“‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ … for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Lk 18:13-14
The word “humility” comes from its Latin root “humus” which means “ground” or “dirt.” Whatever humility may mean, it includes the sense of being firmly grounded, of being securely rooted in God’s Love. Saint Teresa of Avila sees humility as accepting the truth about oneself. Accepting the truth about ourselves leads us to two realizations. First, that we are a bound by sinful inclinations: we do not do the things we want to do, yet we do the things we do not want. We are profoundly conflicted and divided within. Second, in crying out to God for mercy and unconditional acceptance, we realize our dignity as Beloved, as prodigal sons and daughters, as those redeemed by Love which embraces and transforms us beyond our sins, inner conflicts, and tendencies toward death. We are continually loved, forgiven, and called into being.
Rooted in Love, we can resist the temptation to let others or our performance determine who we are. We will not cling to the praise and adulation of others or our own sense of accomplishment. Deeply rooted in Love, we can enjoy human praise without being attached to it. We can accept the truth about ourselves with gratitude.
“O Lord, help me to come to a deeper awareness of myself as a sinner, redeemed and Beloved.”