Thursday, April 12, 2012
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?