Today’s readings are the ultimate words that remind us that it’s not about us. As Fr. Fragomeni pointed out this past Monday at our Lenten Mission, we have to give up the baggage of thinking we are so very important. Jesus makes it clear: “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
St. Patrick knew the virtue of humility. He had every right to complain about his lot and turn away from God. At 16, he and a large number of his father’s slaves and vassals were captured by Irish raiders and sold as slaves in Ireland. Forced to work as a shepherd, he suffered greatly from hunger and cold. Life was not easy for him. But after escaping to France, he studied to be a priest. In a dream, it seemed to him that “all the children of Ireland from their mothers’ wombs were stretching out their hands” to him. He returned to Ireland and led a concerted effort that drenched the pagan culture there in Christianity and won many souls for Christ. Humility did not allow him to forget the people of Ireland even after having suffered among them.
In his wonderful work, the Confessio, Patrick tells us the source of his humility and peace: “Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favours and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven.”
Whatever the circumstances of our life, we are called to remember that it is not about us; we are not all that important. Instead of exalting ourselves, we must humble ourselves, trusting in God alone to exalt us.