Humility is not something I do well. I always seem to get it wrong, either resorting to self-serving practices or cowering meekly under the cover of false humility. I came across a lovely prayer for divine assistance in the “Litany of Humility,” but it’s not exactly a “how to” manual. I want to learn how to curtail my pride while using my God-given talents for the benefit of others.
I look to the Blessed Mother, the personification of true humility, as the perfect example. She is the “woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” (Rev 12:1) Like the moon, she does not give her own light, but reflects the light of her Creator.
Although it is hard to wrap our minds around this, Mary was part of the Divine Plan from eternity. As we read in Genesis 1:16-18, “God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day and the lesser one to govern the night, and… God saw how good it was.” Mary is the “lesser light”. She is not to be worshipped, but to be honored as the greatest of saints and the Queen of Heaven and Earth.
In her inspired canticle, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Mary declares that “God… has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness,” yet she admits that “all generations will call me blessed [for] the Mighty One has done great things to me.” She models humility by acknowledging her gifts while giving God all the credit. Mary shines because she is in perfect accord with the will of the Almighty. How does she do this?
Again, the answer can be found in the Scriptures. When asked the most important question in human history, Mary gives the perfect response, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
I too am a handmaid. I am a servant (maid) with a role (hand) in the Divine Plan. To practice humility, I must learn to match my will with that of my Creator. With Mary’s help, I can aspire to be a small moon, reflecting the light of the Son.