Back to the Basics of Lent: Humility

Humility is one of the calls of lent that we all to often ignore. It is a call that the Gospel this Sunday reminds us of. Those who wanted to follow Jesus came to the disciples and humbly said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

Jesus also reminds us that part of our calling is to lay down our lives, to let go of those things that tie us to the world. Jesus reminds us that we have to die to ourselves in order to live for the Kingdom of God.

This is one of the most difficult messages of Christianity. Saint Thomas Merton (yes, I know he is not a saint yet) reminds us of just how shallow our grip on humility really is.

Merton said, “We have learned only to love the outward surface of it — the humility that makes a person charming and attractive. We sometimes pause to think about these qualities, and we often pretend that we possess them, and that we have gained them by ‘practicing humility.’ If we were really humble, we would know to what an extent we are liars!” (Thoughts in Solitude, 1956)

And yet, we continue as Christians to practice this false humility in order to avoid dying to ourselves. We struggle to find the balance between the call of the world to obtain more, and the call of our faith to let everything but the Christ go.

Merton understood this struggle all too well. He struggled with the desire to see the world, to spread his understanding of the Gospel that combined Eastern and Western philosophies with his need for solitude and the hermetic lifestyle.

That same struggle faces us today. We are so caught up in “keeping up with the Jones” that we have lost sight of the calling of the Christ. It is time for us to die to ourselves so that we may live for Jesus. And there is no better time than Lent to do that.

Join us this Sunday as we continue our journey toward Easter.

Pax et Bonum!

Bishop Greer