Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

10/1/2012 (3 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 (3 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2016
Universal:
Small Farmers: That small farmers may receive a just reward for their precious labor.
Evangelization: African Christians: That Christians in Africa may give witness to love and faith in Jesus Christ amid political-religious conflicts.



Comments


More Living Faith

Pope Francis spreads words of love Watch

Image of Pope Francis speaks of reconciling with God (Pinterest).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Reconciliation is an essential aspect of God's mercy, Pope Francis said Saturday, explaining that when we distance ourselves from the Lord through sin, it takes much more than our own effort to get back to him. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - Referencing St. ... continue reading


5 tips for Catholics to stay positive Watch

Image of Stay positive by following five simple tips (WikiMedia Commons).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Do you - or someone you know - struggle with maintaining a positive attitude? Are people less inclined to spend time with you due to your poor attitude? Are you tired of wallowing in negativity? Try these simple tips to change the course of your life forever! LOS ... continue reading


Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world? Watch

Image of Eruv lines are set up in cities around the world to make life easier for Orthodox Jews.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of an ultra-conservative religious denomination are stringing transparent wires around many urban neighborhoods, all for religious reasons. These nearly invisible wires form webs in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. What are these wires and ... continue reading


'[D]on't ignore us:' Pope Francis explains the difference between knowledge and real love Watch

Image of Knowing about God is not the same as loving Him (Vanvick/Wordpress).

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

On Wednesday Pope Francis said that just because someone is an expert in God's law and a strict adherent to the rules doesn't necessarily mean they know how to love and serve others. Vatican City, Rome (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's not automatic that whoever frequents the ... continue reading


Miracle in the Philippines: Tribe converted to Christianity after hearing Gospel and watching 'Passion of the Christ' Watch

Image of Manobo tribe embraces Jesus (tikbo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Manobo tribe of the Philippines were taught the Gospel and viewed Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" film, which led several to convert to Christianity. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to missionaries from Christian Aid Mission, nearly the entire ... continue reading


'I just couldn't believe it:' Oklahoma officers seize Christian charity money Watch

Image of Christian rocker stripped of charity money after being accused of engaging in drug activities.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christian rock band Klo & Kweh was driving through Oklahoma when they were pulled over for a broken headlight. What happened next was a shock that rippled throughout the Christian community. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


Pope Francis decrees instances of miracles and martyrdom Watch

Image of Pope Francis spoke of saints on Tuesday.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

On Tuesday, Pope Francis spoke of several men and women worthy of canonization. He included miracle attributions and stories of martyrdom. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis received a private audience with Cardinal Angelo ... continue reading


Christians deserve equal protection too! - Christian baker case may go to Supreme Court Watch

Image of Christian bakers should not be forced to participate in someone else's sin.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The case of a pair of bakers who refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple, may go all the way to the Supreme Court and resolve the apparent infringement of their First and Fourteenth Amendments. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The attorney for Aaron and ... continue reading


Pope Francis writes moving letters to prisoners Watch

Image of Prisoners in Velletri receive letters from the Pope.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Inmates at Italian prison Velletri wrote Pope Francis letters earlier this year - and received personal replies. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, the prisoners gave their letters to Bishop Marcello Semeraro, the Bishop of Albano, during a ... continue reading


3 inspirational reminders of hope for Catholics facing darkness Watch

Image of (Photo by: AJGIEL)

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Tears roll down my face as a sea of blankets threaten to pull me completely under. I fight to stay afloat while the darkness continues to pull me down like a thousand needles hooked to anchors. Terrifying thoughts run rampant through my fragile mind, "what's the point ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
1 Then some men came down from Judaea and taught the brothers, 'Unless ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
2 Then the earth will acknowledge your ways, and all nations your power ... Read More

Gospel, John 14:23-29
23 Jesus replied: Anyone who loves me will keep my word, and my Father ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
10 In the spirit, he carried me to the top of a very high mountain, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 1st, 2016 Image

St. Marculf
May 1: Marculf is also known as Marcoul. He was born at ... Read More