Spiritual jealousy can hit a lot of people who are striving for holiness, even a religious sister like myself. And if you’re honest and deeply self-reflective, you may find yourself feeling sad or irritated when people look to others for spiritual advice or gush about another persons’ virtues.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Sometimes I have bouts of spiritual jealousy;  though I never act on it, it’s disconcerting to me when these feelings pass through my heart. I know it’s not right and that they stem from the roots of vanity and pride.  Wanting my heart and soul to be as clear, sincere, and light as can be, I want nothing that is against love of God and neighbor to darken it.

Pleading with Jesus, my Spouse, I took it to prayer.  The next morning, during my Lectio Divina, I invoked the Holy Spirit and turned to a page in my bible.  It fell on the beginning of the Gospel of John.  Reading into it, I felt a little nudge in my heart when I was reading about John the Baptist.

“What are you telling me, Lord?”

Then reflecting further, I remembered my prayer from yesterday… John the Baptist was the answer!!

“He must grow greater, while I grow less.” (Jn 3:30)

If someone has outstanding “Jesus-like qualities,” I should celebrate and even point out their example to others for that particular virtue they’re displaying… not in an obnoxious way of course, but acknowledge the holiness that others see in them.  I should make my “self” disappear and practice self-forgetfulness and step aside so others can see the light of the other that shines brighter than me so that the darkness of vanity and pride vanishes and only sincerity and light remain in my heart.  Then I can be a more beautiful and clearer light and bride for Christ.

So, if you’re prone to spiritual jealousy, don’t lose heart… pray for the grace of God through the intercession of St. John the Baptist and he’ll help you as he helped me. And remember that God has a predilection for tiny, weak, and insignificant souls.  Be small and picture Jesus in thick robes embracing and hiding you while you rest on his breast.  Let those who are around you that are greater in virtue be honored, while you rest in the deepest humility, trust, and intimacy on His Sacred Heart… happy that you, by your tininess of soul and who delight in others, have become dearer to the Heart of Jesus.

A prayer I composed to St. John the Baptist to be rid of spiritual jealousy:

O humble St. John the Baptist,

Greatest of the prophets of old,

And therefore attuned in heart to the Holy Spirit,

Pray that the Holy Spirit speak to me in the depths of my heart also so as to convict my heart and soul of it’s nothingness before God.

Let it rid my heart of all jealousy, vanity, and pride that I may step aside so that others can see the greater lights people possess that imitate our Beloved Jesus in their virtue.

May they grow greater, and I, therefore rejoicing in their holiness, grow less, but ever dearer to my Jesus.


St John the Baptist, pray for us.

Image credit:
The Baptism of Christ by Tintoretto, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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