Strength of Humility – 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time
A friend once told me that he could not memorize the prayer, Act of Contrition easily because of its length. He revealed that he finds it difficult to learn it by heart. So he inquired: “Father, is there a shorter form of the Act of Contrition?” “Yes,” I said “there is.” I told him to memorize this prayer: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.” It is short but it strikes directly at the very heart of God because of its simplicity and candor. In fact, this prayer has been composed by Jesus himself.
Our Sunday Gospel reading (Lk 18:9-14) contains this prayer. Jesus narrates an episode in the Temple wherein two people prayed. The Pharisee’s prayer was arrogant, self-applauding and prideful. But the Tax Collector’s prayer was carefully chosen baring unashamedly the nakedness of his soul. Jesus concludes that this guy went home justified. The Tax Collector saw himself without merit, even unworthy. He just presented himself to the Lord, without deception or vanity, to be judged by Him. He knew he was mere dust and dirt.
In order to experience God’s mercy and compassion, we need to grow in humility. We have to pray for it and practice it. As we ask God to make us humble, we also need to change our mentality that humility is strength, not weakness. Humble people are grounded with a balance perception of themselves and of others. This trait allows them to be more resilient to stress and enables them to be more kind and generous. Most of all, the practice of humility makes them more conformed to Christ who humbled himself out of love and obedience to His Father’s will. It is this aspect that makes humility powerful. Because like Christ, whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Prayer:Lord, teach me to have a realistic view of my life and my abilities; convince me that humility is a sure path to greatness. Amen.
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