Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jealousy: a mega preventative step

Are you ever jealous, or envious? I know I am. It's a horrible weakness and an even worse sin.

Yesterday, in his homily, Father Dennis Brown, OMV (of Saint Francis Chapel) dropped an aside that, to me, was a bombshell.

The Gospel, if you recall, recounted Jesus' parable about the landowner who hired men to work a full day, then less of a day, then lesser, and so on. Anyway, they all got the same wage and the guys who worked the longest were ticked off...jealous.

Father Dennis briefly mentioned his childhood family gatherings.

"I really never am envious of others," he said (and of course I'm paraphrasing, having left my tape recorder at home) "and I thank my mother for this. At meals, she encouraged us to express admiration and gratitude for the gifts God gave to others. For example: `isn't it wonderful that so-and-so sings so well?' And 'I love watching whosis skate. He's so good at it!'"

You get the picture. And obviously, this loving nurturing worked.

Last winter, Father Dennis did a number on his leg while hiking.

It was so bad, they weren't even able to operate on it until Good Friday...a 10 hour surgery during which he almost lost his leg entirely, but for the grace of God and a determined surgeon. Today, yes he's limping, but he's walking and able to celebrate Mass and manage the Chapel's bookstore. And he's getting better and better.

Did I tell you I broke my foot on Easter Sunday?

Of course I did. Several times, at least. And while I've been walking sans limp for a good many weeks now, I often find myself jealous of people who walk faster than I can!


When I was a kid, we weren't allowed to badmouth anybody at home. But the memo about taking joy—joy!—in the talents of others must've escaped me.

It's not too late, is it?

I'm thinking that a good practice for me would be to, during the day and at the end of the day, thank God for giving people I come across those gifts I might not possess. To thank Him, for example, for my business partner's talent, for my competitor's savvy, for my friend's ability to dance, for another friend's athletic ability, for my sister's good husband, for my niece's know.

And speaking o' children:

If you've got them, I thank God for them. And while offering a prayer of thanksgiving for Mrs. Brown, I pray that you might consider emulating her.

(If you already don't...and you probably do!)