The passion for excellence

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

We need to be concerned about this matter. If we really want to be truly human and Christian, we need to develop a passion for excellence in everything that we do.

It should not be motivated by pride or vanity, greed, and envy. Rather, it is to give glory to God, contribute to the common good, and make full use of the many blessings God has given us and thus attain the perfection meant for us.

In the gospel, there are many references about this need. Christ himself leads the way by showing us how excellent all his deeds were despite being hidden. At one point, the people could not help but say that “he has done all things well.” (Mk 7,37) And when he preached, the people were very amazed “because he taught as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mk 1,22)

We can presume everything Christ did was done with a passion for excellence. This means he worked first of all to obey the will of the Father, and he did all with whatever perfection can be achieved given a particular circumstance. He knew how to make do with what was available. Being God and not to show off, he performed miracles.

St. Paul also made some exhortation about this passion for excellence. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?” he asked. “Run in such a way as to take the prize.” (1 Cor 9,24)

This passion of excellence includes the urge to finish what was started, to persevere in doing good till the end regardless of all the difficulties. It involves putting the last stone, the last finishing touches.

Thus, in the Letter to the Hebrews, we are told to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (12,1)

We have to develop the proper attitude and skills to have this passion for excellence. Every day, let us motivate ourselves to be zealous in everything we do. We have to be driven, hot, enthusiastic, not complacent and lukewarm. We have to set clear goals and standards to measure our performance, deadlines to meet. We have to have some game plan and clear idea of the means we have to use.

This passion for excellence will surely include a spirit of initiative, creativity, and inventiveness. It should know how to handle setbacks, failures, and disappointments, how to be flexible and adaptable without losing focus, how to recover from exhaustion.

To sustain this passion for excellence, we need to continually purify our intentions, availing the spiritual and supernatural means. Let’s remember that in all times we have to contend with powerful enemies—our own wounded selves, the many allurements of the world, and the devil himself.

This passion for excellence, if grounded and oriented properly, will always be marked by joy and peace despite the tension that it entails. It does not fall into what is called as bitter zeal where the details of charity and prudence would be left behind.


It does not eat up our human warmth. It is very much compatible with showing affection, and with ‘wasting’ time with friends. It does not count costs and it enables us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to God and to everyone else.

A person with passion for excellence is aware that he freely received much from God. He will also give himself freely to God and to others.



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