We continue looking at that acrostic reflection Pope Francis gave in his address to the curia last December.
Respect is a difficulty quality in modern culture. I note that both Left and Right lack in a general approach of respect. And more than that, respect is often re-interpreted as being soft, wishy-washy, or being personally fearful about confronting others. “You’re fired!” is the common antithesis of it, be it uttered by a reality show host or a church employer.
9. Respectfulness and humility: respectfulness is an endowment of those noble and tactful souls who always try to show genuine respect for others, for their own work, for their superiors and subordinates, for dossiers and papers, for confidentiality and privacy, who can listen carefully and speak politely.
Respect for superiors may easily be a mechanism for self-advancement. The key in a person’s ability to abosrb the virtue rather than a behavior of convenience: is a believer respectful to people who can give her or him nothing in return?
As a parent, I reflect on the ways in which I respect a child, and Pope Francis has covered it in the last items on his list: can I hold things in confidence and in private, and do I listen carefully.
That last virtue: politeness–not just a quality of niceness.
Humility is the virtue of the saints and those godly persons who become all the more important as they come to realize that they are nothing, and can do nothing, apart from God’s grace (cf. Jn 15:8).
And we conclude this brief section with a nod to saints who were certainly aware of their own reliance on God.
I see very little humility in the teachings of Jesus or Paul, if any. In fact, freely accepting vainglory as part of the bargain is one of the most troubling qualities in many religions.
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents…and over
all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
– Jesus (Luke 10:19-20)
Invincibility is not humility.
I can think of several Christian individuals, some in the current crop of Presidential candidates, who find brazen indignation a mark of such ‘humility’.