The Grace of Humility
Daily Reflection – 1/2/19
This is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1: 19-28)
John the Baptist was an eminent saint of God. There are few names which stand higher than his in the Bible calendar of great and good men. Yet here in this passage we see this eminent saint lowly, self-abased, and full of humility. He claims honor not for himself but for Christ.
The greatest saints of God in every age of the Church have always been people of John the Baptist’s spirit. In gifts, and knowledge, and general character they have often differed widely. But in one respect they have always been alike: they have been “clothed with humility” They have been ever willing to decrease if Christ might only increase.
If we profess to have any real Christianity, we all need John the Baptist’s spirit. Humility is the grace with which all must begin. This is the grace, above all, which will appear most beautiful at the end of our lives.
John the Baptist’s words in this place apply strictly to thousands in the present day. Christ is still standing among many who neither see, nor know, nor believe. Christ is passing by in many a parish and many a congregation, and the vast majority have neither an eye to see Him, nor an ear to hear Him. Money, and pleasure, and the world they know; but they know not Christ. The kingdom of God is close to them; but they sleep.
“Christ standeth among them and they know him not.” Every faithful minister of Christ can testify, like John the Baptist, that they are true. What are we doing ourselves? Are we aware that Christ is going to and fro in our land, inviting souls to join Him and to be His disciples? Do we know that Christ rejected will soon be Christ withdrawn? It will be better at the last day never to have been born, than to have had Christ “standing among us” and not to have known Him.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, today I turn to you with full recognition that I am your child. I know you love me with an intensity that I cannot imagine. Open my heart to become who I am in you – a precious, well-loved son or daughter. I pray for the grace to recognize my identity and to serve you by proclaiming your presence in my life.
Each of us must prepare our whole lives for the Second Coming of Christ. That calls us to action in asking forgiveness of our sin and forming our hearts so that we can receive Christ and recognize Him when He comes. It also calls us to recognize Him in the least among us, as Christ Himself commanded, and form ourselves in caritas so that we may lift others in an expression of love rather than obligation.
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