Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Humility and the Legion of Mary
George Bernard Shaw: The churches must learn humility as well as teach it. How relevant to our times! Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues.
Christ recommended it above all, for only when humility exists does God bestow his favours. Mary says, in the "Magnificat," that in her God has shown might in his arm, that is, he has exerted in her his very omnipotence.
But how could Mary be a model of humility, considering that her treasury of perfections was altogether immeasurable - as Thomas Aquinas said: touching the very borders of infinity? She was aware that she was more perfectly redeemed than any other. Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Everything is God's free gift to the soul: his to increase, diminish, or withdraw, just as he alone gave it. Humility is like the force of gravity which keeps the heavenly bodies in their proper orbit and in sweet harmony. Humility is the grace -force which enables us to move surely in the grand plan of the Creator. Thomas Merton said: Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.
The Legion's battle begins in the heart of the individual legionary. Each one wages the battle with himself, determinedly conquering the spirit of pride and self. This struggle with the root of evil within one, this constant striving after purity of intention, is the battle of a lifetime. Reliance upon one's own efforts makes for failure. Of what use are his own muscles to one struggling in a quicksand? A firm support is necessary. Lean upon her with complete trust. She will not fail you, for she is deeply rooted in that humility which is vital to you. In the faithful practice of the spirit of dependence upon her will be found a way of humility - what St. Louis-Marie de Montfort terms "a little-known secret of grace, enabling us quickly and with but little effort to empty ourselves of self, fill ourselves with God, and become perfect."
The humble Virgin's heel crushes the serpent of self, with its many heads: of
Self-promotion, self-seeking; self-sufficiency and self-conceit; The Legionary distrusts the promptings of his own inclinations and and leans on the Lord and listens intently to the whisperings of grace.
God delights to work on nothing; from that deep foundation it is that he raises the creations of his power. We should be full of zeal for God's glory, and at the same time convinced of our personal incapacity to promote it. God does not call the able, he enables those whom he calls.
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