Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lessons in Humility

Lent 2009 is a strange one. If you walk down any street in Manhattan, you can see the unsettled look on people's faces. People feel unnerved by these times. According to columnists and Catholic bloggers, Church attendence seems to be up. Perhaps, in humility, more people will begin to realize their need for God. People of faith, who believe in God and the power of prayer, go through difficult times more easily. That's a fact. They can turn to God and prayer for inner strength and courage. 
Humility in prayer reminds us of how much we need a relationship with God and the importance of God's mercy. The great St. Teresa of Avila, saint and Doctor of the Church, believed that humility was crucial for spiritual growth. During Lent, especially this Lent, it's good to remember that. 
These are her words, We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for beholding God's greatness, we realize our own littleness.....and by meditating upon His humanity we find how very far we are from being humble.
What are Christians to do? St. Teresa would say, Remember Christ crucified. Remember the humanity of Christ and meditate on his sufferings. 
In these uncertain times, it's best to trust in God and rely on the mercy and love of God. Prayer is a great gift, belief is a great gift. So many times I've heard people say, I couldn't make it through that experience without my faith, without prayer. Those are my words too.
The following prayer by St. Teresa is one that I read everyday. It's on a card that I have. It was sent to me from a Carmelite Bishop who lives high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, serving the people there with love and compassion.  NJA

Let nothing disturb you
Nothing frighten you
All things are passing
God never changes
Patience wins all things
Whoever has God wants nothing
God alone suffices.
St. Teresa's Bookmark