Thursday, October 22, 2015


Humility is knowing what you are, and acting like it. To act humble for any other reason, save out of this self-knowledge, can be repugnant.
We live in that God-given gift of soul and body.  But we cannot even make it work without His continual power and protection. He must safeguard us from the millions of germs in the air about us;  He must keep that heart pumping blood throughout our bodies.  If our brain is seriously injured, we may suddenly become a nothing on the human scene.
Wherever we have arrived in our business, social, family, school, and religious life, we have arrived by God's gifts.
In His own words: "Without Me, you can do nothing.
In a sense, even a statue is more independent of its maker than we are of God. The artist can carve the statue and go home; his creation will stand there for years. But if the Artist Who made us ever went back, so to say, to His heaven, we would collapse dismally and completely.  Honestly, we can write out the word "gift" and hang it around our necks.  No wonder that St Paul, after taking a long look at ourselves could cry out:  "What hast thou, O man, that thou hast not received, and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not?"
There is one exception in all this. God must power us for everything, and He does, but He still stands back when it comes to human sin.  Here we make our God-powered action a blank, negative thing.  We tear a hole in God's good cloth.  We slash across the beauty of God's plan for what our actions should be, and we are suddenly less than the beasts, for they, at least, do not sin.
"What shall you be?" Physically, a dead body, a mass of corruption which no one, even our most beloved, would want to, or be able to approach. In seventy-five or a hundred years they shall all forget how you talked, how you laughed, how you walked.  You are a quaint picture in somebody's album.  And spiritually what shall you be?  Even when the Son of God chose twelve, one failed Him, sold Him out, and damned himself. St Paul again strikes the warning note:
"He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall."
So there, my friends, are we.  Not much to raise a statue to.  But there can be something mighty pleasant in walking about the cool, authentic landscape of humility.  We can sort of stop acting for a while, and get away from the horrible lie that is pride.  And pride is one pitiful lie.  Whom do we fool by strutting through life as though our gifts are our own?  We can hardly fool ourselves, unless pride has so blinded us that we practically think we are God, and have gifted ourselves.
(extract from How to be humble by Francis M. Lee, C.SS.R.)

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