People Who Remember That They Are Dust

Yesterday, we were told that we are dust.  If someone internalizes and lives by this, being in their presence is a remarkable thing.  The quote below from Sr. Joan Chittister’s book Wisdom Distilled From the Daily names well what I mean.

“People who are really humble, who know themselves to be earth or humus – the root from which our word “humble” comes – have about themselves an air of self-containment and self-control.  There’s no haughtiness, no distance, no sarchasm, no put downs, no airs of importance or disdain.  The ability to deal with both their own limitations and the limitations of others, the recognition that God is in life and that they are not in charge of the universe brings serenity and hope, inner peace and real energy.  Humble people walk comfortably in every group… And because they’re at ease with themselves, they can afford to be open with others…”

(And here is the big one.)

“Humility is not a false rejection of God’s gifts.  To exaggerate the gifts we have by denying them may be as close to narcissism as we get in life.  No, humility is the admission of God’s gifts to me and the acknowledgement that I have been given them for others.  Humility is the total continuing surrender to God’s power in my life and in the lives of those around me.” (emphasis added)

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB in Wisdom Distilled From the Daily

The presence of people like this is transformative.  That is, when we meet someone thus centered, we want to become more like them.  So, for Lent, let’s go find and cherish some truly humble people.

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