Saturday, March 14, 2015

Third Saturday of Lent

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — 
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week,
and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Lk 18:9-14

When I was younger, I was taught the importance of humility, and the importance of never placing yourself above anyone else.  However, as I finished school, I was told repeatedly that I need to project an aura of confidence and brag about my achievements in order to get a job.  Going into interviews, I found it difficult to talk about myself, but somehow I managed to get hired anyway.  Once I entered the workforce, I discovered that humility can be viewed as a hindrance when dealing with new customers, and that even for engineers, the need to be a good salesperson can be important.  With each passing meeting, it became just a little bit easier for me to start believing the arrogant declarations of my own awesomeness that were coming out of my mouth and the humility slowly slipped away.  After all, the meek may inherit the Earth, but how often do they get promoted?  

When I chose this reading to reflect upon a few weeks ago, I decided that this would be my Lenten sacrifice: to try and act with humility and gratitude like I was taught a child, and not be a self-absorbed braggart as society seemingly expects.  I can’t say that I’ve succeeded completely (I really would like that promotion!), but I have at least tried to let my work speak for itself rather than trumpeting my own qualifications.  Of course, I’m not going to change personality overnight, but I hope it’s enough that I recognize my own failings (without dwelling on them in a negative way), and strive to be just a little better version of myself each and every day.

Reflected by Dan Judnick

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