The 17th Sunday After Pentecost: The Habit Of Humility
“I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity.”
George Washington Carver, the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut said this: "When I was young, I said to God, 'God, tell me the mystery of the universe.' But God answered, 'That knowledge is reserved for me alone.' So I said, 'God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.' Then God said, 'Well, George, that's more nearly your size.' And he told me."
Sportscaster and former baseball great Ralph Kiner tells how after the season in which he hit 37 home runs, he asked the Pittsburgh Pirate general manager Branch Rickey for a raise. Rickey refused. "I led the league in homers," Ralph reminded him. "Where did we finish?" Rickey asked me. "Last," I replied. "Well," Rickey said, "We can finish last without you."
St. Paul says to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we are called. He goes on to describe that walk. And he begins that description with humility and meekness, or as the Douay Rheims says, humility and mildness.
What is humility? What does it mean to be meek?
It has been said that, “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is for me to have no trouble; never to be fretted or vexed or irritated or sore or disappointed. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace as in a deep sea of calmness when all around is trouble. It is the fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ's redemptive work on Calvary's cross, manifested in those of His own who are definitely subject to the Holy Spirit.”
I have often heard it stated that the three secrets to becoming a Saint is Humility, Humility and Humility. That's where everything begins.
Jesus humbled Himself and said in Matthew 11:29, “Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart.” The only two things He ever told us to learn from Him were humility and gentleness. Why? Because as the children of Adam, we are all proud and hard. If you want to demonstrate a heavenly life on earth, it is not going to be demonstrated first by the outward good things we do. It is going to be demonstrated by an attitude of humility and gentleness first of all.
When God gave the pattern of the tabernacle to Moses, He began with the ark of the covenant. When planning any construction, mans begins with the outer dimensions of the building. But God began with the innermost part of the sanctuary. Man seeks to clean the outside of the cup. But God seeks to clean the inside first. He begins with the inside and then moves towards the outside. If you are human in your thinking and approach, you will be more concerned about the outside that men can see. If you will be first concerned with the inside that only God can see, you will be more concerned about the quality of the people in your parish then about the number of the people.
God looks for humility, meekness, and patience. St. Paul goes on to say, “supporting one another in charity.” or to reflect the original language of the scriptures, bearing one another, or forbearing one another in charity. No one in any parish is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. We have to make allowances for each other's mistakes because we love one another.