“Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble.” A catchy tune and song popularized by Mac Davis could be an anthem for us bloggers today.
Recently there was a bit of a mini-explosion over what one of my fellow bloggers posted in a comment box. The resulting pile up on her was unfortunate and unfair but undoubtedly a lesson for us all, writers and readers.
Most of us bloggers began simply enough. An idea, our computers, and a free hosting service, and we were off to the races. We had a small following, mostly read by a few family members and friends who likely cheered us on as we grew. Some of us have been fortunate enough to catch a break or two, gain many more followers and have some level of success in what we do. This is where it becomes tricky.
Bloggers are generally separated from their readership. True, some may get a speaking engagement or two which affords them an opportunity to engage their readers but likely no one will ever meet all their readers face to face. In that comfort and behind the protection of a monitor, the temptation may be great to write that seething article or post a comment to shut down an argument once and for all. But is that really what we are called to do?
Even though we are successful it does not put us on a plane higher than our readers. Now before I go any further, let me admit, I struggle with this myself. Pride is a nasty thing that can box you into a very lonely corner rather quickly. Pride leads to the occasions where we want to write that sarcastic reply, hit the enter key, and call it a night. The problem is you wake up the next morning and may find you have started Armageddon with one….simple…post.
Here’s some pertinent advice I received from my spiritual director recently. As I stated earlier I’m as guilty as the next blogger and have had this discussion more than once with him. Take a look at James Chapter 3. This chapter deals with the power of the tongue. Even though blog posts are not verbal, I venture to say if the words go from our heads to our fingers to the page, it’s something we would likely say anyway.
In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. (James 3: 5- 10).
Last year I interviewed Father Larry Richards at a weekend men’s retreat I attended where he was the retreat master. At closing Mass he asked us for our prayers. His specific request: pray that he remained humble. As a public speaker he recognizes how difficult it can be when people talk you up all the time. I believe that is a trap we all should consider. Perhaps we should pray for each other. And perhaps right before submitting that next post we should pray the litany of humility .
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.
Copyright 2014, Pete Socks