Betty Duffy

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cultivating Admiration

Our adult religious ed is doing Father Barron's study on the Seven Deadly Sins. As with almost everything the Word on Fire ministries produces, I cannot recommend the series highly enough.

There's been a lot of internet commentary on the dangers of comparing ourselves to other people, and finding ourselves inadequate. The party response has been to keep our eyes on our own papers, and be satisfied with our own capabilities. Unfortunately, keeping our eyes on our own papers doesn't really provide us with an opportunity for growth.

Father Barron proposes that to combat to the deadly sin of envy, we should cultivate the opposing virtue of Admiration.

I'm working on it. Here are a few people who no longer make me want to die of jealousy because I admire them so much:

1. Simcha Fisher, who is funny.
2. Marc Barnes, who hits it out of the park (and recently, into the Wall Street Journal) so frequently, and at such a young age, it's just weird.
3. Heather King, who is thought provoking, frank, and fearlessly herself.

None of them need my little link here to keep doing what they're doing. But it helps me.

I would also add Father Barron to my list, but his work is so clearly the work of the Holy Spirit, I fear it would be blasphemy to envy it.


Karyn said...

If I remember correctly, this is Saint Francis De Sales "cure" for sin as well - to cultivate the opposite virtue. It's a good thought - better to focus on the positive than to constantly try to deny the negative.

Kimberlie said...

Two questions, 1) would you recommend this for a Lenten study for my Mom's group? and 2) can it be done just in book form or is it only on DVD? For some reason that is beyond me, the other ladies in my group do not like doing DVD series. I, personally, would rather take advantage of seeing someone as they teach and also of their expertise. Let me know what you think.

BTW - I greatly admire you and your writing. You are pretty profound and witty yourself.

BettyDuffy said...

KImberlie, it is a DVD series. There's also a workbook with discussion questions, but the best part about it is listening to Father Barron. He's an outstanding teacher--so, so knowledgable. It is short though, so it's something you could get together and watch in one sitting, if it helps, and then do the discussion on a weekly basis. Just a thought...

Karyn, I think you're right. I know I've encountered this method before, but I think it's the first time I've heard admiration posed to combat envy.

R.E.O. Johnson said...

Heh, they may not need your link, but I sure should do. Catholic blogging is hard to break into...

But you do wonderful job!

JMB said...

I get what you're saying - sometimes what you envy is a nudge to get you moving towards something good. Is it ok to be so easy on yourself all the time? I don't let my children give me lame excuses for bad tests grades, so why should I allow myself some slack (I am after all 45 and had 4 kids so therefore I'm entitled to be slothful? Over eat? Not exercise or clean the house?). As my daughter says, "just saying"!

Ashley said...

Good idea. I have to remind myself to keep my eyes on my own paper but that doesn't always help. I've done something similar in the past, but I hope this will help me to be more diligent in combating envy.

Robin E. said...

Totally agree!!!! This is a huge soapbox for me. After leaving school (and a huge fellowship that I'd worked years to get) five years ago, I had no idea how to do the sahm thing well, but I'd felt led to give it a go because of the immense admiration I felt towards some key women online.

I know I will never be at the level of an Elizabeth Foss or Margaret Berns, domestically, but I have learned so much from both of them that I can honestly say they changed the entire course and quality of my life. Never having had a big sister (or really even a Mommy type mom), I really appreciate having these spiritual sisters in Christ for inspiration, guidance, and edification. I could never dream of competing, nor would I want to; I've got my own fish to fry! But thank God for godly women who set beautiful examples in this jaded world.

Some other women I admire greatly today include Carla Dobrovitz of Bringing Home Henry blog, Stephanie Kazmarzyk of Daily Smiles, and Susan Winn-Daoust of The Ironic Catholic. Each of these women have devoted themselves in some way to helping special needs orphans overseas. This is so far mainly the province of Protestants, but these women are not afraid to bring a Catholic missionary spirit to bridge that gap. Amazing role models, even though they wouldn't say so. I'm keeping one eye on their paper, because I have a feeling God might want some of us to learn something from it.

owen swain said...

King is on my list which is the same list Barron is on which is the same list which Duffy is on.

Just saying---even if I only occasionally click through my rss feed reader to comment here.