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Posts Tagged ‘Humility’

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

In 07 Observations on 2016/07/22 at 12:00 AM

Meekness is rooted in spiritual strength;  the meek are truly strong. Meekness protects from hostile attacks.  It passes over others’ impatience, irritation, irritability and even contempt, by either ignoring the attack or disarming the offender with a calm and serene smile.

Lack of meekness is born of pride and  expresses itself in outbursts, impatience and irritability, the net result of which is loss of serenity and peace of soul.  The meek person does not sulk but tells God about the problem or injury inflicted.

A woman bereft of meekness is critical, neglectful and forgetful of others because she in centered on herself.  To be meek, one must do battle with the natural tendency to have the last word, to be the center of attention, to think of oneself as essential, and above all to see others in negative ways.  A meek woman is not a show off.  She is not boastful, but she does acknowledge her natural talents as gifts of God.

The meek woman never refuses to speak to anyone.  She acknowledges that God places next to her people  in some need that she cannot ignore or just pass by. She opens herself to others with words of comfort; she uses her speech to console, teach, correct in a kind and generous manner. She is being Christlike when she act meekly in dealing well with others, particularly making those around her happy. She does this with kind words, gestures, support, and encouragement as well as readiness to forgive, to let thing of no consequence just slide off. Kind-heartedness and patience understanding conquer. When she act in a meek manner she recognizes that the neighbor Christ tells you to love is whomever happens to be near her or come into her life.

Meek women avoid like a plague: useless chatter, gossiping, irrelevant arguments, sarcasm and calumny.  They have their tongues under control and know when to be silent.  They show a willingness to bite their tongue when injured or insulted by not retaliating.  Thus, they accept the humiliations life brings and seek to use them to grow.   Instead they act kindly by showing understanding of the flaws and errors of others without correcting them.  

Friendly affability warms, dispels loneliness, warms hearts as does a friendly hello, giving a small complement or making a caring comment or inquiry.

The meek woman is careful not to answer back quickly or speak hurtful words.  Instead, she awaits the better time and gives way in matter of opinion.  She does not try to be right about everything and on the contrary, is sufficiently docile to accept advice.    A readiness and willingness to change her mind indicates she is aware that there are more than one solution to a problem.

To be meek means to have self-mastery, to be self possessed and hard to rattle.  The meek will inherit the earth because they are not slaves to impatience and bad temper.  Instead, they are serene in the possession of God with their souls in seeking Him in prayer.

Docility is essential for growth in meekness.   You cannot be docile/meek if you insist stubbornly on what you have already decided is right.  The meek woman recognizes that she is not her own best advisor, and takes advantage of the suggestions and advice given her by others whom God has placed in her path as aides.We need to have  a prudent distrust of our own judgment because our ego can derail us.  We must permit God to mould us through others and the circumstances of our lives.

We learn to be meek and humble of heart by meditating on the Passion of our Lord who suffered so many humiliations, and by considering His humility in the Holy Eucharist where He waits for us to visit Him and speak with him. Therefore, we can walk the way of meekness accepting humiliations, accepting our defects and struggling to overcome them.  Then, we will find in Him, who carries the greatest portion of our burdens, a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light.

“Know how to forgive one another”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/07/15 at 12:00 AM
How very insistent the Apostle Saint John was in preaching the mandatum novum, the new commandment that we should love one another. I would fall on my knees, without putting on any act – but this is what my heart dictates – and ask you, for the love of God, to love one another, to help one another, to lend one another a hand, to know how to forgive one another. And so, reject all pride, be compassionate, show charity; help each other with prayer and sincere friendship. (The Forge, 454)

Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate and took on our nature to reveal himself to mankind as the model of all virtues, ‘Learn from me,’ he says to us, ‘for I am meek and humble of heart.

Later, when he explains to the Apostles the mark by which they will be known as Christians, he does not say, ‘Because you are humble.’ He is purity most sublime, the immaculate Lamb. Nothing could stain his perfect, unspotted holiness [1]. Yet he does not say, ‘You will be known as my disciples because you are chaste and pure.’

