A Season of Lent: Humble and Hopeful Prayer

Humbling ourselves under adversity is often a brutal teacher, even harder while retaining hope…

Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Luke 18: 13-14)

Our fathers disciplined us for a short time as they thought best, but God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a peaceful harvest of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen your limp hands and weak knees.… ( Hebrews 12:11)

Good Jesus, in you alone I place all my hope. You Are my salvation and my strength, the Source of all good.  Through your mercy, through your Passion and Death. I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the grace of final perseverance and a happy eternity.  Ora Pro Nobis.

O God of earth and altar, Bow down and hear our cry. Our earthly rulers falter, Our people drift and die; The walls of gold entomb us, The swords of scorn divide, Take not thy thunder from us, But take away our pride. (Chesterton Prayer)

Hopeful humility is the difficult thing to achieve.  Despair is much easier.  When we go through trials, the experience can be quite brutal.  Indeed, C. S. Lewis once observed: “Experience is the most brutal of teachers but you learn, my God, do you learn”.  Yes, it is a hard lesson to learn while something or someone attacks us, even in unwarranted persecution.  But when we come to the end of ourselves and the beginning of Christ, it is easier.  The saints before us have learned that it is the place of rejoicing – even in tears –  and the most confident of places to be when our confidence is in the Lord alone.

Humility, again, is said both by its upholders and opponents to be the peculiar growth of Christianity. The real and obvious reason of this is often missed. The pagans insisted upon self assertion because it was the essence of their creed that the gods, though strong and just, were mystic, capricious, and even indifferent. But the essence of Christianity was in a literal sense the New Testament-a covenant with God which opened to men a clear deliverance. They thought themselves secure; they claimed palaces of pearl and silver under the oath and seal of the Omnipotent; they believed themselves rich with an irrevocable benediction which set them above the stars; and immediately they discovered humility. It was only another example of the same immutable paradox. It is always the secure who are humble.

– G. K. Chesterton, A Defense of Nonsense, The Defendant, 1902

“The heresies that attacked human happiness in my times have all been variations either of presumption or of despair.” – G. K. Chesterton, Autobiography, 1936

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