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The antidote to a self-centered life

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Philip Kosloski - published on 03/05/23

In a selfish culture, the one thing we need the most is daily prayer.

In today’s world, it’s relatively easy to be self-centered. The culture is constantly urging us to “treat yourself,” indulging in whatever desire we have at the moment.

The antidote to a self-centered life is to incorporate prayer into our daily schedule.

Pope Benedict XVI explained this idea in his homily for Ash Wednesday in 2008.

Without the dimension of prayer, the human “I” ends by withdrawing into himself, and the conscience, which should be an echo of God’s voice, risks being reduced to a mirror of the self, so that the inner conversation becomes a monologue, giving rise to self-justifications by the thousands. Therefore, prayer is a guarantee of openness to others: whoever frees himself for God and his needs, simultaneously opens himself to the other, to the brother or sister who knocks at the door of his heart and asks to be heard, asks for attention, forgiveness, at times correction, but always in fraternal charity. 

While its true that we can be tempted to turn prayer into something that is self-centered, authentic prayer is never selfish.

True prayer is never self-centered, it is always centered on the other. As such, it opens the person praying to the “ecstasy” of charity, to the capacity to go out of oneself to draw close to the other in humble, neighborly service. True prayer is the driving force of the world since it keeps it open to God. For this reason without prayer there is no hope but only illusion.

If we want to combat against the temptation of self-centeredness, all we need to do is pray and open ourselves to God.

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