quod pro nobis traditum est

Monday, May 14, 2012

humble consideration

A danger is to view everything in the faith through the filter of salvation. This can lead to rationalizing away that which is divinely revealed as something good. For example, take humility. There is dissonance in discounting humility while quoting a passage of Scripture that says that we are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ and not by our works, lest anyone should boast. In relation to humility, this Scripture might be understood to say that humility is a good thing, that we boast not in ourselves but in Christ. The verse might also address humility in saying that we are not or cannot be saved by humility. We seem to favor the latter understanding.

A danger would be to place too much emphasis on humility. Another danger would be to ignore it altogether. The latter is usually the natural (over-)reaction to the former. If humility is only another ball to be bounced back and forth in arguments over salvation, then it and almost any virtue divinely revealed and given might be thrown under the bus. What's the alternative? Narcissism?

Apart from placing all the weight of salvation on humility itself, it might be good to simply consider the humility of Christ, or Mary's humble reception of the Lord's Word leading to the incarnation, or the humble example of the saints. We might also consider another scenario in which we are saved by humility, Christ's humility, as described in the second chapter of the Apostle's letter to the Philippians.

In other words, maybe because we often lack it, humility is made out to be a bad thing, a burden, another weight of "religion" or of the law. Yet, if salvation is not dependent on our humility might we also consider humility a good thing and even a virtue? Scripture upholds humility and gives it praise.

Returning to the filter of salvation (or justification), there is a tendency to rationalize away everything that is good and given, even that which is divine. That is, since humility does not save, it must be a bad thing or something unnecessary. The faith is not merely a salvation matrix and humility a matter of the law. Cannot salvation sometimes make us a bit narcissistic?

The faith is more than individual certainty, it is whole and catholic, holding on to the mysteries of Christ and God. Humility is one of the many good things to consider in the divine life we have been given. It is not just about me and my salvation, but this takes a lot of humility to consider.