"By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd." —Isaiah 10:13
The Lord let Assyria do a little work for Him. He let Assyria be His rod, staff (Is 10:5), axe, and saw (Is 10:15). However, the Assyrians claimed that they were doing their own thing by their own power rather than being used by God. It was like a rod or staff claiming to wield the person who holds it (Is 10:15).
We too fall into the "Assyrian heresy." We say such things as: "I made this money," "I worked hard to become a success," "I'm a self-made man," "God helped me because I helped myself," or "I'm in control of the situation." The truth is that, without Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). If not for Jesus, we wouldn't even exist or remain in existence. Of ourselves, we have no right to exist, hear, see, walk, think, or breathe. We owe everything to the Lord.
St. Paul challenges us: "Name something you have that you have not received. If, then, you have received it, why are you boasting as if it were your own?" (1 Cor 4:7) The writer of James also challenges us: "Instead of saying, 'If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that,' all you can do is make arrogant and pretentious claims. All such boasting is reprehensible" (Jas 4:15-16). We must say to the Lord: "It is You Who have accomplished all we have done" (Is 26:12).
Our lives should be dedicated to thanksgiving (Col 3:15). We have the awesome privilege to live and move, even to suffer and die. Let us thank the Lord forever for using us for anything. We owe Him everything.
Prayer: "Father, Lord of heaven and earth, to You I offer praise; for what You have hidden from the learned and the clever You have revealed to the merest children" (Mt 11:25).
Promise: "No one knows the Father but the Son — and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him." —Mt 11:27
Praise: Mary, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, has made disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19). This is the meaning of the scapular.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 2, 2014
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.