“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled…”
None of us has a very good comprehension of this subject of “humility.” We most often equate it with a kind of groveling, breast-beating, “Woe is me” stance. This is nowhere near what the scriptures had in mind. True humility gives us the ability to honestly see ourselves in relation to the people around us and to seek the good of others more than good for ourselves. “Give and it shall be given to you overflowing, packed down and pressed into the folds of our garment.” We just heard those words yesterday so they should still be ringing in our ears.
Fr. Richard Rohr says of humility: “we are called to be Gods. But we have to realize that we are Gods who poop (but he usually uses another word.) The true definition of the word, “Humility” has its roots in the Latin word, “humas” which translates “earthly.” Remember the words of Ash Wednesday, “you are dust (humas, dirt) and into dust you shall return. But be careful. I’m not suggesting that we are junk. We’re made in the image and likeness of God but we are still “of the earth.”
The irony of this is that most of us spend a great amount of energy trying to present ourselves as something different than what we really are. Lent gives us the chance to look closely at our lives and see where we need to adjust the focus to make it clearer and we do this by giving of our selves and building up the people that God has thrown into our lives. If all of us spent more time lifting the burdens off the shoulders of the oppressed our world would be a much better place and, on the rebound, each of us would realize that God has lifted us up in the process. “… the one who humbles himself will be exulted!” Amen!