“‘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 can lead us to two realizations. First, that we are bound by sinful tendencies: we do not do the things we want to do that leads to life; rather, we do the opposite that leads to death. We are profoundly conflicted and divided within. Second, in crying out to God for mercy and unconditional acceptance, we realize our dignity as beloved sons and daughters, as those redeemed by Love which embraces and transforms us beyond our sins, inner conflicts, and tendencies toward death. We grow in deeper awareness that while we are broken, 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 be affected less by the praise and adulation of others or of 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.”