HUMILITY – A VERY PRECIOUS VIRTUE
(a reflection on Luke 1:39-45)
by: Deacon Paul Rooney
God’s word in Holy Scripture this 4th Sunday of Advent is so rich in spiritual blessings! Above all, the gospel (Luke 1:39-45) speaks to me of the precious gift of Humility.
Look what happens when one is filled with the Spirit of God, and is aware of that blessing! The Blessed Virgin Mary has just said her “YES” to God, believing and trusting in Him, and humbly surrendering her will to His will. So now she goes “with haste” to serve others! Jesus, even though still within her womb, touches her heart to reach out to her elderly cousin in her time of need—the aged Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. Mary is always listening, tuned in to the desires of the Lord, and she responds accordingly with loving service. Like all deacons, I have dedicated my life to serving God and his People; but I recognize my limitations and flaws, and I sit in silent awe and admiration at the true humility displayed by this “Archdeaconess” of service, the Mother of God!
Think about what has happened here. God did not choose a prominent, high-society woman to become his instrument for the dawning of the age of the Spirit. He did not look for a strong-willed, highly intelligent palace maiden. Instead, he chose a humble, loving, and dedicated girl who freely submitted her will to God’s will. This girl was to become the doorway to the redemption of the world!
We need to learn from Mary, our spiritual Mother. She chose to be a handmaiden of God, a slave, a deaconess, and this choice came out of her humility. She was confident in her own self-knowledge, recognizing that in contrast to God she was nothing and deserved nothing. So she simply adored Him, and trusted totally in Him. Her subsequent life would be “hidden” in the ordinariness of daily life. But her message to us rings through the ages, and echoes in our hearts daily: “Do whatever he tells you.” Listen to Mother Mary; trust in her intercession, for she is indeed our spiritual Mother. Above all, learn humility from her, and accept “what is” in your life.
Where do you think Jesus learned how to become humble, and how to teach others to become willing servants of anyone in need?
I believe that both Mary and Joseph had a lot to do with that servant-development in the human nature of Jesus! Joseph is always the “unsung hero” in the history of the Holy Family. We always focus on Mary and her humility, and rightly so. Yes, most of us pay lip service when we honor Joseph. But do we ever take time to reflect on his part in the early upbringing of his foster son, Jesus?
Part of a prayer that Patricia and I always pray together every single day of the year includes this line: “Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships...St. Joseph, patron of family life, pray for us!” I would like to offer that complete prayer for your consideration as an addition to your own shared family prayer. What more can we ask for than to have the life of the Holy Trinity within us! And the witness and example of the Holy Family is our model for practicing the virtue of humility – a very precious gift indeed!
We pray: Mary and Joseph, please pray for us that the Holy Spirit grant us this very precious gift of humility, manifested so perfectly in your son Jesus, as well as the perseverance to live out this humility in our daily lives! Help us to know our real selves and our proper place in relation to God. Strengthen us with your prayers to be obedient to His will at all times. Amen!
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