Welcome to the first-annual Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club! We’re reading The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living by Lisa Hendey.
When I was told that my assignment would be to reflect upon and write on “The Grace of Humility,” I knew right away that my reflection would be the best of all! Now, lest you think I am serious, rest assured in the world of ministry, where men and women strive to live, teach, and share the faith, jokes about how awesome one is at being humble can be heard around the water-cooler. And with good reason … The very juxtaposition of such a sentence should make us laugh.
Humility means thinking more of others and less of yourself. It means putting others and their good above your own needs, wants, and desires. Now, that sounds simple enough, to put others before you. But as Lisa Hendey points out in Chapter 5, it isn’t always easy to do, especially when you are humiliated, hurt, or feel you’ve been treated unjustly. In times when we feel we’ve been wronged, we can easily slip into a sea of self-righteous rumination, letting the memories of our perceived injustice swirl around and around, captivating our thoughts and pulling us under.
It is precisely times like this when we can truly experience growth spurts in our ability to be humble, because times like this offer us opportunities to forgive, to rely, and to rejoice.
When we forgive those who have hurt us, when we let go of our own importance and accept that all we are comes from God, and when we rejoice in the glory of God’s great plan, especially when we don’t yet understand it, we are showered in abounding graces—graces that help us grow in virtues for generous living.
Humility does not come as naturally as we’d like to think. It is something we must pray for, practice, and strive to grow in, if we want to rise above the pull of the negative undertows and find true peace.
Though it can be comical to think of being “the best humble person ever,” the truth is that true humility brings with it incredible joy, and I’m sure much laughter. We need not look any further than the first Christian prayer in the New Testament to see that true humility brings true joy.
The scene of the Visitation (Luke 1:39-45) is a scene of cheerful humility. I love that concept—cheerful humility. When you picture someone being humble, how often do you picture that person as cheerful? I’ll be honest, people laughing isn’t the first image that comes to my mind when I think of humility. But it should be, because perfect humility brings perfect peace, and perfect peace should make us smile.
When Mary encounters Elizabeth, the two share in an exchange of cheerful humility. I have to imagine that each has forgiven those who have judged or spoken badly of their seemingly untimely pregnancies. Each has given herself completely to the will of God, even though neither completely comprehends it. And in surrendering completely to God’s will, each experiences an intense joy that cannot be contained, but rather explodes as a song giving glory to God (Luke 1:46-55).
So, while it is funny to think that my contributions to this Read Between the WINEs book club is “the best reflection on humility ever,” the truth is I have a long way to go in the virtue of humility. That said, God has gifted me with a little wisdom, and that wisdom tells me that I am blessed to be counted among these great women authors and teachers of the faith … and I am blessed to be able to share my love for the Lord with you, too. Thank you, Lord, for all Your blessings!
To Ponder, Reflect and Discuss:
- Look at times of humiliation as opportunities to grow in forgiveness. This week if you find yourself wronged, make a point to ask for the grace to forgive, and the moment you find yourself rehashing the events that bothered you, STOP and think of the scene of the Visitation. Picture Mary and Elizabeth bursting with joy. Do this each time a negative thought hits you. Is it hard to get in the habit of replacing your thoughts? How does letting your thoughts be replaced with this positive vision change you and/or your attitude?
- Ask to be given the grace to grow in the virtue of humility, but ask with a caveat. Ask the Lord to help you grow in the “cheerful humility” experienced by Our Blessed Mother and Elizabeth at the Visitation. What does cheerful humility look like in your life? What situations are you able to turn into opportunities to be happy to be humble?
- Each morning, before you start your day, pray the prayer on page 85 of The Grace of Yes, and give God your humble YES.
Below, please comment on your thoughts from Chapter 5, your inspirations and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.
Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 6: The Grace of Vulnerability. For the complete reading schedule and information about our online book club, visit the Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club page.
WINE thanks Ave Maria Press for supporting our Read Between the WINEs Summer Book Club. Specifically, thank you to Heather Glenn and her team for their marketing expertise.
Order your copy of The Grace of Yes at St. George’s Books & Gifts. Free shipping on orders of $30 or more, and WINE will receive 10% of your order to support our evangelization efforts.