Promoting others…is the humility that increases peace and happiness for all
This week I was fortunate to be at the ocean while attending a workshop.
As I reflected on today’s readings, reminding us, and challenging us, about humility, I was gazing at the calm, gentle, ocean, knowing it can also be very violent and powerful.
Maybe 70 metres off the beach, just below the surface of the water, there’s a rocky outcrop that runs along the whole length of the coast line. Although making it difficult to swim, it’s a great safeguard for the beach: breaking the power of the waves and preventing damage.
It doesn’t matter how powerful we are, we all need something in our lives to keep us humble and accountable, or we will destroy ourselves and others around us.
At the finance workshop I attended, one of the talks was on creating INTERNAL CONTROLS and conducting regular INTERNAL AUDITS.
Many examples were given, concerning workers who manipulated purchases, disposed of assets or “borrowed” money because there were no internal controls/audits. Mostly, they were good people who thought they could use the money and replace it before it was seen to be missing.
It’s really an act of humility to allow ourselves to be “limited”, and our actions to be “regulated” or authorised by others. However, it is also, like the rocks protecting the beach, the key to protecting our future lives and the well-being of our families and wider community.
In every successful family, husband and wife defer to each other. It seems to be the case, that, the more they defer to each other, the greater the trust, affection and happiness that develops.
So, humility does not deny or limit our happiness, it really enhances our peace and joy.
Our readings probably make more sense to older people, rather than younger people. When we think about children, they often seek attention and need attention. This is normal: they need to be affirmed by parents and elders that they are good and smart.
But, as we grow older and older, our desire should be to point out the goodness in others rather than promote our own intelligence, good work and actions.
I was inspired by a couple of expressions in my reading and reflections this week:
1) Andrew Murray said: “Pride must die in you or nothing of Heaven can live in you.”
2) CS Lewis said: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Meaning: there is more time for us to think of others… and we end up receiving more than we can do alone.
By observation, I also believe that when children and the youth see humility in their parents and work supervisors, it becomes natural and easier for them to practice it in their own lives.
At work, or in the parish community, when our leaders are humble, there is greater cooperation by ordinary people. Part of being humble means, where possible, inviting others to be part of creating solutions in the family, parish or at work. It gives recognition and dignity to each person, helping them to feel they belong, and that they are valued.
Today, Jesus is not giving us another “job” to do. Rather, it’s a secret for success: when we help others to be recognized, we create a happy and more productive environment where we are also appreciated.
St Paul uses some difficult language and images for us in the Second Reading, but I believe it can be applied in this way: when we value and promote each person in our family, our workplace or our parish community, we create a slice of Heaven on Earth: “but what you have come to is Mt Zion and the city of the living God.”
Have a great week and may God bless all our efforts to promote others.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI