Even if you’ve walked with the Jesus for decades, like me, the Lord always wishes to go deeper. The only way we “have arrived” in the faith is when we reach sainthood, so until Heaven, there will always be ways God is continuing sanctifying us.
All year we’ve focused on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, since our theme has been “His Heart, My Home.” Since His Heart is the center of who He is, it reveals everything us. Drawing our focus back to the meek and humble Heart of Jesus, so full of love and mercy, helps us to learn how we can become more like Him.
Here are 7 lessons that Jesus has been teaching me and my teammates from His meek and humble Heart.
1. Rely on prayer, not yourself.
It’s way too easy to slip into self-reliance mode, where you feel like everything depends on you instead of God. Prayer not only keeps us connected to the Lord, but it rightly orients us back to Him—where He is our Father and we are His children, who depend on Him.
2. Surrender your plans.
When faced with the greatest suffering ever, the Cross, Jesus said, “not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Our will, our plans, our timing, our desires—these are often what we end up clinging to instead of God.
If we clench our hands, trying to get what we want on our own terms, then we cannot be receptive to what God wants to give us. But if the thing we want is not happening, no matter how hard we try to make it happen, then we must consider why not. Perhaps it’s not the right time, or not what the Lord desires for us. “If I’m asking you to let go, it’s because I want to give you something better. And you can’t take hold of it with your fist closed, can you?” wisely wrote Citlalin in her blog, “Letting Go to Take Hold.”
3. Meekness is not weakness.
Christ was meek but not weak. He spoke with authority, walked straight through crowds that wanted to kill him unharmed, and presented hard truths to people from all backgrounds and classes. Jesus was assertive but not arrogant, confident but not callous.
Years ago, during confession, Fr. John Riccardo taught me the truth about meekness—that it is strength under control. Read more here about the example of wild stallions being meeked. But in essence he told me that to meek a horse was to break a horse of its will. While wild stallions are beautiful and powerful, they cannot be used. The finest horses that are meeked are disciplined, submissive enough to go into battle, but still fierce, courageous, and powerful.
4. To walk the narrow path requires humility.
The Scriptures affirm time and again how God loves the humble and He deals with the proud. Humility is necessary for any and all spiritual growth. As the saying goes, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Msgr Chad Gion said it is a holy forgetfulness, where we are not at the center, but God is.
“True humility is submitting ourselves to the Truth, Who is Jesus, and preferring nothing to His love. We die to our own will so that His may be accomplished in and through us. We become like the grain of wheat that falls into the earth and dies, so that Our Lord can restore us, make all things new within us,” Caitlyn shared in her blog, “He Must Increase, I Must Decrease.”
5. Beware of false humility.
Sometimes people think that to avoid being boastful or prideful, they should put themselves down or not accept compliments. That is not true humility though, because it is not rooted in truth.
St. Augustine said that false humility is “grievous pride” since it seems to aim at excellence of glory. It can be tricky to grasp, because the attempt to not be vain or prideful often results in exactly what it’s trying to avoid. False humility is self-deprecating, which still puts us at the center.
St. Teresa of Avila gave good advice on false humility, urging that we should not to be surprised by our imperfections, but to take comfort in the Lord and allow gratitude to bolster the entire effort.
6. We need the gifts of the Spirit
The Scriptures reveal how Jesus lived out His vocation. It was the by the Spirit of the Lord resting upon Him. By resting in the Spirit, God prepared him to effectively minister publicly for three years and then endure His brutal torture, death by crucifixion, and triumph through the Resurrection.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.”Isaiah 11:2
The powerful work of Christ was accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Before Christ ascended back the Father, He promised to send the disciples the Holy Spirit, which happened at Pentecost. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit—the ones the Scriptures have specifically listed in multiple passages (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-13; and 1 Peter 4:10-11) hail back to that Messianic prophesy in the book of Isaiah.
Practicing our faith in a way that fully embraces the spiritual gifts will help us to continue Christ’s work on earth.
7. Keep your eyes fixed on Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:1-2
The only way to become more like Christ is to look to Him every day for all that we need. Laying every impediment aside, He calls us to focus on Him. And He will give us everything—the graces, virtues, gifts, and capabilities we need to become the saint that God is calling each of us to become.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine. Amen.