Humble Satifaction

Today’s second Mass reading comes from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, a letter written at a time when Paul knows his life is coming to an end.  Looking back, he says, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me.” 

But this is no braggard patting himself on the back for his great achievements, thinking it was all him.  For almost in the same breath he adds, “the Lord stood by me and gave me strength so that through me the proclamation might be completed…And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.”  I did well, but I did what I did through the grace and power of God.  Thus, says Paul, to God “be glory forever and ever.”

Good reminder for us.  There is nothing wrong with being pleased or satisfied with what we accomplish, with letting ourselves hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”  But at the same time, we don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we accomplish what we do through the grace of God, through whose power (in the words of the letter from Ephesians) we are able to accomplish far more than we could ask for or imagine, and for the glory of God.


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