Friday, June 5, 2015

Humility – Our Foundational Virtue

Humility – Our Foundational Virtue

Ignatius uses the word humility to describe our foundational virtue – that which truly grounds or provides foundation for our identity and consequently our way of living and working. Jesus, in Matthew 11, tells us to learn humility from him. There are as many kinds of humility as there are people – because it is all about relationship. Ignatius recognizes there is a spectrum of close relationships, but he outlines three major ones.

First, Ignatius describes a person who would do nothing to break a relationship and yet can act in ways that neither build it nor strengthen it.

Second, Ignatius describes a person whose whole way of living is found in his or her relationship with Jesus and his or her life orientation is to do the will of the Father.

Third, Ignatius goes on to outline another level of closeness, one found only in those lovers whose very external appearances and experiences seem to mesh into a unity. This person desires so close an identity with Jesus that if the externals of his life were to be mirrored in this person’s life (the poverty Jesus experienced, the rejection he received, the crucifixion he embraced) only delight and joy would be the result. Ignatius pictures the madness of the martyrs who delighted in a suffering and death that, because of their love, brought them into the closest of relationship with Christ. This madness, that is, the intoxication of love, finds its source in the grace gift of God.