“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
As most of our readers know by now, we launched our Core Gospel Values this year and have been featuring one each month. The Gospel Values help build a community of faith and culture of excellence among our teachers, students, and parents. This month, we are promoting the Gospel Values of Humility and Understanding. Perhaps by design these values fall during Advent, and I am sure by divine providence these values are coming to us at a time when our world needs more of both of these.
The Gospel Value of Humility calls us to think beyond ourselves and to put others first. As always, Christ is the perfect example for us. Though fully God, in the nativity, Christ did not come to us with wealth and riches and fanfare. Rather, he came as a humble baby in swaddling clothing and in a manger.
The Gospel Value of Understanding is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Understanding allows us to perceive the truth of an idea, even if we do not fully comprehend it. For instance, we can understand and believe in the truth of the Trinity or the Incarnation without completely comprehending the mystery behind them.
During Advent, we are called to practice both of these Gospel Values. We are called to understand the truth behind the mystery of the Incarnation – that God became flesh and lived among us. We are also called to humbly recognize that though we are not worthy, through his love for us, the Lord calls us to be one with him in the Eucharist.
Recently, Jodi Justak, the Central Catholic Campus Minister, shared a story with us about a student who saw another student when she was hurting and needed support. The student reached out and provided that support in time of need. She demonstrated what the prayer of St. Francis tells us, “first seek to understand.” Sometimes just being there to listen and understand is what God is calling us to do. When Mrs. Justak praised the student, she responded with a perfect example of humility – “This is just the stuff we’re supposed to do.”
We now understand that Facebook and other social media outlets keep feeding us with news and posts that it thinks we want to see. Even though we have more information now than ever, it is easy to become isolated in our own worlds, and even more resolute in our opinions and our understanding of others. Just like the student at Central Catholic, we need to challenge ourselves to “first seek to understand” and humbly live our faith by helping others that may be different than us or come from seemingly different worlds, particularly during this Advent season while we wait for Christ with joy.
We are focusing this year on our nine core Gospel Values – Community, Servant Leadership,Respect, Gratitude, Humility and Understanding, Wellness, Patience and Perseverance, Diligence, and Integrity. This is the 5th installment of a series of articles which explores these Gospel Values. This installment discusses “Humility and Understanding.” (Please click on the links, above, to view the previous installments.)