Fishing in the Sea of the Passion: Humility

Go fishing for the jewels and pearls of all the virtues in the depth of the sea of the Passion of Christ...
— St. Paul of the Cross

St. Paul of the Cross founded the first retreat of the Passionist Congregation on Monte Argentario, overlooking the sea. As he developed his spiritual teaching through letters of direction, he often drew of images of the sea to explain his ideas, and especially referred to Christ’s Passion as a sea of suffering and love from which we can draw out all the virtues.

As we enter into Holy Week, we’ll be sharing a few thoughts on the virtues manifested in the different moments of Christ’s Passion as they are brought before our eyes anew in the liturgy. First, in the light of Palm Sunday, let’s consider that most fundamental of virtues: Humility!

Ah! when shall we perfectly imitate our divine Redeemer, Who humbled Himself so much?
— St. Paul of the Cross
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on an ass,
on a colt the foal of an ass.
— Zechariah 9:9 (RSV)

Jesus makes a triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, and yet in the midst of a splendid reception He is eminently humble. The note of humility resounds through the liturgy of Palm Sunday, in the prayers and in the scripture readings - how awesome that the God of all the universe comes down to us and approaches so meekly, upon a lowly beast of burden!

How can I imitate Christ’s humility?

Humility recognizes the truth: can I practice graciously receiving another’s honest praise?

Is there an opportunity when I can defer to another person’s opinion? when I can let someone else’s ideas shine?

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto thine.