Humility helps us to fulfill God’s will

By Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem. | For The Compass | September 23, 2020

As we celebrate the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time on this last Sunday of September, we somehow find ourselves on the doorstep of October. Traditionally, the month of October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary, whose feast day we mark on Oct. 7. Whether you pray the rosary daily, occasionally or not at all, the month of October is an annual invitation to celebrate and commit ourselves anew to this beautiful devotional prayer of our church.

Each time we consider these moments of immeasurable sorrow — the Agony in the Garden and Crucifixion — of deep joy — the Annunciation and the Nativity — of great light — the Baptism of Our Lord and the Institution of the Eucharist — of profound glory — the Resurrection and the Assumption, we are provided the opportunity to enter more deeply into their stories. This also affords the occasion to draw strength and encouragement for our journey through life, which is marked by our own moments of joy, sorrow, light and glory. As I pray through the mysteries of the rosary, I am struck by the perfect obedience of Jesus and Mary to the will of God through it all. How do they do it?

Two phrases in this Sunday’s second reading (Phil 2:1-11) lead us toward the answer — he emptied himself; he humbled himself, becoming obedient. In Sunday’s reading, which is one of the most ancient texts of the New Testament, it is made clear that Jesus, who was in the form of God from the beginning of time emptied himself in order to become human. In order to save us, he became one of us. And as one of us, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Even when his human will seemed to resist the divine will, he surrendered completely for the sake of humanity. Pondering the mysteries of the rosary invites us to recognize the profound self-emptying and humility required of both Jesus and Mary as they sought to fulfill God’s will. In other words, the perfect obedience that we find in Jesus and Mary is in their ability to be humble enough to perfectly listen to the will of God and allow it to be the driving force in all the moments of their lives.

Authentic discernment of God’s will for our own lives requires deep awareness of the joy and the sacrifice that every “yes” to God’s will requires. Holy Mary, Our Lady of Rosary, draw us into the depth of God’s love as we seek to be a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) today, tomorrow and forever.

Fr. Brennan, vocation director at St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, earned master of divinity and theology degrees from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

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