Some people see September simply as the time for school to be in session once again. Beach balls are put away and book bags retrieved. It's a time for classroom, learning, and that ill-fated word: examinations! In this spirit, I have an easy exam for you. Are you ready?
Question: You are at a party. You have just finished a very difficult Mozart piano concerto. The applause is deafening. Someone shouts: "Magnificent. The best I've ever heard!" What is your humble response to all this? Please pick one of the following:
A. "I guess my fingers were very relaxed today."
B. "My piano teacher had a lot of patience."
C. "You can't mess up a great composer like Mozart."
D. "Thank you very much."
If you picked "d" then you selected the humble response. Humility is about speaking the truth about ourselves. Humility is not about denying the talent like answer "a" or "b," but the courage to accept the truth about ourselves whether others do or not. Humility sits square in the middle between pride: "I am the greatest ever," and self pity: "I'm the worst that ever was."
It's okay for people to admire our quilting, our accounting skills, or even our ability to be organized. This is who we are and from this God's image within us is
St. Francis de Sales says:
"Nothing can humble us before the mercy of God as the multitude of His blessings and nothing can humble us before the justice of God as the multitude of our misdeeds."
Francis reminds us that a good balance is to see the detail of our sinfulness and the detail of God's graces. In this way, we are humble, for in recognizing both, we become grateful to God.
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 13:30
For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.