What is Humility? That is the BIG QUESTION raised in this coming Sunday’s Mass Readings. It’s hard to be humble when you are from Texas – but that’s not what God is talking about this week. Even though we are from Texas, we submit to the Highest Power. Humility is granted to us in Baptism, but we only manifest it when we practice it. And perfect practice makes perfect, in the words of Vince Lombardi. So how do we do that? This week we have some fun questions and a calming prayer to download as we take up the fight against the several vices Satan uses against us when we are seeking Humility. And we have a free prayer card and bookmark for you, too!
As a special bonus, you can listen to our podcast episode #38 from this past winter all about humility, right from the lesson!
What is Humility? Overcoming our Passions
[will open a new tab or window].
Catechesis At Home – Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B
Overcoming our Passions: What is Humility?
DISCUSSION – What is Humility? We Ask Wrongly
This week the readings revolve around the virtue of humility. What is Humility? In this week’s readings, St. James the Apostle explains to his flock (most likely the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem) the reason why they are stuck, not moving forward in their spiritual life. They are stuck because they are still concerned with worldly things – ambition, power, etc., and what other people are doing. They are fighting among themselves. And they are probably complaining because they are asking the Lord for things and not receiving them. Why? Because they ask wrongly (James 4:3).
What is Humility? How often do we pray for something really hard, yet do not receive it, and then we either doubt God’s faithfulness or we even get mad at Him, or maybe even doubt His existence? While we may think He is ignoring us, He is simply telling us “No,” or “Not right now.” God tells us “no” for our own good. Like a parent, He gets no pleasure out of making us miserable with His decisions. Maybe He wants to give us that exact thing, but because we are asking out of ambition or greed or envy, He waits until we have humbled ourselves and ask with reverence and submission to His will for us instead of us demanding He bend to our will. And when we submit to Him and His will, perhaps we realize what we want is not best, and we stop asking.
Jesus’ disciples seem to suffer from the same challenges in this week’s Gospel. Jesus has just predicted His Passion and death to them for the second time (remember last week?), and they are arguing about who is more important! Do we miss the message of salvation because we are too bound up in our own world to recognize the calling out to minister to others? We need Jesus’ reminder to welcome all, even the weak and child-like, so that we can truly be servants of God and His will. Jesus provides us the Way to heaven, “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). When we recognize our failings and pride, greed, envy, or any sinfulness, we need to ask for God’s mercy and forgiveness, so we can once again be in union with Him. It takes work to do this; St. James knows this and so does Jesus, but they provide specific direction on how to do this. So let’s all work together to be with God in heaven for all eternity!
LISTEN – We Talk About “What is Humility” in This Episode of Our Podcast, On The Road to Perfection
ACTIVITY – What is Humility? Pray For and Embrace This Virtue
Humility is one of the “heavenly virtues”. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) teaches that humility is the virtue hat overcomes the sin of envy (CCC, 2540). Humility is also recognized as “Poverty of Heart” seen in the Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3). (CCC, 2546-2547)
To grow in humility, we must be willing to lay aside our desires, as we discussed last week when we spoke of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Being humble is to recognize that we are all equal in God’s sight and loved unconditionally by Him, none above another. In this recognition, we also see everyone as our brother and sister, we desire for all to grow in holiness, and to reach heaven. This solidarity with one another brings peace and charity into all of our thoughts, words, and deeds. It helps us recognize the needs of others, anticipating them, not waiting to be asked for help, but reaching out proactively.
This week, let’s find a way for us and our family to grow in humility. Some ideas:
- helping a neighbor with an overgrown yard or garden
- responding to each other with gentleness and kindness instead of impatience or anger
- asking for help instead of continuing to struggle with a duty (whether financial, mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual)
- responding to pleas for help with a spirit of love and charity as opposed to grudgingly and only doing it out of a sense of duty or responsibility.
FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITY – What is Humility? Experience it in The Litany of Humility
Add the Litany of Humility prayer to your personal and family prayer-time this week, as a permanent addition to your Domestic Church’s ongoing growth. Also, when preparing for Confession, praying this will help in an examination of conscience; praying it before Mass it helps us focus on the Eucharist.
The Litany of Humility was written in 1863 by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val who was the Secretary of State to Pope Saint Pius X (1903-1914).
Make a statement to the family and guests in your home about how important Humility is, and post the Litany of Humility on the refrigerator.
LEARN MORE – Other What is Humility?-related items of interest from Holy Owned and Operated:
Links open in a new tab or window according to your settings so that you can compare and continue in this lesson’s theme.
What is Humility to you?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles