Today’s Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
What better way to continue our Lenten journey than to contemplate the virtue of humility? A few years ago, I read a gem of a little book entitled Humility of Heart (written by Fr. Cajetan Mary de Bergamo), which I providentially happened upon while browsing for spiritual books unrelated to the topic. Yet the title struck me, and so I purchased it. It has, by far, been one of the most life-changing books I have ever read.
In the first chapter, Fr. De Bergamo describes Heaven and the various forms of lifestyles that the saints lived during their time on earth: some were married, others single or religious; some were poor and others wealthy, etc. He says that, while none of the saints had exactly the same ministry or calling while on earth, the one thing that superseded their vocation was humility. In other words, no one can become a saint without perfectly acquiring the virtue of humility; this should give us reason to pause and consider the ways in which pride manifests itself in our own lives.
During Lent, we often focus on giving alms or offering up some form of sacrifice – perhaps “giving up” a favorite food or drink – while others decide to add some type of corporal work of mercy, such as feeding the poor or visiting the homebound. While all of these are noble goals, it seems appropriate for us to navigate our interior lives more deeply than we may otherwise take the time to do in our harried and hurried lives as wives and moms (perhaps juggling a career as our secondary vocation, as well).
Do we consider that pride is not simply thinking highly of oneself, as the Pharisee in this Gospel exhibited? Certainly he displayed the sin of presumption, which is a form of pride. However, pride can be disguised as humility if I tend to play a victim or martyr in my human relationships. Pride can be quite bold and conspicuous, but it can also be very subtle and deceptive. This is why it is crucial for us to examine our consciences at the end of each day.
Just as pride is considered the foundation upon which all other vices and sins are rooted, humility is the antidote to pride: all other virtues quite naturally spring forth from the beautiful virtue of humility. As women, let us consider the most applicable role model of humility for us to emanate: Our Lady. She certainly personified exquisitely, “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 18:14). Though we vary in our personalities, ethnicities, family of origin, and socioeconomic status, among other variables, every woman can relate to Our Lady: her gentle spirit, her patience, the peace she exuded, and her ability to fully and completely love.
PONDER: How will walking with Our Lady toward the journey to humility widen my heart to a greater and more perfect love of God, my neighbor, and myself?
PRAY: Dear Blessed Mother, help me walk with you this Lent as a woman, a wife and a mother, to ponder in my own heart the mysteries you contemplated so that I may grow in a more authentic humility.
Copyright 2014 Jeannie Ewing