Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making our Lives a Masterpiece.

The editor-in-chief of the Catholic Times reminds us that this is a bad time for most items being sold in the market today. Expensive items, however, are doing very well in department and duty-free stores. The present dull market has had no influence in this area of the economy; there are no sales when it comes to masterpieces. This is also a time where many fakes make it to the market, imitating  expensive brands.
He gives us an easy and humorous way of distinguishing a fine item from a fake. A man asked his friend if he could  tell the difference between an expensive brand handbag and a counterfeit.  The friend answered that even the specialists have difficulty distinguishing them. The man then told his friend how to tell the real from the fake: When a sudden rain-shower comes, the person with the fake bag will be seen using the bag as a temporary umbrella while the person with the genuine bag will try to keep it from the rain.

There are those who buy a well-made item, believing it to be an important possession. And there are those who want to showoff their wealth by buying something expensive. The difference between the two, he says, is no small matter.

Because something is expensive and well-made is not the only reason it's considered worth the expensive price tag: a great deal of time and care went into producing it, to making it the finest example of its kind. He would like us to do the same with our own lives, creating masterpieces.  He puts the difference in the details that distinguishes the masterpiece from a fake.

A religious life, he points out, can also be similar to the difference between the fake and the real thing. The real thing takes a great deal of time and effort to achieve; it's the difference, he suggests, between the pro and the amateur performer.

He goes on to distinguish between two types of self-esteem. One type has eyes on others; the other sees his own worth and dignity. Here we have the difference between pride and humility.

Our life as a masterpiece is not something we have received ready-made but must, with the grace of God, develop and be fostered. It takes insight to look ahead into the future, to love genuinely, to be true to oneself, understanding oneself and others. It is this wisdom that makes for a genuine faith life, not thinking only of oneself but of others and society. Isn't this what makes our religious life a masterpiece?            

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