September 9, 2022

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

Let us always strive to be humble servants of the Lord each day

Richard EtienneThe Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the word “humble” is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.”

My wife and I are blessed to have a group of friends that we have shared many life experiences with through the years as we have raised our families. These shared experiences are now extending into our empty nest phase.

There is a standing joke—especially among the men in our group—about how humble we each are. (I know: bragging about one’s humility is not a very becoming trait.)

I was very involved with youth retreat movements when I was a young adult, when I had much more energy physically, could sleep on the floor before I needed back surgery and did not always think about going to bed between 8:30-9 p.m.

Regardless, I enjoyed bragging to the youths about how often I had “won” the “Humility Award,” knowing there was no such honor.

Jesus gave us a wonderful teaching on humility when in the Gospel of Luke, he noted, “… everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:14).

Additionally, in Luke, we read, “let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant” (Lk 22:26). In St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, we hear, “… Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love” (Eph 4:1-2).

The men in our adult group know that we are far from the humble state that God would want for us in life. In fact, we are each often quite “full” of ourselves.

But teasing each other on a regular basis does remind us it is good to be aware of our continuous need to become more humble—even as hard as that might be for many of us, especially men.

As you reflect on your vocation, how are you doing? Are narcissism and self-importance staples of your life? Or are you trying to focus more on developing the spirit of humility about which Jesus spoke? Let us always strive to be humble servants of the Lord.

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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