By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THAT’S the attitude to have if we have to follow Christ who at one point said, “The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mt 23,11-12)
Those words of Christ were preceded by his observation of how some of the religious leaders behaved at that time. “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”
He continued: “They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them. All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’ As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’” (Mt 23,2-8)
An authentic Christian is always a humble person. He will always channel the very humility of Christ which is not a matter of being timid or shy. It’s a humility that knows when and how to appear and disappear, when and how to show and hide, when and how to be forceful and mild.
We need to realize that if we have to follow what Christ teaches us, whatever talent, privilege, advantage we enjoy should be used purely for doing good, for carrying out God’s will for us, for giving glory to God. We should never adulterate it with any trace of self-indulgence, pride, vanity and the like.
We need to be guarded against our strong tendency to show off our good deeds. We need to find effective ways of how to hide and disappear whenever we do something good.
We can manage to do that if we always have Christ in our mind and heart. With him, we have all the reasons to be happy and serene. We would not feel the need to satisfy our egos. With Christ we have more than enough in terms of joy and peace, even if we encounter some difficulties and defeats along the way.
Humility is obviously the effect of being with Christ. It also a cause for Christ to be with us. It is what gives an opening to Christ to enter into our lives, giving him a hearty welcome.
With humility, we can start to think and act like Christ. We get to see things better, since we would be guided mainly by our faith rather than by our mere human powers. Humility leads us to enter into the spiritual and supernatural world of God, the world of grace that transcends and purifies our human intelligence and our other human faculties.
That kind of life, marked by the spiritual and supernatural life of Christ, is what is proper to us. We should try our best to develop and maintain it. Thus, we need to avail of certain practices and means, like prayer and meditation, recourse to the sacraments, waging interior struggle for develop the appropriate attitudes and virtues, etc.
Again we can only do that if we humble ourselves, always feeling the need to be with Christ and not just relying on our own human powers. Of course, we have to use our human powers also to the full, but always in the spirit of Christ which can only happen if we are humble!