Thursday, December 22, 2016

What humility is and how it will make you happy, by Father Andrew Macbeth

Or click here to watch it on YouTube! At 9:41, where it starts above,
or for the Gospel reading and entire homily, click here to start watching from 6:36+

Notes summarizing the homily from the above video

Humility is not just a series of acts but a way of life.

Humility is a matter of putting things in proper perspective.

The truly humble person is the one who strives to realize that ultimately, all things are in God’s Hands.

St Francis of Assisi: We are what we are before God—no more, no less.

The fact of our existence is humbling in the sense that none of us is responsible for our own creation. Our very life is a gift from God.

Our redemption is another gift from God. None of us has earned our salvation—that, too, is a gift.

When we acknowledge these facts, we can more humbly bask in the fact that we are children of a loving God and Father Who will never and can never abandon us. And once we do this, the pressure is off.

The pressure that drives people passed the point of “good sport” competition. The pressure that compels us to "get ahead,” even if it means unfairly [at the cost of others or ourselves]. The pressure that obsesses people to look good in front of others even if that image being projected is not real and is not sincere.

BR notes: (Do we work to be seen by others? Many artists go through much loathing of their artistic works as, what they consider, to be apart of the works’ creation. If we created for God instead of to be seen by others, wouldn’t we be happier? This doesn’t mean to not try to do the best job that we can, but — to really be honest and consider, am I making something for others to see it and approve of it, or am I making something because God has created me, and loves me, and I don’t care if I never share it or it never gets seen? And if it is for a job, am I getting bent out of shape when my artistic vision is hurt by the client, or am I working with the client to get someone else’s vision out, but looking the best it can while still retaining someone else’s vision, knowing that is my job, and doing my job for God? And if this is the case, am I creating on the side for God, and not for the eyes of a client or any one else, for that matter, whether it is shared or not?)

Work to be seen by God, not others, then you will be happy [Colossians 3:23]: "Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God. Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance. Serve ye the Lord Christ. For he that doth wrong, shall receive for that which he hath done wrongfully: and there is no respect of persons with God."
And the worries. “What will so-and-so think if I do this or I don’t do that?” Does our material wealth and success control us, rather than the other way around?

Am I trying to find myself by pouring myself into other people, relationships, or work, or things, or people’s opinion of me, or success, or wealth? Or am I giving up trying to find myself in that and instead asking God to find me?

Are we truly happy? Joy? Peace? None of those things aforementioned will bring joy, peace, or happiness.

Paul says, “do nothing in selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, regard everyone as better than yourselves.” Because it will make you happy, to have that “pressure” off. Because it is the only way to really love God and be loved by God, to give up that “pressure.”

He bids us to live our lives in humility, realize what and who we are, in perspective of God instead of worldly ideas, realize where we are going (aiming for God) and realizing from where we come (from God).

Uniquely Christian charity: Jesus teaches us to give and to not expect anything in repayment. “As we have been given much, we are called to give much.” To give to our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, heirs as we are to Eternal Life.

These brothers and sisters of ours are not to be our rivals.

They are not to be impressed by our lifestyles.

They are called to share with us on this pilgrimage of life.

If we can internalize this humility, we will be much happier, and much more at peace.

How does one become humble?

Humility is not dishonesty. Ex: if we have a talent, it would be wrong to say that we don’t have it.

Humility is not false humility. (St. Faustina: the devil can feign humility, but he cannot be obedient [to God].)

We grow in humility in proportion to our growing in the truth. Truth in the sense of wisdom. A wisdom that can only come after prayer and meditation [Rosary, scriptural reading of the Passion and Gospels especially, etc.] with the Lord (which includes repentance for sins).

If we are thankful for our blessings, we will realize they are precisely that: blessings. A gift.

We can strive to realize that we don’t live in a vacuum. That we are called to share our gifts with one another humbly and thankfully.

We become humble when we realize there is more than the here and now.

To realize that we are truly on a journey and that we have a goal to be with God and that our very dreams and longings have been put in our hearts by God Himself.

It is definitely challenging to pursue this line of thinking, but when we acknowledge the fact that we are unique, and that we and our neighbors are made in the image and likeness of God, and the fact that God has loved us from all eternity, we can be not only humbly thankful, but also thankfully humble.

