It's an absolutely essential virtue. Can you guess what it is? I'll give you a hint, although you've probably figured it out already.
What happened at the Last Supper after Jesus overheard his apostles asking each other who was the greatest? He did something that astonished them. He washed their feet, the act of a lowly servant. And then he said, "Let this be a lesson to you," It's a lesson for all of us!
And what is that lesson? HUMILITY!
Fr. John Hardon (The priest who proved there really were still some holy Jesuits left.) often said that only faith-filled, little, humble people will go to heaven. Remember the pharisee in the temple bragging about how holy he was? Jesus corrected that idea lickity split. He told the crowds the pharisee went home from the temple not only not justified, but with the implication that he was even more entrenched in his sinful pride.
How many of us share the pharisee's sin to one degree or another? Honestly? All of us! How many of our actions, even the good ones, arise from a motive of self love and the desire for praise. Think about it and feel the pinch! I know I do!The book I took on retreat for meditation when I wasn't focusing on the Spiritual Exercises was Humility of Heart, written by an Italian Capuchin priest, Fr. Cajetan Maria da Bergamo whose life straddled the 17th and 18th centuries. It's a wonderful book filled with gems that call one to stop and reflect. It's taking me a long time to read, because I keep stopping to copy excerpts into my spiritual journal. Here's one to put in your pocket for the day;
Humility has two eyes: with one we recognize our own misery so as not to attribute to ourselves anything but our own nothingness; with the other we recognize our duty to work and to attribute everything to God.
All of our gifts and talents come from God. We didn't do anything to "earn" them. We don't "deserve" them. They are the gratuitous gifts from the generous Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rush Limbaugh made a true statement when he described his "talent on loan from God." It's true for all of us. He could take them back tomorrow and one of the challenges of growing old is to experience our talents diminishing. The expert in needlework suffers from arthritis in her hands and lays her crochet hooks and crewel projects aside. The woodsman can no longer hike and hunt. Age invites the interior life as the demands of an active life become more difficult or even impossible. Shall we mourn the losses or rejoice in the invitations to new riches of mind and heart?
I had my annual physical yesterday and got asked a long list of questions about being depressed. It amused me. Not that depression isn't real and a tragedy for those who experience it, but I'm too busy with my grandchildren, my bees, and my chickens to be depressed. The day is an endless adventure in life, from the morning when I say hello to the visiting bunny on the way out to collect the eggs, to the evening when the mama doe with her two babies comes and occasionally stops to eat a fallen apple or to sniff a chicken.
Life is beautiful. May I give a humble thanksgiving for all its joys recognizing in them the glory of our loving Father in heaven!