Bringing the Text to Life

Thanking Ourselves to Death Luke 17:5-10

Thanking Ourselves to Death

True servants must wean themselves away from recognition as their primary motivation and rediscover the lost art of quiet obedience.

When Pope John Paul II appointed Col. Alois Estermann last spring as the new commander of the 100-member elite corps of Swiss Guards, who provide protection for the pope, it was the happiest moment of his life, as well as the pinnacle of his career. It was a particularly noteworthy achievement since Estermann himself was not Swiss, the first non-Swiss to hold the position.

Yet within hours of this exciting moment, Estermann and his wife lay lifeless in a pool of blood on the floor of their apartment, the victims of a man whose fury was energized by one emotion: self-pity.

The murderer, who committed suicide at the scene, was Cedrich Tornay, a youthful member of the Swiss Guards. But Tornay, unlike fellow guards, was not slated to be recognized at an upcoming ceremony to mark Estermann's appointment as chief of the Vatican Guards. Estermann had scolded Tornay a number of times for a variety of indiscretions. Tornay, whom Vatican sources have described as "hotheaded," was reprimanded...

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