During Bishop Christian’s knee replacement recuperation, we’ll be using the J.S. Paluch Company bulletin resources and the “Living the Word” scripture reflections for our weekly reflections.
The dictionary definition of humility is “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people.” Humility is often misunderstood to mean not affirming our own gifts or abilities. However, classic spiritual writers would say that humility simply means being grounded in reality: our gifts and limitations, our grace and sin, in light and darkness. Humility calls us to thank people who affirm the former and thank God for our gifts, grace, and light. Humility also entails listening to people who point out the latter and take them to prayer to admit our limitations and seek forgiveness for sin, and ask for light in darkness.
Sirach tells us to accept and be who we are, nothing more but also nothing less. Jesus says something similar. Not accepting who we are often results in arrogance and self-exaltation. My Aunt Sophia called that “nose trouble”. Our nose is out of joint because we think that we’re better than others. How do we correct that? Follow Jesus’ example of standing with those whom others would dismiss as “less than” themselves. For as the Letter to the Hebrews notes, in the city of the living God all belong, all share in God’s love.
In Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis notes: “Ultimately, the lack of a heartfelt and prayerful acknowledgement of our limitations prevents grace from working more effectively within us, for no room is left for bringing about the potential good that is part of a sincere and genuine journey of growth” (EG, 50). Ground yourself in humility. Acknowledge your gifts. Own your limitations. Mingle with all people. Then you will find favor with God. It’s not easy to do that, but as today’s psalm affirms, God provides for the needy and for all.