Monday, August 2, 2010

Why Humility Opens Doors

Why Humility Opens Doors - CATHOLIC EXCAHNGE
Nice guys finish last,” says the world. “The last will be first,” replies Jesus.
My guess is that the Lord of creation knows best who really wins in the end. And he says in this Sunday’s gospel, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11)
To understand why the humble get ahead and why the meek shall inherit the earth, we need to be sure that we understand what humility and meekness really are.
Humility does not mean looking down on oneself or thinking ill of oneself. It really means not thinking of oneself very much at all.

The humble are free to forget themselves because they are secure. They accept the fact that, as creatures, they are small, vulnerable, and not ultimately in control. But they know there is a Creator who is great, omnipotent, and totally in control. And they know that they’ve been made in the image and likeness of that Creator. That makes gives them a dignity that they don’t have to earn and can never be taken away. Though they’ve tarnished the divine likeness through sin, they know that the Creator came down from the heights of heaven to become human and fix what they couldn’t fix.

“An attentive ear is a wise man’s joy” (Sirarch 3:28). The humble are able to truly listen to another with genuine interest and delight in the other’s goodness. The humble are the people who give you their undivided attention and make you feel special and appreciated. You love to have them around. You love to work hard for them. You cheer when they are honored.

The proud, on the other hand, are so self-absorbed that their conversations become monologues. When you are speaking, they are not listening. They are just thinking about what they are going to say next. Eventually you smile, yawn, and do your best to get away from them.
In theology too, humility is essential. Here, as in science, there are many things we know by faith and are certain about, things which God himself has revealed. But many other things are mysterious to us and we dare not ever think we have God or even the mystery of our own life fully figured out. God is “Other” and cannot be reduced to our thoughts or words. And thus we speak with clarity about what has certainly been revealed. But we also reverence the mystery of what is beyond our understanding with humility. To hand on what has been revealed intact and to insist upon it is not the arrogance that some claim. Rather it is the humility of accepting what God has revealed intact without selectively choosing what merely appeals to us. But even as we speak of what we surely know by God’s revelation, we are always humbly aware of what we do not know.

In the Book of Proverbs there is an important reminder: Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Prov 26:12)

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