Lenten Reflections: God Works in Humility, not Spectacles

We thank Katerina Leung for today’s Lenten Reflection!

This week I learned some humbling truths. In the way Christ works consistently in my Life, I learn my lessons in seasons – often everything that is revealed to me is related to a single focus. The current focus for me relates to my Lenten promise. I vowed to work on one aspect of myself that, until recently, I considered as only a weakness and never a strength: vulnerability.

Of the small lessons, Pope Francis’s homily today (Monday March 9) helped me tie this into the neat little reflection I share with you today.

God works in humility, not spectacles

ARGENTINA-ASH WEDNESDAY-BERGOGLIO

The Pope noted that “one of the three temptations of Jesus in the desert” was to create a spectacle. Satan invites Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple so that, seeing the miracle, the people might believe in Him. “The Lord, instead, is revealed in simplicity, in humility,” he said.

I often think that a grand gesture of charity or witness is the only ones worth making. But really, my abstinence of a particular foodstuff cannot right the damage of arguing with my Mom and certainly the former cannot be more pleasing than avoidance of the ladder. And yet, sometimes saying “I’m sorry” and choosing to see what is right in her claims seems harder than never having [insert food here] ever again. And with clarity, the Lord reminds me in that small voice in my heart that I’d be eternally more satisfied at my last moments on earth cherishing a loving relationship with my Mom than the pride of knowing I could “live” without [insert food here]

“It would do us good this Lent,” the Pope said, “to consider how the Lord has helped us in our lives, and how the Lord has led us onward. We will find that the Lord has always done this with simple things.”

He concluded, “This is how the Lord acts: He does things simply. He speaks silently to you, to the heart. Let us remember in our lives the many time we have felt these things: the humility of God is His style; the simplicity of God is His style.”

Pope Francis’s word reminded me of what Dr. Robert Di Pede shared at the Newman Lent Retreat. He invited us to reflect on what the “desert”, the “wild animals”, and the “angels” were in our lives for Lent based on Mark 1:13 {and he remained there for forty days, and was put to the test by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and the angels looked after him}. Of the “angels”, he offered considering what brought us comfort, who could we turn to during Lent and in other times of trials, and what Graces has God already offered us in dealing with the “wild animals” (the temptations and trials). For me, those were all the times a particular Scripture passage would pop into my head when I needed it most – and believe me, I’m no good at remembering my Scripture passages. The very first was “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want” {Psalm 23:1}. In the simple act of breathing, I can see how this is true. And through each breath, God provides all the other needs that come from that act. And for those moments when sadness, despair, dread, guilt, or longing and loneliness have threatened to swallow me whole, I heard “deep is calling on deep” {Psalm 42:7}. And in those moments, I need to ask, “Do I trust that God can fulfill that aching empty void?” And slowly, I started to realize I didn’t need to look ahead to know that answer. If I merely decide to glance back, I’ll see many moments deserving of yet-unprofessed gratitude and I realize that He has already filled it – many times over.

So the simple ways the Lord reminded me of His Goodness today: the gentle yet profound realization that the newly born baby laying in the warming table next to his mother and surrounded by nurses is in fact a new unique person – a human! A big soul in a teeny body! – whom I had the utmost privilege of sharing her first breath with! In the discomfort of listening in on gossip while waiting for my nurse which prompted me to leave and then witness another birth. In the reminder to remember that Christ is present and eager to hear me share my thoughts on the day with on the tiring journey home from the hospital. All the times a particular Scripture passage would pop into my head when I needed it most – and believe me, I’m no good at remembering my Scripture passages

And even in the liturgical celebration, in the sacraments, what is beautiful is that which manifests the humility of God, and not the worldly spectacle. It would do us good to journey through our life and to consider the many times the Lord has visited us with His grace, and always with this humble style, the style He calls us, too, to have: humility.”

I used to be truly angry with God that I had yet to wake up to His Plan for me written on my ceiling because all I could see was my hopeless dread-filled stumbling. Especially during my co-op placement days, I clung to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the daily Eucharist. And as I wrote this, I realized that God was revealing that Plan to me through the Grace of those Sacraments – slowly softening the hardnesses of my heart and healing the wounds I inflicted on it. In the liturgy, He revealed His Beauty and Creativity and Love and concern for me – enough to get me through the day. And as the days spent with Him grew in number, the words of Psalm 84:10 slowly started to become my own: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.

I once read, “True humility is truly knowing who God is and who we are” [paraphrased] – to know first and foremost the Greatness of the Love of God for humanity (including His Beauty and Greatness) and to see in a personal way how great that need for His Love is, how great my need for His Love is (the “who we are” part). And today, in a real way, I saw that. Hanging back from witnessing a birth for the time with the baby’s mezzo-sopranic cries rounding out a happy scene, it struck me. The gentle yet profound realization that the newly born baby wriggling in the centre of comparatively larger warming table is in fact a new unique person – a human! A big soul in a teeny body! – whom I had the utmost privilege of sharing her first breath with! And this very little human girl, crying for all her worth in the warming bed in his birthing centre room in this hospital in Montreal of a province amongst thousands of provinces in this laughably insignificant planet in the infinite universe – is in fact, a beautifully created singly unique big soul in an equally masterfully created tiny body – who Jesus, whom I love, has died for and would die for (even if she was the only person on earth to die for). And that’s enough for the world to keep turning.

Quotations (in italics) taken from http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/03/09/pope_francis_gods_style_is_humility,_simplicity/1128062

Newman Catholic Students' Society Executive

For more information about the Newman Catholic Students' Society executive, please consult the Executive Committee page under the About menu on this website.

Comments are closed