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The Golden Rule of Humility

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

Humility is the “golden rule”. For Christians “advancing” means “lowering one's self”.  It is precisely along the humble path, chosen by God himself, that love and charity proceed.  Pope Francis mentioned this in his homily at Mass on Monday morning, 8 April, in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae .

Among the concelebrants were the Archbishop José Horacio Gómez of Los Angeles, Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo and Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, director of the Vatican Television Centre (CTV).  Those present included the staff of CTV, the broadcasters of the Brazilian section of Vatican Radio, some religious sisters — among whom were the Sisters of Charity who renewed their profession of faith — and Arturo Mari, some time photographer for l'Osservatore Romano.

The whole story of the faith, the Pontiff said, is made of humility and “it speaks to us all of humility”.  So it is, too, with regard to the historical fact of Jesus' birth.  It seems God willed that every event “take place in hidden, lest it be made public”, that it occur as if “overshadowed by the Holy Spirit”.  This is why, the Pope added, “everything happens on the road of humility.  God, humble, lowers himself: he comes among us and he lowers himself — and he will continue to abase himself unto the Cross.

At the Annunciation, the Pope stated, even “Mary humbles herself: she does not understand clearly, but she is free: she understood only the essential part — and she said yes.  She is humble: ‘May God's will be done’.  She entrusts her soul to God's will.”  And “Joseph, her fiancé — for they were not yet married — also lowered himself and carried on his shoulders this great responsibility”.  The Pope continued, “Joseph, too, said yes to the angel when, during his dream, he was told of this truth”.

It is precisely the manner of Mary and Joseph which shows that “all of God's love, in order to come to us, takes the path of humility.  The humble God who wished to walk with his people”.  The Pontiff referred to the book of Deuteronomy, saying: “[I] bore you in the desert, as a man bears his son (cf. Dt 1:31).  God, humble and so good.  The patient God.  This is different from the attitude of the idols; the idols are powerful and make themselves heard: I am in charge here!”

“Our God — because he is true, for he is not a fabricated God, he is true; he is not a made-up God, created by men, he is true — and so he willed to go forth, on the path of humility”, the Holy Father continued.  He then explained, “All this love comes from this way of humility.  To be humble does not mean to go along the road this way or that, with eyes cast down: no, no.  Humility is what God teaches us, it is that of Mary and of Joseph”.  Then he added, “this is Jesus' humility, which will finish on the Cross, and this is the golden rule for a Christian: to go forth, to move forward and to humble oneself.  There is no other path to follow.  If I do not humble myself, if you do not humble yourself, you are not Christian.  ‘But why must I lower myself?’  To allow all of God's charity to come on this path, which is the only one he has chosen — he has chosen no other — and which will end upon the cross; then, in the triumph of the Resurrection”.

He concluded: “the triumph of the Christian takes this journey of the decreasing.  I believe that we say it thus: to lower oneself.  Let us behold Jesus who begins to lower himself in this most beautiful mystery.  Let us gaze upon Mary, let us look to Joseph, and let us ask the grace of humility.  But, the humility which is the path whereby charity surely goes.  When Paul tells us: ‘think that others are better than you’, it is sometimes difficult to think so.  But, Paul is thinking of this mystery, of this way, for he knew in the profoundest part of heart that love only travels on this path of humility”.  In fact, “if humility lacks, love remains halted, it cannot go forward.  Therefore, let us ask for the grace of humility — from Our Lady, from St Joseph and from Jesus”.

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