See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Meek and humble of heart...


Learn from me...
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Christ is the teacher, as well as the example and model of meekness and humility, as are the saints who imitated him - despite the fact no one can really ever take the last place from him, he who became least in the Kingdom of God for our sakes.
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Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine.
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Obviously I lack genuine humility and meekness, as many of my blog posts demonstrate.  One good thing about blogging is that it exposes our weaknesses and faults rather conveniently - whether we like it or not - albeit unnoticed by ourselves at the time.  If we are the least bit objective about ourselves, we can get some idea of how bereft of meekness and humility, even charity, we are by the critique we make of one another's positions, statements, and/or the person himself.   
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The advantage of seeing the mote in our brother's eye is that we just might be aware enough to realize the log in our own eye.  I don't know about you, but many times, when I notice or comment about something annoying in another, more often than not I'm guilty of the same thing - either coincidentally or I acted thus in the past.  Of course, there but for the grace of God - that meaning; if I do not have such and such a fault or irritating habit I notice in another - then the cause underlying my imperious attitude may well be unacknowledged envy or jealousy.  Which returns us to consider the subject at hand - the virtues opposed to such vices - meekness and humility.  A humble person simply cannot be jealous or envious.
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From time to time as I look forward to Lent, I want to use the blog to reflect upon the virtue of humility.  Don't be fooled by me - I am not humble, but I seek to learn of Christ who is.  As I meditate and study, I will print a few things the spiritual masters have taught - for our mutual edification perhaps - but mainly because I think better when I write or paint.  Pope Benedict XVI, in an allocution for Epiphany alluded to the necessity of meekness and humility in the life of the Christian.
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People do not accept Christ's invitation to come to him when they are too self-assured and display the "pretentiousness of understanding reality perfectly well and the presumption of already having come to a definite judgment about things, which makes their hearts closed and insensitive to the novelty of God," he said.  What is missing in the world, he said, is authentic humility and courage, which allow people to recognize and put their trust in what is truly great, "even if it is manifested in a defenseless baby." - Source
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These are incredibly important words to ponder, especially in our times.  The Holy Father echoes Fr. Alfred Delp, S.J. in one of his letters from prison:
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"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished?  For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity.  God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word.  He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Meditation, Magnificat, January 8.  (The entire entry ought to be read as it really corroborates with the Pope's statement quite well.  Alfred Delp: Prison Writings)
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The Holy Father stated that insensitivity, smugness, and pretension keep people from experiencing the true joy and love found in Jesus Christ, who is meek and humble of heart.  Think about that.
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"Meekness.  Our Lord rightly associates meekness with humility, since the former cannot be practiced without the latter.
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Meekness is a complex virtue which comprises three principal elements: a) a certain self-mastery, which forestalls and checks impulses of anger; from this point of view it is related to temperance; b) tolerance of the failings of others, which demands patience and, therefore the virtue of fortitude (courage); c) forgiveness of injuries, and benevolence towards all, even our enemies; in this respect it is inclusive of charity.  from this respect we see that it is a combination of virtues, rather than a distinct virtue." - Tanquerey, Spiritual Life, Moral Virtues, III: 1154,1155
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Notice how the Holy Father fits this description of meekness.  
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 Art:  Esteban Sampzon: "Christ of the humility and patience."

5 comments:

  1. "Notice how the Holy Father fits this description of meekness."

    I was thinking that while reading this.

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  2. I'm looking forward to the series on humility. I hope and pray I can learn from it. You are absolutely right, blogging means our virtues AND faults are on full display.

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  3. What a beautiful image of our Lord!
    Very inspiring.
    Yeah, I'm pretty transparent (unfortunately!)..."warts and all" when I impulsively write comments.
    God forgive me for my inane, uncharitable or scandalous "revelations" of self.
    A great was to practice humility when I reread them, though!

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  4. On Humility
    by Mother Alexandra
    formerly Her Royal Highness, lleana Princess of Romania and Archduchess of Austria

    The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:11)

    But what does humility really mean? The derivation of the word "humble" is the Latin "humus," meaning "soil," and herein lies a most apt metaphor for understanding what is most basic to humility. The humble feel themselves equal to the soil upon which they walk and from which they are made. They cannot be lowered, for they are already low. But this lowliness in no way means servility; it means purity and godliness. Satan's great fall came from his inordinate pride, which rendered him impure. For us, each time that we let pride get the better of us; we have similarly soiled ourselves. This is the nature of our lowliness: not servility, but a purity shared with the soil, by which we paradoxically remain unsoiled (by pride)...

    It is a curious fact, too, that the more humble we become, the closer we are to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that, unless we become as children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We must therefore, become simple and pure, like children, to draw near God. "And the source of this purity", says St. John Cassian, "is unavailable to us unless we have acquired real humility of heart." The ascent to God, the climb toward the divine, begins with the acquisition of humility. We approach the heights by attaining lowliness. We acquire spiritual maturity by becoming children...

    And what of this humility? What does it profit us? Above all, true humility shows itself in the most glowing colors when we are beset by adversity. It is our only hope in the inevitable bleakness of human life. When adversity strikes, we can meekly bow our heads in acceptance, without outward complaint or inward revolt. We can remember always that Jesus, the master of the most extreme humility, during his trial gave hardly any answers. And he asks that we pick up our crosses and likewise follow him. ''Take my yoke", he beckons, "and learn from me; I am gentle and humble of heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 1 1:29 30). Indeed, if we let these words guide us and follow the example set by Christ before us, our spirits will be strong and we will humbly endure all things in love. Humility guides us to the Spirit, the fruits of which are ''love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance . . ." (Gal. 5:22 23). Humility engenders meekness, against which no earthly law, no persecution, and no adversity can prevail.

    I battle pride. Thank you, Terry.

    Maria

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  5. Attaining humility will take me all my lifetime. Good post, Terry.

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