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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Humility and the Lord’s Cross

The original seminary for Americans in Rome is located on the Via dell’Umilta: “The way of humility,” “Humility Road,” if you will. There is a great lesson here because the way of humility…well, we can choose it or it will eventually be impressed upon us in this life…and most certainly in the life to come.

Things like the fear of terrorist attacks and a tremendous crisis in our Faith community have humbled us as a Church and a nation. We are great and powerful, but maybe not as commanding and impressive as we might have thought. No, we are vulnerable, and hardly the perfect society.

Perfection and true greatness will only be found in God’s Kingdom which is, as the Italians say: “Gia ma non ancora,” “Already, but not yet.” That is why we pray together so often: May Your Kingdom Come; Lord!

One of the great lessons of living the Christian life is a learned sense of humility. Remember, first of all, that God chose to humble Himself in coming among us as a human person, as a man. So, if to be an authentic Christian means to be like Jesus Christ, then humility has be the foundation and the hallmark of our lives.

I hold that the greatest joy and personal benefit of the priesthood is what we, as priests, learn from the people whom we serve. In fact, in many ways, a priest gains more from others than he gives.

For all of us, there is a deep and very strong link between humility and respect for life, respect for the dignity of the human person. The simplest of gestures, for example: standing in line and allowing another person to go before you. A very simple act, but one of humility and at the same time regard for that person, whoever they might be, regard for the dignity of that person. No big deal…but a humble gesture

To recognize that another’s spirits are not as high as usual and to just say hello or ask, “Hey, how’s it going?” To make the effort to go to a wake to express your condolences to a family; to tithe to one’s parish or one’s favorite charity; to accept criticism, realizing that within that critical comment, there is probably some truth that will make you a better person.

These are just a few simple examples of what humility in daily life really can be. And these opportunities have the power to transform us into authentic witnesses of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us: the Word of God made flesh; the Word Who was present at the creation of the world. Not only has Jesus put aside His glory to become Man and to live in our midst, but He put up with all of the disappointments and the aches and pains and the occasional drudgery of human living …and then He laid down His life for His friends. No greater, no more deferential love could there ever possibly be.

So, my friends...conduct all of your affairs with great humility. Humble yourself the more and the greater you will be. And remember, people are watching us, they are observing us carefully…to see if our actions match the Faith we are about to profess!

“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. But the one humbles himself will be exalted.” That's the Lord’s promise to us.

Model your life on the mystery, the humility of the Lord’s cross.

Fr. Robert Reed
President, CatholicTV Network

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