Many years ago, at one of our diocesan conventions, a priest in the diocese was giving his report on a diocesan ministry.  Memory, which is often wrong, says it took him about fifteen rambling minutes to do this.  I know I was bored to tears long before he was done.  But one thing he said, completely off topic, has stayed with me over the years.  He explained, with great glee, how his congregation was so impressed by his humility that they presented him with a pin that said “HUMBLE”.  Then, he said, when he wore the pin, they took it back!

This week, I came across the following from Wang Wei (“Secret”):

No.  It is not enough to despise the world.
It is not enough to live one’s life as though
Riches and power were nothings.  They are not,
But to grasp the world, to grasp and feel it grow
Great in one’s grasp is likewise not enough.
The secret is to grasp it, and let it go.

I also read something from Samuel Shoemaker (And Thy Neighbor):

The other morning some of us were together in a church where the rector was saying Morning Prayer, and leading us in guide silent prayer.  He said, ‘Let us pray for those whom we love.’  And that was easy.  Then he said, ‘et us pray for those whom we do not love.’  And there rose up before my mind three men for whom I had to pray.  They were men who have opposed my work.  In this they may have been wrong.  But my wrong was in resentment and a feeling of letting myself be cut off from them, and even from praying for them, because of it.  Years ago I read a quotation from Mary Lyon that recurs to me again and again:  ‘Nine-tenths of our suffering is caused by others not thinking so much of us as we think they ought.’  If you want to know where pride nestles and festers in most of us, that is right where it is; and it is not the opposition of others, but our own pride, which causes us the deepest hurt.

I find all of these running around together in my mind.

It’s not that what happens in the world does not matter.  It does.  It’s not that I don’t care what others think of me.  I do.  It’s not that I don’t want to practice humility in my life.  I do.  But somehow, like love, when I grasp onto these things and try to claim ownership of any of them, it destroys what I have received and done.

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