In our unhappily individualistic age we can miss the significance of Moses’ impassioned intervention on behalf of his own people threatened with annihilation because of their idolatry. Bear in mind that God’s uncompromising punishment would have spared Moses and made of him a great nation. Yet, later, when Moses returns to the Lord’s presence and implores forgiveness for his people he adds, but if you will not [forgive], then blot me out of the book that you have written. This is reminiscent of Saint Paul’s own startling statement regarding his fellow Israelites who did not accept Christ. For, he tells us, I could wish that I myself were accursed and separated from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kin according to the flesh. Amidst our daily spiritual struggles we can find ourselves becoming self-absorbed and less concerned about one another. And whereas this is understandable, let us remember that we are actually impeding our own progress. Our union within the Mystical Body of Christ means that my deepening union with Christ is inseparable from that of my brothers and sisters. Any practices of self-denial and penance that don’t reinforce this truth are of very limited value and may even be detrimental. Therefore, let us guard against an individualistic spirituality that excludes concern and solicitude for others who share our journey and with whom we hope to share our heavenly homeland.