Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

10/1/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A heart that is humble rests confidently in His mercy and love, and has no fear of being little or unnoticed, nor any need for adulation.

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be." (Story of a Soul)

Highlights

By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/1/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: St. Therese, Little Flower, humility, roses, Jennifer Hartline


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2

I'm reminded over and over that I have a great deal to learn where humility is concerned. As painful as it is, the joyful irony is that only a God of infinite love and mercy would bother to teach this lesson.

Here's what I suspect: much of what I think are the evidences of humility in my life are really something else entirely. There's an ongoing skirmish between a desire for holiness (tainted with pride), discouragement over failings (tainted with pride) and goals of using my talents in the best way possible ~ for God's glory of course. (Also tainted with pride.) Ugh.

The discouragement part is quite seductive actually, because it can give the appearance of sorrowful humility when it is often wounded pride. Humility does not mean I must dislike myself. To speak ill of myself, to mentally berate myself over my flaws and mistakes is not proof of humility. It is evidence of pride. It just means I've not lived up to my expectation of myself, or worse, my delusion of grandeur.

If I fail to live up to my standard of perfection I fear that I will be less esteemed by others. So I scold myself, feel sorry for myself, and cover my pride by declaring what a weak sinner I am, wailing "dear Jesus, please forgive me!"

In this way, I can feel superior to those wretched souls that don't even have the decency to say they've done wrong and ask for pardon. You see, I'm less sorry for the particular sin, less sorry that I have offended my Lord than I am for having revealed the humiliating truth that I am not nearly as grand as I'd like to think I am.

Hiding within this discouragement is the unspoken craving for distinction ~ I must conquer my failings and defects in order to achieve the reputation I seek. This is what tarnishes the desire for holiness and turns the focus on me rather than on Jesus. In my secret heart - in hidden thoughts I never utter out loud - I fear that what Almighty God has ordained for me and my life is too modest, too common, too bland for my taste, and I try to persuade Him for more glory for myself while claiming to seek only His.

I want what I want, and I beg Him to want it as well.

I must ask myself if I truly am willing to take the place God has ordained for me today without yearning for something "better" or more. As St. Therese put it, not every flower can be a rose. Some are wildflowers or daisies or violets. I realize how much of my heart wants to be a rose and nothing else, because I fear that otherwise, I will not be special to Him at all.

I fear He will not even see me as He walks past and will instead reach only for the stunning red rose, smile approvingly at it, and step on my tiny plain petals as He goes away. I fear being forgotten, dismissed and rejected.

Why is it not enough that He made me in His image, shed His blood for my salvation, and loves me just as I am? It's not enough because I don't actually believe Him; not entirely. There remains a troubled place in my heart where I don't believe Him when He says, "Child, you are Mine," for I think to myself, "Why? I'm not a rose. I'm just a wildflower. I can't believe you even notice me at all."

My longing to be loved is mixed with fear and ego until it becomes a strange form of arrogance. I don't take God at His word; I call Him a liar. And I push Him away in anger, and then run after Him to plead with Him to see my virtues, begging Him to love me. This interior storm develops over and over again in my heart, and it will never be quieted without humility.

To be humble is to be emptied -- emptied of myself. It isn't wallowing in my wretchedness; it is bathing in His mercy. Pride dwells on all my offenses and festers like an infected sore. Humility wastes no time in carrying all offenses to Jesus with confidence to receive forgiveness and start again.

Humility is being content to be who, where and what God asks of me today, and nothing more. I make my whole self - body, mind and heart - an empty vessel to be filled by Him as He sees fit. Whether rose or wildflower, noticed or unseen, praised or ignored, it must make no difference. Nothing I could ever do or be can compare to who He is. The glory is all His. "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags." Isaiah 64:6

I am small, ordinary, and quite sinful, yes. All that is true. But I am also His! He has said so and it is true. Everything He has is mine. It's outrageous but it's true! He loves me forever, and for me just to turn my eyes toward His face brings Him delight. "For the Lord takes delight in His people; he crowns the humble with salvation." Psalm 149:4

I am His child and He will not reject me. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1John 3:1

It's actually a relief to know that I am not fooling God. He knows this fearful, perverted "humility" lives in my heart, preventing me from realizing the peace of true humility. He will take care of it if I let Him; even in this I have to let go, trust Him to keep His word and wait.

