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Monday, September 06, 2010

Holiness and Humility

It's the right time of year for it, so today I watched "Charlotte's Web", one of my favorite stories.  In the more recent film version (2006), Wilbur questions Charlotte about the final word she wrote of him. He questioned whether it was the right word, for truth had always been an important definition within their friendship. In an important moment in the barn at the fair, Wilbur revealed that he didn't feel like he deserved ANY of the words Charlotte had written of him, and wanted this final testament to be, well....right.

"Then it's exactly the right word", Charlotte replied.

Although I've seen this movie more than once, today this scene really stood out to me.

I thought about the importance of humility in a life of holiness, and how few souls are truly humble. I certainly am not one of them!  I thought about my own ongoing pridefulness, my vainglory, if you will.

A spider would never call me humble. Even if said spider was the epitome of humility. (Charlotte herself).

In pondering further, though, I recalled the times I had asked for humility, and the painful experiences of humiliation that always followed. I recalled huge failures, true humiliations that occurred when I didn't even know about the virtue or that it would even apply!

I recalled how many times I have been knocked down, and I admit that when I think about "humiliations", I recall most often to mind the disasters in life, such as the day I turned in my badge and my gun and walked away from law enforcement forever.

It was a humiliation that sent me into a tailspin.

I recall the day I left the Fire Department, albeit with references, but it was still a humiliation as I had not been able to reach the goal I'd had since I was a little girl.

There are others, far more personal, that I have spoken of only to Confessors and Spiritual Directors and close friends.  Far too many others.

In meditating upon this, though, I realized something important:  the big humiliations are what pave the way for the little ones.

God knows us well, and He knows that when we built what we think is an impenetrable fortress, it must be demolished so that we can be dragged out from the rubble and our wounds tended to.

When the Saints speak of "humiliations", they are rarely speaking of something large, but rather, of those small moments of surrendering one's will in order that someone else might grow stronger.

We should not fear to ask for humility, for holiness is found in the small moments, the small humiliations that remain between the soul and God, and perhaps the soul's Confessor. The humiliations of the spiritual life that are truly part of a devout soul's journey in holiness are not the same as those that appear on CNN or the local news.

In looking back over my own life, it is clear that the very real and big humiliations I suffered were necessary only to create in me a wound that would allow the healing blood of Jesus to enter and bring me from death into life.  It was in suffering the most that I was finally brought to my knees, not in sorrow, but in love and devotion.

I need to thank God every day for those humiliations, for were it not for having been knocked down so hard, I would never have had the opportunity to even consider it possible to one day become truly holy and join my own blood with that of Jesus as we make our way, in this life, up to road to Calvary.

Thank you, Jesus.

Please give me the grace to sincerely pray for humility, and thank you still more when you answer the prayer, no matter what that answer may be. 



rjsciurus said...

Nicely put.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Wonderful post..

paramedicgirl said...

I too, have suffered humiliations at the hands of others. I often have forgotten to thank God for that grace, at least until afterwards. St Alponsus Liquori says that it is not enough to thank God for all the blessings He gives us. We must also thank Him for each humiliation He sends our way.

How often do we do that? It may seem like a curse at the time, but each humiliation is given us as our help to heaven, to make ourselves small in the eyes of the world.