I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. John 20:15-17
BY: ASHLEY BLACKBURN
I’ve often wondered why God points things out to me or shows me things in my encounters with others that I was not necessarily looking for; but what I’ve come to realize is that he wants me to use the gift he gave to me of intercessory prayer to pray for these souls. By providing me a glimpse of their heartache, sufferings, unforgiveness or fears, I am able to later enter into prayer for them with a fervor and intensity that I may not have had without having that personal encounter with them. I feel truly blessed to be able to lift others up in prayer and to allow God to use this gift to build up his kingdom here on earth. Although it often goes unseen, prayer is an act of charity in service to our neighbor’s soul.
Recently in my own personal prayer, God has been speaking to me about a false or empty humility and a dangerous silence that exists amongst those who consider themselves spiritual, many of whom are Catholics. What I keep wrestling with is the fact that the men and women whom I encounter with this are all opposed to one or more teachings of the Catholic Church. This is an observation only and not a judgement of any one of them.
I say I wrestled with this because I couldn’t quite understand how humility and silence could be bad. But then God pointed out to me that to oppose the Church is an act of pride. It is to say that you do not believe the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church. It is to say that you know something that has not yet been revealed to the Church. It is to say that you are unwilling to trust in God’s plan for the Body of Christ through the Church and so you choose disobedience. The root of each of these things, unbelief, superior knowledge, and disobedience, is pride. But not your typical pride that is glaring; instead it is a pride that is hidden very well by an empty humility and dangerous silence.
First, let’s look at empty humility. The basis for authentic humility lies in WHO we are humbling ourselves to and WHY we are choosing the servant position. What makes humility good is that we are humbling ourselves before God, our Father, our Creator, our Lord. Doing this puts us in right order with God; he as the Lord and we his humble servants. It is empty when we attempt to humble ourselves before false gods or humble ourselves to nothing at all. When we leave God out of our humble acts of service or our humble nature, it remains empty. It does nothing to order us rightly with our Lord. And like the house built on sand it will eventually crumble because we have not put God as our solid foundation.
The other aspect of humility to look at is why are we choosing to humble ourselves. It has become almost a fad to look and act humble, especially in Christian circles. False humility is a show and has made many Christians fall into competing against one another to try to prove they are “more” Christian than their neighbor but this false humility. This same false humility is also seen in the secular world. And when you cannot tell the difference between a secular person and a Christian, you can bet there is a disobedience to teaching for the Christian. Humility is not a competition of who can help the marginalized in a more superior way. Authentic humility is ordered toward God. It is a true fruit of charity springing from within a heart that knows it is loved and thus desires to share that love with their neighbor. When humility is acted out by a soul for the purpose of personal gain or in order to earn righteousness, instead of springing forth out of a genuine love for the Lord, it is false. Those whose intentions are to be humble in order to be more holy than their neighbor are operating out of empty humility, leaving God out. True humility compels love of others – all of them, not just the ones who agree with you.
Next, let’s look at dangerous silence. There are plenty of mindless meditation practices out there now that teach people to empty everything out of their minds and rest in the nothingness. These practices are dangerous because they leave out God. Meditation without something to meditate upon can be the devil’s playground. Christian meditation is a conversation with the person of Jesus Christ that can, as a gift of grace, result in a silent gaze of love; But to repeat a “mantra” word is to look past the person we are supposed to be speaking to and miss his love entirely. We focus on the mantra rather than the Loving God with whom we are in relationship. We should not empty ourselves of holy things. Where we do not fill in our minds and our hearts with God, be sure that the devil is there to take that place and try his hardest to influence us. Where there is an absence of God, there is hell. An empty mind is a breeding ground for dissenting ideology that moves a person away from Sacramental life. The devil loves an empty mind. You can see the fruit of this because people are drawn away from the church and the sacraments and begin to worship the created things rather than the Creator.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25
It’s so important to understand that God wants us to enter into silence, to remove ourselves from the world at times to pray. Jesus did this often during his public ministry. But when Jesus went off to enter into the silence, he lifted his heart to the Lord and entered into a silent conversation with his Father in Heaven. In that silence, the Father spoke words of wisdom, encouragement, mission, and love to the Son. Silence becomes dangerous when it has nothing to fill it, when it is empty. We must intentionally put ourselves in the presence of the Lord in our times of silence because it is Jesus Christ who comforts and heals and protects us. If you find yourself in a place of denying church teaching and thinking you know better than our great Saints and that you don’t need the Sacramental Life, you are walking in the opposite direction from the one who created you.
False humility and mindless meditation are intertwined in today’s world. It can be seen in the virtue signaling of our disordered society. It is cloaked in emotion instead of in truth. Truth should not be offensive to you. If you find truth offensive have a conversation with God about it instead of running away from it. Chances you have a deep wound that you need healing from. There is one healer, one God who alone is good, turning to Him can make you whole in a way your own efforts never can. You have a Savior. Talk to Him.