Monday, August 6, 2012

Lessons in Humility from M.J.

No, not from Michael Jackson; I thought my deceptive ploys to grab your attention were common knowledge by now. This post is about the humility of Mary and Joseph (The M.J. in J.M.J.).

Following Saturday's show about approved Marian apparitions I received a call from a woman desperate for the bishops to acknowledge that she had received a message from God.  (30 seconds into the conversation, she had already conveyed enough side details to indicate why the bishops are unable to do so.  My heart went out to her though; please pray for her peace and that she is able to find good medical treatment.)  She was desperate to be acknowledged; for people to know that God had spoken to her.  The only advice I could give her was to put everything into God's hands and to be at peace.  If He wanted this private revelation known then He would open the doors for it to be known.

She came back to me this morning while praying the Joyful Mysteries, and it brought Mary's humility into stark relief.  Mary had received the greatest revelation in all of human history; she was going to be the mother of the Messiah.  Gabriel referred to her by a title, "Full of Grace;" she stood head and shoulders above the rest of humanity.  

But notice how God communicated His will to Mary over those next few years - through Joseph.   God sent his angel to Joseph, and Joseph appraised Mary of their need to flee to Egypt, as well as their eventual need to return to Nazareth.  Now it was probably very evident to Mary and Joseph who had the brains in the family; preserved from original sin, Mary's mind undoubtedly processed information and arrived at conclusions much more quickly than Joseph's.  Joseph had to marvel at the pearls of wisdom that fell from Mary's lips and be in awe of the acts of love that flowed from her.  Even though Mary's holiness and intelligence surpassed Joseph's, God had still entrusted her to his care.  Mary recognized that the superabundant graces God poured out upon her did not excuse her from following the order he had established within the Holy Family.  And to Mary's praise, she was completely at peace with it!  Now that's humility, and there is peace in humility.

Many times we may feel like God has given us some great task to carry out in the Church, but the doors don't seem to open.  Perhaps our parish priests, diocesan officials, or even the bishop do not seem to have much interest in the plans we share.  God wants us to practice humility and place ourselves in His hands.  If this work is of God, then the doors will eventually open; and if the work is not of God, it is better they stay closed.  In any case, it is an opportunity to grow in humility, to submit ourselves to the order God has established for His Family on earth.  That's where the peace is.  (I know, it's hard to practice; growing up isn't easy.)  Look to Mary; she's a model worth imitating!


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