Humility means accepting my total dependence. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, American writer Bill Bryson explains complex scientific information in simple terms. One fact, in particular, gripped me. We cannot live unaided if we climb more than 10 km into the sky or dive more than 10 km into the earth. In the whole universe, as far as we know, there is just this 20 km corridor where we can live. And it only exists on one little planet. Further, 64% of our planet is covered by water and therefore also uninhabitable; and this is to say nothing of the deserts, high mountains and polar regions. We are specks, grains of sand, inhabiting a tiny corner of a vast space whose limits we cannot imagine. And this is only the beginning of our dependence on nature.
We are even more dependent on each other. Everything we are we have received. Georges Bernanos, in A Diary of a Country Priest, wrote that â€œall is gift.â€ It is a simple saying but it nourishes us with the truth that no person is an island, no one is self-made. We receive and then we have the joy of making something of what we receive and giving it to others.
The Pharisee, in Jesusâ€™ story about the two men who went to the temple to pray, did the right things. He ticked all the boxes; prayer, fasting, giving alms. But he ended up thinking he was perfect and needed no one else. The tax collector on the other hand, knew his life was a mess. He had exploited his dependence on others. He felt bad about it but didnâ€™t know what to do. He felt, blocked, helpless and broken. All he could do was cry out to God, â€œBe merciful to me!â€
The dependent person has no solutions. They look to others for grace, that is, unconditional love in action. Such an attitude does not fit easily into a world that prides itself on concrete solutions to concrete problems. There is no room for grace in a â€œfix-itâ€ society. We are called to hear again the words of Jesus about the poor of spirit and the humble who will â€œinherit the earth.â€ (Matt 5:5)
23 October 2016Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Sunday 30 C
Sira 35:12â€¦18Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 Timothy 4:6â€¦18Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Luke18:9-14Post published in: Faith