It always annoys me when I hear some rich person or amazing athlete bragging about all their success. The reality is that much of their success depends on God. We commonly say “thank you” to people when they help us, but it’s not really the helping we are thanking. We are actually thanking them for making the choice to help us. After all, the action is dependent on the person’s body that God provided them (CCC 41). He picked all the unique genes that gave the person their talents and skills (CCC 814, 913). The person can’t take credit for their talents, only for the good choice they made to help (CCC 311).
When we look at our lives, we should always separate the action from the choice. Only then can we get a good idea of how much credit we deserve. Our whole lives we are constantly cooperating with God to use the body he gave us for good (CCC 323). God gave us the talents; we make the choice. We should never claim that we deserve all the credit for everything we’ve done. And this isn’t even considering other people that may have influenced us.
We may have had friends or family that gave us good advice or motivation. Those people influenced our decisions, so we can’t even take full credit for our decisions. I would guess that in most cases, we can only claim around 25% of the credit for our achievements in life. We owe the majority of what we do to others. Unfortunately, when thinking about achievements, it’s very easy to focus too much on the present. We see all our success and think, “Look at all I did!”. We forget about all the people that helped us along the way. Even worse, we forget that God gave us the capability to do all these things because of the body he gave us.
When thinking about all the progress we’ve made in life, I think it is good practice to force ourselves to acknowledge the others in our lives every step of the way. A huge part of the Catholic faith is focusing on others instead of ourselves. This is called sacrifice, which is part of charity, and charity is another name for love (CCC 2100, CCC 1822). We know that God is love, so we have to embody love too. Avoid having pride in your achievements (CCC 2481, 1 Jn 2:15-16). Always focus on how you were helped by others. Whenever you think about all you’ve done, don’t just think of the main bullet points. Think about all the people that were around you during those moments. When someone gives you credit for an action, be polite and thank them, but make sure to mention the others that helped you.
May God bless you with his abundant grace,