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Tuesday, March 9, 2004

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St. Frances of Rome

Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
Psalm 50
Matthew 23:1-12

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learn humility from jesus

"Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." —Matthew 23:12

Jesus probably emphasized humility more than any other person who has ever lived. Jesus, God Himself (Jn 1:1, 18), emptied Himself and became a human being (Phil 2:7). This act of humility is beyond comprehension. Jesus chose to be born in a stable at Bethlehem. As a baby, he was a Refugee in Egypt. He lived in the obscure village of Nazareth. He had the menial job of a carpenter. During His public ministry, Jesus had nowhere to lay His head (Lk 9:58). "He was spurned and avoided by men, a Man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity" (Is 53:3). He humbled Himself even to death on a cross, the death of a slave (Phil 2:8). Jesus continues to be present with and within us. His most powerful and intimate presence is His eucharistic presence. God so humbles Himself to look like bread and wine.

During this Lent, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the truth (see Jn 16:13) about your humility. What we call humility may be much different than what Jesus means by humility. True humility is a mystery, a joy, a share in the redemption. It is a grace and a privilege to humble ourselves. Let us accept this grace now.

Prayer:  Father, give me "a humble, contrite heart" (Ps 51:19, our transl).

Promise:  "Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool." —Is 1:18

Praise:  After the death of her nobleman husband, St. Frances took the "lowest place" (Lk 14:10) by entering the convent as one of the humblest of sisters. God soon raised her up to the role of a superior.

Reference:  (To learn humility from Jesus, read the Bible every day. A tape series that may help you is An Introduction to each Book of the Bible. It is thirty-two audio tapes starting with AV 21-1, Matthew and Mark, or seventeen video tapes starting with V-21.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003