He passed through this world completely detached from earthly goods. Though he is the Creator and Lord of the whole universe, he did not even have a place to lay his head. Nevertheless he does not say, ‘They will know that you are mine because you are not attached to wealth.’ Before setting out to preach the Gospel he spent forty days and forty nights in the desert keeping a strict fast. But, once again, he does not tell his disciples, ‘Men will recognize you as God’s servants because you are not gluttons or drunkards.’

No, the distinguishing mark of the apostles and of true Christians in every age is, as we have heard: ‘By this’, precisely by this, ‘shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

(Friends of God, 224)

[1] cf John 8:46

“Let us always be brutally sincere”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/04/09 at 12:00 AM
If that dumb devil mentioned in the Gospel gets into your soul, he will spoil everything. On the other hand, if you get rid of him immediately, everything will turn out well; you will carry on merrily, and all will be well. Resolve firmly to be “savagely sincere” in spiritual direction (always keeping your good manners) and to be sincere immediately. (The Forge, 127)

As I have already said, we all have our defects. But our defects should never be a reason for us to turn away from God’s Love. Rather should they lead us to cling to that Love, sheltering within his divine goodness, as the warriors of old did by climbing into their suits of armour. Our defence is the cry ecce ego, quia vocasti me, here I am, because you have called me. Just because we discover how fragile we are is no reason to run away from God. What we must do is to attack our defects, precisely because we know that God trusts us.

How shall we be able to overcome our meanness? Let me make the point again because it is so important: by being humble and by being sincere in spiritual direction and in the Sacrament of Penance. Go to those who direct your souls with your hearts open wide. Do not close your hearts, for if the dumb devil gets in, it is very difficult to get rid of him.

Forgive me for insisting on these points, but I believe it is absolutely necessary for you to have deeply impressed on your minds the fact that humility, together with its immediate consequence, sincerity; are the thread which links the other means together. These two virtues act as a foundation on which a solid victory can be built. If the dumb devil gets inside a soul, he ruins everything. On the other hand, if he is cast out immediately, everything turns out well; we are happy and life goes forward properly. Let us always be brutally sincere, but in a good mannered way.

I want one thing to be clear: I am not as worried about the heart or the flesh as I am about pride. Be humble. If ever you think you are completely and utterly right, you are not right at all. Go to spiritual direction with your soul wide open. Don’t close it because, I repeat, the dumb devil will get in, and it is difficult to get him out again.

Remember the poor boy who was possessed by a devil, and the disciples were unable to set him free. Only Our Lord could free him, by prayer and fasting. On that occasion the Master worked three miracles. The first enabled the boy to hear because, when the dumb devil gets control, the soul refuses to listen. The second made him speak, and the third expelled the devil. (Friends of God, 187-188)

“With your help, Lord, I’ll fight”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2016/02/05 at 12:00 AM
Mary’s humble song of joy, the Magnificat, recalls to our minds the infinite generosity of the Lord towards those who become like children towards those who abase themselves and are sincerely aware that they are nothing. (The Forge, 608)

Don’t forget that the saint is not the person who never falls, but rather the one who never fails to get up again, humbly and with a holy stubbornness. If the book of Proverbs says that the just man falls seven times a day, who are we poor creatures, you and I, to be surprised or discouraged by our own weaknesses and falls! We will be able to keep going ahead, if only we seek our fortitude in him who says: ‘Come to me all you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest.’ Thank you, Lord, quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea, because you, and you alone, my God, have always been my strength, my refuge and my support.

If you really want to make progress in the interior life, be humble. Turn constantly and confidently to the help of Our Lord and of his Blessed Mother, who is your Mother too. No matter how much the still open wound of your latest fall may hurt, embrace the cross once more and, calmly, without getting upset, say: ‘With your help, Lord, I’ll fight so as not to be held back. I’ll respond faithfully to your invitations. I won’t be afraid of steep climbs, nor of the apparent monotony of my daily work, nor of the thistles and loose stones on the way. I know that I am aided by your mercy and that, at the end of the road, I will find eternal happiness, full of joy and love for ever and ever.’ (Friends of God, 131) [

Solemnity of Christ the King

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2015/11/27 at 12:00 AM

St. Stephen of Hungary is perhaps not a well‐known saint in the United States, but for Catholics in Eastern Europe, he is a renowned for having made Hungary a Christian nation.

