Sunday, August 29, 2010
The readings today, the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, bring me back to that thinking on humility. Sirach tells us to "humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God." Sirach 3: 17-18, 20, 28-29.
As if I know what depths of humility there are! As the Catholic Encyclopedia tells us, the word humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness; certainly a feeling that what I am or what I have here is not worth much. That is the definition the world wants us to believe in! As with most things of this world, it is wrong! Because I have my traditions in the Church, and not in this world, I know that humility is the first of the virtues. Humility is the foundation-stone to all other virtues.
True humility is knowing that God is first among all things. We recognize gifts and talents in others, and we also recognize our own gifts and talents, and we also know that we can go so far and no further, for we are mere mortals with limitations. Humility, then, is a posture of strength not of weakness. There again, the world we live in tells us just the opposite!
In Exploring the Sunday Readings, author Alice Camille says:
Nobody wants to be humble and hidden. Humility and anonymity
have such bad vibes in the era of Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube,
we need a new label to make this ancient virtue cool and desirable
gain. So here's one: think of humility as "reverse celebrity." Everybody
gets fifteen minutes of fame today. Imagine getting yours and
punting it! Don't go blonde, or blue, or bald like the rest. Live without
the new thing. Drive the old car. Go on vacation -- and don't post
the pictures anywhere for people to envy your opportunity. Just
be invisibly ultra-hip, in the privacy of your home. Be so smart
that no one knows how much you know. Don't blog about every
last opinion you hold. Cultivate your own mystery. Pour a cup
of tea and be holy -- splendidly out of view.
If need be, turn to Our Lady. She can teach us all, far beyond the borders of humility.
My tea is waiting.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I love the quiet. In the midst of busy days, frustrating events, and seemingly impossible problems, I love the quiet. It helps to center my world, and what is important. What needs to be important. Not my trials, not my tribulations, not my sufferings. As St. Bernard asked our Lord which of his wounds was his greatest suffering. Our Lord answered. . . .
Lately, I have been enjoying a program on EWTN called "Parable". Each week, retreatants gather at the Most Blessed Sacrament Friary in Newark, NJ to discuss the parables of Jesus. Please catch it if you can; the insights are wonderful.
At the end of each segment, St. Birgitta of Sweden tells us:
"The Virgin Mother says: 'You must have five inward things and five outward things.
First, outward things. . . a mouth clean of all detraction, ears closed to idle talk, modest eyes, hands busy with good works, and withdrawal from the world's way of life.
Inwardly, you must have five things. . . namely, a fervent love for God, a wise longing for Him, the distribution of your temporal goods with a just and right intention and in a rational way, humble flight from the world, and a long-suffering and patient expectation of his promises.' "
Whenever and wherever I walk this summer, the air is warm and soft. I will be loathe to give this up come Autumn, but the seasons have their time.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us (845) . . . "The Church is "the world reconciled". She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world."
Whether the air be soft and warm, or bitingly cold, I will welcome it. And I will be quiet.