Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. This is the fifth of a series of articles on humility. How has your understanding of humility changed as a result of the previous articles and the Scripture verses on humility in this article?
2. Why do you believe the Scriptures say that humility is necessary for receiving true wisdom and honor?
3. Why is humility so important in how we relate to one another as Catholic men?
4. Spend some time reflecting on the words of Scripture above and then ask the Lord to reveal any obstacles to humility in your life. If you are in a men’s group, pray for one another in those areas you have identified. If not, ask your wife or a close friend to pray for you.
The Scriptures have a lot to say about being a “man of humility.” Our starting point, of course should be Jesus Christ, the man of humility, par excellent. We see this humility especially in his relationship with his Heavenly Father.
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him (John 7:16-18).
“I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him” (John 8:28-29).
“For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say” (John 12:48-50).
St. Paul tells us that we too are called to take on this same attitude of humility.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).
As we look at other Scriptures, it is also interesting to see how they tie humility to many other important aspects of our life as Christian men. Here are some scriptures that tie humility to wisdom:
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
It is easy to think that humility can keep us from being recognized or receiving the honor that may be due us. However, the Scriptures say the opposite. They actually tie the virtue of humility to receiving true honor and success in life.
Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 22:4 Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
The Scriptures also describe how humility is not just an inherent virtue, but a way of life. It is the way we relate to one another.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Titus 3:1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
1 Peter 5:5-6 All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
None of the Scripture references above has anything to do with being weak or wimpy. In fact, when you study these Scriptures, they reflect strength of character that is the essence of humility. That is why we can say that even someone like John the Baptist was a man of humility (see a previous article, “John the Baptist, A Man of Humility”). As Catholic men each of us are called to be men of humility, no matter what our personality, our position in life, our education, or any other characteristics we may possess.
(Maurice Blumberg is Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men. This article was adapted from the Catholic Men’s E-zine, “Being a Man of Humility” (May–June 2002 issue), which is available along with many other quality resources for men, on the NFCM website. You may also e-mail the NFCM at email@example.com. Many thanks to the The Word Among Us for allowing us to include some material from various daily meditations.)
Reflection Questions on Page 2