While there are many stories of the saintly way he ruled his country, St. Stephen is beloved in large part because of his generous care for his subjects, most especially the poor.

Because he was the king, St. Stephen would often go about distributing alms to his poor subjects in disguise. One time he was even set upon by a rough band of beggars who beat him up, but nevertheless he continued his generosity to the poor and his love for all his subjects.

Incidentally, while the rest of St. Stephen’s body has decayed, his right hand and arm – which symbolizes his saintly ruling of Hungary – have remained incorrupt, even though he died in 1038!
Sadly, the roll of Catholic saints includes only a relatively short list of men who were kings or monarchs, men such as St. Stephen of Hungary, St. Louis IX of France, St. Henry, St. Edward the Confessor, and St. Wenceslaus.

Each of these men – and all the kings that the Church has recognized as saints – are celebrated as saints for their prudence, justice, generosity to the poor, and their tireless spreading of our Catholic Faith.

In short, kings who become saints are men who put the eternal welfare of the people they govern ahead of their temporal welfare, while not forgetting their temporal needs. They are men who earnestly seek to serve our Lord rather than themselves.

Indeed, the saintly kings are monarchs who understand that there is a power greater than their own to which they are subject, and to which they will someday have to render an account.

These saintly rulers show us that earthly leaders are called to exercise authority over their subjects as Christ does us. They should be strong of will, but gentle of heart. They should be just, but merciful – always seeking and serving the Truth.

A saintly ruler knows that, ultimately, his power is given to him and should be exercised for the benefit of others, and not for his own benefit.

While the list of saintly rulers is relatively short, the list of history’s evil rulers is quite long. Most of us can very easily come up with dozens of names of evil leaders just in the last century: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Mao Tse‐Tung, and Idi Amin, perhaps, being at the top of the list.
Perhaps there have been more evil leaders than saintly ones because holding power over others can be such a corrupting influence on man. The desire to dominate and rule over others is irresistible to some people, and thus temporal power is easily misused.

Indeed, history has borne out the axiom that, if a ruler is not grounded in virtue and dedicated to objective truth, then he will inevitably misuse his power in some way. For when a leader fails to see truth and serve it authentically, he cannot be truly just.

But even if the number of evil rulers in history is much greater than the number of saintly ones, we mustn’t despair, my brothers and sisters, for today’s feast reminds us that Christ is King over all.
While earthly rulers, both good and bad, will come and go, Christ is King for eternity!

Both our first and second reading speak in apocalyptic terms of Jesus’ second coming,
when His kingship will be manifested to every creature.

We are given a sense of the Lord’s omnipotence; we are told that He is “the firstborn of
the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.” Jesus is “the Alpha and Omega . . . the one
who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

We are told that: “His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.” Thus, there can be no doubt that our Lord is all‐
powerful, and that He will vanquish all of His enemies in due time.

But the Gospel shows us Jesus’ sovereignty in a different light. In front of Pilate our
Lord appears subject to human authority. And as we all know, the weak Pilate – fearful
of maintaining his own power – condemns our Lord to be crucified.

But despite the appearance of being subject to Pilate’s authority, it is Jesus who, in this
exchange with Pilate, calls His subjects to obedience with kingly authority.

Jesus says: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

And with these words our Lord calls all of humanity to make a choice as to whom we
will serve in this world. Either we serve Him in truth, or we serve ourselves with the
lies and half‐truths occasioned by pride, vanity, and selfishness.

Truly, today’s feast of Christ the King calls us to recognize the absolute primacy and
power of our Lord, and to humbly submit ourselves to His power – just as He humbly
submitted Himself to an ignoble death on the cross.

As we consider the fact that our Lord is the ultimate authority and that we will all have
to face Him someday as our king, we should ask ourselves now whom it is we serve in this world. Is it Christ the King, or is it ourselves? Or worse yet, have we blithely bought into the deceptions of an earthly leader?

And if we find that we do not serve our Lord whole‐heartedly, we must ask ourselves what it is that keeps us from doing so. Are we weak in faith? Do we not believe that Jesus truly is Lord of all? Are we attached to the things of this world? Or is there a particular sin that we refuse to give up?
My brothers and sisters, Christ is King. One day He will come again with great power and might to claim once and for all His sovereignty over all of creation. But despite His power, He is gentle and humble of heart, full of love for all who call upon Him.

