Real failure comes when we consider ourselves good enough at something to be able to repeat it rather than to develop it. "Success is dangerous," the painter Pablo Picasso said. "One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility."
I celebrate myself," the poet Walt Whitman wrote. The thought is so delicious it is almost obscene. Imagine the joy that would come with celebrating the self — our achievements, our experiences, our existence. Imagine what it would be like to look into the mirror and say, as God taught us, "That's good.
"Ideals are like stars," Carl Schurz wrote. "You will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like seafarers on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny." Ideals do not determine what we do to make a living in life; They govern what we become as we do it.
Getting to know ourselves and learning to control ourselves are the two great tasks of life. Don't make up strange and exotic 'penances.' Simply say no to yourself once a day, and you will be on the road to sanctity for the rest of your life.
It is in community that we come to see God in the other. It is in community that we see our own emptiness filled up. It is community that calls me beyond the pinched horizons of my own life, my own country, my own race, and gives me the gifts I do not have within me.