Tuesday, March 17, 2009

16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.

From Jocelyn in Baltimore:

Frankly, this is the exact opposite of what I aim to be. To an extent, attention and accolades are necessary for what I do; if I don't work hard at making my work readily visible and continue to get more clients, I won't be able to make a living.

However, my ambitions and motives aren't always pure; more often than not, I just want to hoard the attention and use it as a way to feed my ego and feel good about myself.

And that's what this maxim means to me: examining my motives, and making sure that I'm not thinking of myself more highly than I ought. If I'm not trying to be simple, hidden, quiet, and small, you can be sure that I'm trying to puff myself up with self-importance.

And boy, I love being important. This maxim aims at my pride, which can be a tricksy thing. I can think that I'm just trying to further my business, or get more clients, but deep down I might be hankering for another ego fix.

Lord, please grant me true humility.

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The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.