Never say never. That’s what they have always said. And how true it is – both in this world and regarding Eternal Life!
If you’re beyond a certain age and have children, you may already have experienced the phenomenon of becoming your parents. As a child, you resented their constraints and swore never to replicate that which had you straining at an imaginary leash. Your children, however, see a much different you. You, their parent, are full of odd sayings and rules and boundaries. Because you’ve grown, both in experience and knowledge, you are now able to see the wisdom of restraint.
Now might be a great time to thank your parents!
As parents, you might also have been on the receiving end of your share of humble pie. Maybe your first foray into tending to God’s little souls found you with pliable, obedient children. Your self-worth (and pride) moved up a notch or two – because you knew how to parent. If only those other parents out there would use such proven methods, you thought. The arrival of a subsequent child or two might have had you singing a rather more humble song. You see, not all children get the memo. Great, tried and true, parenting skills aside, they march to a much different drummer.
Grab your fork – humble pie time!
Our adult life doesn’t go unscathed by the copious supply of humble pie either. Have you ever said, “well, I’d never… (Fill in the blank)”, only to find yourself at the crossroads of rock and hard place? Unforeseen circumstances sure have a way of keeping us humble. What we once viewed as incomprehensible, may now be our best available course of action.
Humble (spiritual) pie!
So it goes with our spiritual life as well. Peter had a taste of humble pie when he asked Our Lord to lead him out onto the water, toward Him. All of his bravado quickly faded as he perceived the reality of what he had requested. In saying he would never deny Jesus, the huge helping of humble pie served by his three-fold denial must have been chastening, to say the least. Yet, even though we’ve read and heard about his betrayal multiple times, we all too often fall into doing the unthinkable ourselves.
It’s time for humility, closely associated with the Cardinal Virtue of Temperance.
Doubt and Fear
When life hands us an unexpected trial, we are cast into doubt and fear. All semblance of hope fades and we become afraid. All this even though, He who clothes the lilies and feeds the sparrows, has promised us His Shelter from any storm.
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
— Matthew 6:28-34
When will we learn? That depends on us and our free will. How hard are we willing to work toward complete trust? Will we be able to ‘let go, and let God’ when it comes to our most difficult trials? The answer lies in our motivation. Even then, our human nature can lead us into falling back into desperation at any time. The feeling that we’re flying without a net is contrary to our mortal sense of self preservation. Spiritual strength, a determined will, and spiritual exercises are a great way to begin to overcome our human frailty and doubt.
As my own life leads my family into uncharted waters, I’ve taken the counsel of a good priest. A heightened prayer life, along with inspirational reading was his healing guidance. As he put it, “sometimes we need to read for inspiration, rather than information”. He knows me well! It’s time to supplement my studious side with some spiritual reading. At the request of Father I will be reading Consoling the Heart of Jesus, by Father Gaitley. My goal? To find the spiritual strength and childlike trust to offer myself completely to Him Who created me. In humbling myself to God, I choose to consent to Him as He steers me toward the true path. I pray I won’t falter.
Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)
What are some of the ways you’ve been served a heaping helping of humble pie? What can you share to help others on their path toward successfully giving themselves to God?