Twenty-second Sunday of Ordinary Time (September 1, 2019)

Today’s readings inform us that humility and generosity are eternal life-giving values. Here are few of St. Francis de Sales thoughts that permeate his writings on these virtues:

Humility is totally generous and makes us undertake with invincible courage all our tasks that we are called to do. When we are humble we are exceedingly courageous because we place our total confidence in God, rather than ourselves. In turn, confidence in God gives birth to a generous spirit in us.

Our generous heart may be full of doubts about our own capacity to do anything. Yet, we must not dwell on our doubts, but go on doing what we know will be pleasing to God. When we carry out a task, our doubts arise because we value too highly our reputation. We wish to be masters who never make mistakes. Our dear imperfections that force us to acknowledge our deficiencies give us practice in humility, self-giving love, patience and watchfulness. In the end, our trials amidst pain enlarge our heart and increase courage. God always rejoices in raising us up in our weaknesses.

We should not be troubled at finding ourselves always novices in the exercise of virtue. The whole of our life is destined to be an apprenticeship of learning how to love divinely. The obligation of serving God and making progress in God’s love always lasts until death. While God has ordered us to do all we can to acquire holy virtues, it is for us to cultivate our souls well. Therefore, we must faithfully attend to them. But as for plentiful crops and harvests, let us leave care of that to our Lord. The laborer will never be blamed for not having a fine harvest, unless he did not carefully till and sow his fields. Thus let us patiently wait for our advance, and instead of disturbing ourselves because we have made so little progress in the past, let us diligently strive to do better in the future.

(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales)