Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time, June 17
Being Clothed with the Virtue of Humility Fosters a Deeper and Truer Relationship of Love Between Ourselves and the God Who Loves Each of Us.
In our Gospel today, we hear our Lord repeating, “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
When we look at all the awards ceremonies that are televised, especially those which give accolades to actors and actresses who are recognized for their achievements, whether it be on television, stage or the big screen, it is no wonder that the virtue of humility is almost non-existent in their world.
They have the Oscars, the Tonys, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor’s Guild awards, the Emmys, the Grammys, the People’s Choice awards, and so many others which I cannot even recall.
Even politicians seem to go out of their way to take credit for bills they introduce, or projects they endorse, or for some kind deed given to one of their constituents.
Granted, everyone likes to have a “pat on the back” from time to time, but when accolades begin to become that which is most important in our lives, then something in our way of thinking has sadly gone very, very wrong!
And it is the weakness of the flesh, and its desire for recognition and praises, which our Lord is addressing in today’s Gospel. For it is when our desire for the proverbial “pat on the back” begins to influence our way of thinking and acting, that we begin to diminish our closeness with a God who prefers humility over pride, a God who prefers a humbled heart over ego.
Saint James tells us in his Letter, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” And we read in the psalms that God will not spurn a “contrite, humbled heart”.
And Jesus tells us repeatedly in today’s Gospel, “And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Jesus was impressing upon His listeners, and upon you and me today, the importance of being private in our acts of mortification, in our acts of kindness and almsgiving, and in our prayer life. In essence, with the examples which our Lord gave to His disciples and to us, Jesus was teaching His followers the importance of being humble of heart.
When clothed with the virtue of humility, we find within it a purity and selflessness of thought, word and deed – a virtue which enables us, through the grace of God, to avoid ambition and pride. And true humility helps detach us from those worldly elements which tend to separate us from God’s Love.
And when we can look at life through the eyes of a “contrite, humbled heart”, then humility becomes the foundation for our prayer life, for we freely acknowledge that we need God’s help in our strivings to be a holier and more virtuous people. Humility helps us to empty from ourselves our own ego, our own pride and selfishness which separates us from God.
And it is this form of humility which fosters a deeper and truer relationship of love between ourselves and the God who loves each of us – the God who opens His Heart to us.
When we deepen our relationship with Jesus, we find within ourselves a deepened desire to return that Love which He freely gives to us. We begin to find ourselves freely loving as He loves, freely giving as He gives, for it is His Spirit of Love which becomes alive and generously living and working through us.
And we see this generosity of God given to Elisha in today’s First Reading, In private, he asked through Elijah for God’s special blessing for the work he was about to undertake for God’s greater glory. God rewarded him with not only the blessing, but with also seeing the “flaming chariot and flaming horses” from Heaven itself!
When our hearts become opened to all that God wishes to give, the grace which we receive increases to the point where we cannot help but become an extension of Christ to others, just as the prophet Elisha was to become the extension of God’s voice to His chosen people.
And we hear our psalmist telling us today, “How great is the goodness, O LORD, which you have in store for those who fear you…” And in the same breath, he warns us of the consequences of arrogance and conceit when he prays, “The LORD keeps those who are constant, but more than requites those who act proudly.”
When Jesus was speaking about the hypocrites in today’s Gospel, it reminded me of a passage Saint Faustina wrote in her Diary on Divine Mercy regarding certain people with whom she was acquainted –
“…when one is inflated with pride and self-love under the pretense for God’s glory, while in fact one is seeking one’s own glory…” it is displeasing to God. “How can such a soul be united closely with God? Union with the Lord is out of the question here.”
It is with sadness that more people do not pay heed to the Scriptures and all that God is trying to teach us through His written word. It was because of the hardness of man’s heart and the dark path upon which he was being led by the prince of this world that God sent His Only Son to us, so that we would be taught about the mind and the will of God for us in our daily lives, and of His indescribable Love and limitless Mercy which He offers to each and every one of us.
He would open our hearts to all that God expects of us and the wonders which await His faithful children. And the Son of God would fulfill the mission His Father gave Him by freely offering His own Life on a Cross for us, so that, through His Death and Resurrection, we might believe in His word and, with the help of His grace, we would become co-heirs with Christ in His Heavenly and Eternal Kingdom.
As we live our faith today, may the Spirit of God imprint upon our hearts and our souls a humility in imitation of Jesus’ own humility – enabling each of us to be filled with compassion and love for others, especially those in most need.
And may our response to our calling as a Christian people be one of true Christian charity and generosity in such a way that our Heavenly Father “who sees in secret” may repay each of us, one day, with the gift of everlasting life! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble…Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.” (James 4:6c, 10)
- “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 6:1)
- “When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do… do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret…When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray…so that others may see them…go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret…When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites… But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden…your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:2a, 3b-4a, 5a, 6a, 16a, 17-18a, 6b)
- “A contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.” (Psalm 51:19b)
- “And 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.” (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
- “How great is your goodness, LORD, stored for those who fear you…The LORD protects the loyal, but repays the arrogant in full.” (Psalm 30:20a, 24)
- “…live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.” (Ephesians 4:1b-2)
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 vainglorySaint Frances Cabrini
which comes from the world,
I may aspire to that true and lasting glory
that comes only from You. Amen.”