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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Homily 9-1-2013 The Center of the Universe

A LITTLE SECRET! I AM NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE!
I know this may confuse you. I am sure that a lot of you, although you might not have been able to articulate it, thought this was the case until I just stated the contrary. But it's true: I AM NOT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

. I was at a dinner this past Thursday and the speaker invited me to stand up because I was a priest.  As I stood to receive the gracious applause of people there, it felt nice.  But, as I mentioned already, I am not the center of everything, and this was a good reminder to me of that in a sort of way.  The only reason they were clapping for me was because I was a priest: that means they like priests, not that they like me.  It means that sometime along their journey of life there was some priest who was kind, loving, generous, compassionate, or whatever else - not that I was any of those things.  And it was a reminder to strive for it (just like we were told last week to strive to enter through the narrow gate).
. The more exalted we are, the more we need to humble ourselves.  Any good we are, any good we do, always starts from long before it reaches our hands: maybe our parents raised us well; so many teachers touched our lives in obvious or quiet ways; friends, neighbors, relatives, perhaps even strangers, all played a part in helping us to become who we are today.  And ultimately, this reminds us that everything in life is a gift.
The fruit of this awareness should be humility, which simply says: God is God and we are not.  I am not the center of the universe.
. Humility is the foundation of the spiritual life, and the gauge for holiness. Because its opposite, PRIDE, is the quicksand of the spiritual life, upon which no house of authentic holiness can stand, since holiness = loving.  Humility it also the foundation of holiness because, as the Catechism reminds us, it is the foundation of prayer: we cannot pray unless we recognize our nothingness and our reliance on God.

. Litany of Humility of Rafael Merry del Val, a Cardinal and the Secretary of State for Pius X.  (Song by Danielle Rose)

Mary is the example of Christ's principle today: those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Sirach: alms atone for sins. Consider daily acts of humility an alms-giving. This is in all sorts of small ways: not demanding recognition; not ignoring our need of others' assistance; asking for help; losing an argument by not lying, shouting, etc; not focusing a conversation on your own; actually being interested in the concerns of others; praying for others more than for yourselves; not pretending you know everything, especially in areas you are uninformed; not judging others harshly. Every way we practice humility, is similar to giving alms to our brother. In this action we say, “I am not the center of the universe!” This is a huge step toward genuine love.




O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world others may increase and I may decrease,Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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