As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am participating in the 40 Days of Pastoral Blogging established by my friend and fellow priest Fr. John Peck.  Each day Fr. John provides a word or a topic for us to write on and the hope is that we will continue to blog after the 40 days are completed.  Today’s word is Vanity.

My quick go to source for information Wikipedia has this to say about Vanity, in conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one’s own abilities or attractiveness to others.  I made to word excessive bold in the previous sentence for a reason.  I believe that excessive is the key here.

I do not see anything wrong with believing in ourselves or in our abilities.  God has given each of us talents and we are supposed to use those talents, not for our won glory, but for the building up of the kingdom.  Maybe our talents are not so obvious and perhaps we need to consult our Spiritual Father for help in discovering what our abilities are, but we do need to figure this out and we need to get to work!

We do not use our God Given Talents for our own glory, and by that I mean we do not use our talents as a means to an end.  There has to be a purpose to what we do and that purpose cannot simply be to draw attention to one’s self.  Take this exercise in blogging that I am involved in.  Am I doing this to attract visitors to my site so they can see my picture and say what an awesome guy?  Or am I engaged in this exercise in the hopes that what I right maybe of use to someone, perhaps that someone will only be me.

As with anything, what is our motive behind what we are doing.

As we approach the National Day of Thanksgiving here in the US I will start to get calls from people who wish to come to help out at our Thanksgiving Community Meal.  (If you have read these pages for any time you will know that our parish serves a free meal to the community twice a month.)  Now I am not one to ever turn help away, but I have to stop and ask why now, why not in the middle of July?  People need food year round not just at the holidays.  So I politely tell them that if they wish to help out at Thanksgiving they need to put in some hours during the rest of the year.  I have not had one person come and help after I made this suggestion.

What are our motives?  Why are we doing what we are doing?  Is it to draw attention to ourselves or to bring glory to God?  We are the only ones who can answer that question but the answer will determine our level of vanity.

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