My progress toward holiness follows my cooperation, not my command. It will not be accomplished on my schedule; I cannot rush or cajole Him into action. Learning to wait is part of learning humility. I have no one to impress - I only have One to love.

St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers. And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be." (Story of a Soul)

A heart that is humble rests confidently in His mercy and love, and has no fear of being little or unnoticed, nor any need for adulation. He may be walking with the red rose in His hand, smelling its sweet fragrance, but He will also lie down on the grass that is covered in a bed of small wildflowers, and He will rest His head on their simple beauty, enjoying their soft comfort. I can think of nothing sweeter than to be that wild flower that's pressed close to His heart as He lies down to rest. That is all my soul really longs for.

-----

Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and homeschooling mother of three children.  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  Visit her online at Wake Up, Deborah!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Living Faith

No one should be hungry during the Christmas season

Image of

By Tony Magliano

In early December, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) stopped feeding 1.7 million Syrian refugees. For two weeks these poor, battered fellow human beings who had fled the misery of civil war, and the barbarism of the "Islamic State," were told there is no ... continue reading


HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Beloved Pontiff turns 78 today Watch

Image of Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPE FRANCIS! Today is Pope Francis' 78th birthday and well-wishers celebrated the day singing and dancing for the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Born on December 17, 1936, the man who would become Pope Francis has ... continue reading


Turned into the wild, Pope Francis offers hope to displaced faithful in Middle East Watch

Image of Patriarch Younan said a major focus of their synod was on priestly formation since their communities have faced so much upheaval.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Times are hard and arduous for those who practice their Catholic faith in the Middle East. In a special audience with Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, along with about 350 of his faithful from the Syriac Catholic Church, Pope Francis offered words ... continue reading


Mary hailed as 'great missionary' who brought Gospel to Americas by Pope Francis Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis along with thousands of Catholics from across the Atlantic celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the Vatican. The Pope celebrated Mass to the sounds and rhythms of many of South America's indigenous peoples. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Your Friday Feel Good Story: Watch what happens when the mic goes out during the American National Anthem at a hockey game in Canada! Watch

Image of Ina  heartwarming gesture of respect, Canadians sing the Star Spangled Banner when the microphone game out before a game featuring a team from the USA.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Here's your Friday Feel Good story! Enjoy your Friday and don't forget to share! During a hockey game in Canada between American and Canadian players, the microphone failed, silencing the singer. Without audio, the Americans would be without their national anthem, but ... continue reading


Irenaeus of Lyon on Eve and Mary

Image of An Icon of Ireneaus of Lyon

By Ireneaus of Lyon

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to ... continue reading


Taking the Kingdom by Force: Learning from John the Baptizer Watch

Image of The choice is ours. Just as it was with John the Baptizer. He shows us the way to give away our freedom in love - and then find it anew in the One who truly sets us free. (John 8:36). The kingdom of heaven is still being taken by force. The force of love. The Lord is seeking men and women in this hour who will take the kingdom by force like John the Baptizer.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

John the Baptizer was a man of Joy because he was a man of true humility! Humility is a powerful weapon when wielded by a soldier of love like John. He was a man who understood that life wasn't all about him. He emptied himself willingly and was thus able to ... continue reading


Faith restored in humanity! A random act of kindness changes a woman's life forever during the Christmas season Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While protests are wreaking havoc all around the world, wars are being fought, and people are being brutally killed, the warm sensation and fuzzy feeling of Christmas gets overshadowed. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although good deeds and random acts of kindness ... continue reading


Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection of the Body and the Life of the World to Come? Watch

Image of Seated at the right hand of the Father, he works unceasingly in the world, to draw men into the Church and through it to join them more closely to himself.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord. His salvation is offered extended to all men and women. That salvation is not only about our souls, but about the whole human person. It will only be complete when we are raised from the dead and dwell in the kingdom to come. He ... continue reading


A Christmas gift for suffering South Sudan

Image of The people of South Sudan have the same feeling and love for one another we do. Now is the time for us to extend our arms in compassion.

By Tony Magliano

The world's newest nation is in big trouble. After more than 20 years of civil war between the southern and northern areas of Sudan, the southern part of that country on July 9, 2011, became the independent nation of the Republic of South Sudan.But the situation on the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:11 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 20th, 2014 Image

St. Dominic of Silos
December 20: Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter