From the Pastor – August 28, 2016

For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. (Lk 14:11).

What is humility? The word origin comes from the Latin word “humus,” which means “dirt.” It can have negative connotations as being “lowly” or “abased,” but Catholics tend to see humility as a virtue. And the reason for that? It’s because Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the epitome, the essence of humility. He came from the highest station possible: He is the Lord, the Creator of the Universe, the Word made Flesh, the Alpha and the Omega. And from the highest station, He chose the lowliest station on Earth. He was born in a stable. He grew up in one of the smallest backwaters of the Middle East. He became an “itinerant” preacher, and had nowhere to lay his head. He owned nothing but the clothes he wore. And then, in His greatest act of humility, He allowed Himself to be judged by evil, power-hungry men. He allowed them to sentence Him to death. He allowed them to scourge Him, to torture Him and to crown Him with thorns. And then He willingly carried His own cross to the spot where He allowed men to nail Him to the cross and leave Him to die.

It’s difficult to relate, and it’s virtually impossible to believe that God would allow that to happen. But the story was the will of God, the Father. It was His plan to redeem us. He wanted us to be saved by one like ourself. And by doing so, He raised the dignity of mankind to something above the angels. God didn’t become an angel. He became a man.

Humility. It’s an intrinsic part of our faith. And we find humility attractive. Instinctively, humble people please us, and prideful, boastful people put us off.

But we sometimes have a hard time actually being humble. Why is that? It helps when we understand that the first sin of the angels and the original sin of man is the sin of pride. It’s a sin when we have a higher opinion of ourselves than we have of God. As the great British writer, C.S. Lewis once said: “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”

Pride is a self-love that doesn’t put God into the context of one’s own existence. But there’s a remedy for pride. And it’s a relationship with Jesus Christ in the midst of a Christian community. Christ reminds us that we are mortals, and other Christians remind us that we are sons and daughters of God. We’re not God. We’re not in charge of the universe. But we’re something even better. We’re God’s children. And He loves us so much that He died for us. And when we come to understand that, we are humbled to be loved – even when we don’t feel that we deserve it. And that’s humbling.

(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty