Vanity

September 22, 2022

Each day, I reflect upon a word or a phrase inspired by the readings of the day. I encourage you to do the same and perhaps incorporate that word or phrase into your daily prayer.

 “Vanity of vanities!  All things are vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

VANITY: In many religions, vanity is considered a form of self-idolatry.  

The reading calls us to reflect upon our desire for earthly things, but also on our desire to impress others – to be seen as smart or wealthy or powerful. We like titles and rank, terms of superiority and status. We feel better about ourselves when others think highly of us.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being smart, wealthy, or powerful. There is nothing wrong with having a title of distinction. The question is, what do we hope to achieve by attaining these attributes or titles? Are we trying to stand out as better than others, seeking adulation from those around us? Or are our efforts centered on being the best version of ourselves, seeking to fulfill God’s will for us?

I came across a quote recently that said: “God can’t fill us if we are full of ourselves.”

Today’s readings point us toward the virtue of humility.

The cornerstone of humility is self-awareness — an honest, in-depth understanding of both our gifts and our limitations. We humbly use our gifts to glorify God while working to improve upon our limitations.

When our days on earth come to an end, I don’t believe we will be judged by the amount of acclaim we have received during our lifetime. However, we may be judged on whether or not we took advantage of opportunities to grow as good Christian men and women. We may be judged on our level of humility.

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