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The culprit must be self-love. What else would make us think we are smarter, wittier, better-looking, or more virtuous than we really are? Although modesty restrains us from manifesting what we think about ourselves, we normally feel that we are not fully appreciated. While a man may joke about his ugliness, he is annoyed when others point it out. It is one thing to realize we have certain defects—"nobody's perfect," we say by way of excuse—and quite another to accept them as something personal. But when we don't accept our faults, they pile up and impede our coming close to God and treating him as our Father.
We should humbly recognize our sins lest what happened to the Pharisee be our fate: Jesus spoke "this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: `Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus within himself: "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, dishonest, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get." But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!"'" (Lk 18:9-13).
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