Humility, Allowing Our Hearts to Soar – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Matthew 23:1-12

A little more than twenty years ago Philip Simmons died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was a young professor of English at a Chicago college, married, the father of two children. At the same time Philip Simmons was dying from the cruel ravages of ALS, he was more alive than he had ever been. [i]

He writes about learning to fall. He speaks of falling, quite literally, because of the ALS; he also writes about falling as a figure of speech. We fall on our faces, we fall for a joke, we fall for someone, we fall in love. He asks, in each of these falls, what do we fall away from? We fall from ego, we fall from our carefully-constructed identities, we fall from our reputations, from our precious selves. We fall from ambition, we fall from grasping to control…  And what do we fall into? We fall into passion and compassion, into terror, into unreasoning joy. We fall into emptiness; we fall into oneness with others whom we realize are likewise falling. Ultimately it’s a falling into grace, falling into the real presence of God.[ii]  The name for this falling, the gateway into this mysterious presence of God, is humility.

In our Gospel lesson appointed for today, we hear Jesus speak of humility: “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” The English word “humility” comes from the Latin humilis: “lowly,” or “near the ground.” Humility is the opposite of feeling oneself to be high and lofty, above and beyond all the people whom we find inadequate. The English words “humility” and “humus” are cousins, “humus” being the organic component of soil. Humus is what makes soil rich. The autumnal leaves falling from the trees compost into humus, which is essential to life. Read More

Be A Resovoir – Br. Curtis Almquist

curtis4The crowds only grow, desperate to hear Jesus and to experience his help and healing.  The crowds only grow.  And what does Jesus do?  It’s quite revealing.  He withdraws.  It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last that he withdraws.  Jesus would minister mightily, and then he would withdraw to deserted places – note the plural: deserted places – and he would pray.  The cry is not the call.  The cry for help is not one-in-the-same with our call to respond.  It certainly was not for Jesus.  There was always more to do.  Jesus here is showing his truly-human side, without infinite resources, and he practices a kind of “life rhythm” clearly knowing when he must withdraw to pray.

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