Sunday, March 08, 2009

Lenten thoughts - Humility

"Madonna of Humility" by Giovanni Paolo depicts Our Lady in violet robe and sitting on the ground. Frescos with the Madonna dell'Umiltà were the object of special veneration in northern Italy. and images of humble Virgin were very popular in private devotions in fourteen century Siena.

Charity is the essence of Christian perfection, for charity alone has the power to unite mand to God, his last end. But for us poor, miserable creatures, whom God wishes to raise to union with Himself, is charity the ultimate basis of the spiritual life? No. There is something deeper still which is, so to speak, the basis of charity, and that is humility. Humility is to charity what the foundation is to a building. Digging the foundation is not building the house, yet it is preliminary, indispensable work, the condition sine qua non. The deeper and firmer it is, the better the house will be and the greater assurance of stability it will have. Only the fool "built his house upon the sand," with the inevitable consequence of seeing it crumble away very soon. The wise man, on the contrary, "built...upon a rock" (Mt 7:24-26); storms and winds might threaten, but his hhouse was unshakable because foundation was solid.
Humility is the firm bedrock upon which every Christian should build the edifice of his spiritual life. "If you wish to lay good foundations" says St Teresa of Jesus to her daughters, "each of you must try to be the least of all" that is, you must practice humility. "If you do that...your foundation will be so firmly laid that your Castle will not fall" (Interior Castle 7:4).

Fragments from "Divine Intimacy" by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen OCD