16th Sunday after Pentecost 13.9.15 Know thyself
St Paul prays that we come to know God as He really is.
And the Gospel exhorts us to humility. Humility is knowing myself as I really am.
If I know God as He really is, and myself as I really am, things will work much better.
If we knew God better we would be more likely to obey Him. This in turn would bring His healing power into the world – a world which is so lost but does not have to be so.
Knowing God: this is not easy at first, because He is invisible and we cannot approach Him as easily as we can another person.
We can grasp mentally how good He must be but this does not easily transfer to the emotions. We do not easily feel His goodness.
We can approach in various ways. We can thank Him for His blessings; that is a start. All the beauty of our world; all the things we take for granted. Whoever is behind all this must be Someone!
Then if we actually obey Him we will start to see the marvellous order of His providence at work. People blame God for all that goes wrong, but it is only our disobedience to Him that causes all the trouble.
If we start to walk in his ways it will become clearer. With growing confidence in Him we will accept His will without complaint, and with complete trust. Then we will see many graces at work, presently obstructed by disobedience and lack of faith.
Whether we understand all the details or not we will go with Him to the finish. Nothing will separate me from the love of God. (cf Rm 8,39)
Knowing self: Any status we have is because we are created by God. Even our very existence is from him and any value we have could only be from Him.
Many try to detach themselves from Him, to run independently. This cannot work for long.
We humble ourselves before God. Humility is not lowering ourselves to be something less, but more a trimming of all the vanities we put on ourselves – till we finally get to the real person.
Vanities – the games we play to try to impress others, or to disguise our faults.
If we remove all them we discover what is underneath. We may be afraid there will be nothing there, but in fact what we find is someone made in God's image.
We try to impress each other, when in fact our real dignity lies in being children of God, redeemed by blood of the Lamb. He calls us friends (cf Jn 15,15)
One potential vanity is namedropping, casually mentioning important people. Well, we can all say, I know God. He calls me His friend!
The fact that others can say the same thing does not make it any less real for me. I don’t need to put you down to be important myself. We can all be important and still humble. The humility is not inflating oneself in any false way; simply sticking to the truth.
The truth is impressive enough if we would let ourselves look at it.
This gives us a new way of seeing ourselves and others.
No more looking down on others – for being poor, or not good enough, or any reason. We are all created in God's image and meant for salvation.
We learn to see the true image in each person and not fall into the usual traps.
Finally we shall know as we are known (cf 1 Co 13,12).