LENT: HUMILITY, PRAYER and HOPE

Humbling ourselves under adversity and persecution 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.

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.

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.…

Hosea 6:3; Luke 18: 13-14; 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)

Chesterton’s prayer “O God of Earth and Altar” seems more true today than when written a little over 100 years ago. Things have deteriorated even more in our world, seemingly drastically so at this point. It made me think of what someone wrote on Twitter this morning:
What is happening to the human mind? Seems like the world is collectively going mad into self-destruction.

Such a thought is not singular to this poster. Everywhere you look people are posting about how insane the world has become. In such times, it would be easy to give in to despair. Its hard to have hope when you don’t personally have the answers and even harder not to want to lash back against the insanity, but instead humbly go to God in prayer.

When we go through trials, both the personal and the collective, 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, especially in unwarranted persecution.  But when we come to the end of ourselves and the beginning of Christ, it is easier.  The saints before us learned that the end of our ability to fix the problem or face the danger is the place of rejoicing – even in tears –  and the most confident of places to be when our humble confidence is in the Lord alone.

Chesterton writes often of humility as the quality by which we retain our wonder and our gratitude. It is the state, accompanied by prayer and hope, in which we see great things as did the saints when they saw visions of the saints who preceded them or even visions of Jesus Himself or of Mary, His beloved mother and our mother. Though poor in spirit, they were rich in humility and with humility, the deepest sense of security.

“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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.