18. Aug, 2019

Twenty-second Sunday, C

“Take the lowest place”

God invites us to humble ourselves today and to live in humility always. That is probably not a very appealing invitation for most of us today – the invitation to take the lowest place.

Far too often we think of humility as something very negative. However, St Augustine says that “Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts.” Similarly, St Thomas Aquinas regards humility as “the foundation of the spiritual edifice.” Basically, it is the foundation as Augustine said! St Teresa of Avila simply equates humility with “walking in truth.”

The proof of the pudding is Our Lord who “humbled himself even to accepting death” (Phil 2:8) and Mary. The Magnificat is a cry of humility! My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant. Behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed for He who is mighty has done great things for me.

As Augustine says, “Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts”

I love this reflection by the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. It goes Jesus invites us to think of ourselves as always the last and the least. This is a difficult spiritual teaching, but one that needs to be heard at face value and not discussed away. We are invited to think of ourselves as less than others. This has nothing to do with poor self-image nor with psychological problems! Rather, this is an invitation to live in truth with others and to forge a new relationship with others by changing our way of thinking of them (https://christdesert.org/2004/08/homily-for-22nd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-cycle-c/).  

Good advice.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being honoured, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.