In witnessing to God’s love and the power of the Gospel, I often share with people through my church programs and speaking engagements the amazing experience of my personal spiritual conversion in the nineties when moved by the Spirit I started reading Vatican II, Catholicism of the Catholic Church, Church Fathers, Scott Hahn, etc., and eventually ended up studying theology and retiring early to serve God. The conversion was intense, the duration lengthy, and the outcome drastic. My personal comfort zone was destabilized, and my life turned up side down. The experience has helped me to relate well to some of the famous conversion stories in the Bible, particularly those of St. Paul (Acts 9) and St. Peter (Luke 5:1-11).
However, if my conversion in the nineties was like a Big Bang from which my spiritual life emerged anew, my awakening in the subsequent years to the importance of the virtue of humility was akin to another powerful conversion that added substance to my new life and turned the initial big splash into a lasting and sustainable journey.
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).
Mary’s words of faith, obedience, and humility will always resonate in my heart as I continue to battle to wrestle to the ground the beast in me that speaks deceitful and boastful language “from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet” (Rev 13:16). No less useful in this regard is St. Paul's beautiful teaching below, which has become the guideline that I follow to the letter in using the spiritual gifts that God has graciously given me to minister to Him in our church community:
For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned. For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Romans 12:3-8).