Gospel Matthew 23:1-12
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people's shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
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."
Come Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me and console me. Tell me what I ought to do, and command me to do it. I promise to be submissive in all that you permit to happen to me. Only show me, what is Thy most Holy Will. Amen
As I listen to Jesus, I hear a Word and that Word is "Silence." Humility sounds like silence. If we look at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament present in the Tabernacles throughout the world, there is Silence. If we look at Jesus standing before Pilate in the Praetorium, there is silence. Silence is the necessary condition for listening. We just finished reading a beautiful book in our Formation classes with our Missionary Interns titled: The Power of Silence" by Cardinal Sarah. He speaks of the necessity of Silence in order to be faithful to the grace of God. I love that. “Without radical humility that is expressed in gestures of adoration and in sacred rituals, no friendship with God is possible. Silence manifests this connection in an obvious way. True Christian silence makes itself sacred silence first so as to become silence of communion.”
― Robert Sarah, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise
Prayer then consists of listening to God, speak silently within us. To be faithful to the grace of God, is to be faithful to the voice of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our souls, to be faithful to his prompts and inspirations will always lead us into Silence. We need silence in order to be and remain in God's presence. If we remain in God's Presence, we reach a clarity very quickly, "He is God, and I am not." After going to the Sacrament of Reconcillation, what else fills the soul, but a deep and peaceful Silence. God is there. Silence draws down Mercy and Mercy lifts us up high close to His face. I love this painting. It brings to mind the words of Jesus in this passage for me, "whoever humbles himself will be exalted." To be exalted is just this; To be lifted close to His face, so close you can feel His breath close to your cheek-the breath of the Spirit.
Mother Teresa had this little list handwritten in her constitution-the list of what 'humility looks like to her.'
- To speak as little as possible of oneself
- To mind one's own business
- Not to want to manage other peoples affairs
- To avoid curiosity
- To accept contradictions and corrections cheerfully
- To pass over the mistakes of others
- To accept insults and injuries
- To accept being slighted forgotten, disliked
- To be kind and gentle even under provocation
- Never to stand on one's dignity
- To choose always the hardest
- Not to seek, to be specially loved or admired
- To yield in discussion even though one may be right
Prayer: Lord Jesus, teach me the silence of Humility. Amen