“…we can define humility as the capacity for receiving grace and the gift of final salvation…a willingness to be saved, an openness to God’s action, an assent to the mysterious processes by which God’s plan is realized in the hearts of human beings.” -Michael Casey, A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility
When I wrote the first post on Path to Humility, I thought I was only just beginning my path. Yet the more I study humility, the more I realize that God had set me on this path the moment I first converted. By being open to God’s plan in my life, I am being knocked completely out of my comfort zone and becoming increasingly reliant on God. It is humbling to rely on God instead of myself (my resources, my abilities, my strengths) so my pride put up an ever-greater resistance.
In my previous post I had referred to Humility Rules by J. Augustine Wetta, but I wanted a more in-depth explanation. I started reading A Guide to Living in the Truth by Michael Casey, and since I can’t ever read just one book at a time, The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Thinking that the latter would be off the topic of humility, I didn’t expect that I would be so moved by both books at the same time. However, it turned out that they were both about being able to accept reality.
The Great Divorce is a fictional book where some of the souls in Hell visit Heaven. These souls can stay if they want to, but many of them don’t. Why? Because they want to “Be Saved”, but only on their terms. The souls in Hell just cannot accept Heaven until those terms are met so they consider it intolerable and return to Hell. “There is always something they insist on keeping even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy – that is, to reality.” C.S Lewis, The Great Divorce.
To go back to A Guide to Living in the Truth, Michael Casey says: “In theory, salvation seems desirable. At the level of feeling, it is different. It is humiliating to be saved.” He’s not talking about that moment where you realize that Jesus died to save you. No, it’s much more than that. Everything Jesus did, he did to save you. He proclaimed the Truth and died for that Truth and many people, even those who had witnessed miracles in his time, could not accept it. When it comes to salvation you have to accept everything that is true, really true, not subjectively true or on your terms true, how you see it true. The real Truth is the reality that God created.
If reality is so hard to accept that salvation is humiliating, then the definition of humility expands. It’s not just being free from pride, but in a much greater sense it’s a total acceptance of the reality that God created and openness for His plans for you, even when he doesn’t tell you every detail.
To be continued…
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