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What is humility? Well the best and simplest definition of humility that I ever heard was that humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves but in thinking about ourselves less!
I’ll tell you from the start: my understanding of humility was incomplete at best. I had misunderstood what it meant to be a humble woman, but once I began to grasp what the virtue of humility looked like as a Catholic woman and mother, God began to renew my heart and impress upon me a mission that would have never been on my radar!
Because the reality is, when we begin to understand that humility helps us to be honest and truthful about ourselves, who we are, and who God is, then we truly become more fully who God intended us to be—without fear, doubt, or uncertainty. We truly become the truest, most fully alive version of ourselves, living a life ordered towards pleasing and glorifying God!
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are mere creatures who are totally dependent upon God for every single thing: our physical health, our material wealth, any merit or holiness. Humility reminds us that everything indeed is grace, as St. Therese notably said! Truly, everything begins and ends in God and His grace.
Like St. Therese, St. John Bosco exemplified a simple path of humility, a path of knowing who he was and who God is! His mission in life came from a deep desire to live a life worthy of the call he had received, and above all to glorify God.
I first learned about the two Saints we learn from today, St. Therese and St. John Bosco in my years as a student at Franciscan University. I joined a household in honor of St. Therese, called the Little Flowers, whose charism was to live the little way with humility and charity. I learned about St. John Bosco in my studies in Theology and Catechetics as he was one of our patron saints in the Catechetics major. His simple and humble way of building relationships with the youth in order to catechize them and teach them about our faith was one that inspired many of the Theology and Catechetics students – including me! One of his most notable quotes, which exemplifies the depth of his humility was: “Whatever you do, think of the Glory of God as your main goal.” These words were spoken from a man who founded the Salesian Priest and Brothers.
My path of learning about true humility after the example of St. John Bosco began shortly after marrying my husband Mark in 2005. I taught for a few years in the Catholic school system before staying home to care for our children. St. John Bosco’s model of catechizing the youth and teaching the faith by entering into a relationship with them was one that I practiced in those years working with the youth in the Catholic schools in a small Diocese in West Virginia.
However, once I became a mother full time, I continued to learn from St. John Bosco’s teachings that in order to truly catechize others we must at first seek to love them and be in relationship with them. I have found this to be true as I now have the responsibility, with my husband, of catechizing our 6 children—from teenagers to toddlers! The foundation of faith that my husband and I are sharing with our children comes from being in relationship with them and bringing them to the feet of the One who hungers to be in relationship with them: Our Lord.
As I have journeyed these last 17 years as a Mother, I have learned that the path of holiness must include growth in true humility. Not the false humility of thinking less of ourselves, but rather true humility, which is remembering what St. Therese and St. John Bosco have reminded us: That everything is indeed a grace when seen through the lens that glorifying God is our end goal. The end goal is not my glory. Or my husband’s glory. Or my children’s glory. But truly the glory of God.
I earnestly seek to keep my eyes focused on glorifying God in my vocation as a wife and mother and in my work serving Catholic women as a Life and Mindset Coach. I keep fixed before me the model and guidance of humility as exemplified by St. Therese and St. John Bosco.
Krista Hanrahan is a Catholic Life and Mindset Coach for women at Little Way Coaching. She coaches Catholic women on various topics, including faith, personal health and wellness, marriage, motherhood, and home management. She currently resides in Steubenville, Ohio with her husband, Mark, and their 6 children.