Take a string and lay it on a table in a straight line. Push the string from one end, what happens? Now take the string and lay it straight on a table, pull the string from one end, what happens to the string?
When you push the string, it will bunch up with no direction, it becomes out of place. When you pull the string, it remains straight and continues in the same direction.
Walking along the Cape Cod Canal this past weekend I watched as a small tug boat pulled a large barge through the canal towards the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. This barge, impressive in size was loaded with massive concrete structures. I was drawn to the power of this tug boat and the control in direction it had over this colossal piece of shaped steel. For a moment I placed myself on the barge and imagined the tug boat as Jesus in my life. I reflected on how often my ego or stature would tell me I could do everything on my own. As my reflection brought me back to the shore, I felt a sudden burst of gratitude. I thought of Saint Ignatius and “The Three Kinds of Humility.” Authentic humility is a way of loving God and ourselves. The ability to know that we need and depend on God. We are not the center, God is. Authentic humility helps us rejoice in who we are and Whose we are, with all our gifts and limitations. It was at first glance I saw this mighty barge as being weak, a bit comical, relying on the diminutive tugboat. It was not until I imagined myself on that barge that my weakness turned into my strength, seeing Jesus piloting that tug boat.
Later in the weekend, my wife sent me an article on Tom Selleck in which he shared his faith journey. In that article he referred to one of my favorite bible verses 1 Peter 5:5-7. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you.”
The God of surprises through a walk and an article was working on me this weekend. He was reminding me about humility.
How often on a daily basis do you feel like that string being pushed? Conversely, what are your feelings when you are being gently pulled or tugged by God? Be alert, let Jesus tug you. Lessons in humility can even be found while walking along the Cape Cod Canal. The three kinds of humility are really just three ways or degrees of loving God. For Saint Ignatius, the magis, the “more” is always important, as we strive for the greater way of loving through humility. What a great name for a boat…MAGIS