From a Creighton Student's Perspective
August 21, 2012
Freshman, Undecided Major, Pre-Med
In the time of Christ, the “eye of a needle” referred to small openings in city walls that were sometimes used after the main gate had closed. They were so small, however, that in order for a camel to enter, it had to bend down on its knees and crawl through to the other side. In this image, Christ is not talking about an impossible occurrence. Instead, he is preaching to us the importance of humility.
When we are asked to ponder the characteristics of a hero or heroine, we often come up with things like strength, courage, bravery, and honor. Sometimes we may include love, trustworthiness, and faithfulness, but humility is not something we hold in high esteem. Humility is for those who are not “man enough” to fight through a difficulty or trial. Humility is for those who are weak.
And yet, humility is what separates Christians from all others. It is the greatest weapon in our fight against the devil. As St. Vincent de Paul tells us, “For as Satan does not know how to employ humility, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.” When we act out of true humility, the devil is powerless to oppose us. We each must strive to become nothing in the eyes of the world, that we might stoop to serve the lowest in our lives. We should pray to be delivered from our fears of being ridiculed as well as from our desires of being honored and extolled. In addition, we must also pray for the grace to desire that others become more esteemed and praised than our own selves. The Litany of Humility is a beautiful way to do just this.
In all things, though, we must pray. We must be willing to let God speak to us in the quiet of our hearts for, as Mother Teresa teaches us, “If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with himself.” Just as a camel can only pass through the eye of a needle on its knees, so too a rich person can only enter the Kingdom of Heaven on his knees before his God and King. Just as Indiana Jones discovers in The Last Crusade, “The penitent man will pass before God,” and he does so on his knees in prayer.
Lord, give us a humble spirit to decrease in the eyes of others that we might become nothing. Christ Jesus, grant us the grace to desire it.
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