Love & Humility

“If an experience fails to engender humility, charity, mortification, holy simplicity, and silence, etc., of what value is it?…In this faith God supernaturally and secretly teaches the soul and, in a way unknown to it, raises it up in virtues and gifts…When together with the words and concepts the soul is loving God and simultaneously experiencing this love with humility and reverence, there is indication that the Holy Spirit is at work within it.” -St. John of the Cross

As I was driving today, these were my thoughts…

I have experienced deep pain, I have felt the sting of betrayal, the dagger of rejection; I have felt the offense of close friends, I have been torn by the gossip of others. I have seen the hypocrisy of leadership and not pointed my finger; I have stood in the face of being falsely accused.

I have been wrong. I am often wrong. I have hurt people close to me. I have spoken pointed words knowing exactly where they will hurt the most.

And in all of this, in every situation, in all human and spiritual relationships, I have seen that only two things are worth experiencing them all: love and humility. If I can come out of these situations, whether I am the injurer or the offender, with love and humility, it’s worth it.

I’m not trying to rewrite a letter from Paul, though skimming them last night is probably why this is on my mind. It’s sounds so simple: respond well, taking the low road and love through the hard things. Yet so many of us choose the easy way of offense, selfishness, and pride, so we stay in our immature state.

I know many people who are twice my age and still take the easy path. I want to set my face towards the low, unattractive door. I want to come out of every situation with a little more love and a little more humility.

To Pray and Not Lose Heart

There is one thing that I desire the Lord to say about me on Judgment Day (well, there’s a lot of things, but this is the one that trumps all the others): that I was faithful to Him.

I have known many people who walked with the Lord for a time and then decided to walk in the world. Every once in a while, when I hear about one of these stories, I wonder if I will one day be the person who is the subject of that conversation. Maybe it’s a wrong fear, maybe it’s the Lord, I don’t know. What I do know is that right now I am 100% certain there is a God, that He has chosen me, and that I am an eternal being. It frightens me that even with this certainty, I am not above turning on Him.

Because of these things, I often pray, “Lord, let me be faithful to You.” Many of the apostolic prayers (prayers that the apostles prayed in the New Testament) mention things like perseverance, endurance, strength for the journey…I don’t think faithfulness is a new struggle. I could see myself getting so offended by something the Lord does that bitterness could turn my heart from Him (read my testimony to hear about my experience with this in the past).

In addition to simply asking the Lord that I would be one of the faithful ones, I pray this prayer along with Paul:

“This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9-11