Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 2:1-11; Luke 11:42-46)
The psychoanalyst C.J. Jung observed that people frequently criticize in others what they dislike about themselves. He calls the shunned characteristic the “shadow.” Just as a shadow stays close to the one creating it, Jung advised that people take hold of their psychological shadows. If they refuse to do that, he predicted they will wreak havoc on themselves as well as others. Jung developed the concept of shadow to name the same evil that St. Paul describes in today’s reading from Romans.
Paul is making a diatribe. He does not actually have his readers in mind when he accuses people of ignoring the defects in themselves that they criticize in others. The “man” addressed is all men and women who think of themselves as better than others by ignoring their own shortcomings. Paul adds that purposeful blindness merits punishment.
Taking hold of our shadow means more than recognizing our faults. We need to accept them in the context of the benefits that God has bestowed. He has permitted the faults for a reason. Be they common vanity or something darker, in correcting them with His grace we may grow both more grateful and more virtuous.