In Shakespeare’s Richard III, the villain announces to a circle of people, “I thank my God for my humility” — and then he proceeds to kill almost all of them.
Pride actually does kill. Pride leads to terrible scientific mistakes, arrogant bosses who harm their organizations, criminal cover-ups in government, broken families and slammed doors. Good leaders and good citizens and good family members must strive to be humble.
But how do you “strive” to be humble? Spiritual directors say humility is a paradox: by focusing on humility, you will almost certainly never attain it. You’re too ambitious in your humility!
Lent is the season of humility, beginning with ashes and the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” This Sunday’s scriptures focus on Abraham, himself a humble man of faith, who says to God, “I know that I am but ashes and dust.”
How can we become more humble, and avoid the destructiveness of pride? We’ll find guidance in this Sunday’s scriptures, prayers and music.