Meditations on the Holy Spirit (12/14): MODESTY

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What ornament, O Holy Spirit, is a modest soul; a soul in which Your fruit, dwells! In her, the disorderly desire is restrained and has come to rest. She does not think for herself constantly and is easily satisfied with everything. She does not want to be the centre of attention, but wants to take the place that You have intended for her. Therefore the precious gift of gratitude and also the fruit of humility is effective in her.

Such a soul radiates contentment, makes no fuss about herself and is free from any presumption. But in terms of love this soul wants to be great, in the love for You and for people, and with a little faith she is not satisfied!

What mild splendour we can perceive in such a soul! How gladly you, and we too, can enrich her with gifts! She realizes the word of St. Paul:

“Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom.” (Rom 12:16)

Nor is such a soul complicated, but simple; nor is she consumed by all kinds of desires and ideas!

But how shall we become modest, O Holy Spirit? How shall this delicate and gentle radiance of Yours work in us? How shall we attain this attitude of serenity and contentment?

One key, O Holy Spirit, is to understand that we receive everything as a gift, that we are gifted human beings and receive from the wisdom of God what He has planned for us in material and spiritual gifts. We are still so often concerned with looking after our rights, with wanting to own everything, to secure ourselves, with “having to have”! How easily a hidden greed can still show itself – in terms of material goods, but also in terms of honour, in the desire for recognition, praise and attention from other people.

But if we learn to understand everything as a gift and also to accept and appreciate it to the extent that we receive it, then, O Lord, we see Your love at work everywhere. We may be sensitive to the rights of others, while at times we may be able to give up our own rights for higher reasons.

To each one, O Holy Spirit, the Lord has given gifts. We must not bury them (cf. Mt 25:14-30)! That would not be modesty, but a lack of understanding. We can and should even strive for the gifts of the Spirit:

“Make love your aim; but be eager, too, for spiritual gifts, and especially for prophesying.” (1 Cor 14:1)

We see, then, that modesty does not mean renouncing things that are important for our inner progress and service in the Kingdom of God; rather, through modesty we attain an inner peace, abandon our exaggerated demands and are grateful for the way God ordains things.

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