As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
This scripture passage provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which we look at our image of God and how we respond to the call to turn toward God with a humble heart, mind, and soul. Are our actions louder than our words? Do we practice what we preach? Being humble means to lose our pride and to take off our masks that do not allow us to be the person God wants us to be. Lent is a time to help us remove our temptation to sin. This temptation might mean going against a humble heart by seeking fame, wealth, or power. Humility asks us to put others before ourselves as shared by St. Paul when he told the people of Philippi to regard others as more important than yourself.
Our Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us to turn our focus on God, understand God’s actions in our lives, and look for ways to be humble. In reflecting on the life of Theodore James Ryken, we learn of the great “humiliation” which led to his conversion of heart. His turning toward God brought about a community in which men with a call to serve became a “band of brothers” who lived the gospel message. The congregation of the Xaverian Brothers truly puts others before themselves as they serve the poor, the marginalized, and the needy around the world. The virtue of humility is very present in the missionary work they do and the way they reach out to the orphans, the lonely, and those who are forgotten. We can look to their example and seek out those in our everyday lives who are poor – in spirit, or lonely – without God, or forgotten – who are shunned. We too, can humble ourselves by repenting, forgiving, sacrificing, serving, loving our enemies, giving all to the Lord. Only then can we see how Jesus himself was humbled, emptied, took the form of a slave, and then became exalted by sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Only then can we allow God to exalt us with his love.
Sit quietly and close your eyes. Reflect on the word “Humility”.
What does it mean to you? How are you called to be humble in today’s world?
Who shows you the true meaning of humility in your life?
What ways can you emulate their example of humility?
What is one act of humility that you need to work on during this Lenten season?
Majestic and merciful God, we constantly put ourselves before You. As we continue this Lenten journey with whole and contrite hearts, give us the Grace to turn toward You, to see that we are your servants in this world. And, may we who follow the Xaverian Way, commit ourselves to renewing our family and being Your compassionate presence in the world today. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.