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Saturday, August 20, 2011

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St. Bernard

Ruth 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17
Psalm 128:1-5
Matthew 23:1-12

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"Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, but whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." —Matthew 23:12

The Lord will eventually humble us if we don't do it ourselves. However, He wants us to do our own humbling, while He does the exalting. We can humble ourselves by carrying the daily cross(es) (see Phil 2:8; Lk 9:23), choosing the lowest place (Lk 14:10), asking for help, admitting we're wrong, asking forgiveness, simplifying our lifestyle, being a fool for Christ (1 Cor 4:10), associating with the lowly (Rm 12:16; Lk 14:13), or gleaning, as Ruth did (Ru 2:2).

Gleaning is settling for other people's leftovers. Gleaning is wearing hand-me-downs or driving a third-hand car that nobody wants anymore. Gleaning is not only physical but psychological. It is appreciating just a "hello," while someone else gets almost all the attention.

Gleaning is no fun. Yet, there are gleaners like Ruth who rejoice in picking up the leftovers. These gleaners seem intuitively to know that God gleans. This was manifested when Jesus emptied Himself (Phil 2:7), became poor for our sakes (2 Cor 8:9), and was rejected. He continues to settle temporarily for our leftover time and money.

Let's put God out of the gleaning business before He comes back again. Let's exalt Him and give Him our all and our best, not our leftovers.

Prayer:  Father, I humble myself and constantly exalt You.

Promise:  "He will be your comfort and the support of your old age." —Ru 4:15

Praise:  St. Bernard spent much time humbling himself before God in prayer, which fueled his active life of propagating reform and reconciliation.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape on Arrogance on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 1, 2011

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