The disciples ask, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus says, “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” In fact, Jesus teaches us, becoming humble is essential to entering into His kingdom.
So what is humility?
“Now humility is nothing but truth,” says St. Vincent de Paul, “while pride is nothing but lying.” He says, “The reason why God is so great a lover of humility, is because he is the great lover of truth.”
Now humility is not about believing we are garbage. It’s a lie to say we’re of little worth. Even the seemingly least person among us is attended to by angels and bears a likeness to the God whom those angels ceaselessly worship. We are of great worth, but to be humble we need to know where our true treasure is.
We must abandon over-confidence in our own faulty and limited powers and trust in our reliable Rock—“how faultless are his deeds, how right all his ways.” In Christ, our Rock, we are secure; and as G.K. Chesterton notes, “It is always the secure who are humble.”
To strip away our illusions and to know our true treasure let’s pray today for the two gifts which it is said God always promptly gives whenever we prayer for them: Humility and Faith.
We can be leery of praying for humility, because when you pray for humility, humility shows up. I myself cannot recall a time when my prayer for humility was not answered by the end of the next day. But let’s have courage, and not allow our entry into Christ’s Kingdom be delayed by our disordered self-love or timidity.
What Moses said before the Israelites on the edge of the Promised Land is just as true for us: “It is the Lord who marches before you; he will be with you and will never fail you. So do not fear or be dismayed.”