Let’s face it. We all have done things that we wish we can take back. Me included. What really blows me away is that all, especially clergy, can make mistakes. Some mistakes are greater than others. We can have moments where we belt out anger after a bad day, not knowing when to take a step back, or not fulfilling a task or duty.
The good news is that it is a lesson in the virtue of humility. Like everyone that we encounter, I am someone that is unafraid to admit to my past mistakes. Looking back, I wish that I can take back hurtful words, overstepping my boundaries, not being a good example, and not stepping up when I was needed.
What helps me to recognize my human nature is that I am a humble servant of God that keeps trying to strive for the ultimate prize in life, heaven.
St. Augustine can relate to all of us. In his Confessions, he remarked, "This way is first humility, second humility, third humility and no matter how often you keep asking me I will say the same over and over again." He knows that the key to a happy life was humility and lots of it.
As we reflect on the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time, we are reminded at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus is the ultimate example of humility. He inherited not money, fame, fortune, or earthly possessions. Rather, he inherited the souls and hearts of every person he encountered in just 33 years of his life.
We can too. We can model his humility by doing works of mercy, seeking the right answers from spiritual directors, be willing to offer our talents and time to others, and most importantly decreasing our desires on what the world offers.
I do want to close with one bold statement.
For anyone who is reading this, I want to say something that I may not have said right then and there. It is something that I want to say now, or it will but some weight to my heart. If I hurt you in any way, dismissed needed advice, or shot you down when help was offered, I am sorry. I hope you take this into account and let us make amends now and move on.