LENT: THE BREAD OF HUMILITY; THE MOTHER OF GIANTS

We need humility to give us strength for the Lenten Journey to see what God wants us to see….

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7

Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner. Help me to live as you command.  Let Justice roll down like an everlasting stream and let mercy and justice kiss one another. May my enemies be at peace with me and may you be merciful to them and open their eyes. Help us both to trust you and not ourselves. In Jesus Name. Amen. Ora Pro Nobis

Recall in The Lord of the Rings, both Sam and Frodo are given Lembas bread for their journey to Mordor. It was, in the end, the only thing they had to sustain them as they bore the ring of evil to be destroyed. Tolkien’s Catholic view reminds us of the Eucharist with this.

Lembas bread

In the Jewish tradition, unleavened bread is called “the bread of humility“. It is eaten in preparation for Passover. Passover was the last meal Christ ate before his arrest and subsequent crucifixion on the Cross, when He instituted the Eucharist – the body, blood, soul and divinity of the Christ and told His disciples: “Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) This is the food and drink which strengthens us to follow His example in this world on our journey through its evils, as we keep conquering with God’s good acted out to others through our obedience to Him.

In The Hammer of God Chesterton reminds us of this most important aspect of Christian attitude and our view of all things – humility – that unless we start looking at the things around us from that vantage, we won’t be able to see the truth.


“I mean that one’s soul may fall if one’s body doesn’t,” said the other priest.

“I scarcely understand you,” remarked Bohun indistinctly.

“Look at that blacksmith, for instance,” went on Father Brown calmly; “a good man, but not a Christian–hard, imperious, unforgiving. Well, his Scotch religion was made up by men who prayed on hills and high crags, and learnt to look down on the world more than to look up at heaven. Humility is the mother of giants. One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” – G. K. Chesterton, The Hammer of God, The Innocence of Father Brown

39th parallel, U-shaped valley viewing the peak

Chesterton goes on to warn us in his book, Orthodoxy, how putting humility in the wrong place, as he reminded about exercising the virtues wildly and apart from the truth, also affects our faith and our pure and undefiled practice of religion. (James 1:27)

“What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition and settled upon the organ of conviction, where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.”

– G.K. Chesterton, The Suicide of Thought, Orthodoxy, 1908

So the disciples asked one another, “Could someone have brought Him food?” Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.

John 4:34

Cultivating a permanent feature of humility during Lent moves us to be doubtful about ourselves in the presence of God but more convicted than ever of the truth of His word.

Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4

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