Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

Having been inspired by William Weedon's 'Homeltical Aphorisms' http://weedon.blogspot.com/2007/11/homiletical-aphorisms.html#comments, I hereby submit 'The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility'. I've ripped this off straight from George Rutler's 'The Cure D'Ars Today', and he ripped it straight from John Vianney himself. So:

The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say and do.
2. To always 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 own gifts and abilities as lent.
7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honours and esteem, not even the earth you walk on and things you possess.
8. To use yourself as an example in conversation.
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 that 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.

Nolite Confidere in Principibus

That is, ‘Do not put your trust in princes’ –Psalm 146:3 (145:2 in the Vulgate). ‘Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish’.

These words were going through my mind on Saturday night as I saw the election results. One of our ‘princes’ – John Howard – has left the scene to be replaced by our new ‘prince’ - Kevin Rudd. The prayers of our little congregation are with our new Prime Minister, of course, just as they were with our old one. But neither man, thank God, has been or will be the Saviour of our Nation.

On Saturday night, as I heard the crowds cheering, I got to thinking about changes in my experience - and in my understanding - of political debate. In recent years I’ve grown less eager to hear (from myself and others) politicians (of any political stripe) vilified. I welcome (and enjoy) vigorous discussion on the merits (or otherwise) of political policy and ideas, but when conversation descends into name-calling and personal attacks on politicians it gets me down. I can’t help feel that such conversation is a display of a lack of faith in God – that is, I can't help feeling that when faith in God weakens then we have to find scapegoats other than the Lamb of God - and so I hear vilification of politicians, from myself or others, as reluctance to take our anger and frustration to the One who is ultimately responsible: God.

But on Saturday night I heard the crowds not simply cheering, but chanting the name of at least one politician. And this disturbed me more than any of the abuse I have heard poured on any politician. Personal attacks on politicians I can understand, even if it gets me down. But chanting the name of a politician?

Nolite confidere in principibus. It's my suggested motto for election nights.

For Charles

Charles, my brother in law, wants less theology and more pics of his nieces and nephew. So, here's a picture of Emmanuelle, looking as cute as a bug's ear.