Pride and the servant of God
SERVANTHOOD NEEDS HUMILITY or it is not servanthood what he/she practices!
I first want to examine what God has taught us regarding humility!
Sunday January 3, 2010. At 6:15 AM I was led to a page in the Bible
1. Luke 7: 6-17; 9-10. “And Jesus went with them, but when He was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell Him, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have You enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to You; but say the word and let my servant he healed.’ When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at him and turning said to the crowd following Him, “I tell you, not even in Israel I have found such faith!” When the messengers returned to the home, they found the slave in good health.”
1) It is evident that the centurion’s humility increased his faith to a point of believing that Jesus did not have to be present for his servant to be healed… Wow…Then, his faith and his trust (faith without fear of being wrong) withdrew Jesus’ Mercy to work the healing.
2) The whole event permitted Jesus to teach others about the importance of faith. So, the centurion’s own humility led to extreme trust and this made him a missionary to the crowd… Wow again.
3) He also had built a synagogue for the Jews, and this fact was brought to Jesus so that He would start going towards his house. This was an example of love of neighbor, that is, building a synagogue, although the greatest love of neighbor was depicted in his desire to help his servant who was about to die.
4) Conclusion: faith and love were the fruits of humility! No doubt that this virtue is essential for the mission field.
2. Luke 7: 29-31 – “All the people who listened, including the tax collectors and who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him rejected the plan of God for themselves.”
1) There is a huge hint that the Pharisees lacked the humility to go to John the Baptist, a man who wore clothing made of camel’s hair, had a leather belt around his waist and his food consisted of locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4). Even worse, he had no formal education. However, John himself was very humble when he said about Jesus, “I must decrease. He must increase.”
2) It is frightening to fathom that to get to know God, to acknowledge His righteousness; one has to be humble… Our pride could blind us to God’s plan for us as it did in the case of the Pharisees.
3. Luke 14: 11. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Nothing needs to be added.)
4. Luke 1: 46-49 – My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness (nothingness – humility); behold, all ages will come me blessed.
1. Because Our Lady was humble, she could see and proclaim the greatness of God. In other words, her humility equipped her with the power to announce the Good News. What a hint for us!
2. This same humility allowed her to have joy… in her savior… or her own Son.
3. And due to her humility, all ages will call her blessed… which could translate in giving glory to God for all eternity. Wow!
5. Luke 1: 51b – “He has dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.”
God is for sure not happy with the arrogant and waters down his understanding, his knowledge of the Kingdom. So, being arrogant due to pride is a very dangerous attitude. Very!
6. Luke 1: 51b-52. “He has thrown down the rulers form their thrones but lifted up the lowly.”
This last verse merits no further comment. It is sooo clear!
7. Proverbs 9: 10-12. “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. I you are wise, it is to your own advantage; and if you are arrogant, you alone shall bear it” (Or you are on your own. Ouch!)
8. Proverbs 9: 7b-8. “He who courts an arrogant man earns insults. Reprove not the arrogant man, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”
Humility and love are sides to the same coin! Humility seems to be a precondition to truly love as God does!
9.: Proverbs 3: 34 – “When He is dealing with the arrogant, He is stern, but to the humble He shows kindness.” (Clear as water…)
10. Sirach 7: 16-17. Do not esteem yourself better than your fellows; remember His wrath will not delay. More and more, humble your pride; what waits man is worms.”
I love these words. They should be read on every Ash Wednesday service. They impact me because since I was born on an Ash Wednesday, and I should keep my life focused in two things: my body will become ashes after the worms are done with it. In lieu of that fact, my soul should be always “preparing” to soar to the mansion that my Daddy has for me in heaven, which also means to catch any pride and get rid of it after due repentance.
11. Sirach 10: 6-10; 12-13a. – THE SIN OF PRIDE – “No matter the wrong, do no violence to your neighbor, and do not walk the path of arrogance. Odious to the Lord and to man is arrogance. Dominion is transferred from one people to another because of the violence of the arrogant. Why are dust and ashes proud? Even during life man’s body decays; a slight illness – the doctor jests, a king today – tomorrow he is dead. The beginning of pride is man’s stubbornness in withdrawing his heart from the Maker; for pride is the reservoir of sin, a source which runs over with vice.”
12. Matthew 23:11-12 – The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13. There are many more verses regarding the subject of pride and humility. BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is to know that the Bible starts with the sin of disobedience to God. Satan had refused to obey and Adam and Eve as well, and underneath this sin, it was all due to pride… Refusing to do the will of God is directly related to our pride… Ouch! A very sobering fact!
14. From St. Augustine: “That’s how it is, brothers and sisters. Trust God’s instructions, and carry them out, and He will give muscle to your understanding. Don’t be presumptuous, and as it were give knowledge priority over God’s instruction, or you will remain full of hot air, instead of solid understanding. Think of a tree; it first seeks out the lowest level, in order to grow upward; it fixes its roots in the lowly soil, in order to stretch out its topmost branches to the sky. Can it reach upward from anywhere except its humble roots? You, though, wish to comprehend the heights without charity; you are challenging the winds without roots. That’s the way to come crashing down, not to grow. With Christ dwelling in your hearts through faith, be rooted and grounded in love, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.”
15. On January 6, our present Holy Father also emphasized the need for humility.
Benedict XVI’s Homily for Epiphany of 2010
"Many Have Seen the Star, but Few Have Understood Its Message" (Well said, Holy Father)
“These figures from the East are not the last, but rather the first of the great procession of those who, through all the periods of history, know how to recognize the message of the star, know how to follow the ways indicated by sacred Scripture, and thus are able to encounter him who is apparently weak and fragile, but who instead is able to give the greatest and most profound joy to man’s heart. (I add, the Three Kings were very humble… in paying attention to a star and looking for a King, and finding him as a baby in a humble crèche, believed in Him… Wow!) Although the few of Bethlehem have become many, believers in Jesus Christ always seem to be few.
“Hence, we can ask ourselves: What is the reason that some see and others do not? What is it that opens the eyes and heart? What is missing in those who remain indifferent, from those who indicate the way but do not move? We can answer: the excessive certainty in themselves, the pretension of knowing reality perfectly, the presumption of already having formulated a definitive judgment on things, thus making their hearts closed and insensitive to the novelty of God. In the end, what is missing is genuine humility, which is able to submit to what is greater, but also the genuine courage that leads one to believe what is really great, even if it is manifested in a defenseless child.”
Corollary for the last 15 points: pride destroys our TRUST in God! Samuel 24 shows us a King David very aware of his competence as a fighter (pride because he forgot the God was the power behind), starting with Goliath’s incident, and so he decided to count how many soldiers he had. His trust in God’s love for Israel and how He would win their battles had evanesced…and this provoked the fury of God, Who sent a pestilence. It is the same thing we find in Mark 6: 1-6 – The lack of trust in the power of God tells us that the “Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith” which prevented Him from performing any mighty deeds!!! WE MUST DEAL WITH ANY PRIDE AT ONCE AND ALWAYS… because it does threaten our relationship with Jesus, the Christ. Personally I have grown very committed to spot any form of pride in my life on my part.