What makes something Great?

St. Peters Basilica the Night before Christmas Mass 2005

Yesterday morning I found myself thinking about greatness and faith. I have come across individuals who hold that something done with Christ is automatically great. It isn’t that I would discount the importance of living a life with the Spirit, and honoring God with our times and talents. It is that I have issue with the assumption some make about the greatness of their achievements.

In thinking through this I came across what might be the a part of the source of this misplaced understanding of the greatness of the works of our hands. It starts with the belief that we hold before we meet Christ:

My Personal Value/Worth = The value of what I do/create
Also know as: I am what I do

One of the many transformative realities of faith is that our value is now infinite because of the value that Christ sees in us. We ought to work towards accepting this reality and allowing it to transform how we view ourselves. After all Jesus didn’t die on a cross for the scum of the earth, he died on the cross for those he loves and cherishes. At this point that belief now becomes:

I am Infinitely Valuable = the value of what I do/create is Infinite
Also known as: Everything I do with Christ is Great

On the surface this change makes sense, kind of. Instead of letting what we do define who we are, we are defined externally by God. Yet it is absurd that just because something is done by a Christian or with Christian intentions that it is, therefore, great. Rather I believe that there as people of faith there is a call further for us.

I am Infinitely Valuable = God loves me with an infinite love
What I do has value = Because I enjoy its creation AND others attribute it value

When we allow ourselves to separate from our value from the work of our hands we are free to be critical of the work. If it is inferior it does not mean that I am worth anything less. It just means that the work I did was not excellent. I believe that we ought to do things excellently.

My Intentions are not to say that the Church hasn’t done great things.
My desire to temper our lavish praise to that which actually deserves it.
For self disclosure, I’ve not done many great things in my life. Yet I try.

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