Sunday, September 2, 2007


“My son, conduct your affairs with humility,
And you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
And you will find favor with God.
For great is the power of God;
By the humble he is glorified.”
Sirach 3:17-19

Today’s readings touched me on several levels. (The Gospel spoke of giving up the head-of-the-table seat to someone more important.)

I. The Humility of Motherhood

On this Earth, there is no job more humbling and more elevating than that of Mother. I think of the ten days last April when my older three children took turns with a four-day stomach virus. I was up day and night cleaning up vomit, consoling them, and giving the baby extra breastmilk to boost her immunity. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there was the day my firstborn read me her first book – and I knew I had taught it to her. Or, more recently, the day she confided in me her hopes and fears for the future. Tonight we finished reading aloud a wonderful book to all the children, and I knew I had planted fascinating seeds for thought. (As I write, I just got handed a tooth. Looks like I'll be playing the tooth fairy tonight.)

We honour Mary not for one specific thing she did, but for who she is – the Mother of the Son of God. She humbled herself to receive the gift of motherhood, and for that she is elevated. Everyday we can look to Mary as the ultimate model for who we should be as mothers. We can remember that it is not the great earthly things we do that matter, but that we just be spiritually present to our children.

II. The Humility of Writing

Writers are of an interesting breed, full of subtle ironies. Most of us tend toward introspection. Yet we seek publication, to set our mark on the world. The Christian writer may earnestly work toward getting an important message out to the world. Yet he must ultimately self-promote in order to further that end.

In the movie, “The Singing Nun”, a sister with a guitar, the only vestige left of her family, becomes famous for her beautiful hymns. In the end, realizing that vanity has caught hold of her and kept her from her true ministry, she gives up her guitar completely.

For us, the battle with humility will likely be a lifelong one. We are called upon to use our gifts to help others, yet must be sure the glory goes to our Maker, not ourselves.

III. The Humility of Volunteerism

I have taken a hiatus from volunteering in both church and school, while caring for an infant. I remember those who said, “Volunteering is a thankless job,” and seemed to be put-out by all their efforts. We are called to “do all that we do with a cheerful countenance”. While recognizing that our job is important, we must not feel self-important.

Heavenly Father,
Help me to give of my gifts
And in a manner that will always glorify you.

Pictured above: “Vanity”, by John George Brown

No comments: