St. Catherine Laboure

St. Catherine Laboure

St. Catherine Laboure

The importance of humility in recognizing that our qualities are gifts from God, using examples of saints throughout history.

Wisdom of the Saints – St. Catherine Laboure

Brothers and sisters, today we’ll hear from Saint Catherine LabourĂ© who said, “I knew nothing. I was nothing. For this reason, God picked me out.”

If we were asked why we’re Jesus’s disciples, how would we define ourselves? Most probably, some of us would say, “I’m a decent person. I’m fairly smart. I could be useful for the kingdom. I have many qualities and capacities.” As a matter of fact, we think God should be happy to have us around because, well, who brought us?

Oftentimes, we are happy with ourselves, thinking that our qualities can contribute a lot for the kingdom, and that’s true. But we forget one important thing: all these qualities are God’s gifts. And the problem is that we claim credit for ourselves. Just look whom God chose all throughout the history of salvation: Abraham, who was a failure; Moses, who was a stammerer, and those who were so imperfect. How about the apostles? How come Jesus didn’t choose High priests, theologians, Pharisees, Sadducees, tribes, or even the wise people from Oxford or Cambridge or other big universities? We may think it would work much better for him because they would be more convincing and already have human approval and status among them.

How about the Marian apparitions when the Blessed Virgin Mary came to three little children in Fatima, Juan Diego, a simple Indian in Mexico, Saint Bernadette Soubirous, an illiterate girl in Lourdes, France, and many other examples? They were chosen by the Lord because they would not steal his glory, they would not claim the credit, and they would refer everything back to God, saying that it is his unmerited gift for them. That’s why they were overjoyed and grateful and willing to collaborate.

When we are humble, as the Blessed Virgin Mary says in her song Magnificat, “He looked upon the humility and humiliation of his servant.” When we are little, unpretentious, and small, then God can grant us many gifts, knowing we will not claim them for ourselves, for our own glory, thinking it is because of our own moral and personal qualities. The other way around, our moral qualities, things that come out of us, are God’s gifts. It’s our collaboration, but first is God’s gift of grace for us.

Look how many gifts God is able to pour upon us if we were humble! If we were to look at ourselves with the eyes of simplicity and humility, saying we’re so imperfect, so weak, so fragile, everything that we’re receiving is God’s gift. We’d be really amazed. If we were convinced about that, we would be receiving many blessings, even charisms, unique missions God would assign to us for the edification of his kingdom.

Let us remember not so much how we answer to others because sometimes, on the outside, we may say one thing, on the inside, we think something else. But what is critical is that we truly have clearly in our hearts that we were chosen because we were so weak and imperfect. To reach the point of saying, “I was nothing, I knew nothing, and that’s why God picked me,” it requires real self-knowledge. Let us ask Jesus Christ to guide us steadily to this self-knowledge, knowing everything is grace and God poured so many gifts upon us so that we can share them with others.

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