“He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt” (Luke 18:9).
Humility is one of the most enduring characteristics of Francis’s life and attitudes. It’s the foundation of his love for Lady Poverty. It makes possible his commitment to peace. And he recognizes, as Jesus does in the Gospels, that the most difficult obstacle to overcome in realizing the kingdom of God are those people who don’t admit to their own sinfulness.
One day, he sought out a place of prayer…frequently repeating this word: O God, be merciful to me the sinner. Little by little a certain unspeakable joy and very great sweetness began to flood his innermost heart. He began also to stand aloof from himself, and, as his feelings were checked and the darkness that had gathered in his heart because of his fear of sin dispelled, there was poured into him a certainty that all his sins had been forgiven and a confidence of his restoration to grace was given him. He was then caught up above himself, and absorbed in a certain light; the capacity of his mind was enlarged and he could see clearly what was to come to pass. When this sweetness finally passed, along with the light, renewed in spirit, he seemed changed into another man.
True humility is knowing so well who we are in God’s loving sight that nothing anyone says or does can shake us.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek