Spirituality, Gifts and Ego


#1

I have a question about spirituality, growth, and…actualization (am not sure what the best word might be here).

Many of us are or have been on a major journey of growing closer to God, either though conversion (whether you were born Catholic or not) or incidents in our Christian lives. I personally see this journey as always continuing, that one can never really be “done” with it on this earth. We are always in the desert here, even the holiest of the holy, but we do have the bread of Heaven.

But when the human ego comes into the picture and some individuals become very caught up in themselves possessing gifts (or are revered by others for such) rather than gifts being poured out by God for His Church, I feel concern. It’s not that I do not admire individuals for how they’ve grown in the Lord (or as the case may be, how they have always had a deep relationship with Him or bear certain fruit).

My question: is it ever helpful to single out individuals as mini saints of sorts and to praise them for certain gifts or potentials? I have found this in some other traditions (e.g.- non-denominational/pentacostal…not to say it’s exclusive to those at all), but am recently seeing it more in my circle of Catholic acquaintances as well.

I understand why the saints are revered as such, as they are in the full presence of the Lord, but should we revere the gifts of the spiritually mature as personal graces here on earth?


#2

I think we should praise God in His saints. Recognize the good, acknowledge that it comes from the Lord, and praise Him for it.


#3

When I see people who are obviously gifted by God to do good for the salvation of souls, I cannot help but loving them and thanking God for them. For example, are you familiar with Mother Angelica who founded EWTN, Father Groschel, Father Corapi? These people are clearly future saints of the church, and I admire them for their love of God and of souls. But it is also clear that these people will never think their gifts are of their own doing. It is clear that they are humble and true servants and not seeking honor for themselves.

I guess it depends on what we are looking for from people. If we are interested in powerful gifts and wish to possess them for ourselves, then we could be enamored by personalities or certain spiritual techniques instead of becoming more in awe of God.


#4

I think it’s extremely important to guard ourselves against pride. Many of the Saints were revered on earth (and many were misunderstood and persecuted ;)) but they all managed to stay very humble despite that. I think we should remember that all gifts come from God and should be used for His kingdom, and they don’t really BELONG to us… and we haven’t earned them… in fact, we don’t deserve them at all cause we’re sinners. I think if this was remembered more (by me, as well) - there would be less of this type of pride.
Pride is very dangerous… to answer your question, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to revere spiritual gifts that people have (certainly that is better than feeling jealous of them :)) but we should also remember to give the honour to God, and also to not speak to people in such a way that it would encourage prideful thoughts. We can say something that’s encouraging, that is good :slight_smile: just not in the form of a compliment.

God bless


#5

:thumbsup: I agree.

we should always keep our focus on God and not on the gift for its own sake. For example, we don’t honour the Saints for their own sake, but to honour God in a greater way, and also we love them as good examples of the faith and because of all their help and prayers.


#6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.