PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

 

Lenten retreat reflection: Day 2 - Aiming for higher excellence


pp. 13 (continuation)-15 http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=EOg19fGyNyoC&pg=PA13&lpg=PP1&output=html_text

God knows the depths of wretchedness I had gone down to, so it's a comfort to know that, at this point in my life, I am aiming not so much for worldly excellence as for moral excellence, which is the more challenging goal, I've found.

I once had a reflection on how my desire to be on top of it all as a child -- just because I wanted to please my folks -- damaged me spiritually (see http://restyo.blogspot.com/2003/09/run-lola-said-run.html). Because I always got the top honors in school, I thought I was special, a cut above the rest, and so on. When I realized how it made me vain, conceited, prideful, looking down on my 'inferiors' as people who didn't deserve my time and attention, I had a major change of heart.

Nonetheless, my sorrow for sin didn't lead me to a really deep conversion until I began to realize that whatever talent God gave me was not for myself, or for my own enjoyment, but for others. To this day, I sometimes still figure out whether I am using for the benefit of the world whatever knowledge and skill I have and have developed or for my own vainglory.

As a son, a big brother, a single man of advancing, no middle age, a charismatic Catholic community brother/member, a long-time BPO worker, and a struggling writer, how could I be of any use to the world? Other than being an editor-proofreader of drafts of my very few clients (mostly friends), I feel like I have nothing else to offer. Maybe it's because I'm the middle of a great trial -- being unemployed (I suddenly lost my bread and butter job) and suffering from hypertension (as alleged), especially the drug's many side effects and panic attacks (I dread going out in the sun and traveling alone for fear of getting dizzy or fainting) now and then. Surprisingly, though, I am generally not depressed, despite the circumstances. Maybe it's because this is not the first time that I've been through such a hardship; maybe it's because I have improved somewhat in faith.

Well, in terms of excellence in the worldly sense itself, I know I can still serve the world through my writing and, in a much humbler capacity, through my editing of draft memos, paper, theses, office documents, etc. Although I have lost my taste for awards and recognition, I know I still can do something better. One telling sign is that I remain unsatisfied with my work, in that I wish I have made a more significant mark, or at the very least, have written a book that many people would enjoy. That remains my dream -- to entertain and hopefully touch many people through my writings. This time, though, my standards have shifted: I am relying on my own standards, not social approval, in conjunction with the Lord's guidance and the desire to please God in others more than I please myself. To lay it on even more thickly, I want to have a legacy, not so much as something to remember me by as something to give back for everything that God has blessed me with. (Yes, I have been given a lot of suffering, but a lot of good things too!)

In the higher, moral sense, I am still very much a student of life. I feel like I still have a long way to go in terms of selflessness, because as writers and other artists go, I can be as selfish and egocentric as the next guy. I know how sinister my dark shadow is, and and I'll be fooling myself to deny it, but one good thing is that I am aware of it, more or less. Moreover, thanks to illness, I have slowed down a lot; I am less restless and less driven than before.

I know it will take a lot more work for me to banish my ego to nothingness, in order that Christ might live more fully in me.May this retreat help me a lot in this regard.



Comments:
I'm 12 hours late :) Radical Transformation
 
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