This month of September is dedicated to growing in devotion to the Seven Dolors or Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Blessed Mother’s Seven Sorrows are: 1. The prophecy of Simeon 2. The flight of the Holy Family into Egypt 3. The loss of the Holy Child Jesus in Jerusalem for three days 4. Mary meeting Jesus during His carry of the Cross to Calvary 5. Mary standing at the foot of the Cross 6. Jesus being taken down from the Cross and His body placed in her arms 7. The burial of Jesus in the tomb.
I also encourage all to grow in devotion to the Holy Angels during this month of September. A brief reminder: September 29 we celebrate the Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael; and on October 2 we celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels. Let us ask for the grace to be more sensitive and responsive to the loving presence of the Holy Angels our good Lord has shared with us!
One of the themes found in the Holy Mass readings for this Sunday, the 22nd in Ordinary Time, is the importance of the virtue of humility. This splendid virtue is often called the ‘foundation virtue’ upon which all other virtues rest. In other words, if a soul does not practice humility, all the other virtues will not grow or flourish. St. Bernard once said: “Humility is the foundation and safeguard of all virtues.” Thus, humility is very important!
In the first reading from Sirach 3:17-18 we read: “My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.”
In the Gospel of Luke 14, Our Lord teaches us: “For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In other words, God loves and favors the soul that practices humility with special blessings. Humility is a gift for which we must pray. The beauty of humility is that it enables the soul to understand how to live in a loving relationship with God. The soul that is humble will continually grow in self-knowledge – especially the knowledge of one’s own spiritual poverty or neediness.
Apart from friendship with God, we cannot do anything good in His eyes. With God all things are possible and any number of good works that are pleasing to Him can be accomplished!
The sinfully proud soul will try to rely upon oneself or some other creature or part of creation to find true happiness. This will always be an empty pursuit that ends in unhappiness.
The humble soul seeks the love and grace of God wherever our Lord can be found. Humility reveals to the soul the depth to which the soul has need for God in order to be truly happy. It also reveals to the soul the ugliness of a spiritual life apart from God and the beauty that can give life to the soul when God is the center and Lord of one’s life.Furthermore, humility not only makes it possible for the soul to see its own nothingness and helplessness to do the good, but also its complete dependence upon God for salvation and the accomplishment of any good work.
The proud soul has great difficulty accepting the gift of Faith and will have very little, if any, real love for God. The humble soul can accept the gift of Faith and will readily grow in love for God because the soul realizes the need for God’s grace to know self and know God.
The proud soul seeks to elevate self above God in order to determine one’s own meaning in life, including the idea that ‘one can decide for oneself what is right and wrong’. The humble soul will seek God’s grace in order to know His will and live within the meaning God has chosen for his or her life.
The proud soul is quarrelsome and ready for fighting. The humble soul is eager to learn and understands that knowledge of God and self-knowledge leads to peace.
The humble soul takes great effort to be sure to be at peace with God, which leads to peace with others and with self.
Each one of us must take up the inner struggle against sinful pride through asking our Good Lord for the grace to live in the spirit of humility with Him.
The single best way to grow in the grace of humility is the Sacrament of Confession. This Sacrament provides the ideal means for the soul to express need for God and growing in self-knowledge. The next best practice is assiduous prayer, including worshiping our Lord each Sunday
with attentive love.
Jesus will readily grant the grace of humility because it will make us
more like Him! Let us all desire the grace of humility that we hear
about in the Holy Mass readings this Sunday. Let us seek to live in
the gift and grace of humility, which enables the soul to live in a
loving union with our Good Lord!
Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Humility,
St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Michael, may God bless us all with the
grace to live in humility and in union with His Divine Will!
In Christ through Mary,
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