— 1 —
Katie Sciba over at Truth & Charity wrote a very nice piece called The Humble Pie Challenge. It’s a beautiful reflection on pride and humility that includes a list she had found while packing for college, a litany entitled “Mother Teresa’s Humility List.”
- Speak as little as possible about yourself.
- Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
- Avoid curiosity.
- Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
- Accept small irritations with good humor.
- Do not dwell on the faults of others.
- Accept censures even if unmerited.
- Give in to the will of others.
- Accept insults and injuries.
- Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
- Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
- Do not seek to be admired and loved.
- Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
- Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
- Choose always the more difficult task.
As Don sang in The Genie: “These are lessons in humility.”*
*I often quote Don Henley, because he’s probably my favorite singer/songwriter, and I never tire of listening to his stuff whether as an Eagle or flying solo. I suppose that for some it can become rather annoying.
— 2 —
Did you read that list? Really read it? I realize that we all see lists each and every day and have developed the habit of skimming through things in order to protect our time. I also think we lose something when we do this. Take the list from Mother Teresa from above for example. How many of you read #3 and scoffed when you did so? Did you stop reading right there? Did you instead bristle a bit and continue, but in a heightened skim mode, missing a lot of the meat that followed? What about #8? By this time most people may give up on the list altogether and what started off as a nice list in their minds has been quickly forgotten.
Or did you begin by skimming through the list, but when you came upon #3 found yourself puzzled as I did? Avoid curiosity? What in the world are you talking about Mother? Isn’t that precisely the main talking point that progressive secularists and their ilk love to throw at people of faith? “You’re a Catholic? Oh, I find you people to be soooooooo simple, incurious and non-thinking about the world around them?” (or substitute Christian. Or Republican. Or conservative.) And yes, I’ve actually had someone say this to my face once. But just once. My charity only goes so far.
You can hear the disdain dripping from their poisoned tongue, can’t you? In the interest of disclosure, I must admit I have had run-ins with Catholics, Christians, Republicans, etc. for whom the statement would be correct. But then I’ve also met some very kind progressive, secular Democrats, so the easy cop out of using labels and stereotypes to paint people with a broad brush is once again exposed. (I think I wrote something once on this subject. I’ll have to look for it. If I didn’t, I need to.)
Anyhow, back to #3. In her article Ms. Sciba takes a stab at deciphering that one as well and I like what she came up with. I also liked her writing exercise on the items on the list. I may take a stab at this myself. We cheat ourselves by skimming through lists such as this. Our tendency is to try to read and explore any and everything, overloading our senses because we’re afraid of missing something. Granted in our glutted age of information we have to at times in order to filter things out and protect our time and capacity to think about more pressing things. In the end we need to settle ourselves on a core philosophy. A core truth. A foundation upon which to stand firmly, not losing our balance when the shifting sands of the age begin to churn. Once we’ve laid that cornerstone we can narrow our focus and explore the depths of corollaries of that truth.
Hey, whaddyaknow? I think I just wrote a bit about what Mother meant by #3. Your turn.
— 3 —
I post this paragraph purely in the spirit of fairness.
I’ve been puzzling over these questions for a long time: If the Church is to apologize for the Crusades, should the secular state apologize for the Vietnam War, the Korean War, World War 2, World War 1, the Russo-Japanese War, the Boer War, the Boxer Rebellion, the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, the War of 1812, the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the slaughter of tens of thousands of Catholics by Cromwell in England, the torture and murder rampant in North Korea, Cuba and China, and on and on and on? Or: would the world not have been better off if the Crusaders had WON after 1099?
Just a thought. (And maybe a little tweak.)
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Photo of My Week:
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This would explain the noise I hear sometimes late at night coming from my bookshelves downstairs.