Sunday, July 28, 2013

Humility and Gratitude

A friend of mine posted a blog post on her Facebook page, which talks about 17 signs of a lack humility in our lives.  This post struck me, as I show so many of these signs, maybe not consistently, but often enough to feel the ouch that comes from seeing your faults in the mirror of Christ....One COULD argue that the fact that I write a blog points to a lack of humility in and of itself!

Since I saw this list, I have been thinking about the list itself, but something else has struck me about humility--it seems to me that there is a relationship between humility and gratitude.  In fact, I'm not sure that we can be grateful for the blessings in our lives unless we at least have a little bit of humility.  When we are not humble, we tend to take the gifts in our lives for granted, or even have a sense of entitlement for these things.  As I think about the gifts that I have been given, in family, friends, and the many other gifts that my life has been inundated with, I know that I'm not grateful enough for those gifts in my life.  But, as I have been ruminating and praying about my lack of gratitude, I keep coming back to the above list, and I am inclined to believe that I don't have a gratitude problem, but a humility problem.

So often, I think more about what I can do, and what I need, and what I want to say to people.  Even as I write this, I must admit that I was thinking about this post as I listened to the homilies in no less than 2 Masses this past week.  And, there, of all places, we should be focused on thankfulness rather than anything else--heck, Eucharist is Greek for thanksgiving!  I mean, when we go to Mass, Christ is making Himself physically present in the Accidents of Bread and Wine, and what greater miracle is that?!?!  And, instead of focusing on the weightiness of partaking of Christ's Body and Blood, I'm thinking about a blog post.

I'm not QUITE ready to start praying for humility yet, though, even if I should be.  It is one of those virtues that, when we pray for it, comes at a great cost.  Patience is another one of those virtues--I spent most of my high school years praying for patience, in spite of the fact that scripture says, "Tribulation worketh patience" (sorry about the KJV--that was my Dad's go-to scripture translation, so many of the verses I memorized as a kid are from the King James Version).  At some point, when those tribulations started piling up in my life, I figured that I didn't need to pray for patience, while I could probably use quite a bit of humility (and patience, for that matter!), I'm not at a place where I'm willing to pray for it for myself: my fertile imagination conjures up some pretty scary scenarios for how God could teach me said humility, and frankly, they scare me!!!

It is one of those things that makes me envy all of my mom friends....there is something about being entrusted with another human being that is innately humbling, and it isn't something that I have in my life to wear off those rough edges.  Instead, it is up to me to work on those rough edges through other relationships, and the process isn't always so straightforward.  Honestly, this is why I think I have so many friends right now that can whup my butt at Words with Friends.  It is a small way for the Lord to humble me!  It is also up to me to consciously work toward humility, sometimes by humbling myself, and sometimes by being aware of those times when I am not acting with humility in order to change my behavior.

I don't know who said it, but I vaguely remember reading a quote by a saint recently that basically said true humility is knowing ourselves so completely that we have neither too lofty a view of ourselves, nor a too lowly view of ourselves--we are aware of who we are to the extent that we can see who we are and where we stand in relation to others.  That is what I want, and I hope that the Lord does this for me, in spite of the fact that I'm not yet willing to pray for it.