As we journey through this season of Lent, I think it is very important that we reflect on what I have come to see as perhaps the most important one.   I believe that it stands before and provides a foundation for all the others. It comes from the Latin word “humilitas,” which means “ground.”  We can say that one who lives by this virtue is well “grounded.”  The virtue that I am talking about is humility. Being humble is very hard for us even when we want to be and are trying to be humble, and let’s face it, there are lots of times that being humble is the last thing we want to try to be. We see humility as presenting weakness or a low or even negative opinion of ourselves. We see it as a sign that we have very little or no ambition and therefore not much hope of achieving or accomplishing much in our lives.  But that is not what it means at all. To be humble does not mean to see ourselves negatively, it means to see ourselves clearly, too see ourselves as God sees us and for us to see God as He truly is. In the brief moment of the Transfiguration that is exactly what happened. Peter, James and John saw Jesus clearly, exactly as God the Father saw Him. If we truly live by the virtue of humility, we would see ourselves and others as God sees them, as His children, as we and others truly are. The humble person does not lack ambition or leadership ability. Indeed studies have shown that the most successful leaders are those who practice true and sincere humility but who are able to channel their great strength and ambition onto their mission or those they are leading. Please pray for me as I strive to learn, apply and live this virtue. We need to learn to channel our strength and our ambition onto something greater than ourselves. One of the major lessons of God’s relationship with the Israelites is that without God, they were nothing and nowhere. That needs to be our starting point. We need to see humility as a starting point to success and as strength because that is what it is. Scripture clearly teaches that success with God rests on humility. He exalts the humble and scatters the proud. It grounds us in the reality that there is a God and that we are not Him, that everything that we achieve and everything that we are gifts from Him. It also teaches us the reality that we need others; that we are made for relationships. It helps us to be kind, merciful, forgiving, compassionate. It might be hard to be humble, but it is much harder to exercise these other wonderful virtues if we are not humble first. Humility makes us attractive to others. Just ask yourselves, who is it easier for you to be with, someone who is humble or someone who is proud? Yet we find ourselves moving away from humility so very often! The humble person recognizes as Peter did that when we see ourselves and God and others clearly, it is indeed “…good for us to be here.” Let’s strive to get and stay there.  Remember, it is not that humble people think less of themselves. They just think of God and others more.

AuthorCathy Remick