The story is told about a very shy speaker who hesitatingly started: “Ah… my friends… when I came here to speak to you tonight, only God and myself knew what I was about to say to you… and now, only God knows, so I better stop.” And he bowed his head, and stopped. And the audience gave him a standing ovation.
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 14: 1, 7-14), Jesus teaches us to be humble. “He who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Let us learn to stop choosing places of honor or going to higher positions, and basking in moments of recognition. Let us learn instead to be hidden, and to just fade away.
People who, knowingly or unknowingly, keep seeking honor and recognition often are people who have a lot of insecurities and self-worth issues. Our life is bigger than that of being liked or being befriended. Let not worldly applause and the spotlight deafen and blind us, that we would lose our way in our journey to God’s heart.
For those who are so focused on what people think or say, for all you know, people don’t really think about you at all, and more often than not, will have negative things to say.
Jesus was so secure with Himself, and was not threatened by anything or by anyone. Imagine how He publicly corrected the host who invited Him for dinner, telling him not to be choosy or exclusive about whom to invite! For Jesus, truth is truth, no matter where, no matter what.
Do you think ill of others? Do you speak ill of others? Do you treat others in an ill manner? That is because you hold on to “I.” Change “I” to “we,” and you’ll learn to think well of others, speak well of others and treat others well.
Fr. Simon Boiser, SVD, our Filipino missionary in Hamburg, Germany, writes about the humble service of the Missionaries of Charity who speak little of themselves, who remain kind and gentle, and are “willing to accept being slighted, forgotten, and even disliked.” Shouldn’t we all take the road of humility and self-abasement, and just fade away?
We all still have much to learn about humility and fading away. Mama always reminded us not to be proud and not to seek recognition, even to bear insults and persecutions. This is thought to be foolish in the eyes of the world, but it has been a source of peace and comfort for me. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Mama!
Learn from the handkerchief: It is just hidden in the pocket, but it is very useful. The opposite of the handkerchief is the necktie: very visible and “starring,” but its only use is for display and decoration.
Only in prayer can we really listen to God, and experience His peace and His love. Find time for quiet moments, “away from the maddening crowd,” away from the flashbulbs. Wishing you peaceful moments in the candleglow.
Think about this: “As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” (C. S. Lewis)
It’s September once more, and the Christmas season is once again on the horizon. This early, let us prepare ourselves to make Christmas beautiful for ourselves and for other people, especially the poor and the suffering around us.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to take the hidden way, and just fade away. Amen.
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