Today is the Feast of St Therese of the Infant Jesus. I have no particular devotion to her, but Fr Finigan spoke of a certain incident in his Sermon on her life this morning - that she was accused (wrongly) by her Mother Superior (who didn't like her very much) of breaking a vase, amongst other imperfections against the Holy Rule, but that she just apologised and carried on. This is an example of true humility - the ability to accept gratefully any humiliation or wrong in the knowledge that it is as nothing compared with the suffering of Our Lord. It is all well and good feeling remorse about our faults during Sermons and Liturgy though, but actually living out the Christian life is infinitely more difficult. I have just come in from an agonizingly bad day at work (even worse than usual), and thinking about it now (perforce) just makes me realise how spectacularly I fail at humility - or for that matter, just about every other Christian virtue. I cordially loathe my job, everything about it; I find it demeaning and depressing beyond my worst nightmare. Today was especially bad because I was being spied on by a Manager, after which I had a sort of informal ''appraisal'' about how best to offer customer service and other retail merchandising hogwash. I scored 9/10 (probably only that high because I knew I was being spied on), which means that I have to undergo the whole thing again. The thing I failed on was not smiling, not making eye contact and not instigating a conversation with the customer. He did explain to me that a supervisor had informed him that I found eye-contact somewhat difficult, but that still didn't stop him putting the cross in the box. He then went into a well-rehearsed ''lecture'' on more retail rubbish (I am trying desperately not to swear!) and I just sat there nodding, thinking: ''this means nothing whatsoever to me'' (or something conveying a similar sentiment). I then explained in the most diplomatic terms I could devise how the nature of this specific work was unsuitable for me and that I was eager to go back to my old quasi-respectable job.
Later on, I had the ''customer-from-hell'' - a woman with a chip on both shoulders. Without going into details, she just managed to create a scene and cause everyone within the vicinity an inconvenience just because she couldn't add up. After arguing with her for about 20 minutes, a supervisor graciously intervened and I just sat back feeling especially bitter about things. This is what I mean about conveniently forgetting about the requirements of one's faith when thrown in the deep end and asked to put it into practice. I just wish I could get out of it. For what I put up with at work, it makes me almost weep to think about what I am paid for it. The things I would like out of working life are dignity, respect, recognition, quiet, intellect and enjoyment - my current occupation is devoid of all those things, and what is worse, is that the prospect of these desired things is slowly slipping away. I need a miracle, and certainly lots of prayers.
Am I too bitter and dismissive? I may yet be immature in the spiritual life, but perhaps one can say that at least the desire for Christian perfection is there. I just need to clear out the cobwebs of resentment and arrogance so that the light of God's love can pervade over my soul. I may read St Therese's Little Way when I get time, small things at a time and all that.