Because humility is not a series of acts, but a way of life.

Notes from this blog
I remember I saw online under a video about the Rosary, some person had written, something to the effect of, “well, the reason that we say the Rosary and those protestants don’t is because we were called especially by God and they weren’t.”

The sad thing was that it had so many thumbs up. So many people had agreed with this statement.
It was not at all humble. And it was not at all a Christian statement.

A Christian is one who follows Christ, Who died so that souls might receive life.

We have to realize that the only reason we have any grace is not because we are special. This means we have to realize that we, without God’s graces, are capable of the worst sins that the worst sinners ever committed.

If we had no grace from God, we would be capable of ordering the merciless deaths of 70 million Russian Christians, like the Communist leaders during their rule of Russia.

We would be capable of the cruelest, most callous sins: adultery, disposing of people, rejecting God, rejecting the Rosary, rejecting grace, occultist, cruel vicious speech that destroys other people, murder, gossip, back-stabbing, betrayal, self-destructive behavior, alcoholism…

Every manner of sin.

It is a terrible sin to hate anyone, be it ourselves or even the worst sinner.

Because without God’s grace in our life, we would commit all sin.

You may have fallen from God, or never known Him until a certain point in your life, and you may have committed all sins, and so you know this to be true.

And you know that only through your repentance to God and prayer and constant examination of conscious that you avoided falling into such sins again.

And if you believe you have no sin, then you know that you are currently living in the worst sin of all. And so you know how it is possible to sin without seeking God’s grace through prayer, meditation (such as the Rosary), and repentance.

I know how far a soul can sink without God’s grace. I did not grow up knowing anything about God, and so I can tell you how far a soul can sink.

And I can tell you how God can raise up a soul that repents and truly seeks Him, too.

And so we should have pity on our brothers and sisters. Not say that we are somehow better than they are because we received a grace that they did not.

That kind of arrogance is the best way to lose every grace that God has given you, because God strikes down the arrogant and raises up the humble.

Pity doesn’t mean, if someone does something dangerously illegal or spiritually harmful, that you should permit it, or communicate with that person in any way if they are going to hurt you. It doesn’t mean that you should be around people who are abusing you or who are spiritually dangerous—you should leave their presence, stay away from harmful people. And if you “need” to be around them to “progress” you career or achieve “success” or have a “relationship," consider which you value more: your life and your soul, or worldly/material success? God gave you a limited amount of life, being around someone like a boss or teacher or something who is truly abusive (such as, violent, sexually abusive, blaspheming God, etc.), is not worth… anything. You are placing too much worth on something above God and above your immortal soul.

What pity means is, share what you have. The most precious thing you have is God’s grace in your soul, and the way you can share this is through repenting of hatred for all the cruelty sinners have done against you, for hatred towards those who have wronged you, and praying for them.

I know this to be true because I have done it.

It is difficult, but when you walk out of the Confessional, having repented of hatred or resentment or anger, even for the worst abuse, and those sins of anger and resentment and hatred and self-pity are no longer in your soul, and then you can offer a prayer for those who abused you, you are free. And your soul feels free and pure and clean in a way that NOTHING else can ever give it to feel, because God is most pleased with your soul in that moment.

You know that I speak from experience: I have been badly abused, to the point of developing PTSD, to having my life destroyed, my soul crushed, unspeakable things, innumerable torments and diseases caused by them, ruined over and over again.

And I tell you, it hurts more to be filled with the consuming sins of anger and resentment and revenge and hatred, or, worst of all, arrogance and superiority, than it does to go to confession once a month, than it does to look through an examination of conscious every day at home, than to say the Rosary every day for your enemies, to go to daily Mass.

The latter feels good, the former (the sin), feels consumingly tormenting and awful.

Because charity means to give without expecting anything in return, and in that ultimate charity of repentance, forgiveness and prayer, do you find God. That is why it feels so good, better than anything the world and hatred and sin have to offer.

If you have these sins, you cannot get rid of them on your own, but must hand them over to God. (see Divine Mercy post for meditation on this, as well as praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which calls down God’s grace for overcoming sin.)