“... go and take the lowest place… For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:10-11)
My Dear Family in Christ,
This Sunday, the Church gives us a lesson in humility - so what is humility?
The Catechism defines humility as ‘the virtue by which a Christian acknowledges that God is the author of all good. Humility avoids inordinate ambition or pride and provides the foundation for turning to God in prayer.’ (CCC 2559) True humility allows us to see the truth of who we are, how we relate to others, and most especially, who we are in relation to God. From an etymological standpoint, we get the word from the Latin ‘humus’, referring to ‘dirt’ or ‘ground’. But what does dirt have to do with humility?
Consider the Catholic practice of kneeling and genuflection in response to our being in the presence of God. When we kneel, we lower ourselves to the humus, or the ‘dirt’, and acknowledge the truth of God’s greatness and the lowliness of our humanity. Remember this the next time you enter a Church like ours. In addition to being a place of worship, our church is the place where Jesus Christ, Son of God, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, physically resides in the Most Holy Eucharist- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, right here in our very own tabernacle.
When we enter a Church or pass in front of the Sanctuary, we genuflect (our right knee touches the ground, and we sign ourselves with the Cross) in the direction of the tabernacle. At Mass, we kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer, the Consecration, and we are invited, if we are able, to kneel while receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. This is not to put on a show for anyone; rather, it is done out of humility- and reverent love for God.
So, the next time you come to church, whether for Mass or simply to pray, I invite you to be intentional about your genuflection, you’re kneeling in prayer, and your reception of the Eucharist. Though they may seem like small things, let us be Christians who do small things with great love for God - and with great humility.