Let us prove ourselves now to be worthy subjects of so great a king. May we rid ourselves of all that keeps us from serving Him as we should, and may we all be ready for that great and terrible day when we will come face to face with Him.

St. Stephen of Hungary, pray for us!
© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio .
To enable the audio, please go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

Link to Homilies:
http://stanncharlotte.org/content/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&id=8&Itemid=61

25 November 2012

 

“I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2015/11/13 at 12:00 AM
Jesus prays in the garden. Pater mi (Matt 26:39), Abba Pater! (Mark 14:36). God is my Father, even though he may send me suffering. He loves me tenderly, even while wounding me. Jesus suffers, to fulfill the Will of the Father… And I, who also wish to fulfill the most holy Will of God, following in the footsteps of the Master, can I complain if I too meet suffering as my traveling companion? It will be a sure sign of my sonship, because God is treating me as he treated his own Divine Son. Then I, just as He did, will be able to groan and weep alone in my Gethsemani; but, as I lie prostrate on the ground, acknowledging my nothingness, there will rise up to the Lord a cry from the depths of my soul: Pater mi, Abba, Pater,… fiat! (Way of the Cross, First Station, No. 1)

For reasons that I need not go into now (but which Jesus, who is presiding over us here from the Tabernacle, knows full well) my life has led me to realize in a special way that I am a son of God and I have experienced the joy of getting inside the heart of my Father, to rectify, to purify myself, to serve him, to understand others and find excuses for them, on the strength of his love and my own lowliness.

This is why I want to insist now that you and I need to be made anew, we need to wake up from the slumber of feebleness by which we are so easily lulled and to become aware once again, in a deeper and more immediate way, of our condition as children of God.

The example of Jesus, every detail of his life in those Eastern lands, will help us to fill ourselves with this truth. ‘If we admit the testimony of men,’ we read in today’s Epistle, ‘the testimony of God is greater.’ And what does God’s testimony consist of? Again St John tells us: ‘See how God has shown his love towards us; that we should be counted as his sons, should be his sons… Beloved, we are sons of God even now.’

Over the years, I have sought to rely unfalteringly for my support on this joyous reality. No matter what the situation, my prayer, while varying in tone, has always been the same. I have said to him: ‘Lord, You put me here. You entrusted me with this or that, and I put my trust in you. I know you are my Father, and I have seen that tiny children are always absolutely sure of their parents.’ My priestly experience tells me that abandonment such as this in the hands of God stimulates souls to acquire a strong, deep and serene piety, which drives them to work constantly and with an upright intention. (Friends of God, 143)

“Ask for true humility”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/08/01 at 12:00 AM
Humility is born of knowing God and knowing oneself. (The Forge, 184)

Those periods of depression, because you see your defects or because others discover them, have no foundation … Ask for true humility. (Furrow, 262)

Let us flee from the false humility which is called comfort-seeking. (Furrow, 265)

Lord, I ask for a gift from you: Love, a Love that will cleanse me. And another gift as well: self‑knowledge so that I may be filled with humility. (The Forge, 185)

The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives, who always get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope. (The Forge, 186)

If your mistakes make you more humble, if they make you reach out more urgently for God’s helping hand ‑‑ then they are a road to sanctity. Felix culpa! ‑‑ O happy fault!, the Church sings. (The Forge, 187)

Humility teaches each soul not to lose heart in the face of of its own blunders. True humility leads us to ask for forgiveness. (The Forge, 189

“We need humility if we are to obey”

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2014/06/13 at 12:00 AM
When you have to give orders, do not humiliate anyone. Go gently. Respect the intelligence and the will of the one who is obeying. (The Forge, 727)

He often speaks to us through other people. But when we see their defects or doubt whether they are well informed — whether they have grasped all the aspects of the problem — we feel inclined to disobey.

All this may have a divine meaning, for God does not impose a blind obedience on us. He wants us to obey intelligently, and we have to feel responsible for helping others with the intelligence we do have. But let’s be sincere with ourselves: let’s examine, in every case, whether it is love for the truth which moves us or selfishness and attachment to our own judgment. When our ideas separate us from other people, when they weaken our communion, our unity with our brothers, it is a sure sign that we are not doing what God wants.

