I was never an athlete in school. Well, unless you count marching band! It was in my freshman year of high school that we won it big down in Florida: we were the grand champions! Thoughts of the next few years began to form in our collective minds. Yet, that was the highest we would ever attain during the next few years other than an occasional 3rd place finish at state level competitions. Not exactly what you would call a great success.
But how could this be? After all, aside from the continual stream of seniors graduating every year, we had a solid group of people and we were always coaching up the newest members of the band. Ultimately, our woes can probably be summed up in one simple word: pride. While not inherently a bad thing to have, too much pride can, and has been, the undoer of many people - thinking that they can do anything and not have to worry about shortcomings or failures. Truly, pride can make us seem as though we should always, and are destined to be, first.
The Gospel tells us that the first shall be last. This resonates in reflection upon those moments of pride, of expectation. To think that we should be given something simply because we believe we deserve it! A book I was recently reading has the essential teachings of Mother Theresa day by day. How fitting, then, that the one I read for today states this: “Many people who have possessions, who have many goods and riches, are obsessed with them. They think that the only thing that counts is possessing wealth. That is why it is so difficult for them to walk each moment of each day with God. Too many of their moments are spent preoccupied with money and things.”
Wealth comes in many different forms, not just money. If we allow ourselves to be too focused upon the wealth we have in terms of material goods and services, we lose sight of the wealth that we should be attempting to grow and keep and build up: a spiritual wealth that is richly abundant in the love of God. When we allow ourselves to build up wealth in a spiritual sense, the rewards are greater than any material good or service we could possibly possess! How wonderful to know that by building up our own spiritual wealth, we are creating ourselves anew and allowing God to work miracles in us! If there was something to be a little prideful about, I would argue that this it!