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.
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.
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.