Let’s not forget: we need humility if we are to obey. Look again at the example Christ gives us: he obeys Joseph and Mary. God has come to the world to obey, and to obey creatures. Admittedly they are two very perfect creatures: Holy Mary, our mother, greater than whom God alone; and that most chaste man Joseph. But they are only creatures, and yet Jesus, who is God, obeyed them. We have to love God so as to love his will and desire to respond to his calls. They come to us through the duties of our ordinary life: duties of state, profession, work, family, social life, our own and other people’s difficulties, friendship, eagerness to do what is right and just.(Christ is passing by, 17) [

Come Up Higher

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2014/01/16 at 12:00 AM
 517fd2f5a02c43aa2a469ef0_650x159
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Our Lord says, “Every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Humility doesn’t mean having low self-esteem, or being overly pious or holy because true humility isn’t about us.  Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking about yourself less.
What does humility look like?  When Solomon became King of Israel, he asked God to give him “an understanding mind [wisdom] to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil […] It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.  And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word’” (1 Kings 3:9-12).
To be humble is to live with the realization that I am constantly in the presence of God.  To realize that everything I think, say and do is done in His presence.  To acknowledge that everything that I am, everyone I meet, and all that I experience in this world is His creation.  To understand that every time I go against Christ and the teachings of his Church, I am separating myself from being able to have a personal encounter with God.
Yet, in our weakness, we often spurn humility and turn our backs on God when we sin; when we believe that we know better than God; when we think we are the author of our own success; when we live by our own rules apart from the Church; when we ignore God’s plan.  In our pride, we too often live absent the awareness that we are forever in the presence of God.
The virtue of humility permits us to live before God as we truly are, and the first step in deepening our relationship with God is to understand and acknowledge that we are prideful.  Pride is the opposite of humility and seeks to draw attention to oneself.  Pride is shallow, focusing on the “outer life” (how I appear to other people) and denying the “inner life” (how I appear to God).  Pride may be expressed in different ways: coming to Church on Sunday but deliberately living apart from the teachings of the Church the rest of the week; taking personal credit for our accomplishments and achievements as if they had not been the result of God’s divine goodness and grace; minimizing our sins because “I’m such a good person”, and by emphasizing and dwelling on the sins of others.  When pride is carried to the extent that a person is unwilling to acknowledge dependence on God, and refuses to submit his or her will to God and the lawful authority of His Church, it is gravely sinful.
True humility can only begin when our eyes are fixed upon Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Peter knelt before Jesus and said, “Depart from me for I am a sinful man.”  Mary Magdalene wept at the feet of Jesus and dried her tears with her hair.  The Roman centurion told Jesus that he was not worthy that he should enter under his roof.  The humble recognition of our own sinfulness allows us to experience the mercy of God.  When Jesus speaks to the Apostles concerning the grace of true humility, He uses today’s parable about assuming places of honor. In the end, Jesus Himself models this behavior for His Apostles, by becoming the servant of all.  “While on earth, go to the lowest place at the table” Jesus tells us.  “Later on, at the resurrection of the righteous, you will be brought up higher.”
 

Passions by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2013/07/26 at 12:00 AM

• The great mendicant, St. Dominic, once said that “A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either command them, or be commanded by them. It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.”

• When it comes to the spiritual life, our passions are the intensely powerful feelings or desires that lead us into sin, particularly the capital sins of lust, anger, greed, and envy.

• When we give free reign to our passions, we fall prey to concupiscence, hedonism, unbridled pleasure-seeking, and in the worst cases, hatred.

• Thus, St. Dominic’s point is well taken, for all of us from time to time have felt the turbulent waves of sinful inclinations rise and crash within ourselves.

• Sometimes it can feel like our passions – particularly those that inflame our lower appetites – are tyrants that must be obeyed. Emotions, especially when they are strong, can lead us to say and do all sorts of things that we know are wrong and sinful.

• Thus, it is so very important that every man of God learn how to govern his passions so as not to be a slave to them, for it is not God’s will that we be at the mercy of our emotions and passions, but rather that we learn self-control and restraint so that we may protect ourselves from sin.

