Friends, today’s Gospel exposes the pride of the Pharisees and concludes with the prescription of humility. I want to reflect on this virtue.
St. Augustine said that all of us, made from nothing, tend toward nothing. We can see this in our frailty and sin and mortality. St. Paul said, “What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?”
To believe in God is to know these truths. To live them out is to live in the attitude of humility. Thomas Aquinas said humilitas veritas, meaning humility is truth. It is living out the deepest truth of things: God is God and we are not.
Now, all of this sounds very clear when it’s stated in this abstract manner, but man is it hard to live out! In our fallen world, we forget so readily that we are creatures. We start to assume that we are gods, the center of the universe.
The ego becomes a massive monkey on our backs, and it has to be fed and pampered constantly. What a liberation it is to let go of the ego! Do you see why humility is not a degradation, but an elevation?
Reflect: What do you possess that you have not received?