Humility really nourishes our spirit. If we consider humility as the gift of the ability to see ourselves as we really are, it is nourishing. But there looms in every one of our lives powerful forces that war against us doing this.There are things that I do on a regular basis that are part of my life. They are so much a part of my life that I identify myself with them and think about myself in their terms. They are things that I have accomplished or am accomplishing for which I am recognized and/or praised. They are things about me that make me feel good and they are very hard to put into the proper spiritual perspective because they like to stay at the top of my consciousness of myself.
I think often of Thomas Merton and how he must have struggled with the notoriety his writing brought to him – a notoriety he probably felt good about but, at the same time, realized was a barrier to nurturing his spirituality. When he woke up in the morning, did he think of himself in terms of his notoriety or was he able to overcome that constant aura? I wonder.
Then I think about You too. For 30 or so years,were You in a constant state of awareness of the divinity within You that set You apart? If Merton had to struggle each day with the thought: ‘by the gift of my ability with words I am a special channel for the growth of others’ – did the thought overpower You that: ‘I am unique among all men, sent on a special mission by God my Father?’
Further complicating our picture of how all this works for or against our spiritual growth is the widely promulgated view that we should downplay, conceal, or become indifferent to those images we attach to ourselves. They only feed our egotistical pride and conceit.
What I do feel pretty sure about is that certain skills, abilities and talents have been given to us for reasons we may not comprehend. To closet them ignores the love of the Giver. Sharing them magnifies the gift and the love and, hence, the Giver.
I like what Henri Nouwen says: “Even though following Jesus might become a more and more hidden journey for me, I don’t think it should ever become a private one.”