Humility. Charity. God gives us these foundational virtues to help us live in communion
with Him. Indeed, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, calls us to live these gifts, these virtues (this Sunday’s Gospel, Luke 14:1, 7-14) – He says that everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and everyone who humbles himself will be exalted. He teaches us that greatness in the Kingdom of God comes not from outdoing other people – rather, as God defines it, greatness comes from being an instrument of love and mercy, of charity (from the Latin, caritas, for love). This requires humility, which is foundational to the spiritual life.
God tells us to conduct our affairs with humility… Humble yourself… and you will find favor with God (Sirach 3:17-29). Living the virtues of humility and charity go directly against most of what this fallen world teaches us. These virtues are so fundamental that Jesus not only taught them in parables, He lived them out Himself: through His Passion, Death and Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and earth, came to earth and purposefully took the lowest place possible – that of a condemned criminal. He freely laid down His life for each of us. And yet, as He humbled Himself so thoroughly out of love for us, He has also been glorified, for He is Risen from the dead and He has conquered sin and death and has wrought for us life eternal in Heaven – if we would just follow Him.
When we are humble and charitable in word and deed, we can truly follow Jesus. Humility and charity bring His joy and love into our lives because they open the door to a genuine relationship with God, something that arrogance, pride and selfishness don’t allow. Living the virtues of humility and charity leads to gratitude, to interior peace, joy,
wisdom, and a greater share in God’s glory – and this is what Christ wants for us.
How can we grow in humility and charity? First, pray. In prayer, we acknowledge
God’s infinite goodness and greatness and our need for Him – and we raise our minds
and hearts to God, whether it’s short, long, focused or distracted prayer (for example,
we can pray the Mass, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be, Scripture, Rosary and Divine
Mercy Chaplet; we can read teachings on prayer via our parish and diocesan websites,
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Formed.org, Vatican.va, Catholic.com, EWTN.com,
and catholicscomehome.org). Second, live the two great Commandments, love of God
and love of neighbor – as Christ taught us, doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy
rooted in love. For example, in our humble love for God, we can volunteer as a catechist in Religious Education, volunteer in our School, serve in the Knights of Columbus, Council of Catholic Women, Family Promise, Food Pantry, or another charitable apostolate. Through it all, may we always thank God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the virtues of humility and charity – striving by His grace to live them better each day as we seek more and more to be in communion with God who is love.
With peace and prayers in Christ,