“It is by humility that the Lord allows himself to be conquered, so that he will do all we ask.” St. Theresa of Avila
Recently, I have been attending a parish that is new to me. The lectors are very humble in the way they go to the ambo to proclaim the readings. I mentioned it to one of them after mass how impressed I was with the attention they have for their role as a lector. When I read sometimes, I think I am so important and can do such a great job. I was mistaken because I forgot to be humble.
“The three most important virtues are: humility, humility and humility.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux
I remember in high school when I ran for student president. I did not go in the campaign with humility but with arrogance. I didn’t win. It was not such a great example, but I think that sometimes we forget why we do things. Do we go to serve others or to serve ourselves? When I was in university, I was really interested in being successful and I had great aspirations, but I was humbled very quickly once I was out in the working world. I had to find my way in a career that was challenging. I think that God shows us a path when we are finally at a point where we listen because he shows us who is in charge.
“Humility is the only virtue that no devil can imitate. If pride made demons out of angels, there is no doubt that humility could make angels out of demons.” St. John Climacus
When I began to teach, I had thought that I had all the answers; I was so full of myself. However, that first year, the students challenged so much. They really put me through the wringer so to speak. The first summer I had off, I took some time to travel and reassess. Instead of reacting to every situation I wanted to be sure that I made myself more cerebral and more reflective. This was no small task. But I did have a lot of help and spiritual help. I follow the experience of the Catholic Movement of Communion and Liberation. It has been so helpful for me to read about Father Luigi Giussani, what he wrote about his experiences teaching and living his faith. He has become very famous in Italy and around the world for what he has done to help the people he met to follow Christ. The beauty of Luigi Giussani was not what he himself did, but how he indicated the road for all of us in the movement. He showed us who Christ was for each one of us. He was so humble. When I call the Carmelite convent, this sister who answers usually does not give her name. It is out of humility that the phone is answered. Yes, small examples but very important ones.
“As salt is needed for all kinds of food, so humility is needed for all kinds of virtues.” St. Isaac the Syrian
Sometimes, when people give me unsolicited advice, I usually take it the wrong way. This is my error. The advice comes out of an affection for me and not out of someone who wants to control me. It is easy to have a sense of entitlement and think the world owes each of us. I think this is a grave error. I think of the humility of the apostles and of the many people who followed Christ. Even St. John the Baptist made the comment that he was unfit to untie the sandals of our Saviour. It is true that none of us are worthy, yet Christ loved us first. One of Giussani’s favourite verses from Scripture is from Psalm 8: “What is man that you are mindful of him, mortals that you care for them?” I have been trying very hard this Lent to understand what the Lord has done for me. I want to know that what He has done for me is out of a love for each one of us. When challenges appear in my life – and there are many – I want to face each one with humility and trust in the Lord. It is through this trust in Christ that I can experience true humility.
"Once humility is acquired, charity will come to life like a burning flame…..” St. Vincent Ferrer