; there is only one Father – without union with Him I am nothing. If I preach the Love of Christ, and remain in that, then what I say is already being practised.


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