Friday, August 20, 2021

A not-so-holy response

Have you ever had a co-worker praised while your contribution was ignored?  Or maybe a sibling showered with praise while your achievements were met with silence?

How did it make you feel?

The holy response, of course, would be your appreciation that they were acknowledged.

The not-so-holy response (which I expect is more common among us mere mortals) we could call jealousy, but I think it actually might run in a different direction.  

It's not that we are necessarily jealous of the person getting honored, or that we are unhappy that they are appreciated, but its more likely that we just wish it were us.

Hear me out.

In her prayer known as Deliver me, O Jesus, Mother (Saint) Teresa identifies desires we need to be freed from, and fears that can paralyze us.

In the first part about the desires, she says:

"Deliver me, O Jesus, from the desire of being praised." 

So why did Mother Teresa think these desires were not good for us and that we need to be delivered from them?

I suppose if God takes away the desire to be praised, and in doing so leaves me with a greater practice--humility--that would be good for me.

But if my desire for praise becomes my source of motivation, I may find myself dangerously connecting the need for praise to my efforts--i.e., if my contribution is not noteworthy, why should I do it?

That's a black hole we would be wise to avoid.

We all feel good when our words or actions are praised.  That's just being human, and that's okay. But there's a difference between seeking (living for) praise and accepting it.

Probably better to take the lesson in humility than slip into the hole!

Be sure to check out the full prayer (below), which lists more desires and fears.

Have you learned any lessons in life from any of these?  Be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts!  

And if you have not subscribed yet, please do so--to save me from thinking my contribution is not noteworthy!!  ;-)

Janet Cassidy


Deliver me, O Jesus,

From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the desire of being popular,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being suspected.

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