Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I like to write fiction – creating characters and situations that come to life in the words and sentences I link together. One of my favorite parts about writing is when I realize that what I had originally planned to happen just doesn't fit with the characters I've created and the story begins to write itself. I like to talk about the fiction I write – if you've known me for long you know this (really, she's talking about that again?). I don't like for anyone to actually read my fiction. It scares me – for two reasons: One you might not like it and not wanting to hurt my feelings you just wouldn't say anything and then I'd have to ask what you thought and then you'd dance around what you really thought and it'd just be awkward for both of us … and two, you might like it and tell me how good it is and then I'd have to say thank you and I'm not always good at taking compliments because I don't want to feed my ego too much and and so I'd get embarrassed then it would just get awkward …

I remember when I first started giving sermons and people would come up to me afterward and tell me I did a good job I felt so wrong saying thank you, but I did my best to be polite and not be too self deprecating. I've talked to several priest friends about it and I've come to understand that it's okay to accept their compliments and comments as long as I approach the whole thing from the right frame of mind. I don't write my sermons thinking “how am I going to wow them this time” but by asking God to use my words to speak to those listening. And, knowing from experience that there isn't a lot in Church Land more painful than a badly prepared or given sermon, I try to do my best at both the preparation and the delivery. Proclaiming God's Word deserves my best and nothing less. I've discovered I really enjoy preparing and giving sermons almost as much as I enjoy writing a short story. 

In my studies of Benedictine Spirituality, I've read a lot about humility. Understanding humility is the foundation of Benedictine Spirituality. In his Rule, St. Benedict talks about humility more than any other virtue, he devotes a whole chapter to it that is far longer than any other chapter in the Rule including the chapter on Obedience. Benedict defines 12 steps of humility – a program for overcoming our addiction to putting ourselves above God. Humility is not self deprecating but simply accepting our proper place in the Universe – admitting that God is God. The freedom found in this is that we can stop pretending to be perfect and acknowledge that we have limitations. The other side of this coin is that in acknowledging God as God is to accept that we are His creation, His children whom He loves and wants the best for and we owe Him our best – the best of our skills and talents and abilities that He gave us.

Sister Joan Chittister in her commentary on The Rule says “The Irony of humility is that if we have it, we know we are made for greatness, we are made for God.”

So, I have talents and abilities everyone sees and hears and those which I keep private.  Either way I will always strive give it my best because God deserves nothing less.

God's peace be with you,

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