A Preacher’s Perspective: Christians, do you know yourself?
In probably the only place in the Gospel where Jesus Christ directly instructs us to imitate his attitude to life, our Lord says to us in this Sunday’s Gospel acclamation to learn from him because he is “meek and humble of heart” (Mt. 11:29}. Humility is a virtue-,“an habitual and firm disposition to do the good” (CCC 1803). St. Bernard of Clairvaux defines humility as "a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.” However, to be humble is not to degrade oneself or become a foot-mat for others, rather, to be humble is to be Christlike. To be abase here means to know oneself. Do you know yourself? Have you identified your strength and weaknesses? Are you able to distinguish between what you are capable of doing and what you are not endowed to do? In doing this we are able to have the right relationship with God and fellow human beings.
To be humble is an exploration into self-knowledge of our relation to God. An apt expression of this inquiry into self is the two-word saying attributed to the seven wise men of Greece, “Know thyself.” These words inscribed at the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi is a reflection on what is required for true happiness and freedom. When you know yourself, you know who you are, the qualities you possess and your end or purpose as God’s sons and daughters-to know, love and serve God’s will.
To be humble is to know there are things only known to God and that only God can do. St. Catherine of Siena in her Dialogue with God the Father was told: “Do you know daughter, who you are and who I am? If you know these two things you have beatitude in your grasp. You are she who is not, I AM HE WHO IS.” Similarly, when St Theresa of Avila asked Christ what true humility meant, he replied: “To know what you can do, and what I can do.”
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.
On this note, I hereby announce that George Ehgartner, our indefatigable Parish Manager is leaving the parish to take up another position in the diocese. There are lots of things George can do that I can’t do and I will miss the assistance I receive from his wealth of knowledge and managerial skills. On behalf of our parish staff and indeed the entire parish, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to George for the magnificent services he has rendered to our parish the last four years, ranging from his outstanding dedication to realization of our dream parish center to revival of our successful parish Lenten Fish Dinner this year. Personally, I am thankful for his assistance in my settling with ease into my new position, first as Administrator and now as pastor of St. Peter-his advice and insights are of great value. Let us remember George Ehgartner in our prayers as he moves on to his next adventure.
In Christ’s Hope,
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP