In the slums of the world, I saw more clearly my own weaknesses, and subsequently I slowly began to see the importance of humility. Only through humble eyes can God be seen. I am nothing; God is everything. But, in my nothingness, God gives me everything. Humility helps shatter illusions. Humility is the truest form of honesty. It sees our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Humility allows God to transform our weaknesses into strengths. As the opposite of pride, humility reflects honesty, a holistic sense of reality and a keen awareness of the awesomeness of the universe and the profound mystery of God. Growth in humility is a sign of maturing holiness. One of my dearest friends is an Orthodox monk and priest. He said, “Humility is honesty, is holiness. And it is only in humility that we can authentically meet God, on God’s terms. Humility is not a giving up, but rather, a giving in.” Humility is a pathway to prayer. Prayer is the doorway to the heart, the center of our being, the place where we can let go, let go of pretense, pride, ego and a host of things blocking us from the true source of life, the true source of love, God. In the innermost chamber of the heart we see the dissonance between the Spirit of God and our spirit; it is here we struggle to dissolve that disharmony. In the safety of the heart we can let go of fear and we can risk change. In the heart, conflict gives way to harmony. In the heart, what’s mine becomes God’s. In the heart, humility becomes holiness.
St. Francis clearly understood that God became vulnerable for us. And God’s vulnerability is a supreme expression of Divine Love. A psalmist once said God’s love is better than life itself. More to the point: God’s love is life. Without God, I am nothing, have no life. With God, I lack nothing, have the fullness of life. Love is life. Jesus is a lover. Love cannot be conditional. Love cannot be purchased. Love cannot be used for our gain, cannot be self-centered. Love is liberating. Love is self-emptying, is to be given away. Love is only known from within, as an experience that changes everything, even changes bread and wine into the very substance of God. Love is all powerful, all merciful, all compassionate, all forgiving, always giving. The source of love is God the creator and sustainer of everything. Love animates all life. And through love all life is connected.