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Humility is one of those virtues that has an unsurpassed influence on our lives. Not even pride, the root of all sin, can overcome its power. Its influence on the world is extraordinary, and in many cases soul-saving!
One a look at any creche scene reveals an impact that becomes strikingly clear. The King of Kings, Lord of every and all Lords, the Omnipotent One HUMBLES Himself to become a human baby. And not only that, He lowers his throne to that of a manger surrounded by animals.
Now, if that isn't true humility, then I don't know what is. And, if His lowly birth has not changed history for all, then I don't know what has. Most historians agree that not a single earthly life has had more affect on world history than that of Jesus. And, of course, we, as Christians, know that His birth means far more than just having an affect on history. It means that we can now enter into heaven and experience His unfathomable love for us for all eternity.
We've all heard it said: "Don't underestimate the power of the Dark Side."
I say: "Don't underestimate the power of HUMILITY!"
And to illustrate my point….here is my own home-grown humiliating (er..I mean humility) story!
"Mom, please can we make the spritz cookies today??"
"Ummm, you know, I think our schedule is pretty full today. How about tomorrow?" I replied, avoiding the pleading eyes.
"But Mom, you've said that for the last 3 days!! Why can't we do it today?"
I swallowed and started pulling at a string sticking out of my sleeve, hoping that by ignoring the question my inquirer would get bored and give up. But, alas, the words "give up" are not in this child's vocabulary.
"Mom……please? We'll make them ourselves!"
My head jerked up in interest. "Really? You'll make it yourselves?"
To understand my response to the thought of making these wondrous cookies so often associated with Christmas, one would need to understand just how much the words "spritz cookies" make me lick my lips in anticipation and at the same time send a shiver down my spine. For me, approaching it is kind of like boarding a rocket to the moon and suddenly realizing on the way that you are desperately afraid of heights.
You see, growing up, helping my own mother with these cookies was a clear signal that Christmas Day was drawing near. We kids absolutely loved devouring them - so much so that very few would actually make to the Christmas table. Who could resist that powdery cookie, removed from the oven just before browning so that the quick bite would melt away in your mouth, leaving the perfect hint of almond and vanilla behind? Not me, I can tell you!
It made sense, then, to continue the tradition with my own family when I got married. I had made enough dishes and did enough baking that I felt I was ready for the job. Seriously, how hard could it be? I should have listened to the still small voice inside: "Pride goeth before the fall!"
Well, apparently making spritz cookies on my own was a lot harder than I could have guessed - at least for me anyway. My first attempt left me in tears as I attempted every way possible to get the dough to release properly from the spritzer. The end results were a bunch of melted snowflakes and trees that looked like they had been crushed by a bulldozer.
However, they say that time heals all wounds. The next year, I was determined to get it right. I read all that I could on how to make the best cookies, looked up recommended tips and suggestions, and even went to the expert herself: my mom. But, despite this great effort, the result was the same: spritz cookie failure.
It must be the spritzer, I reasoned in frustration. Truth be told, it may not have helped that our spritzer is so old that it may indeed be the first one ever created, but I would quickly learn that the cookie caper had more to do with the handler than the actual apparatus!
My husband, a great cook himself, was in the other room during that second attempt, and, afraid that I might start hurling cookie dough and spritzer fittings across the kitchen, came in to cautiously offer assistance. (A wise man knows to never approach a mad woman with an armed cookie spritzer without great caution!)
Desperate, I gave in, knowing full well that he would have no more success than I. My pride tumbled to the floor, however, as he took the spritzer and quickly and easily filled a cookie sheet with perfect Christmas trees. "Impossible!!" I said in disbelief. He handed it back and very politely offered that it had probably reached the right temperature when he used it. He then showed me how to use a quick wrist motion that deposited the perfect shape every time.
I tried, goodness knows I tried, but to no avail. It was beyond both of us why I couldn't make it work. Finally, it occurred to me at that point that given the fact that God can pick whatever timing He so chooses, He may have been allotting this particular moment to teach me the valuable lesson of humility.
Still, both despite and because of this, each Christmas afterwards for the next 15 years I attempted to create these confectionary wonders, only to regretfully and humbly retire the spritzer to my husband's able hands each time.
And so I looked with great interest at my daughter as she insisted on taking on what I now consider a monumental task. If my children were intent on meeting my confectionary nemesis face to face and taking it on, then who was I to stop them? Secretly, I sadly realized that a hope played around in my head that their attempts would prove difficult and that justification would finally be mine.
Naturally, of course, my lesson in humility would only continue. Hours later, trays of perfectly scored cookie delights graced the counters. (I was consoled for a moment by a few oversized snowflakes until I realized that they had been produced by a certain 6-year-old!)
Feeling alone in my inadequacy to conquer the spritzer of doom, I made the decision to acknowledge defeat and accept this clear lesson in humility.
Proudly, I commended their success. I am very proud of them for so many reasons, not the least of which included excelling in a skill that has eluded me. God bless them.
My only regret? That I didn't accept my lesson in humility much sooner!
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May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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