A life lived without the spontaneity and energy of inspiration seems hardly worth living. Although creativity and the passion to pursue greatness comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, its intrinsic value seems rather self-evident. Why be an average mother or an average businessman when you can be great at what you do? When people have lost the fire to do what they do and do it better, life falls into patterns of boredom and mediocrity.
That is when pleasure becomes the focal point. If I cannot be great, then I will settle for being comfortable. Instead of pursuing beauty, I will pursue the newest distraction and the most convenient thrill. Lives can be wasted in an endless stream of entertainment and illusions, all covering up a decision that was made, often subconsciously; a decision to give up on the possibility of greatness.
There is also a danger in the pursuit of excellence as well. Often magnanimity gets polluted by pride and the disorders of the heart, becoming just an extension of our distorted self-love. Instead of our pursuits being grounded in the explosive dynamic of the Holy Spirit, they become merely extensions of the lies that we have embraced. This is essentially an idol of greatness, a mirage, that leads to the false worship of egocentricity. That does not mean, however, that greatness runs against the Christian virtue of humility.
Christians are called to that true greatness which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. In this way, magnanimity is the virtue of those who have taken up their cross and followed the Lord with complete abandonment. As we cooperate with this perennial call to conversion, the Lord awakens within us deep desires. The Holy Spirit shows us the mystery at the heart of all things, moving us to wonder and awe. As we learn to stand before this infinite beauty with complete surrender, we discover our true selves. We discover the saint that God wants us to be; we discover the mystic God intends for us.
Our role in this mystery is to open up possibilities for the Holy Spirit by giving him access to our hearts. In our families and in our work, we must make times and spaces for the Holy Spirit to work in us and in those around us. In this way, we must give permission for Him to work His transformation in our lives.
The image is taken from http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/four_seasons_in_yosemite/spring.html