Tuesday, April 22

Humility and Submission

Humility is the greatest virtue and the ground of all the other virtues, wrote Andrew Murray. I think the life of Mother Teresa illustrates this stunningly. We all have at least an impression of what an amazing difference she made in this world, particularly amongst the poor and destitute, whom God loves. But where did that power come from? Her personality? Training? Those probably played a small part, but she herself would trace it to something different.

At age 32, she wrote, "I made a vow to God, binding under [pain of] mortal sin, to give to God anything that He may ask, 'Not to refuse him anything.'" (Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, p.28). That may sound pretty arrogant, but at least three things show it wasn't.

First, she sought the guidance of her spiritual director, and would not make this vow without his permission. To allow her to make this, he must have felt she did not want to do this from a place of self-adulation but rather self-denial.

Her writings also attest to humility: "Why must we give ourselves fully to God? Because God gives himself fully to us. If God who owes nothing to us is ready to impart to us no less than Himself, shall we answer with just a fraction of ourselves? To give ourselves fully to God is a means of receiving God Himself....to possess God we must allow Him to possess our soul" (p. 29).

I'll write about the third evidence of humility in my next post (trying to keep these concise). I'm not entirely sure what I think of making a vow under pain of mortal sin (meaning to break it would be to condemn herself to hell). However, I cannot deny the power of God working through her. Her life over the following 55 years blazes on like a torch in human history.

I am inspired to submit myself to God, without reserve. I have such a rebellious heart: often I have a sense of conviction to do something small, or a pang of conscience that I should stop doing my current activity. Often I submit, but often--let's just say my track record has improved but I have such a long way to go? Why, oh why do I kick against the goads?

Lord, I admit I am self-centered, full of myself, and would rather go my own way. Change my heart; take out my rebellious heart and change it to a heart of flesh, both to will and to do whatever you ask.


Anonymous said...

Jon -Thanks for this exposure and insight to Mother Teresa's life and your honest reflection about your own.

Jose's Hurricane Tips said...

I could spend a long time on your pages