Monday, September 2, 2013
Friends of Faith:
I am sometimes confused by what it means to be humble—does that mean that I am to always remember that I am a sinner and that I can do nothing right, or that nothing that I do is quite “right enough?” And does it really mean I have to give up everything or can I keep some of my “favorite things?”
Everything I have, even my most basic needs, are God given gifts. So, which parts of my life did God give me as a gift so that I could survive, and which parts did he give me so that I would be able to serve others? And why does sorting through that question seem so difficult?
Although I heard the same gospel readings multiple times this past weekend it struck me that each time the description of humility included the word “acceptance.”
Acceptance of my weaknesses and my faults but with a firm resolve to try to do better; acceptance of the “critical analysis” which friends give me to help make me better and an accepting attitude that it is my will, my resolve and my perseverance that will convert ME to be the daughter of God that God created me to be--in His image.
Everything I have is His and I could have done nothing that I have done without Him. It is with great humility that I REALIZE just how much God has already given me AND that He has a purpose for not only everything but every person he has placed in my life.
Without Him I would have nothing. Without His grace to bless my decisions nothing that I do would make a difference. And it His grace that takes and makes whatever it is I do in His name into something that makes others feel His very presence in their lives.
Humility isn’t about how I see myself or even more importantly it isn’t about how others see me. But rather humility is the grace to choose to do God’s will and to accept my weakness in needing His power to make what I do acceptable to Him.
He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him, and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then you would proceed with embarrassment to take the lowest place. Rather, when you are invited, go and take the lowest place so that when the host comes to you he may say, ‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’ Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” …blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Lk 14: 7-14
Do I look and act like the person HE made—because I am created in His image, shouldn’t I do whatever it is that I am doing in the same way God would? Do I use and share the gifts that HE gave me in the way he expected I would use them? Do you?
Are my priorities the same priorities he would have chosen for me? What has He given me that I am trying to keep for myself instead of sharing it with others (time, talent or treasure)?
Do I willing accept the sacrifice of hard work or a suffering of discipline, or do I keep trying to find a shortcut, pain relief, or a way to make His work more politically correct so that I can have social gain, instead of heavenly gain?
Do I find excuses so that I can do what I want to do instead of taking the time to do what God wants me to do? Am I willing to walk the same path He did, choosing to be with the least, and putting others needs ahead of mine?
Or am I expecting something in return when I give up my place at the table?
Heavenly Father, When you sent the Angel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she would be the Mother of Your son, Jesus, “Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1: 38) Give me the grace to imitate both her humbleness and her acceptance of the gifts and the sacrifices that must be made because of those very gifts. As she thanked you for her son, Jesus, Your Son, so I thank you for the gifts of my family. As she sacrificed and gave everything back to you, help me to humbly accept all that You ask me to give back to you. In your name, Amen.
All of the earthly riches around me weren’t created for me to live happily, or have a greater place at the table. The gifts we each have been given are for us to use to joyfully help others see God, thru us, and thru our own willingness to give EVERYTHING for them regardless of their ability to pay us back for what we have given or given up.
Are we giving enough? Could we give more? What are we “expecting” in return?
Mary (and Joseph) and Jesus: we were all created in Gods image, with the Holy Family as our living example. Can we be as humble and accepting of the truth, of the way, and of the life as they were?
It’s a journey…..humbly accepted,