Lenten Humility

Lent is traditionally a season in the church year where we actively seek to live in a state of more humility and repentance.  Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann has some brilliant insights into how we are actually becoming more like God when we seek humility:

“But what is humility?  The answer to this question may seem a paradoxical one for it is rooted in a strange affirmation:  God Himself is humble! … In our human mentality we tend to oppose ‘glory’ and ‘humility’–the latter being for us the indication of a flaw or deficiency.  For us it is our ignorance or incompetence that makes or ought to make us feel humble … God is humble because He is perfect; His humility is His glory and the source of all true beauty, perfection, and goodness, and everyone who approaches God and knows Him immediately partakes of the Divine humility and beautified by it … How does one become humble … by contemplating Christ, the divine humility incarnate, the One in whom God has revealed once and for all His glory as humility and His humility as Glory …”

“The lenten season begins with a quest, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance.  For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision.  It is, therefore, rooted in humility, and humility–the divine and beautiful humility–is its fruit and end.  ‘Let us avoid the high flown speech of the Pharisee,’ says the Kontakion of this day, ‘and learn the majesty of the Publican’s humble words …'” (Great Lent: Journey into Pascha, 19-20).

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