Humility Makes Us Real (by Adam Stein)

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”
Thomas Merton

In the Gospel today, Jesus teaches us about humility. He says, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” Greatness does not come from position or status, but rather, greatness is found in service. Humble service places us hand in hand with everyone around us. Humility is a way of life, authentic life.

The other readings we hear today support the Gospel and reveal further what the gift of humility is and the challenge it is to live this virtue. Our own passions can betray us. We can begin to think that what we do is who we are, but, it is not the “what” but the “who we are doing it for” that counts. When we put the other first and serve them, we serve God. Humility honors God, and God will always be with us along the way, because Jesus walked the road before us. Humility is a realization that we can do nothing without the gifts of God in our life, and we can do all things through God who gives us strength.

Pope Francis is an example of humility for us to follow. Here are his words from the homily he gave at the inauguration of his pontificate, “Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.” He continued to share ways he will try and be an example of humility for others, “[The Pope] must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”

This year, we RISE. It is more than just a word and a theme, but a call to service. It may seem contrary, but, one way we RISE is to humble ourselves. Our prayer journal poses two questions to help us respond to this call: “Who are the unvalued in society today? How will we build up the dignity and value of someone else this week?”

I’m working on my answer.

-adam.