Humble Means

Posted on August 1, 2023 by Published by

The famous philosopher Jacques Maritain said that the Church uses two kinds of means for spiritual ends. The first kind of means is called rich, temporal means. Rich means are things like organizations, meetings, parish centers, and mass media. These means can be dangerous because it is easy to attribute them to ourselves and not to God, the Giver of all good gifts. This is pride.

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. Jesus brought three Apostles: Peter, James, and John, with him to Mount Tabor. On this mountain, Jesus was transfigured. His clothes became dazzling white. We can imagine that He looked glorious and triumphant. At this moment, Jesus used rich means. And it was possible to see the effects of these rich means in His whole being.

The second kind of means is humble means. Humble means is the acceptance of suffering out of love for God. For example, when you pray and your knees hurt, or when you discover that your life is very ordinary, or when no one seems to care about your difficulties—these are humble means.

In the Church, we are accustomed to rich means. We are accustomed to implementing many programs, ministries, events, etc. While this is not bad in itself, it often overshadows the fact that Jesus most often used humble means. He was born in a dark cave in Bethlehem. He grew up poor, living day to day. He was even dejected and rejected on Mount Calvary. And today, He is the poorest and most vulnerable in the Eucharist.

The Church has a treasure that no one can take away from it both as an institution and within each of our lives as Christ’s followers: humble means. And, in order to use these humble means, we need only two things: good will and love. People can take away the Church’s money, buildings, and organizations. But no one can take away the good will and charity of Jesus’ followers.

Let us try to follow Jesus’ example. Let us use rich means and humble means, but always with good will and charity.

Yours in Christ,
Father Arthur

Readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: Lectionary 614

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