Humility: The Path to Freedom and Peace

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In Mary’s Magnificat she declares her own lowliness and rejoices in the fact that the Lord raises up the lowly.  She sees and openly acknowledges her own littleness.  That’s not a false humility.  She is in touch with the reality of who she is before God.  She also lays out a stark contrast between how God responds to the lowly as compared with how He responds to the lowly.  She told her cousin Elizabeth and continues to tell us that he looked with favor on her as His lowly servant, has mercy on those who fear Him, scatters the proud, casts down the powerful, while He lifts up the lowly, fills them with good things, comes to their help, and remembers His promises (Luke 1:46-55).


When we think that the Lord chose her to form Him as a baby and a child, it is striking to consider.  He must have intentionally wanted the human example of a mother with a humble heart who doesn’t look to be mighty, but to acknowledge the Lord’s power.  We know that humble is how Jesus described His own heart (Matthew 11:29).


When we consider that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), we have no choice but to consider that God is humble.  Can that be?  That concept can give us pause at first, but then we call to mind that Jesus “emptied Himself” (Philippians 2:7) and left His throne and took on our humanity, even becomes Food for us in the Eucharist, and subjected Himself to such a horrific death at the hands of His creatures.  St. Francis of Assisi spoke to his followers about “the humility of God”, particularly in the Eucharist.  He was really moved by it and we saw how he imitated that humility in embracing and ministering to the lepers.


In Fr. Rick Martignetti’s book, Perfect Love he references St. Bonaventure telling St Clare and her sisters that patience is the hallmark of humility.  He points out Mary’s patience in not bombarding Gabriel with a thousand questions, even though her life might be on the line by being an unwed mother at that time.  Knowing that God would be the father of Jesus was enough of an answer and she could wait patiently for God to provide in His way and in His time.


The angel Gabriel told Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (Luke 1:35)”.  Are we willing to be overshadowed?  Our humanity can really bristle at that.  How much anxiety can we lose and how much freedom, peace, and joy can we gain when we embrace our lowliness and rely on the Lord to lift us up rather than trying to do it ourselves.


May the Lord give you peace!


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