Paid In Full
by Rev. Robert J. Hermley
Stories for Life Index
One evening, I decided to sit down and write out an exhaustive list of all the good things I had done for God. I wrote on the fist line thirty-seven years of priesthood, then continued with thirty-seven years of saying the Mass, hearing Confessions, years of counseling, instruction of converts, Baptisms, visiting the sick, anointings, First Friday calls, emergency calls in the middle of the night, fixing family feuds, twenty-seven of teaching, fund raising, coaching, and many, many years of College and Theology.
I paused momentarily to see if there was anything else that I should add to the list. I chewed the end of my pencil pensively as one does in a thoughtful mood, and as I did, my eyes raised to look at the Crucifix above my desk. I heard nothing, but felt something deep within me give me a stern reply
Have I ever reminded you of the thousands of times I forgave you in Confession? Where do you think you got your ability to get this far in your life? Where do you think you got your ideas for speaking? Where did you get your ability to deliver a touching sermon? You were nothing when I first chose you. I put My spirit into your heart. I put my words into your mouth. It was I, who set you on fire in the first place. It was I who called you, not the other way 'round. What makes you even think for a moment that you even deserve to be a priest?
I was deeply touched, and lowered my head and said this prayer:
Dear Lord, may I never again remind You of all the things I have done for You. They are so little in comparison to what you have done for me. I guess, Dear Lord, that part of being human is to forget that all of our work, all of our deeds, all of our thoughts, all of the toil that we experience in life, all of our sufferings are nothing more than a thank you note to You, telling You how grateful we really are for all the marvelous and wonderful thins you can accomplish through us if we are humble enough to remember Your message, "Without Me you can do nothing!"
I took my pencil and under all the things I had written that I had accomplished I wrote in large bold letters:
Paid In Full!