by Barbie Lu Young

When we were kids, we had our superheroes and idols. They couldn’t do any wrong. They were perfect. We wanted to be like them. As we grew older, this mindset continued to flourish in our life. “I am capable of everything—all by myself” and “I am invincible” were our favorite mantras. We thought that the world revolved around us. We led a life of self-entitlement. We let success get into our heads.

Then, one day, just like a flash of lightning, life catches up with us: frailty of body, setbacks, misfortunes, failures, adversity, sorrow, misery, tragedy creep in one by one. Suddenly, we feel vulnerable, helpless and powerless. The fragility of our health and the ephemerality of life lead us to embrace humility and contemplate on the emptiness of a life of pride and self-aggrandizement.

Humility comes from the Latin word humus, which means earth, soil, or dirt. Humility signifies a recognition of our human origin in the dust of which Adam was made. The virtue of humility consists in the living out of a realistic appraisal of our comparative insignificance as creatures who are totally dependent on God. (R. Garrigou-Lagrange, “The Three Ages of the Interior Life, “ II, p. 118)

As we slowly learn to let go and let God take control of our lives, the virtue of humility is taking root in our persona. Joey Albert, a famous singer struggling with cancer, succinctly expressed the real essence of humility of the body and spirit when she said, and I quote: “The real battle is within yourself, how you keep your head above water. I never asked why me. You know, you just end up disappointing yourself if you ask why. You humble yourself and accept and then you let God take over.”

As published in the March 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.