"Grace of Humility" by Fred Schaeffer, OFS
When we talk about Humility, we are discussing a virtue that is not so easily found these days. If we want to share eternity with Our Lord Jesus Christ, in Heaven, we have got to find a way to become humbler. Humility is one of the underpinnings of the spiritual life. In Lk 18:14b, "He who humbles himself will be exalted."
Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer. If you do not possess humility, you will not be able to ask for forgiveness. In fact, the idea of asking for forgiveness probably will not even occur to someone who is filled with pride. A person who isn't humble, someone who has so much pride that he or she cannot see the goodness in other persons nor the sins he/she is committing, will have a completely distorted picture of what is right or wrong, and will probably not even care. The proud person does not know how to love or adore. Such a person will not be able to recognize the divine goodness of God. We need humility and meekness to see what is wrong in our lives. It is better to distrust our own power and realize the necessity of talking with God in prayer, than to become too dependent on ourselves. Even, too independent isn't so good - we may think we can do without our neighbor (other people, in general) but that is not quite true.
No one is born with humility. It is not a genetic quality. We did not inherit it from our parents although their good example will help us in our formative years. Humility is God's work. It is yet another Gift he gives us. God is humble, even though this may sound far-fetched because God is so perfect. Everything we read in Holy Scripture, when Jesus was on earth, indicates that he has the Gift of humility.
"In the light of creation, a very curious question appears on the horizon. The question is not whether God is humble enough to be found in our presence. Rather, can we be humble enough to associate with God?" (From: Within the Heart of Mary. Dom Augustine Moore, OCSO © 2001. Our Lady of Holy Spirit Abbey, Conyers, GA)
St. Paul reminds us, in Phil. 2:6-11, "Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
This is the key part of that Scripture: "he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross." Jesus humbled himself and was obedient to the Will of the Father ... In like fashion, we too must be obedient to the Father in all we undertake.
"The cross is the supreme icon of God's humility." (Dom Augustine Moore) There is a direct relationship between our worthiness to be rewarded with everlasting life, and our humility in life. St. Peter in 1 Pt 4:13, "But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly."
Make time for God and pray! Talk to Him ... He is our friend. He won't let us down. Let us not let Him down, either. And if it takes some suffering to be and remain humble, then offer it up for the sake of the Kingdom. There are plenty of worthy causes for whom we can do some mortification, some fasting perhaps, or offering up our daily aches and pains. There are so many people who are dying of cancer these days, pray for them. Lift them up to Jesus for healing. Be humble and loving to God and to our fellow human beings.
May He richly bless you this and every day!
Fred S. Schaeffer, OFS
October 6, 2009, slightly revised Nov. 2018
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Term expires: 2/10/2022
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS
Donna Haro, OFS
Joanne Giordano, OFS
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Five Franciscan Martyrs