Saturday, October 20, 2012

Humility of Heart

In today’s Gospel reading it says, “I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.”  We should ask ourselves how do we acknowledge Jesus Christ?  What are the things that say we are His followers?  One of the greatest signs that we are His followers is humility—to be humble of heart.  We hear St. Benedict speak of humility in Chapter 7 of his rule:
“Wherefore brethren if we wish  to gain the summit of humility and speedily attain to that heavenly exaltation to which we can ascend only by the humility of this present life we must by actions which will constantly elevate us [I think that’s important—actions that will elevate us, elevate our mind, our way of thinking, elevate our will] erect that ladder which Jacob beheld in his dream and on which angels appeared descending and ascending.  This descent and ascent, we must understand without doubt as being nothing other than that we descend by exaltation and ascend by humility.  The ladder itself thus erected is our life in this world, which our Lord having respect to our humility of heart lifts up even to heart.” 
 If we’re striving for heaven, we’re going to have to let go and not be in control all the time.  We are also going to have to keep our mind on the things of God.  These things elevate our heart and our mind to Him.  To be humble of heart, our way must be different from that of the world.  The world is very concerned that a person be “on top” and that they have all the “gifts” to go forward—power, money, intelligence (I mean this in a way that puts them above others, not at the service of others.  Great intelligence is a gift and is always one that is to be put at the service of others.  Isn’t that what St. Thomas Aquinas and all the other doctors of the Church did so beautifully?)  We must deny our self- will and do what is better for another.  That is the mark of a Benedictine.  We learn in community to care about others.  That is the greatest way we can grow in humility.  The way St. Benedict wishes to lead us in humility is to have us see Christ in the other.  That’s how you acknowledge Christ before others: to see Him in others, serve Him in others, love Him in others.  And in turn, you will be loving Christ fully.
The above is a reflection by Mother Maria Michael Newe, OSB.