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Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.
The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed:
God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
The tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said:
I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
What this parable means is that even though God appreciates the things you do for him, he doesn't appreciate it when you only do them to brag to other people about how hard it. Fasting and praying are supposed to be things you enjoy doing, as it means you are serving God, we should not think of them as chores. At the same time, this parable shows God also appreciates it when you acknowledge and repent your sins, as penance takes effort as well.
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