The Ecclesial Reality of Humility
One of the major principles of Ignatian spirituality is “finding God in all things”. As I have continued to follow Christ, this principle has become foundational in my life for encountering the living God in the day to day grind. After a summer at Camp Wojtyla, while I was in college, I learned the secret to living out this axiom is analogy. Jesus himself spoke analogically through parables to his disciples while he walked with and taught them in Galilee and Judea and I believe he wishes to continue to speak to us in this same way now.
This past weekend, St John Vianney had the opportunity to compete in the Sons of Thunder Soccer Tournament at Conception Seminary College. On the first day of competition, we found ourselves with wet and muddy fields and scattered puddles where water had pooled up in different places. These playing conditions added to the intensity of our first match and also led to higher levels of frustration because we had less control of the ball. This was certainly the case for me. I was exhausted and my passes were not on target and often resulted in turnovers. I had been taking many of the corner kicks and free kicks, until one of the guys on our team came up to me and said, “Micah, we need a taller, and bigger presence in the 18 yard box on our free kicks, let Stephen take this one.” My first reaction was one of pride, thinking foolishly to myself, “that’s ridiculous I have a much better shot than him. Why would I let him take it?” I took a deep breath and humbly accepted, trying to receive the truth that I am not as good as I always think I am. On that same kick, Stephen shot the ball on target, the goalie fumbled it, and the guy who told me not to take the kick tapped it in for the winning goal. As I was reflecting later on this experience, I realized had I not swallowed my pride, we probably would have lost the game. If I had taken that shot, I probably would have shanked it wide as I had been doing the whole game. An act of humility, where we recognize and are honest about the truth of who we are, has a profound effect on the situation around us.
On the soccer field, it helped the team achieve our goal of winning the game. The same is true for our everyday life. Though we may not always see it, God will always bring about a greater good for the Body of Christ, The Church, when one of its members makes an act of humility. Just as on the soccer field, we will often find ourselves in the battle of life where tempers are flaring and conditions are challenging. In these moments when we are frustrated with our weakness and inability to preach as well as the person next to us, or be as funny and joyful as another, or as intelligent as a third, let us remember our gifts and that we are on a team. If a defender ignores his position because he wants the glory of scoring a goal, odds are, you are going to lose the game. And if a hermit ignores his vocation because he wants the glory of being a bishop, attaining the goal of salvation will be much more challenging for that man and the countless others God had ordained to rely upon his prayers.
Strive for humility and meekness. this doesn’t mean we think horribly about ourselves, it means we think honestly about ourselves and strive to act in accordance with that truth trusting that God will guide the ship towards our final end. In all things, let us remember God is the primary actor in salvation and not one of us.
Archdiocese of Denver