Wednesday in the Second Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Lucy, at Mississippi Abbey

Once there was an old schoolmaster who always began classes by bowing profoundly before his young students.  When asked why he did that, he replied, “Because among my students there may be some who will do great things for God.”  John the Baptist was such a child and so was St. Lucy.

In their greatness, they put Jesus first: “He must increase and I must decrease.” Both of them are examples of St. Bernard’s teaching on the three most important virtues, namely, humility, humility and humility! 

Okay, so what does true humility look like in practice?  As a young monk I had a wrong understanding about humility.  When someone complimented me about anything, I responded with a frown and turned away with a shake of my head, trying to convey that in humility I believed it was undeserved.  Later I learned that St. Bernard said humility is truth.  So, a truly humble person will graciously accept sincere compliments, and if there’s doubt accept them anyway.   

That lesson prepared me to see another side of humility, namely, to accept criticisms as graciously as compliments. Oh, I wish!  May St. Lucy and John the Baptist teach us true humility.