Aug 1, 2021 filed under Gratitude, Humility.

Woman bragging about her muscles

A friend said, “I love being accountable to a prayer partner for my week. Because I’m kinda braggy: ‘I made it to Mass every day.’”

My friend is in good company. The Blessed Virgin said that her soul magnifies the Lord because He has done great things for her. Paul wrote that he boasts in Christ, and him crucified. The saints brag all over the place, but they brag about God, not themselves.

What about humility?
Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us — to see our strengths and weaknesses as realistically as possible. Which means realizing that relying on God is what makes us truly strong. And it means we can admit our dependence on God without shame and our virtues without pride, like the Blessed Virgin does.

Inspiring brags
The saints inspire me to holiness when they describe their victories over the devil and themselves. Like the time St. Therese of Lisieux overcame her temptation to clobber the nun in the next pew who constantly clicked her false teeth as she prayed the Rosary. When you’re in a Carmelite monastery, that nun ain’t going anywhere and neither are you. So you need to overlook it, go insane, or face assault and battery charges. Our hero Therese chose the first option (after narrowly escaping the second).

If Therese can get over the clicking sister, I can overlook the lady in the adoration chapel who spends half the time rummaging through her plastic bag. As a new Catholic, I gained confidence to accept annoyances because Therese showed me it was possible and showed me how. And all because she “bragged” about her victory in her autobiography.

Holy bragging
We can be good at beating ourselves up if we fall short of what we think we should do. So why not “holy brag” to a prayer partner when we succeed in listening to God and following his inspiration? It’s a way to share the joy, as Mary did with Elizabeth, of how God is working in our lives. Brag away, I say, as long as we put the credit in the right place—and as long as our joy comes from success in putting our preferences second to God’s loving will. Then we can rejoice with Mary: “the Almighty has done great things to me and holy is his name.”

Scroll down and something a saint wrote or said that inspired you.

Love always,

11 Responses to “Bragging Like a Saint”

  1. Maria Vida

    How did St. Therese do the overlooking? I presume she asked Mary or Jesus to help her.

    • Rose Folsom

      I believe she overlooked annoyances by letting her love for Jesus stay red hot. When we let others steal our peace (for longer than it takes to run to God for help), then we’ve distanced ourselves from God. Our little saint didn’t want to leave Jesus for a second, so she was able to overlook by keeping her eyes on the One she loved.

      • Nancy E Miller

        Often i start to be in the world but not of it, but its hard to do while I am in it! I think why would there be this world if I was always to be thin king about the next. Know what I mean? Its hard unless Im in church or Chapel or in my room. Being alone in too much silence is hard too. Nothing to brag about here.

  2. Margaret

    Thank you dear Rose!
    “From renouncement of one’s will is born patience, which no one is able to possess fully in all circumstances if he has not remitted his own will into the hands of God submitting himself to all men in that which is useful and suitable.”
    from L’Ornement des Noces Spirituelles by Venerable Ruysbroeck

  3. Karen F. Coombe

    Dear Rose, so glad your conference and reunion have been inspirational and fun. Often, when I write a note of condolence to accompany a Mass card I include this saying from St. Francis of Assisi “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take nothing that you have received… but only that what you have given: a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.” Blessings, Karen


    It was more what she did that has inspired me since I was a child. She did not like to do chores so, whenever she did her chores-she gave them up to the Lord. She found happiness in the things she did not like to do with the strength of the Lord. XO

  5. Barbara Ballard Kreutzer

    Here are two:
    The first is a quote from the delightfully frank St. Teresa of Avila that is a reminder of how precious we are to God and He to us and then how to proceed:
    “Today, while beseeching our Lord to speak for me because I wasn’t able to think of anything to say … there came to my mind… that we consider our soul to be like a castle made entirely out of a diamond or a very clear crystal in which there are many rooms just as in Heaven there are many dwelling places.…The gate of entry to this castle is prayer and reflection.
    (From her book, The Interior Castle, as quoted in Amy Oden’s book, In Her Words)

    Also, there is a story St. Teresa recounts in the Interior Castle which helps me remember we always can be completely open and honest with Our Savior who loves us through and through:
    One day, while in prayer, God physically elevates St. Teresa off the ground in the presence of her peers. Her response? Not praises, but a forthright, “Put me down!”

  6. Tom Roberts

    Acceptance is the key. I have long wondered if irresistible impulse is legal justification for dispatching people with irritating behaviors. Really, all it takes is a shift in viewpoint. I attend Eucharistic Adoration weekly where a lady also rummages through her plastic bag. Thanks to Rose I now realize this must be an integral part of that sacred hour.

  7. Sabrina

    I’m grateful to have the strength and means to gather my adult daughter once again and bring her back under my care until she can be mentally balanced enough to sustain herself. Each time she comes back bruised and battered from the world I wonder how I can possibly do it again and somehow the strength comes to me. God is good.