Before the creation of this world, in heaven there was an angel whose name meant ‘light-bearer’. This angel took the freedom that God offered and chose a lesser path. His proclamation rang throughout the heavenly hosts and echoed to all of God’s creation. It echoes throughout the history of creation down to this day. ‘Non servium’ declared Lucifer – ‘I will not serve!’ God created out of love; gave His creation freewill to love Him back; but some of His creation chose to not love back thus poisoning creation with self-pride. History now is a record of this fall and our attempt to regain what was lost.
Adam and Eve shows us the effects of this. Sodom and Gomorrah, Israel’s journey through the desert; all of the Old Testament is a record of the effects of this fall; and of God’s continual interaction and constant care of His creation whom He still loves.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve mankind has tried to climb back to the heights of God; to regain what they had lost. This prideful attitude has always been doomed to failure – the Tower of Babel, the pride of the Kings, the pride of the Sanhedrin are just a few examples.
But God has always showed us the way to His heart – to regain what John Milton called paradise lost. It is how He works, it is what love is built on – the humble way. We hear God through Isaiah tell us what attitude we need in the Suffering Servant Songs. We are told by St. Paul in letter to the Philippians exactly how God works and expects us to work:
‘So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name…’ (Phil 2:1-9)
But how are we to model ourselves after God, how do we live the life of humble service – of humility? Look to Mary, the model of humility (along with her husband St. Joseph) she is the guide, she is the icon of a life in God. Let’s follow her lead – her fiat to the Archangel, her hastening to Elizabeth to help, her submission to her Son’s journey; her constant interaction with her Son’s brothers and sisters – us. Let’s make our own her words to Elizabeth:
‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.’ (Lk 1:46-49)
Humility is not glamorous, at least as society knows the word. Humility is not powerful, at least as the world knows the word. But we are not of this world – we are of God. His is the only way to eternal life; eternal life that we as members of the His Mystical Body are called to proclaim. Though society doesn’t strive for this type of glamor and power their souls thirst and hunger for it. By quiet and humble acceptance of God’s will Mary brought to a hostile world their Savior; by quiet and humble means the Savior brought the proclamation of joy and eternal life; by quiet and humble means Mary continues to bring His message to her Son’s family.
If this works for God it must be our method, our marching orders. By quiet and humble means we can be the new ‘light-bearers’. St. Michael the Archangel was the one who replied to Lucifer’s proclamation; let’s take up his response and make it our own – ‘Serviam’ – I will serve.