One of the things that we human beings find difficult is humility. It is therefore no surprise to discover that humility is one of the most important aspects of a holy life. Catherine of Siena goes as far as to say that it is humility that holds all the various virtues together and makes them able to work coherently in the life of any person! Jesus affirms the need for humility in addressing His disciples in today’s Gospel. He places a child before them and invites them to reflect upon the fact that they have to become as little children before God if they are going to be effective ministers of the Gospel.

In a counseling situation one of the first things I look for in the life of a person is humility. If a person is not willing to humble himself or herself before God then they are going to find it next to impossible to deal with whatever problems they have come to me to talk about. At the same time there is also a need for humility and honesty with me the counselor as without this there is little for me to build upon in terms of trust and openness.

A true servant of God, minister of the Gospel, will never lose an opportunity to place himself or herself before God to be instructed in His ways. There ought to be no exception to this rule. Even the Pope has someone come in to preach to him regularly and attends retreats etc. If a priest or minister of the Gospel is not giving God this opportunity to continue to form him or her in His ways, then from where is that person gaining the material with which they are feeding their flock? In the busyness of our lives there is the danger that personal feeding and formation takes a second place to the point that it is altogether forgotten. This will usually be the beginning of a downhill slide in the quality of the preaching and teaching of that person.

It is of paramount importance that anyone in leadership set time aside on a regular basis throughout the year to ‘recharge their batteries’ so to speak and allow God to continue the ongoing process of conversion in their lives. Humility is the grace that allows even leaders to admit that they need help and are not beyond the stage of the need for ongoing formation. There will always be the need for the teacher to be taught and the minister to be ministered to, Let us pray that we will all have the grace to remember that it is necessary for the first to become last once in a while.

When was the last time that I had a personal retreat? When was the last time that I deliberately sought to increase the formation level in my life?

Holy Spirit, never allow me to tire of being taught the ways of God and His Kingdom. Let my heart be always open to formation so that I will never believe that I no longer need to be formed. I know that this is a life-long process.