As seen and heard in social media and real-life stories, humility is the mark of a great person. Sirach says, “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.”
During my month-long vacation, I stayed tuned at the Rio Olympics like a couch potato. Admittedly, what I enjoyed the most, as expected, was the spectacular show of talents of the best athletes in the world competing at the highest level. I looked forward to the interviews of those who brought gold, broke records, made history, gave pride to the country and upon return, given a hero’s welcome. What they have to say intrigues me. I hesitate to mention names but I have great respect and admiration to those who remain humble by giving credit not just to the sacrifices made but to their faith. In spite of their world-class talents, accolades, accomplishments, and decorated careers, the spotlight could have easily been used for bragging rights. Rather, they pointed to God or otherwise but mostly to something beyond them duly recognizing the program and the tireless support of the many individuals behind their successes.
A humble person is a rare breed. In a world where many prefer the limelight (not bad at all, in fact, it’s but human to seek value, recognition and honor), there is a short supply of them and the moment I chance upon (virtual and/or real) I bet you, in subtle ways, they inspire and change me. Forever? Possibly. I can’t tell exactly where to hunt and spot them like a pokemon but evidently, not in political campaigns where inflated egos come in different shapes and sizes. To be humble is to have a mastery of thy self. A humble person is deeply spiritual, profoundly practical and yet, inexplicable. He listens attentively, puts the goodness of others ahead, a feedback junkie, knows his limits and is aware that some things are beyond his control, discards any hint of arrogance, accepts mistakes and takes the blame. And if ever you wonder where the source of this penulminate energy flows from, well, it is within, in his inner soul divinely wired. Only a saint can do this!
Next Sunday, September 4, the Universal Church will witness the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, a nobel prize winner, by His Holiness Pope Francis. Her life is an epitome of humility. She wasn’t afraid nor scared. She took the lowest seat. She showed us what it meant to have a missionary spirit by going out in the streets to take care of the needy, the lame, the blind and the crippled-the ultimate expression of the verse “for all who exalt themselves will be made humble, while all who humble themselves will be made great.”
Faith and Life is a constant invitation to a public banquet where the poor and disabled-the very people we tend to dissociate ourselves from must have the priority over our loved ones and acquaintances. Crazy as can be, we’re asked in our little ways to show an act of kindness and humility to those who can’t repay us back.
Since today, August 28 is the Memorial of a great doctor of the church, St. Augustine, let me end with his famous line which gives me goosebumps every time I engage in a spiritual calisthenics: “You have made us for thyself, O Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” His confessions made him a spiritual giant by inscribing what many of us can’t even express in words. With a deep sense of humility and candor, he shared his religious struggles including the mistakes he made. St. Augustine Pray For Us!