• Truly, my friends, in our day and age, I cannot stress enough to you how important it is to guard ourselves from sin. Sin not only distorts and perverts our true selves, but it offends God. Moreover, as St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23).

• Thus, as true followers of Christ, we must be willing to endure all types of suffering and punishments rather than commit sin, for the sufferings of this world are only temporary, but the suffering that we will have to endure for our un-repented mortal sins is eternal.

• There is a hell, my friends, and it would do us good to try to avoid it! This requires that we fight. While God’s grace is constantly trying to pull upward, our passions and sinful inclinations drag us downward, and thus we must be vigilant in fighting these passions.

• Our second reading from the Letter of St. James talks about what falling prey to our sinful passions can do to us, while the first reading from the Book of Wisdom gives us an example of how sin can harden our hearts and blind us to truth and goodness.

• St. James tells us that “where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” He then asks: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?”

• The point St. James is making is that if we fail to fight against our sinful passions and inclinations, we will lose our inner peace, making us vulnerable to falling even deeper into sin.

• Rather than sating our desires, giving in to our passions, my friends, simply inflames them all the more. And when the sins we commit are mortal, it robs us of our interior peace because our Lord, Who entered our souls at baptism, flees from us until we make a good confession and are absolved from our sins.

• Further, the more we give into our sinful passions and inclinations, the less able we are to see the Truth and act in accord with it. Sin hardens our hearts, and if we fail to fight the sin in our life, our hearts will harden to the point that we begin to hate that which is good and holy.

• We see a very clear example of this in the first reading from the Book of Wisdom. This reading tells the story of wicked men who wish to cause suffering to a just man. While this passage is often understood to be a prophecy of Jesus’ passion and death, it shows us clearly how sin can devastate us morally.

• The wicked men mentioned in this passage want to harm the just man because he is just. They know of his innocence and goodness, but their sins have hardened their hearts to such a degree that the just man’s very presence is a reproach to them.

• While it is a very normal human feeling not to like some people, if we actually hate another person and wish them harm, then there is something seriously wrong with us, namely, that we have given in to our sinful passions to such a degree that we are now mastered by them.

• The good news is that it is never God’s will that we persist in our sinfulness. As the Divine Physician, He is capable of healing us and restoring us to full spiritual health. But in order for this to happen, we must align our wills with His most holy will.

• Last week I mentioned that if we suffer from a weak will, we can strengthen our wills through fasting and penances. Every time we choose, out of love for God, to voluntarily deny ourselves something we desire, our wills grow stronger, rendering us more capable of saying no to our passions and sinful desires as they arise.

• But there is an even more fundamental step we must take first if we truly wish to strengthen our wills and protect ourselves from sin, and this we read about in today’s Gospel. It is this: we must learn to be humble and charitable.

• In the Gospel today Jesus says to the 12 apostles: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Then taking a child and embracing him, Jesus tells the 12 that they must be ready to receive such a child in His name.

• In these words and actions of Jesus, we see these two virtues humility and charity extolled.

• St. John Vianney once said that: “Humility is to the various virtues what the chain is in a rosary. Take away the chain and the beads are scattered; remove humility, and all virtues vanish.”

• Thus, humility is the root of every other virtue. Humility nourishes our soul and makes us capable of receiving God’s grace so that the virtues can take root and grow in our souls.

• Moreover, humility helps us to see how truly weak we are, and thus it induces us to seek our Lord’s strength and protection all the more when we’re bombarded by temptation.

• Charity, on the other hand, is the form of all the virtues. Whereas humility prepares us to receive the other virtues, charity helps to perfect the other virtues within us.

• Because charity is the most important and most powerful of all virtues, the more we grow in charity, the more the other virtues naturally grow within us as well, including the virtues of temperance, chastity, and meekness, which help us to control our passions.

• The more we grow in humility, the more we see God and ourselves as we truly are. The more we grow in charity, the more we love God for Who He Is. The more that we know God and love God, the more we want to serve Him and avoid offending Him.

• My dear friends, let us learn to turn away from sin by strengthening ourselves against our passions and sinful inclinations through growing in the virtues of humility and charity.

• Let us avoid sin at all cost, not only because sin has the power to distort and destroy our souls, but also out of our love for God, Whom we should love above all things.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC