Today’s readings are all about humility. Isaiah poetically write about the arrogance of humanity when he says, “will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it?” For myself, I so often feel the need to carry the world on my shoulders. Everything succeeds or falls by my efforts. I believe that if I try hard enough, I can do anything. That’s the American dream, right? With hard work, you can accomplish anything.
That’s exactly what Isaiah is talking about. When we think about everything we do as our own efforts, we take God out of the equation. I’ve heard it said that we make our own decisions and ask God to bless them when He calls us to ask Him what is it He wants. Not only that, but God wants to be the one to do the work. In the twelfth verse of his twenty-sixth chapter, Isaiah says, “It is You, O Lord, who have accomplished all we have done.” Bishop Barron calls it “non-competitive transcendence.” Essentially that means that God cooperates with us in a way that isn’t me vs. God, but rather God works good things though us by animating us. When God works through us then our efforts are multiplied. We accomplish so much more than we could ever dream to do by ourselves, but we don’t always clearly see God’s hand at work. In those mountain top moments it would be really easy to puff up our chest and feel really good about what we did.
“Will the creature boast against Him who created them?”
Sometimes the best way for God to remind us of His power is to temporarily withdraw it. When we’re brought low, hopefully we’ll realize it was God’s power the whole time that was accomplishing all we have done. That’s why Isaiah says, “Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness.” God makes us plump with His graces, but He may temporarily withdraw those external graces so we may realize His power. But that doesn’t mean He abandoned us. The psalm was chosen to console us in that manner.
So how does Jesus teach us to keep in mind God’s omnipotence? Be childlike. Place yourself at the Father’s feet. Be little. Be dependent. Be inarticulate. When we remember our littleness, then God will shower us with power.
Today my challenge to you is to make the Litany of Humility a normal part of your prayer routine. You can find it here.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization