Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, January 21

Jesus said, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
—Luke 18:14b

Humility is tricky. Most of the time, if we think we are humble, we are not. On the other hand, when we stop thinking about ourselves at all and simply live, and laugh, and love spontaneously, we are closer to the kind of humility Jesus talks about.

In her book Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light, Joan Chittister, O.S.B., writes, “Humility is the ability to recognize my right place in the universe, both dust and glory.” She also reminds us of an essential truth about humility: to be humble is not to be diminished.  “Humility and humiliation are not the same thing.  Humiliations degrade me as a human being.”

On a lighter, but equally profound note, Frederick Buechner writes,

Humility is often confused with the polite self-deprecation of saying you’re not much of a bridge player when you know perfectly well you are…. If you really aren’t much of a bridge player, you’re apt to be rather proud of yourself for admitting it so humbly. This kind of humility is a form of low comedy. True humility doesn’t consist of thinking ill of yourself but of not thinking of yourself much differently from the way you’d be apt to think of anybody else. It is the capacity for being no more and no less pleased when you play your own hand well than when your opponents do.
Wishful Thinking, p. 47-48

Dear God, Help me to know myself well enough to acknowledge my gifts and accept my faults. Help me to take myself lightly, to know that you are God, and I am not! Amen.