THE HUMBLE VIOLET

The sixth trait of Mary:

violets purpleThe violet,  symbol of humility.

Humility is humbleness.    It’s having a “soft neck”  and a chin that is ready to move downwards, in acquiescence.

violets field

There are fields of violets in the Spring.  And there is a paradox about being humble:    If you know you are humble,  have you just become proud?   Proud because you are successfully humble?

Ha!  The solution to the paradox is to not think about yourself at all!   Because becoming humble is not a test that you pass;  nor is it a goal that you set out to achieve.   Being humble  is an unselfconscious habit of your life, but although you’re not usually aware  that you are humble,  there are some “markers”  of a humble person:

You honestly know your place in the world.

You honestly know your strengths and abilities.

You honestly know what you can’t do and what your weaknesses are.

When you receive a compliment,  you know you could not have  accomplished the good deed unless God had first given you that gift to use, and that He gave you the inclination to use it for good.

When you receive criticism, whether deserved or not,   you know deep down that your critic doesn’t know the half of what you’ve done poorly  throughout your life — this is just “justice”  catching up with you — and even sharp criticism is probably letting you off easy.

A “stiff neck”  is ready to defend itself all the time.   A proud chin is ready to assert  its rights.   Humility is not like that.

And this is because other people have rights and dignity too, so you can take a step back and let them shine.   And God has “dignity” and majesty;  He has rights over you too and good plans for you which can come about if you are humble.

The wild violets that blossom in my back yard are easy to trample on.

violets trampled

Yet they are what they are, and they grow beautifully, without dying just because they’ve had  a boot in their face.   They just grow  and don’t ask for any special care, and so they are often overlooked.

How is humility like Mary, the Mother of Jesus?     It started with her one word, “Fiat.”       “Fiat mihi –”   Let it be done to me as You said, was her lifelong response to God.  (Luke 1:38)

The reward to her is that she was surrounded by likewise humble people.    St Joseph, her spouse.   St John,  the youngest, beloved disciple;   humbly accepting his “orders”  from the foot of the Cross,  not objecting to  the enormity of the responsibility to be companion and protector of the Mother.

And Mary’s Son,  her Savior,  her Teacher, her Example, who has said:  “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”    It’s His pathway that takes us all the way to His home in Heaven.

violets wishWill I ever be able to “take out the needles”  and beautify my home with . . . violets?

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