I Can’t Take Credit

The list that appears below would seem a recipe for failure in life, eh?  I mean for those who didn’t apply the traits outlined in the list to themselves.  For the most part the person who DIDN’T do these things might be described variously as a “loser”, a dweeb, a wuss in today’s world.  Who has not heard a great artist, singer, musician, actor, politician, any kind of talented person describe their talent as someone else’s gift?  Can you count the number of times when someone in your hearing has interrupted a conversation to say, “I always do  X and so in a situation like that.”

The man who wrote the list is someone named Jose Maria Escriva.  Do you know who he is?  Here is his list:

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do

2. To always to want to get your own way

3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong

4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it

5. To look down on another’s point of view

6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent

7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess

8. To use yourself as an example in conversations

9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you

10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected

11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you

12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments

13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem

14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks

15. To seek to stand out

16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige

17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods

I can tell you for sure that I have a lock on Number One, and 4, 5 and 6 describes me more than adequately.  Who hasn’t been a 16?  Who hasn’t felt the way that 13 describes?

I’m on my way.  Yippee, I have a lock on success.

So you may think.  So you may think.

“Once you think you have me you’ve lost me.  What Am I” is the title of the piece by Deacon Greg Kandra.  There’s not much more to the piece but the solution to the riddle in the title and the list above.

Jose Maria Escriva is the founder of Opus Dei, and a saint.  No loser, dweeb or geek is he.


About Peadar Ban

There isn't much to say. I am here. I am here. I am here.
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2 Responses to I Can’t Take Credit

  1. Would it be boasting to say that I’m probably not quite as insufferable as I used to be?

    I just went to an Opus Dei cooperators’ circle yesterday. I spoke out about someone’s problem, which was really an existential problem. I hope I did some good.


    An old man asked me: How can I repair
    The errors of the decades and despair,
    For I have loved too feebly and too late
    My child, my wife, my love is intestate
    And now I have no loving as bequest
    Sufficient to my wish, my love was less,
    Nor can a vanished sacrifice give twice
    For what must be unequal sacrifice,
    And now my heart is dying, I must leave
    Behind the wounds that love will not relieve

    Then I had to answer that the wound
    Is bottomless, in time will not heal soon,
    That only One who lives eternally
    Can heal and close this living injury,
    But meanwhile never falter or look back
    At what was never done, or done had lacked,
    For it belongs to One who keeps entire
    The treasuries of love and love’s desire,
    And these He will dispense when time is done –
    He serves all things, all loves in unison

    February 4, 2011

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