Moments

Humility and honesty

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The story is told about a man who was asked about the difference between a girlfriend and a wife. His simple reply was: “When my wife was still my girlfriend, she answered all my questions. Now that she is my wife, she questions all my answers.”

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In today’s gospel (Mk. 9, 30-37), Jesus asked His disciples a question that they did not, or perhaps could not, answer. Why? Because, to their shame, they were discussing who among them was the greatest. The truth of the matter is that the power game is not over, and a lot of people are still very much hooked to it.

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The evil one knows that humility is the key to holiness and true greatness. That is why he specializes in using pride, his greatest instrument for the destruction and perdition of persons. The temptations connected to pride are strong, and often they are effective because they are subtle and hidden. We all must be very honest and open. Yes, honesty is the first cousin of humility.

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Medjugorje is one pilgrimage place I like to go back to again and again. It is a prayerful and restful place. It is also a humble place with no big hotels and expensive stores. The whole place is focused on the activities in the church—the Mass, the confessions, the Holy Hour and the Stations of the Cross. In other words, it leads people to pray, and to be humble before God. The crime rate is almost zero, and people from everywhere extend hands of friendship to one another as brothers and sisters. If we all know how to be humble before God, we all can be humble toward one another and live in peace.

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It is always a pleasure to have 83-year-old Pete Santiago, a retired executive judge, in our pilgrimages. His wit and wisdom are awesome and inspiring. When he talks, all of us in the group, young or old, listen well so as not to miss a punch line, or a word of wisdom. But what I admire most in him is his ability to be humble and to really listen. On our last bus ride from Medjugorje to the Sarajevo airport, he went to the front, took the microphone, thanked everyone sincerely, and apologized to anyone he may have hurt without meaning to, in thought, word, or deed. That, for me, is greatness—the ability to bow low, and be humble like a child.

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One of the visionaries of Medjugorje is Vizca, who is still alive and who still sees daily apparitions of the Blessed Mother. I first saw Vizca in 1989, and I could not forget the smile and love in her eyes. The other day I saw her again after so many years, and I noticed the same glow and love in her eyes. She still exudes that love, gentleness, and joy as she did when I first saw her. What is her secret? She humbles herself constantly in prayer every day. In spite of all the persecutions and trials she has gone through, she is strong and constant because of her humility and obedience to God.

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The one-hour climb to the Apparition Hill in Medjugorje is not at all a walk in the park. The road is strewn with sharp rocks and jagged stones.

It reminds us of our pilgrim way on earth, and the way to tread it is to walk with patience and humility.

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It is harder to go down than go up the Apparition Hill. So, too, in life. Marilyn, one of the pilgrims, said it is easy to go up and become proud and arrogant, and how difficult it is to become humble, and to acknowledge one’s need of God and people.

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Just asking: Why do “self-made” people have the tendency to become proud and unbending? Why do people born with a silver spoon in their mouth tend to become shallow, proud, and uncaring? The answer is that they usually rely on their own achievements and resources instead of relying on God’s grace and providence.

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What do the people around our President, P-Noy, discuss among themselves?  Factions, infighting, and selfish interests can destroy or slow down a leader’s national agenda. May our government be freed of the bondage and burden of selfish individuals, parties, or ideologies. May the interest and well-being of our country and our people be above anyone or anything.

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Think about this in connection with the Reproductive Health bill: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

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Today is the feast of Saint Padre Pio, one of our most inspiring modern-day saints. Let us ponder on his words: “Reflect upon and keep before your mental gaze the great humility of the Mother of God, our Mother. The more she was filled with heavenly gifts, the more deeply she humbled herself.”

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“Only a general knows how and when to use one of his soldiers. Wait, your turn will come.” (St. Padre Pio)

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, lead me and stay with me on the road of humility and honesty. Amen.

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