Tag Archives: humility

God-fearing midwives, and humility.

While I was at church between services today, a fellow parishioner, George, came with his little truck and removed all the palm branches from yesterday’s feast. Now we have this icon of Christ, “Extreme Humility,” lavishly adorned in the middle of the church:

Icon Reader shares an explanatory quote about the icon:

“At the arrival of unjust persecution, bow your head. At the jeers of false accusations, cross your arms over your heart, whether physically or interiorly, and gratefully receive what is spitefully offered. And when faced with the question, ‘How far, how far do I tolerate this shame, this injustice,’ remember that the answer is the grave. This is what the icon labels ‘Extreme Humility,’ and it is humility that we must strive to emulate each day.”

-Hieromonk Irenaeus

One of the Old Testament readings for this day is from the first chapter of Exodus, the story of how, generations after Joseph, the Israelites as a people group grew large and strong, and the current Pharaoh began to feel threatened and to oppress them. Here is one little story within that story:

“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:

“And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?

“And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.”

Does a child see herself grow?

Father Michael Gillis describes himself as a grumpy old man who struggles to stay near to God; he evidently succeeds enough to be able to report, in his latest blog post, “…I think God loves so much those who reach out to Him that he tricks me into saying something to help them.”

He shares portions of an email exchange with a young woman who is discouraged at always having to confess the same sins. Why isn’t God changing her? I found it encouraging: “Just” Waiting on God.

Where modesty was never meant to be.

Chesterton in Brighton, 1935

“Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth: this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert — himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt — the Divine Reason…

“The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping: not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.”

― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy