HUMILITY BREEDING & HUMBLY CARING FOR THE EARTH
Wis 2:12.17-20; Ps 54; Jas 3:16-4:3; Mk 9:30-37
It All Begins With Humility
“Many people ask me who my mentors are. One thing in common that they all have is humility. They, knowing that we’re all in the same boat; everyone has challenges; everyone has different gifts; and we’re in this together.
I have learned that if I ever become a person who feels like I’m better than someone else, is when I start putting barriers up, when I stop becoming less transparent, when I’m not as compassionate, when I’m not as loving and giving.
You know, more than the goal that I achieve or the success that I have, is who I affect along the way. And to love and impart encouragement to people around me – that always begins with humility.
To care for someone means you’re not thinking about yourself, you’re thinking about them. The greatest thing to start with when you’re planning for success is to be humble!” – Nick Vujicic
Just what is humility? What does it mean to be humble? Does it mean to put ourselves down? Does it mean to think little of ourselves? Does it mean to deny our true worth, or to belittle it?
Not at all! Humility is something far more profound and far more beautiful than that.
Humility isn’t thinking little of ourselves. It’s not thinking of ourselves at all.
In its most profound and most beautiful sense humility means to be like Jesus, who said, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” Matthew 11:29
It means to be like Jesus, who said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45
Humility means to live as Jesus lived—not for ourselves, but for others. It means to use our talents as Jesus used his—not for ourselves and our own glory, but for others and their needs.
Let me illustrate with an example: Charlie Brown
Charles Schulz made the Peanuts character Charlie Brown a household word. Few people know, however, that Charlie Brown is based on a real person. The real Charlie Brown worked with Schulz in the Bureau of Engraving in Minneapolis.
Eventually both men quit the Bureau. Schulz became a cartoonist. Charlie Brown became a counsellor for convicted juvenile delinquents, often housing them in his own home. Charlie died of cancer in December 1983. After his death a coworker wrote:
“Charlie was my boss for three years at the Detention Centre…. After the kids were in bed, we passed the remaining hours of the evening shift in long conversations.
“Charlie was a devout Roman Catholic…. He saw his own life . .. as the doing of daily works of charity in imitation of Christ and the saints.”
The coworker went on to say that often the doorbell and the phone at the Detention Centre rang late at night. It was usually some boy asking, “Is Charlie Brown there?”
The coworker also said that during his stay at the Detention Centre not one young man who lived with Charlie ever returned to prison. And this was one of the reasons why Charlie was frequently asked to give workshops for professions and to lecture on penology and social work at the University of Minnesota.
Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz remained close friends to the end. Schulz occasionally offered Charlie a share in the profits from some Charlie Brown spin-off, like T-shirts or toys. But Charlie never accepted a dollar. Nor did Charlie ever volunteer to anyone that he was the real Charlie Brown.
And so to this day, many of the kids who rang the doorbell of the Detention Centre late at night, asking “Is Charlie Brown there?” had no idea whom they were asking for.
That story is a living example of what Jesus means when he says, “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”
It is a living example of what Jesus means when he says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.”
It is a living example of the power and the beauty of the virtue of humility when lived out courageously in a truly Christian life.
It is a living example of Jesus’ teaching on humble service of the lost, the last and the least, like serving a little child.
Our Earth-saving Mission Reminds us of Humble Service
√ In Amazonia, researchers have discovered 2,000 year old yet extremely fertile earth. It takes hundreds of years to create the thin fertile layer of earth that sustains us all. Now, this is all at stake. Hidden away in the life beneath our feet is the last chance for our climate. We need to understand the life inside if we are to rescue life outside.
√ Humus generation is becoming a race against time. Will we grasp humus generation as our climate’s last chance? “And it has been demonstrated that it is really is possible for over 10-15 years to raise carbon levels significantly.” (Dr. Klaus-Kurt Hulsbergen. Technical Univ. of Munich)
√ “And the entire excess will be outside and our climate problem will be solved.” (Dr. August Raggam, Ecologist)
√ “Negotiations are going on for the post-2012 period. It would be great if soil management, grassland and cropland management was included.” (David Neil Bird, Researcher)
EPILOGUE: POPE FRANCIS’ LAUDATO SI LETTER
Pope Francis has written a letter addressed to every person on this planet, asking us all to protect our common home… The Earth.
In the letter he says: “The earth is God’s gift to us,
full of beauty and wonder. And it belongs to everyone.”
But what we see today is that our common home has never been so hurt and mistreated.
We have developed at a greater speed than we could have ever imagined and have treated the earth like it has an unlimited supply of resources.
We have taken more than our fair share from most people on the planet, as well as future generations.
We have cut down the earth’s natural forests, polluted the earth’s waters, its land and its air.
The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.
We are using more and more polluting fossil fuels which is contributing to climate change.
Climate change one of the biggest challenges we face today. Climate change will affect us all, but it will be the poorest communities who will suffer the most.
And despite these problems, we are not slowing down on how much we consume and throw away; leaving a trail of waste and destruction.
We cannot continue like this.
We can change, and we can make a new start.
The whole human family needs to work together to care for our planet earth so that we sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
So let’s put love for the world and love for our neighbours, into action, by living together in harmony, and caring for nature.
Can you take simple everyday eco-actions to care for the earth, like turning off lights, reducing water waste and recycling?
And will you live more simply, reducing the amount of things we buy and throw away, so that we don’t take more than our fair share?
The world can’t wait! So let’s make that start today.
Play your part to protect our common home.
Laudato Si’ – A letter from Pope Francis on Care for our Common Home
 Larry Rasmussen, “The Real Charlie Brown”, The Christian Century (March 21-28, 1984).