Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary
Time, July 17
In Our Individual
Walks of Faith, in All That We Believe and All That We Profess, May We Truly
Reflect Upon Thinking of Ourselves Less and Thinking More of What God is Asking
and Expecting from Each One of Us.
In today’s Gospel, we read, “…you have revealed them
to the childlike” – a basic truth, a reality which is very dear to the
Heart of God – the childlike virtue of humility, without which there can be no
true abiding in God’s Eternal Presence.
As we look at the history of our Church and how the faith
has developed through the millennia, it has always amazed me how God chooses
the lowliest, the most humble to accomplish His will here on Earth.
Even in most of the reported apparitions of our Lord and our
Blessed Mother over the centuries, apparitions which have been recognized by
the Church as worthy of belief, they reach out to some of the most
unsuspecting, some of the most humble people one would ever expect to find.
And we find nothing different about this when we reflect
upon today’s First Reading. Moses, after having taken refuge in Midian, was a
shepherd tending flocks of sheep. He was also a stutterer, for Scripture tells
us that he was “slow of speech and tongue.”
Yet, God saw in Moses something which others did not. Even
though I personally liked the movie, “The Ten Commandments”, I would
recommend forgetting the Hollywood version of Moses played by Charlton Heston,
for the real Moses was a man content with much lesser things. Moses was a
humble man, and it was this humility which was his greatest attribute!
Sacred Scripture can become our greatest teacher about the
virtue of humility and how close it can bring us to the very Presence of God in
our lives. In his First Letter, Saint Peter writes:
“…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your
dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the
humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt
you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.”
It was Moses’ humility, and his desire for the simple things
in life, which caused him to become God’s chosen one. And when we consider
Moses and all the other true leaders and prophets of the Old Testament, we can
begin to discern a much clearer picture of what our Lord tells us in today’s
“No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one
knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal
God chose to reveal Himself to Moses – not as the Triune
God, but rather as a God of Love and Mercy – for He saw in the heart of Moses a
man who would be able to fulfill His Divine will – the freedom and exodus of
all of God’s children enslaved under the forced labor and cruelty of Pharaoh’s
Our Lord also tells us in today’s Gospel, speaking of the
mysteries of God. “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.”
And Moses was very much childlike of heart, his mind and
spirit pleasing to the very Heart of God!
Saint Augustine, one of the early Fathers of our Church, in
a reflection on our Lord’s words, stated that God’s Wisdom is hidden from the “wise
and the learned”, for those who are of the world are filled with a
self-seeking pride, an arrogance which blinds them and which prevents them from
opening their hearts to an understanding of God’s providential Love.
Whereas, those who are “childlike” are the truly
humble, the innocent, the pure and holy of heart. They have no need to
question; they just accept whatever God may send their way – as a total act of
trust, as a total surrender of themselves so that God’s Divine will may be more
perfectly fulfilled in them.
Is this “childlike” trust easy for us to always live
in our hearts? I am sure that we can each attest to the fact that it is not! –
not because our faith is weak, but due to the fact that we are human, with all
the inherent weakness which go along with our human nature.
And, in our humanness, we carry within ourselves traits of
pride, self-importance, maybe even some small degree of arrogance – all traits
which we do not desire, for they are traits which tend to separate us from
God’s Love, traits which sadden the Holy Spirit within us.
As a consequence, in our faith, we turn to the Sacraments
for strengthening – the Sacrament of Reconciliation to cleanse us, the
Sacrament of Eucharist to feed and nourish us.
It is only when we surrender ourselves totally to God’s will
that we are then able to more easily open our hearts, allowing us to be more
accepting of whatever He may wish to send our way, no matter what He may ask of
us – even if His request is that we bear upon ourselves a cross out of love for
I am sure that, for Moses, going back to Egypt and
confronting Pharaoh to release all the Jewish people seemed like a very heavy
burden – a burden to which he felt he was undeserving, unworthy, and definitely
not up to the task asked of him.
But God said to Moses, as He says to you and me today and
every day of our lives, in the midst of our difficult journeys we face in life,
in the midst of the crosses which each of us bears, “I will be with you.”
When the path to holiness sometimes seems difficult to
travel, when the vale of tears, through which each one of us must walk from
time to time, becomes too much to bear, let us always look to Mary, the Mother
of Jesus and our Mother, and the many vales of tears through which she traveled
and the many crosses she herself bore.
Let us look to the saints, for many of them endured
tremendous crosses, but they are saints because, in their humility, they bore
their crosses with love and a trusting faith and obedience to God’s will.
But most importantly, let us look to the example which our
Lord gave us, who endured ridicule and rejection, unimaginable pain and
suffering due to the tortures to which He was subjected and endured – all
culminating with the shame and humiliation of Roman crucifixion (for the condemned
would be stripped and hung naked), as well as enduring the horrific suffering
and an agonizing death upon His Holy Cross – through which He taught us the
great value which God places on the virtue of humility and acceptance of God’s
will in our lives.
C.S. Lewis, a twentieth century novelist, poet and
theologian, was once quoted as saying, “Humility is not thinking less of
yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” In our individual walks of faith,
in all that we believe and all that we profess, may we truly reflect upon
thinking of ourselves less and thinking more of what God is asking and
expecting from each one of us.
For it is in true humility where we shall we find ourselves
traveling upon the path which leads to personal holiness. †
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Scripture for the Day
- “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt?’ He answered, ‘I will be with you.’” (Exodus 3:11-12a)
- “Moses, however, said to the LORD, ‘If you please, LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past, nor recently, nor now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and tongue.’” (Exodus 4:10)
- “At that time Jesus said in reply, ‘I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.’” (Matthew 11:25-26)
- “…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for: ‘God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5b-7; cf. Proverbs 3:34)
- “For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.” (Romans 12:3)
- “When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
- “Pride goes before disaster and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the meek than to share plunder with the proud.” (Proverbs 16:18-19)
- “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3bc)
- “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)
- “[Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
- “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.” (Matthew 11:29)
Prayer for the Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, I pray that You may fortify me
with the grace of Your Holy Spirit,
and give Your peace to my soul,
that I may be free from all needless anxiety and worry.
“Help me to desire always that
which is pleasing and acceptable to You,
so that Your will may be my will.
“Grant that I may be free from unholy desires,
and that, for Your Love, I may remain
obscure and unknown in this world,
to be known only to You.
“Do not permit me to attribute to myself
the good that you perform in me and through me,
but rather, referring all honor to You,
may I admit only to my infirmities.
“So that, renouncing sincerely all vainglory
which comes from the world,
I may aspire to that true and lasting glory
that comes only from You. Amen.” Saint Frances Cabrini