Our All Saints Blog

Pride and Decline

main image

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus aid to them, “You do not know what you are asking…to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to you but is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Most people love the underdog because most people hate their boss.

It is truly a blessing to work for a boss who is both humble and effective. Unfortunately, it is a rare thing. Instead, most people work for someone who is either one or the other, or neither. If your boss is neither, then chances are he/she is prideful and easily gets jealous.

Pride is a horrible thing. It’s debilitating. It prevents growth. It prohibits a person from being truly human, for if you have to be “perfect” all the time, then you can’t be human most of the time. Pride is the source of many headaches. It is the source of so much stress, of sleepless nights. After all, if you have to be “right” all the time then it can keep you up all night long.

Jealousy is a horrible thing in the work force too. It stunts individual growth. It suffocates creativity in the work force. It stifles growth for the company. If you do a better job than your boss then chances are you will suffer, and suffer greatly.

Instead of receiving a pat on the back, you can expect a stab in the back.

The fact that man can be so intelligent, and yet so jealous and prideful, makes God ever more remarkable. God is remarkable because He is so humble and efficient. He gets the job done and he gives us all the benefits!

I have never heard or seen a boss (or an atheist) say or do what God said and did: “I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” I have only read these words from Jesus Christ and witnessed it lived out by those who followed Him.

You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them. Does the Lord “lord” over his people? Does the Lord demand He be called “Master”? He should…but he doesn’t.

I fear that most of us deep down believe that Christ was simply a dreamer; that His way of life is as beautiful as poetry and as impractical as living like a poet; that His way of thinking is great for classroom discussion but totally irrelevant on Wall Street.

 

Our jealousy and pride is directly related to our faith life.  Our faith life is not dependent on God and what He does for us. Rather, it is totally dependent on how we respond to God in our lives. Faith is our humble response to God’s enormous gift of life, of redemption and of providence. A strong prayer life is only possible (and logical) if we are not full of ourselves and can easily give credit where credit is due (share our successes with others). If we have a hard time doing one or the other, then chances are we will not be able to be believers in Jesus Christ or even followers of His most humble teachings.

History has shown that the mighty and powerful crumble and fall. What historians typically write is that poor decisions led to their demise. What they don’t write is that it was their pride that killed them and their empires.

Pride in ourselves will be the cause of our decline. Faith in Jesus Christ will be the cause of our resurrection.

Posted by Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro with

Money and Happiness

main image

Peter began to say to [Jesus], “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age…”

“Money does not make people happy.”  I agree. But I know what you are thinking: “Father, that’s easy for you to say since you don’t have much money.” Okay. I admit it. But don’t take my word for it; take the word of those who had money and gave it all away.

Millionaire gives away fortune that made him miserable. That’s the newspaper title. Mr. Rabeder, 49, an Austrian businessman, is more than just ready to give his money away. He’s actually doing it, and doing it quickly. What made him decide to do it; to give it all and rid himself of all his material wealth and luxuries?

“For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness. I came from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years. But more and more I heard the words: ‘Stop what you are doing now – all this luxury and consumerism – and start your real life.’ I had the feeling that I was working as a slave for things that I did not wish for or need.”

The tipping point came while he was on a three-week holiday with his wife to Hawaii.

“It was the biggest shock in my life, when I realized how horrible, soulless and without feeling the five star lifestyle is”, he said. “In those three weeks, we spent all the money you could possibly spend. But in all that time, we had the feeling we hadn’t met a single real person – that we were all just actors. The staff played the role of being friendly and the guests played the role of being important and nobody was real.”

If you think he’s nuts, then I have another one for you.

“Kwik Save” tycoon gives up riches in “pact with God”. Here’s another headline from a United Kingdom newspaper. As a young boy, Albert Gubay, was a penniless orphan. One day, he prayed to God saying, “Make me a millionaire and you can have half of my money.” A devout Roman Catholic, Gubay became a multi-millionaire. Just recently, he decided to fulfill his vow to God, but not exactly. Instead of giving just half of it away, He has decided to give all his money to the Catholic Church. In fact, he is only holding on to ten million dollars for him and his wife.

Are they all nuts? No. They are not. They are prudent. They know a better deal when they see it. They know the truth. We should know it too by now. Money does not make you happy. Giving it away does!

How do I want people to remember me? Do I want them to remember me for what I had or what I did? Or do I want them to remember me for how I loved? That is the million dollar question. Actually, this is the rich young man’s question. The Lord answers his question with an invitation: Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.”

Do you want people to treat you well because you have money? Do you want people to love you because of what you have? Or do you want to be loved for who you are and how you love?

Thank you very much! Do you know the song, “Thank you very much! Thank you very much! That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me.” Do you remember what musical it comes from? From Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”, and it is sung by a man who owed Ebenezer Scrooge a lot of money. He was thanking poor Ebenezer…for dying!

Price of Privilege. I recently finished a book entitled, “The Price of Privilege” by Dr. Madeleine Levine, PhD. Although I disagree with her on some of her recommendations, I cannot disagree with her on the statistical data and the clinical facts related to the problems she has seen.

Many of Dr. Madeleine’s patients are teenagers from affluent households with excellent grades in school, extracurricular involvement and an appearance of thriving in their environment. But they are suffering from debilitating neuroses, such as anxiety, depression, drug addiction, anorexia and self-harm. In many affluent communities, external accomplishments such as prestige, power, and money for adults, or grades, clothes and electronics for kids, become more important than happiness. Children in such communities are more likely to suffer from psychological problems then those who do not.

But money is not the problem; it's the problems that it creates. And the problem is achievement pressures and emotional isolation from parents.

Dr. Levine reports that a mother’s own happiness is the key to raising healthy kids, and found that there is an unexpectedly high rate of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, loneliness, and overall unhappiness among mothers of affluent households! This is damaging to the children as well as to the mother.

How do I want my children to remember me? For my drinking and drug-related problems? For how I "entertained" them and guests? For what I accomplished or had? For how flawless I appeared before others? Or for how I loved them?

The Lord invited the rich young man to follow him and to be happy. Instead, the poor man decided to walk away sad…“for he had many possessions.”

How many of you feel as though people like you just because of the influence you have or for what you have?  I am sure the rich young man was surrounded by people who were looking to get something out of him:  special favors, privileges, acknowledgments, positions, money, etc. But unlike the people surrounding him, the Lord was not looking to get something from him.  In fact, He didn't want anything from him.  He just wanted him.  

The same goes for us as well.

Posted by Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro with

12345678910 ... 3132