St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman

Reflections on the wisdom of the saints and the importance of performing work with the right intention, despite criticism or the desire for applause.

Wisdom of the Saints – St. John Henry Newman

Today, Saint John Henry Newman will guide us. Nothing would be done at all if a man waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault with it. When we do different projects, we would like to receive applause and appreciation, and we are afraid of the criticisms that someone might not notice and appreciate our effort and everything that we have done. That’s pride within us. We are afraid of not being appreciated, and once we complete a work or project, we want people to appreciate us, and that’s natural.

But there are also those who criticize, and if we look carefully at our intentions and why we do what we do, we can learn a lot about ourselves. On one hand, what is the fundamental and deeply hidden intention with which we are performing a project? Are we doing it for human eyes, for the applause and appreciation that we would get from those around us, or do we have still deeper intentions that we would do it out of love for God and for our neighbor, not looking at human applause?

The critics will always be there one way or another. On one hand, they could contribute a lot to our humility, but we can also look at what we are being criticized as an opportunity to grow, to improve, to be able to look at what we are doing from a different angle. So we don’t need to be completely overtaken if we are criticized, but don’t you think that even if a hundred people will tell you how good you did it and you worked so hard that it could be flawless, yet the one person might not be so enthusiastic as the other 99, and that one person may leave a bitter taste for us?

Wait a minute, why are we like that? Because our hearts are set on wrong priorities in our lives, apart from the fact that there is a lot of jealousy and envy, and people might not like not being at the center and showing that they could actually downgrade and criticize our work. But as Saint John Henry Newman says, you can work hard, you can do a lot of beautiful things, but to what point trying to make it flawless that no one will find a fault in it? It’s not a point.

Let’s remember what the Saints teach. Even a small deed, a work performed with true love, with the right intention, selfless giving and heading in mind the good of those we are performing it for, goes a long way in the eyes of God, instead of huge projects performed for the applause and our own glory that may not really please God in these terms.

Let us ask the Lord that when we do something, first of all, we pray, and we need to have the right intention with which we are doing it. Lord, I’m doing it for your glory. Please purify my intentions, and if the criticisms arrive, that’s fine. But let’s not fall in the pit of saying, “Well, if I’m not doing it 100% perfectly, then I’m not engaging it at all. I’m not even trying to do it because I’m afraid of criticisms.” As I said before, they will always arrive one way or another. That’s not the main focal point.

Brothers and sisters, as we reflect on this beautiful phrase of Saint John Henry Newman, let’s remember that the intention of our heart and a surge for the glory that will come only from God are the primary goals of what we are doing, accepting criticisms, accepting what God sends us, but at the same time throwing ourselves, being imperfect as we are, knowing that at the end, God rewards us according to his will. God bless you, brothers and sisters, as we continue our reflections on the wisdom of the Saints.

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